Beg for Me

By: Natalie Anderson

Chapter One


“One more,” the photographer called. “I’m loving the angle.”

Logan Hughes didn’t give a monkey’s about the angle, he just wanted the afternoon to be over. This was it, his last bout in the ring as a freaking show pony.

“Look straight into the lens, Logan.”

Logan glared at it.

“Perfect. The words blue and steel spring to mind.” The photographer wasn’t being ironic. “Hold it... Trina, lean in so he’s over you more.”

The slim woman curling in at Logan’s side burrowed closer still.

Logan glared harder. So over it.

“The black suits you,” the photographer gushed.

Logan closed his eyes in relief as he heard his cellphone ring. Saved by the damn clichéd bell. Hallelujah.

“Take five everyone,” the photographer called.

Logan lifted his phone from where it lay face down on the table. His brother’s name lit up the screen. Mid-afternoon, mid-week wasn’t the usual Connor o’clock. That was first thing Sunday morning when they talked through the week before and the one to come, reviewing the businesses and upcoming investment options.

Right now Connor ought to be too busy chairing meetings or whipping some insubordinate liftie’s ass to be bothered with his wayward brother. So Logan answered quickly. “What is it?”

“Hello to you too.”

Logan shifted to the back of the room out of earshot. If Connor was taking time for pleasantries then he wanted something he knew Logan didn’t want to give. “Just say it.”

Connor laughed. “You know me too well.”

“You should be up to your eyeballs in spreadsheets. What’s keeping you from the profit line?” Logan asked, turning to glance back at the catalog team. Just as he turned, the model whipped off the thin merino top she’d worn for the last shot. She was wearing nothing underneath. Her gaze raked him, a slow, calculated invitation, her nipples stiff and pointing straight at him.

He didn’t smile. His body didn’t stir. Impervious to her charms, assets and easiness, his jaded reaction was almost worse than impotence. Logan Hughes, former slayer, had gone off sex. He muffled a groan and looked away.

“What are you doing?” Connor asked.

“Catalog shoot.”

“Modeling?” A low chuckle rumbled along the cell network. “You’ve been manscaped? Wax on, wax off?”

“I sell outdoor wear, remember?” Logan drawled, stoically ignoring his brother’s amusement. “I’m mostly covered up.”

“Damn, that’s not going to sell anything. You’re the stud, you need to be half naked.”

Logan bit back a grimace. ‘Stud’ wasn’t a slogan he’d ever actually wanted. Though he might have earned it. More than once. “Well, what else do you need from me?”

“This weekend. You’ve got to be here.”

Logan’s blood chilled. “Look Con, I—”

“Don’t want to. I know. But it won’t be as bad as you think.”

“That’s because it’ll be worse.”

“He’s mellowed.”

Logan didn’t care. “This isn’t gonna be the return of the damn prodigal son. Don’t try to manufacture it.” His father wouldn’t ever welcome him home with open arms. His father had told him never to return. Because Logan had turned his back on everything his father had dreamed of for him.

And his father never forgave.

“Do it for me,” Connor said. “Everything has to look smooth. This is for the company, Logan.”

Really? It was all for the appearance—Connor had really fallen for that crap, too?

Because that’s how it had always been in their family. To everyone outside, everything looked perfect, while on the inside it corroded.

“It’d be smoother without me.” Logan answered.

Because he was the black sheep of the family. The notorious one. And yup, he’d done pretty much all the things he was accused of and more. No innocent here. But to go to a family fricking celebration? Why would he rock up to celebrate 40 years of the worst marriage ever?

Logan Hughes was the son of a bastard and damned if he wanted to go anywhere near the place he’d once called home or the man who’d made it hell.

“I need you here Logan.” Connor said quietly. “I wouldn’t ask otherwise.”

Yeah there was the thing. His brother wouldn’t. His brother had always tried to protect him, defend him. Even when he’d done the indefensible.

So his brother was the one person in his life he wasn’t letting down.

Never again.

Logan turned his back on the models and the madness.