Stiff:A Stepbrother Romance(5)

By: B. B. Hamel

Susan answered the door after another few seconds.

“Mom,” I said.

“Easton. Nice to see you.”

Her tone suggested otherwise.

I followed her inside, not saying anything. We walked into the kitchen and sat down at a nice little island. I guessed the house was worth at least a million, possibly one point two. I knew that Alan Mason could afford it, considering he was the most successful property developer in Mishawaka. Actually, he was the most successful developer in the whole county, if not the state.

“Do you know why you’re here?” she asked me.

An ominous beginning. “No, Mother, I don’t. I have work to do, so let’s make this quick.”

She frowned at that. “No need to be uncivil.”

“Nothing uncivil about needing to work.”

“Some drunk cheater you need to follow?”

I smirked at her. “Heroine addict, actually.”

She scoffed and shook her head. Susan Wright believed that staking out drunks and cheaters was below her, and her son by extension. Personally, I wasn’t above or below anything, which was something I had learned the hard way.

My job wasn’t glamorous. For the most part, I followed around cheating husbands. Ninety percent of being a private investigator was waiting around to take pictures. The life of a PI was all about patient and diligence, and I had both in spades. Though I wasn’t hunting bad guys at the federal level anymore, I was still helping people.

Even small towns like Mishawaka needed help. There were enough bad people to go around.

“At any rate,” she said, moving on, “I wanted to ask for a favor from you.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Really?”

She nodded. “I hoped it could be a way for us to mend things.”

“I’m listening.”

“You know that I’m married now, but did you know that Alan has a daughter?”

I nodded. “Laney Mason. Twenty-one. Junior at the University of Chicago.”

“Very good. You did your homework.”

“It’s my job.”

She would have been surprised by the other things I knew about her new husband, but I kept that stuff to myself.

“Well, did you know that she’s studying criminal justice?”

I raised an eyebrow. “I didn’t. And I can guess where this is headed.”

“Before you say no, hear me out. She’s a bright young girl.”

I stood up. “Sorry, Mother. I’m not interested.”

“Please, Easton, sit down.”

I sighed and looked back toward the front door. I had absolutely no interest in hiring some daft undergrad girl to hang around my office all day long. I didn’t need a secretary, and frankly I couldn’t afford one. I didn’t like babysitting and I didn’t need another distraction in my life.

“Why do you want this, anyway?”

“Because, despite what you may think, I want us to be a family again. I’d hoped that you could help her, maybe teach her some things.”

“She’s some spoiled, small-town girl. She doesn’t want to work with me.”

“Actually, she does. She’s on her way here right now to meet you.”

I clenched my jaw. An ambush. “You shouldn’t have done that.”

“I’ll pay for her,” she said quickly. “You won’t have to worry about that. Just take her on, teach her what you can.”

“I don’t believe that you’re doing this out of the goodness of your heart,” I said, turning away. “And I’m not interested in being a part of your little games.”

Her response was swallowed by the sound of the doorbell.

“There she is,” Susan said softly.

I glared at her. “I’m leaving. Tell her I said no, and that it’s nothing personal.”

“Tell her yourself,” mother said.

I turned away, shaking my head, and walked toward the door. I pulled it open, not sure what to expect.

That was the first time I really saw Laney Mason. We had gone to the same school together, though we never ran in the same crowds. I never knew her and barely ever saw her. What I remembered was a gangly young girl, all knees and braces.

Laney had grown up.

Her hair was long and dark, and her eyes were a deep brown. Her skin was pale and her lips were full, the kind of full that you couldn’t help but imagine would wrap perfectly around the tip of your cock. Her body was full and I could tell she kept herself fit.

I stared at her for a second, feeling something stir. She wasn’t what I’d expected, not at all.

“Hey—” she was saying, but stopped and suddenly looked awkward. The way she bit her lip drove me fucking insane.

“Can I help you?” I asked, deciding to see how she’d respond.

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