Colters' Lady(10)

By: Maya Banks


“S-Seth?” she asked in a wavery voice. But before Seth could respond, she said, “I should go. I need to go.”

Her voice was whisper soft, and before he could catch himself, Michael was on his feet—to do what?

Keep her from going?

He forced himself to stand there while Seth hurried toward the woman.

“Lily, no,” Seth said in a soft, urgent voice as he took her shoulders in his hands.

So Lily was her name. Michael watched as Lily skittered away from Seth’s grasp, her eyes darting toward Michael as she did.

“Honey, it’s only Michael. My brother Michael. Remember, I told you all about him last night?”

“The vet,” she said in a husky voice.

“Yes, that’s right. He just started his practice back home.”

“I should go,” she said again, and Michael saw her edge toward the hallway that led to the bedroom.

“Stay and eat breakfast. I made you a cup of hot chocolate. It’s probably cold by now, but I can pop it into the microwave for you.”

She hestitated, her gaze going between the two brothers.

“I need to get dressed,” she said faintly.

“Okay. I’ll be here in the kitchen. I’ll make breakfast so you can eat when you get out.”

She was gone before Seth could say another word. When he turned back to Michael, there was something decidedly desperate in his older brother’s eyes. A desperation that for some reason, Michael felt in equal measure.

“Who is she?” Michael rasped out. Hell, he couldn’t even talk right. He had a knot in his throat the size of a boulder.

Seth cut an impatient glance at his brother. “Lily,” he bit out. “Just Lily.”

“Who is she to you?”

Seth swung around, his eyes blazing. “Why the hell do you want to know that?”

22



“I want to know,” Michael said. “I need to know, because damn it, I just had the most powerful reaction to a woman I’ve had in my entire life, and I damn well need to know if I’m poaching on my brother’s territory.”

Seth’s mouth gaped open. “You stay the hell away from her.”

“So it’s like that,” Michael said grimly. “You’ve staked a claim.”

“Are you out of your mind? You just met the woman. What are you planning to do, haul her off over your shoulder?”

“Maybe,” Michael said calmly. “Probably.”

“Over my dead body.”

“When did you meet her?” Michael asked. Seth hadn’t mentioned a woman. Not to anyone. He would have known. The dads wouldn’t have kept something like that quiet. They would have been too busy giving him hell.

“Yesterday,” Seth said in a gruff, pissed-off voice.

“Yesterday? Yesterday? And you’re going off on me for having just met her?” Michael laughed. “You fucking hypocrite.”

And then the thought came. Stuck in his head like someone had hit him with a hammer. He’d walked into his brother’s house and met a woman he instantly and absolutely had to have. It wasn’t just sexual. No, his reaction to her hadn’t even been sexual. It was emotional. On a level he couldn’t even explain.

The same woman his brother was having some psychotic caveman episode over.

“Oh no,” he whispered. “Oh hell no.”

“What are you talking about?” Seth demanded.

“Goddamn it, I thought it was bullshit. I thought it was some hokey bullshit that the dads made up to make Mom feel all soft and mushy.”

Seth got into his face, breathing fire he was so pissed off. “What. The. Fuck. Are. You. Talking.

About.”

Michael closed his eyes and let out a helpless laugh. “It’s some fucked-up Colter gene. It has to be.

There’s no other explanation.”

Seth threw up his hands. “I swear to God if you don’t start making some fucking sense, I’m going to knock the shit out of you.”

“Think about it, Seth. How many times have we heard the story over the years. The dads met Mom and they knew immediately and with absolute certainty that she was the one. The one. They said it was instant and so powerful they didn’t have a prayer of fighting. They wanted to love and protect her, wrap her in cotton and lock her away for about a hundred years. Now you tell me. Is that what you’re feeling when you look at Lily? Because I sure as hell am, and it’s worse for me, because I don’t even know the goddamn woman.”


23



Seth looked like someone hit him square between the eyes with a bat. For a moment, Michael thought Seth was going to hit him.

“That’s crazy,” Seth finally said. “She’s a beautiful woman. Of course you’d have a strong reaction to her. You probably haven’t been laid in a year.”

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