Colters' Lady(9)

By: Maya Banks

Michael arched an eyebrow as he made his way over to where his brother stood. “It’s good to see you too.”

Seth put his cup down and then grasped Michael’s arm and pulled him into a hug. “You know I’m glad to see you, dumbass. I just wasn’t expecting you. I just spoke to Mom and Dad last night. Neither said anything about you coming.”

“That’s because I didn’t tell them,” Michael said dryly. “You aren’t the only one who doesn’t report in to Mom and the dads on a regular basis.”

Seth laughed but then grew serious. “What’s up? And don’t tell me nothing. You wouldn’t have dragged in here at this hour without calling if something wasn’t wrong.”

Michael sighed. “You’ll just call me a drama queen.”

“I haven’t called you a drama queen since you were in the fifth grade,” Seth refuted. “Spill.”

“Can I have some coffee or have you changed your poison? By the smell, I’m wondering if that bullet wound didn’t turn you into a pussy.”

A peculiar look crossed Seth’s face, but before Michael could press him, Seth turned back into the kitchen.

“Come on, I’ll make you a cup and then you need to make it quick. I’ve got things to do.”

Michael blinked in surprise. Seth wasn’t usually so abrupt. What the hell was up his ass this morning?

“Sit down and talk while the coffee’s brewing,” Seth said, pointing to the table.

“Anyone ever tell you that your hospitality sucks ass?” Michael grumbled.

Seth shot him a look and Michael held up his hands. “Okay, okay. It’s Callie.”

At the mention of Callie, Seth frowned as he poured the water through the coffee maker.

“Dad said she was back and that something was up.”

“Yeah,” Michael replied. “Something.”

“What’s the deal?”

“I don’t know. I wish I did. It’s why I came. I was hoping you’d go home for a few days. Maybe she’ll talk to you. I’m…I’m worried about her. Everyone’s worried about her.”

Seth blew out his breath and dragged a hand through his hair. When he turned to Michael, concern had darkened his eyes.

“She not talking to anyone? Not even Dillon?”

Michael shook his head. “Nope. She’s more tightlipped than Ryan.”

“I’m telling you, man, Callie has to be his biological daughter. There is no way she can be so much like him and be Ethan or Adam’s daughter.”

Michael laughed. “Ryan likes to think so. He’s pretty damn smug about it. She looks and acts just like him.”

“Scary,” Seth muttered. “So she’s not talking to him either?”

Again Michael shook his head. “She’s not talking to anyone, Seth. It’s driving Mom and the dads crazy. She came home looking like a wounded animal. For several days she holed up at Mom and Dads’

and wouldn’t leave the mountain. Then she came down and asked Dillon for a job. She’s been working behind the bar every night since.”

“And what’s this about a problem the other night?” Seth asked.

“Well, that’s just it. You know Callie doesn’t take shit off anyone but she’s usually so easygoing.

Laughs about everything. The kids were being typical college buttheads. They’d had too much to drink.

From what Lacey said, one of the witnesses swears all the kid did was pop off at Callie. Harmless. She put him through the window.”

Seth whistled. “Sounds like our girl has some unresolved anger.”

“What was your first clue?” Michael asked dryly.

Michael’s gaze was drawn to the kitchen entrance where he was astonished to see a woman standing in the doorway. She was dressed in what looked like a pair of Callie’s old pajamas. Her eyes were wide with…fear? She looked anxious, and she stared at Michael like she was afraid he was going to jump up and pounce.


An eerie sensation niggled his nape and snaked down his spine, spreading like wildfire. What the hell? He couldn’t take his eyes off her. She had the most stunning blue eyes he’d ever seen on a woman.

Her hair fell over her ears and to her chin in soft curls. She looked…enchanting, like some delicate fairy come to life.

And what the fuck was he doing sitting here mooning on about goddamn fairies? Jesus on an eggshell but he was losing his ever-loving mind.

He was starting to think stupid things, like he’d do anything at all to remove the fear from her gaze.

He wanted to protect her.

And she was coming out of his brother’s bedroom. Or at least from that general vicinity.

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