Cameron Forbidden: M/M LBGT Erotica Paranormal Romance Release Day and Giveaway

 

Cameron knew it was a setup before he and his sister Caitlynn got there. It was supposed to be a hit to take Cattie out. Cam being there was just a bonus. Had they been entirely human, the explosion would have killed them both. With them both being critically injured, they were taken to a private clinic owned by Jake and Forrest. To the world they would appear to be dead, at least until Cattie could put together who was out to get them.

Rick wasn’t sure what he was supposed to be doing here. He’d been asked by his buddy and longtime friend, Forrest, to come by his house—he had a gig for him. Rick hadn’t had a gig of any kind for years now and getting a call from Forrest out of the blue, like it had been, couldn’t have come at a better time.

Cam had many abilities. One he felt was somewhat of a curse. He was so in tune to everyone else, like an empath he felt what they felt, so much so that he couldn’t separate his own feelings from theirs. Because of this, he avoided ever having a relationship.

Being an elite shifter, Rick wasn’t confused. As soon as his fingers brushed Cam’s at the kitchen table, he knew they were mates, and he was about the rock Cam’s world.

 

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Jake Winslow’s marriage to the money grubbing shrew is over. Cutting off her funds, and the simple use of the word “no” sends her packing. When he comes home from work and finds his house empty of everything, including food, he feels—liberated.

Jake’s grandmother, Jenna, calls her friend and attorney, Forrest Stout, to handle Jake’s messy divorce. She can’t stand Jake’s soon-to-be ex-wife and is leaving nothing to chance. Only the best for her grandson, and the best is Forrest.

Forrest is a Were Tiger, and he knows “who” he is. He is an oddity in his paranormal world because he is gay. His kind mate for life, and after a recent disastrous attempt to find companionship, he has given up hope of ever finding his life mate.

From the moment Forrest meets Jake for the first time, he knows that Jake is his life mate, and he wants to run in the opposite direction because Jake isn’t gay. To claim and lose a mate would spell disaster for him. How can he ask a straight man—that he wants with every fiber of his being—to conform to his way of life? He can’t….

Ex-lovers, and ex-wives can be a dangerous combination. Especially when neither are right in the head…

 

 

Henry Myers never kept his gender preferences a secret. His mother supported his choices and stood by his side even when his acting career tanked because of it. Now she was gone, and so was his career. Henry was at a loss.

Patrick Garrett, Paddy, was now in a bad place. He had worked at the precinct since he was in his early twenties, and now he could trust no one. Not his captain nor his partner it seemed. He was shot and bleeding, and it seemed the whole precinct was on the take.

Henry had been able to talk to ghosts since a near death experience he had as a child. They had been following him around ever since. Now it seemed Paddy could see them as well. But when Wally, Henry’s ghostly companion referred to Paddy as Henry’s mate. Neither man was sure how to take that news.

Henry couldn’t deny the attraction to the rugged cop, and if the man didn’t put back on his shirt, he wasn’t so sure he’d be able to control himself.

 

Recommended for 18+

Forbidden Series
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Jake sat still and tried to read the paperwork that he’d gotten just this morning about the couple. The man lying on the bed in front of him had been hurt badly, so critically that it had taken the nursing staff and doctors here twelve hours before he had been put back together. His sister hadn’t fared any better, but she was resting comfortably while Cameron wasn’t. He seemed to be jerking uncontrollably and moaning in his pain most of the time.

Caitlynn, Cattie to her friends, was just down the hall in a private room all her own as well. The bullet that had hit her in the back of her head hadn’t been as serious as it could have been. They were still working on that, but the man that had brought them to the private hospital that they were both in said that he thought that Cameron, Cam to his friends, had called out to his sister and that had her ducking. The Hendersons had a great many people looking out for them, and none of them were human. “Where is my sister?” Jake stood up, completely forgetting about the paperwork that he’d been working on as it slid to the floor. “I don’t know you, do I? Where is Cattie, and my mom and dad?” “You’re at a private hospital for now.

Your sister is just down the hall, but I’m afraid she’s not able to come in here to see you as yet. As for your parents, your mother—a wonderful person, by the way—is in the cafeteria having a cup of tea with my mate, and your dad was called away. Something to do with his work.” The man nodded, then grabbed his head and cried out. “Yeah, they said that you might want to take it easy on moving around too much at first.” Jakes watched him struggle with the pain, and the very little that he’d given him in the way of answers to his questions. Jake himself still had plenty of questions, but he could wait.

Cam had been out for several days now, and it had been touch-and-go for both of them since Jake had been called away from his home to help them. Whatever favors had been pulled to keep these two alive had been more than a simple thing, like saving their lives. It had to be so much more than that, he thought, especially since Cam had been critical and Cattie in grave condition when they’d been brought to him. Now they were both on the mend, and it hadn’t been that long ago since their first diagnoses had been given to them. “What did you mean that Cattie isn’t able to come see me? They were supposed to keep her alive.” Jake told the man that the people who had brought her in had done all that they could. “If they’d done what I told them to do, then she’d be up and around and I’d be wherever she is. Where is Howard, anyway?” “The man that brought you to me?” Careful this time, Cam nodded. “He told us when we were notified to come and be with you and your sister that he had to take care of some loose ends. I didn’t think he was the sort of man who shared well, so I didn’t ask. Would you like to go and see your sister? Like I said, she’s doing better, but not as well as everyone hoped she would.”

“Yes. Can I be moved yet?” Jake told him that it was up to him, but he’d take a wheelchair until he was stronger. “All right. You said my mom was close? And with your mate? Is she capable of keeping my mom safe?” “He. And yes, he’s a tiger.” Cam said that he was sorry. “No need to be. It’s something that everyone does. Forrest, my mate, he said that they’re coming up now. And I’m to understand that you have the ability to talk to people, far reaching. I’ve been told to advise you to hold off on that for a while. They need to see who they can trust here.” “All right.”

The wheelchair was brought in and his mom and Forrest came in as well. Once they had Cam in the chair, which was not nearly as easy as it sounded, he was taken down the long hall to his sister’s room. The other couple came out of the room just as they got there. “Cam, these are friends of mine, Henry and Paddy. They’ve been keeping an eye on Cattie for you. Henry is a wolf.” Cam was rolled right up to the bed when they entered the room. No one said anything to him, but Jake had a feeling that the man was giving a bit of himself to his sister. Howard, the man that had brought them here, had said that Cam was very strong, and stubborn too. Just let him do what he felt that he needed. Jake looked at Forrest when he came to stand by him. He asked if he’d heard anything more. “Nothing as yet. I have been reading over the reports on the grocery store.” Cam turned to him and asked him what he’d heard.

“Just bits and pieces. And your friend Howard, he’s been giving us what he can. I’m not sure, but I think that he wanted to get permission from you before he told us too much.” “More than likely. What did he tell you about me?” Jake told him that there really hadn’t been much. He was an FBI agent, his sister was a cop. “Nothing about what I am? What I can do?” “No. Just enough to tell you not to reach out to people if you can help it. And that you are very powerful.” Jake watched him carefully. He didn’t want him to weaken himself more by being out of bed. But Howard had told them that if they took him right away to see her, he might rest easier. “What are you, if I can ask?” “I’m nothing that you’ve encountered before. I’m a little of everything. And some of that is pretty nasty shit. About twenty or so years ago, I was hit by a car. Completely my fault. The closest hospital was a clinic for shifters.

They sort of pumped me up with everything they had in their arsenal to save my life.” He didn’t say any more, just kept looking at his sister. “I’ve been on medical leave from the bureau for some time now. They’re trying to convince me to come back, but I just don’t have it in me anymore. It’s overwhelming, being what I am.” “My son is a good boy.” Cam smiled at his mom when she spoke. “Both my children are good people. And this thing that brought them here, I’m only just hearing about it. What would you like to know? I can tell you what I’ve heard from your father, but after that, he’ll have to tell you. The store that you were in, it was a set up. Not for you—you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. But they wanted Cattie gone.”

“I figured as much.” Jake looked at Cam when he asked him why he’d thought that. “I’ve been reading over reports of the incident. Most of what I have, its things that not even your police have. A lot of it is from friends I have that can move in and out of places that no one else can. Or so I think. Anyway, Quincey, a vampire, has been looking around as well. He said that your sister, Cattie, knows him.” As soon as he said her name, she looked at him. She had the most beautiful eyes, the color of very old emeralds. Jake could see her pain—she wore it as if it were a second skin, one that she’d gladly strip out of. When she looked at Cam, he could see the resemblance and the love they had for each other. Trust too. Then something occurred to him. “You’re twins.” Cam nodded, and Cattie did as well. “You have a bond, too, that others in your situation don’t have, don’t you? This arsenal you talked about, some of it is in her as well.” “Yes. You’re very good. But yes, when I was on the bike, a regular bicycle, she was with me when I was hit. I went up and over the car that hit me and landed on my head. Cattie wasn’t hurt, but she didn’t leave my side. And because of the bond that we had before, she shared some, but not all of what I got.” Cam pushed his chair around so that he could face them.

Jake could see that he was mending quickly now, and so was Cattie. “By the time my parents were notified, I had been hurt for several hours. When they got to my side, the damage was already done. As in they had already changed me because of how close I was to dying. I’ve been laying low since I turned twenty-five. That was when the shit really kicked in.” “Cameron.” He apologized to his mom. “You should want to make a good first impression. There is no telling what might have happened to you had these people not stepped in to hide you. But as I was saying, from what we’ve been able to piece together, they were there to take out Cattie. For what, we just don’t know at the moment. But when Cam walked into the store, something that he hasn’t done in a while, they decided to take them both out—as far as we can understand, anyway. The robbery was just a ruse to get your sister to the scene.”

“I was specially called to hit the store. I was just going off duty when the call came in and my boss told me to go with them. That he’d cover the overtime.” Cattie looked at Jake, and he knew that she understood what he’d done. Jake had already seen and talked to the captain of the station through Henry, and his ability to talk to the dead. Shaking her head, she asked him to confirm what he was sure she already knew. “He’s dead, isn’t he?” “Yes. Quincey. He said that you’d understand.” Cattie nodded. She might understand, but he didn’t. “May I ask why they wanted either or both of you dead? I mean, I’ve been reading over some of the paperwork that was taken from the captain’s desk, and he seemed to think you were an all right person. He did have pressure from the higher ups, but that didn’t call for killing either of you. I can only assume, and I have a feeling that I’m right, they didn’t care for the number of cases that you close. With the help of Cam, I’m betting.”
“Yes, that’s right. But that was what you were supposed to find.” Quincey came in and kissed Cattie on the forehead and shook the hand of Cam. They were both getting better—the cuts on her face were nearly gone, and Cam was standing up now. Quincey handed him another thick file as he continued. “That is curtesy of his home. There is a room that no one found when they were searching his place after he was killed.

And to the public, so that you know, he committed suicide. But he’s been dirty since before he got out of the police academy. And more than likely before then.” “Why?” Everyone turned to Paddy when he asked the question. “I know a great deal about how a house is run and have even been in on a dirty one or two in my career. But this one, it seemed to be on the up and up without anyone on the take. And believe me when I tell you, I looked hard to find it. There just didn’t seem to be anything there.” “For the most part, most of the cops were on the up and up, as you called it. There were only a few, the captain for one, that were dirty. His dirt was going to take down the entire place, sadly. And we think, just from what we’ve found out recently, that he needed Cattie dead to get her out of the way of something coming soon. Or at least that’s what I’ve surmised so far.” Cattie got out of the bed and started stretching and moving round the room while Quincey continued. “But as to why they wanted her dead, I’ve not been able to find out much more than that she was the target in all this. Sadly, a lot of people lost their lives when the building blew. But their families are being well compensated.”

“So, let me get this straight, because this is just too much at once for me.” Jake smiled at Forrest when he winked at him. “So, this super cop, Cattie, is a target for some reason. These people, I’m assuming the ones that wanted her dead, are robbing a store to bring her on the scene. I’m assuming that they were going to kill her off, and make it look like she was shot in the line of duty. Then her brother shows up, another super person, and it all goes to shit. But, as far as the public is aware, both of them are dead as well. Correct so far?” “Yes, but you’re missing one important element. No one—no one on her force or the people that I worked with—is aware that I’m anything more than a man who had to take some time off to heal from a job gone south.” Jake could see the pain on Cam’s face. “I shot and killed a kid. Not that it was an accident—it was him or me, quite literally. When he pointed the gun at me and fired, I returned fire, and he was dead, and I was shot too. I’ve been healing since then. It’s been about eight months now. I have no intentions of going back.”

It was so final that no one said anything. Jake could understand it better than most, not wanting to go back to the same thing day after day. Going into partnership, both business and personally, with Forrest had given him a much better outlook on his whole life. And he loved Forrest for it. ~*~ Cam walked the halls of the place they were staying. He’d come to figure out that it wasn’t a hospital, at least not now it wasn’t. The place had been closed down years ago, but still operated quietly when it was needed. He’d have to ask Howard if they needed
any funding to keep it afloat. He knew that without this place, he and his sister would be dead. There were no other patients in the place but him and Cattie. The staff that was there—very few now—was all in some way involved with keeping the public in the dark about what sort of place it was. Quincey, he knew, now owned not only the building, but also about five hundred acres that surrounded it. Cam came to the conclusion that not only was it not known to the people that were nearby, but they didn’t know that there was even a building within the electrified fencing.

“I’ve been thinking.” He smiled at his sister when she came out of the room she’d been in. “Don’t say it. I’m really confused about what is going on with my job. I mean, who would want to go to this much trouble to see me dead?” “You mean besides me?” She punched him in the arm. “I’ve been thinking on that too. You said that your boss, Captain James, told you to go on this mission, even though you were supposed to be getting off. I wish I could have a long conversation with the bastard to see just how much money he made off of this. And see if hell takes that kind of currency.” “I think we can get that. But you’re right. It seemed strange to me, even when the call came in. I mean, we’re not cops, not the kind that goes out on this sort of thing. We’re the ones that go after the scum of the earth. Drug dealers, as well as prostitution and counterfeit shit.” She looked around to see if their mom was close. Even though they were both in their early thirties, they were terrified of their mom—with good reason. She was their mom, but she had a mean streak in her when they didn’t live up to her expectations. “Why did he think that I wouldn’t have questioned him about it?” “Did you?” She said that she had tried, but he was practically shoving her out the door. “I’ve been thinking on why I was there too. You know as well I do that I don’t go out unless it’s dire. I mean, being out of lettuce? I haven’t any idea why it was so urgent that I go out then. I was thinking that your nervousness of this, it called out to me in some way, and that’s how I ended up there. Even though you didn’t contact me, I still felt the need to be with you. I wasn’t even surprised that I’d walked into something. Understand?”

“Yes. And so you know, I did think about you while I was waiting on things to be set inside. I was worried about what you’d think of me being there.” He nodded and took the turn at the next left. He needed to regain his strength, and this was helping him. “So, this thing that we can do—I guess we can add being able to contact each other without contacting each other.” “I’ll put that on our to do list.” He moved down the hall, her beside him every step of the way. “Cattie, what do you think of the people that are here? The couples. Why them? I mean, it’s not like they’re anyone we’ve dealt with before. I’ve been wondering why Quincey, or even Howard for that matter, had them come to help us.” “Have you talked to Howard yet?” He said that he’d not. “Me either. I did remember seeing him there, when we were taken away. But not much before or after that. Quincey, he’s been telling me for a while now that I need to beef up my own security. I guess he was right.”
“Yes, I’d say that he was. By the way, you had a lovely funeral.

Did you see it on the television?” Cattie said that she’d purposely missed it. “The mayor had so many good things to say about you. He sort of glossed over me being killed too. I think that the bureau had asked him to do that. I’ve not tried reaching out to him yet. Have you contacted anyone?” “No. I’m trying to lay low.” They were picking up speed as they came down the next hallway, almost at a jog. “Cam, I have to say, I’m a little worried about Mom and Dad—especially Dad. Did you hear that he got called away last night? Why? The man has been retired for years. Why are they calling him out on jobs after all this time? I have a feeling that it’s not work, and he’s in trouble again.” He knew, but he didn’t want to tell Cattie just yet. Cam, too, had been laying low, but he was much better at searching minds than she was, so he had been picking brains for the last several hours. Cam turned the next corner and came to a sudden stop. There stood Howard. Cam hadn’t seen the man in weeks before he’d called to him to come for Cattie. He looked worried, overworked, and closer to his age.

The man was ancient, but you’d never know it to see him. The magic of being a vampire had kept him looking much younger than he really was. “I’ve some news for you both, but I’d rather wait until the troops are here to listen in too. Jake and Forrest, they’ve been taking good care of the two of you?” They both said that they had and asked when they were going to get out of there. “Not for a while yet. I like you both being presumed dead. I think in the long run it will keep you alive longer. What did the doc say about your noodle, Cam? Anything come up?” “Nope, just as brainy as ever.” He had hit his head in the bike accident, and it had been why the people at the clinic had poured all they had into him. His brain—unlike most people, Cam used every part of it. That was the magic that he’d gotten when he’d been hit by the car. “I do have a couple of questions for you concerning the others here. Not anything bad, but I would like to know why them. Why now?” “I can answer that one for you. You remember Jenna Winslow?” They both said that they did. “She was the long-lost daughter of Quincey. And Jake, he’s the grandchild of Jenna, and great-grandson of Quincey. The child that they’re raising is half-sister to Jake. The line of familiarity is why he trusts them more than he does even me. And we go back further than anyone I know. Forrest was her attorney and is the mate to Jake. The other two are good friends to them both. That’s the connection to all four of them.” “So, Quincey has them come here, taking care of us and making sure that—what? We’re not killed. Doesn’t that put them in harm’s way? I’d hate to see them hurt because of this crap.” He agreed with his sister, but Howard had more.

“They’re immortal? Because of their connection to Quincey? I guess that makes sense.” “Quincey told me that up until a few weeks ago, he’d been protecting his grandson, Jake. He kept him in the dark, and those around him, about the fact that he’s more vampire than human with some of his magic. As soon as Quincey removed the protection, right after Jenna was killed, he talked to him about it and then took the protection away. Jake has become good with the magic—a great deal of it, I guess—that
he inherited from Quincey, but he’s still getting used to it. Jake and Forrest both took it fairly well. And the baby sister, she’s not all human either.” Cam said that was a lot for anyone to take in. “You don’t know the half of it, I’m afraid. Jenna, if you recall, had been murdered by her son, father to Jake. Jacob has been sentenced to five life terms for his part in not just his mother’s death, but a few other things that had been unearthed by his son. It’s a long and terrible story, but you can see where the connection is now.” “Sounds too messy not to be true.

” Howard nodded at him. “All right. That explains that. But how much longer are we going to have to be hidden away? While I like it here because there aren’t a lot of people, I’m going just a little stir crazy. I know that Cattie is as well.” “We need to keep you dead, as I said, for just a little longer. But you’ll be happy to know that as of yesterday, there is a track that Quincey had put in for the two of you to run on. And there is equipment that you can use to get some of your strength back in the lower levels.” Cam thanked Howard. “Don’t thank me, it was Jake. He said that he knew that you two were getting antsy.” By the time Jake and Forrest got there, he and his sister had ordered their lunch. The kitchen here was five-star, Howard told them, and to order whatever they wanted. The magic again, he was told, would get them just about anything they wanted. Cam took them up on that offer and ordered a thick steak and all the trimmings. Cattie did the same, but she ordered pie too. His sister loved pie. He thought that she might like it better than she did him at times.

They were sitting at one of the large tables in the dining room when Howard came in to have a talk with them all. He had news, none of it good, but it was things that they had to hear. His dad showed up about an hour after the meeting started, and he looked broken. Instead of asking him what had happened, he touched his mind to see what else their father was hiding from them. His dad had been in trouble before—a great deal of it. While he loved the man very much, he didn’t really trust him, and hadn’t for a long time. It was just after Cam’s last day of work, all those months ago, that he’d begun to see his father in a different light.

And had it not been for Cam’s intervention, they would have lost their family home, Mom would have been out on the streets, and Dad would have been in prison. When Dad looked at him, Cam let him. He didn’t hide the fact that he didn’t want his father around him. He knew that he should have talked to Cattie about him, let her know what he was up to now. But he’d been putting it off for some time now. Cam supposed that he hoped that his father would change. He had, but not in a good way. Orval Henderson was in way over his head, and it was going to get him killed if he didn’t get his shit together. And Cam knew that it was going to be next to impossible for him to pay off the debts that he’d racked up, gambling on everything this time— including his children’s lives. His dad figured that Cam had gotten him out of it once, and that he’d continue to do so. But he wouldn’t. Not again.

 

Willow The James Children Chapter Four 2/2/16

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~Chapter 4~
Willow avoided him completely on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday, she had to take the morning off to have the stitches removed and didn’t get to work until after eleven. By the time she’d caught up on her mail and fielding calls from vendors, she was nearly five hours behind. At six o’clock, the last truck left the lot and she was on the first floor covering seams with mud on the newly hung drywall. She’d thought about Robert all week and wondered for the hundredth time what he’d been about to do. Kiss her? She certainly would have let him at that moment and gotten angry with herself all over. No matter how appealing it was, kissing her employees was out of the question. If it ever was a possibility. She snorted to herself and turned the volume up on her book. It was nearly eleven when she got to her house. Exhausted and dirty, she stripped down to her boxer briefs and bra in the kitchen and tossed the whole load in the washer. One more day, she thought. Then she’d have two days off in a row. Then she remembered her dinner date with her parents. “Fuck, fuck fuck.” Standing in the kitchen listening to the washer fill, Willow wondered if she could get out of it. She was running ideas through her head when her phone rang. It was one of her parents, as they were the only ones with this number. “Hello, parental unit. How’s it hanging?” She smiled when her father sputtered on the other end. “You ever check your messages, young lady? Your mother has been frantic.” Willow smiled bigger. Her mother didn’t get frantic, her dad did. “I’ve been having a torrid affair with the milk man and he keeps strange hours. He had to keep me a secret from his wife and eight kids.” Willow burst out laughing at her dad’s “smart ass,” but he went on without any more comments about her mom. “This dinner thing tomorrow night, I’ll expect you here on time and without a stitch of flannel on. Ghastly attire you’ve gotten into the habit of wearing.” There went her hopes of getting out of it. “I had a dress made of just that material too. Now what will I wear? Maybe if you’re really nice to me and tell me the name of the man mom and you have set me up with this time, I’ll know what to wear.” She had a number of clothes that would deter even the quickest hands. Her dad snorted, a nice habit she’d taught him to do. “Your mother has two set up. Well, one from each of us. Miscommunication or some other stupid reason. I distinctly remember her telling me to invite young Nathan, but now she swears that she didn’t. That ugly boy Taylor is coming too.” Willow laughed. “He’s not ugly, Dad. He’s unique.” Boy was he ever. “Willow, the man has the biggest ears I’ve ever seen. Why, in a good storm, a wind would pick him up and he’d be on the space station in a matter of minutes. And that laughter…sounds like a bull horn going off.” Willow did agree about the laughter, but could only laugh more. She loved her parents very much and was a daddy’s girl too. She and her mom had been best friends since she’d discovered, at age ten, that her mother hid a wicked sense of humor and a sharp wit. They had never had the usual problems most families had. Willow even enjoyed the company of her older brother Alexander.
“So,” she stretched out the word. “I suppose you’d probably prefer it if I didn’t marry Taylor. And since Nathan won’t have me, then I guess I’m safe for the night.” Willow waited for the explosion and wasn’t disappointed. “What do you mean he ‘won’t have you?’ Why that man would be damned lucky if you gave him the time of day. Won’t have you—why, men would be lining up if you’d pay them the slightest attention. Why won’t he have you? I’ll tear him apart for saying such a thing.” “Because, my dearest defender, I don’t have the equipment he prefers in a sexual partner. And I’m pretty sure he has one. A partner, I mean.” The silence at the other end was profound. She opened the icebox and waited while she tried to remember the last time Marta, her housekeeper, friend, and cook, had bought groceries. Marta Priest was due back tomorrow, thank goodness. Willow had missed her while she’d been on vacation. But putting up with Willow, she figured the woman needed a break. The house seemed incredibly empty and not just of food, but also Marta’s sage advice and her smart-assed answers. Marta was the daughter of Willow’s parents’ cook, Shasta. Her dad, she knew, was sorting thought the information no doubt trying to figure out a way to still marry her off. She knew he wouldn’t care about Nathan being gay. That had nothing to do with either their friendship, or hers to him for that matter. But he would try to salvage something out of this. “Willow, honey, where do you get—never mind. I’m sure as your father I just don’t want to know.” The heavy sigh made her smile. “All right then, we’ll just be a bunch of friends and family getting together. Your brother is going to try and make it in, but he said he couldn’t guarantee anything at this point. And you stay away from that Taylor boy. I won’t have you getting with child by him. Birthing one of his children with those ears could kill you.” Willow hung up a little while later after her dad went on then about her brother and how her mother despaired of the day he’d have a baby. She didn’t even tell him that Alex having a child would be harder than her birthing Taylor’s kid, but let it go. She was too tired to even open a can of soup, had there been one in the house to do so. She was trudging up the stairs to her bedroom when she decided she’d go to the store Saturday on her way home if Marta didn’t. Pulling a small pad of paper and a pen to her as she laid down, she made a note of things to get. She hated shopping for food almost as much as she hated to do laundry. Which was why, she thought with a huge yawn, she had about seventy pairs of underwear and that many t-shirts too. She fell asleep with the pen still in her hand along with the pad of sticky notes. When she woke the next morning at four, she was covered in sticky notes and ink blotches. As she stripped off her sheets, she made herself a mental note to buy pencils and then discarded that idea almost immediately. It would be just her luck she’d end up with lead poisoning if she slept with a pencil. After taking a long shower, she made her way to the closet. Willow had purchased the house at an estate auction. Her parents had helped her get the loan. Even with all her money and a job, the bank didn’t want to loan money to a then seventeenyear-old kid. But she had paid the loan back on time and had also been able to get a second loan on her own since then. The house for the most part had been in great shape. The lawns were the worst she’d ever seen, but she’d enjoyed bringing them back to life. All the bushes had to be pulled up and instead of replacing them as the local nursery had suggested, Willow planted bulbs and perennials and flowering fruit trees. She had made the cover of Architectural Digest last fall for her grounds alone.
The yard in the back had been useless so Willow had had a large in-ground pool put in along with a pool house and a little cottage for Marta to live in. Willow spent a great deal of time in the back yard in the warmer months and even the cooler ones since she’d had the pool heated. Willow simply loved the outdoors. The third floor of the house was finished, as it was where her room was. The original house had had four bedrooms on the third floor and six on the second with a single bathroom per floor. Now after three years, there was a master suite complete with fireplace, sitting area, and an office. Both bedrooms had massive bathrooms as well. The master bath had a large shower stall, as well as a sunken tub. She loved its jets and when she was able to use it, lit candles to set all around the glass block shelves that formed the outside wall. The toilet and sink were separated from the tub by another wall of glass blocks. She’d had to order the porcelain in the room, as it was a dark cobalt blue, so that the sink, toilet, counter top, and tub all were dark against the blue and white tile of the floor. The shower stall was surrounded in the glass and some had been filled with a blue gas that seemingly moved inside. As one stepped back toward the bedroom, there was a closet complete with dresser that sat back to back to each other. They split the room in half and divided the closet perfectly. She hadn’t wanted to put in two dressers, but her mother pointed out that if she ever sold the house to buy something bigger or something to play with, she would have a better chance of selling it for a couple. Willow loved her bedroom with its twelve foot ceilings and top to bottom windows. The two outside walls both had two each. Since there was no need for a closet in this room, Willow built the headboard into the wall and made sure it had all the comforts she wanted, including the size of the custom mattress at one and a half the size of a regular king. The small end tables pulled out and there was a gun safe behind one and a fire proof safe behind the other. She had them both filled with her things. Most nights when she came home from work, it was all she could do to put the gun back in the safe because she never left the site until well after dark. There was a gas fireplace in the wall directly across from the bed and a sofa and two wing backed chairs as well. There was also a work area, though Willow never used it, but it had been a suggestion from her dad and since she let her mom talk her into the double dressers, she went with the workstation to appease the man. He had blustered for days about it. The other bedroom, only marginally smaller than the one she slept in, had the same type of headboard, but there was no bed. She used that room strictly for storage and nothing more. After she was dressed, Willow went to her office. The second floor had taken her the most time. It had been her plan to reduce the number of bedrooms down to two as well, but had taken out two of the rooms and added baths that each set of bedrooms shared. She’d taken out the smallish closets and replaced them with large walk-ins that were well-lit and spacious. The bedrooms were finished for the most part. Carpet had been taken up and the floor sanded and finished. But the woodwork, wide ceiling molding, and overhead fans needed to be hung, and the furniture, all antiques, had to be put back in place. Most of it was in storage in the garage. The first floor had a grand entrance with wide double doors and stained glass windows down either side of it. The parquet floors replaced the worn tile and Willow had talked her parents into the beautiful chandelier she’d wanted for the ceiling last Christmas. There was a huge living room that was devoid of anything—not even pictures on the wall. She didn’t spend any time in there so was in no rush to furnish it.
The dining room was big enough to hold the cherry and walnut table she’d bought with its fourteen chairs and the massive hutch that held some of her collection of snowmen. She didn’t use this room much either. There was her office, which had been the first room finished, and she thought it reflected her tastes perfectly. A hodgepodge, her mother had called it, but Willow loved it. This room was as big if not bigger than some living rooms, though smaller than the two bedrooms in the house. The computer desk had been custom built by her and stained and polished by her dad. The desk was a rich cherry and shone brightly in the sunny room. The wall over the desk and down both sides held shelves and a filing cabinet each. The shelves were overflowing with books of all kinds, styles, and genres. Willow was an eclectic reader and her books reflected that. Alongside signed first editions were dog-eared paperbacks as well as comic books and magazines. She simply loved the written word. The kitchen was mostly complete and would be as soon as Marta told her what else it needed. Willow didn’t cook, hated the task so much so that she would gladly live off pizza and take out before she’d ever try her hand at it. She and her dogs spent most of their time when she was home in the family room off from the kitchen. By just after seven, she was just finishing up with her last email when someone knocked at her door. Not expecting anyone or anything, she went to the door and opened it, ready to blast anyone who dared bother her on a Friday morning. With a squeal of delight, she launched herself into her brother’s chest. ~o0o~ Jared wandered through the house the realtor was showing him. This one, like the other four he’d been through, wasn’t what he wanted. He wasn’t sure what that was, but this wasn’t it. He came down the stairs no longer listening to the man…something Jones was clattering on about the houses charms. Jared had a mental list. Number one on the list was a large kitchen—a large, working kitchen. One he could move around in, entertain if he wanted, and to make love on the counter if Willow was in the mood. The realtor, William, Jared suddenly remembered, bumped into him when he suddenly stopped. Willow in the mood? Where the hell had that come from? “You all right, Mr. Stone?” Was he? No and hell no he wasn’t all right. He tried to shake off the uncomfortable shaft of desire that had him burning with a sudden need for the prickly woman. He’d had the most incredible vision of her wrapped around him as he pounded into her heat on the top of dark green counters. Jared turned and looked at the man. “This is nothing like what I gave you to find for me and we both know it. If you take me to one more overpriced house you are trying to get rid of then I will find another realtor. Go over the list again and contact me when you have some that I will consider. I have neither the time nor the patience for this. Understand?” This was not how Jared wanted to spend his Friday night. “Yes, sir. I’m sorry, sir. But the market has been—” Jared cut him off with a raised brow. “Of course,” William went on. “I’ll set you up for more of what you had in mind next week.” “This weekend if possible.” Jared walked out the front door and got into his car. He’d had enough. Monday morning he was going to confront the woman and tell her she was fired and to fire that Talbor. It was the surest way of getting her out of his system. And his dreams. That made
him think of the dream he’d had of her last night, the one where he’d done all sorts of decadent things to the lovely Miss James. Slamming his hand against the steering wheel, he growled in frustration. And when he got home, he was calling every woman on his phone and exorcising Willow from his mind. He was frustrated, that was all. He needed to get laid. Somehow, as he pulled into his driveway, he knew that wasn’t it at all.

 

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Willow The James Children Chapter Three Grab this for FREE !!!!!!!!!!1/10/16

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~Chapter 3~
Jared was ready to begin work by Monday. Actually, he’d decided to head out when he returned to Ohio on Sunday afternoon. He was surprised when he got there that there was a truck in the parking lot. He could see someone in the site trailer, but didn’t know who so he parked on the street and walked around the yard and building shell. The walls were in, but only some of the interior wiring was finished on the third floor office building. Jared knew from the weekly reports that the electricians were due to bring in extra crew to finish the job by the end of the week. Bricking off the outside of the façade was nearly done with just one more wall nearly to completion. Going in through one of the boarded up doors, he stepped into a large, open area. The building was slated for a single company and the drywall was being put up to make the individual rooms on the lower floors. Most of the first floor wasn’t finished so he walked to the stairs to go to the top floors and make his way down. He smiled when he got to the second level. Stone prided itself on the way they finished a building. The crews would finish the top floors first then work down and out. He noticed that the upper floor, the topmost level, was just awaiting mud work on the seams of the hung drywall. In the four rooms up here, two of them had been painted and of those, one had the ceiling completed. Jared was touring the second floor when he was stopped by a deep, hard voice. “You got a reason to be hanging around a closed construction site? ‘Cause if not, then I suggest you get the fuck outta here.” Jared turned around slowly. He didn’t know the man behind him and didn’t know what the man might have pointed at him, like another bat or a gun. Jared was surprised to see two people standing there. One was the man from the bar; Conley, if he remembered correctly. The other was Willow. His first thought was that she looked exhausted, then he noticed her face. Christ, she was bruised. He caught himself before he went to her. Then he really took a better look. She was taller than he remembered at about five-foot, ten inches. She was also very beautiful. Even with her bruised eye and lip, she still looked like every man’s dream, both sexy and innocent at the same time. Her eyes were clear, a shade of blue so light that he knew they were as unique as the woman was. A small patrician nose and high cheekbones gave the impression of a model, but for some reason, Jared knew she’d scoff at the notion. Willow’s hair was pulled back again; its rich, dark color looked blue-black under the harshness of the bulbs hanging from unfinished fixtures. Today she had on just a t-shirt and jeans; the flannel, he realized now, had hidden a great deal of the woman. Full breasts strained the shirt and her muscled arms looked like she was a working foreman rather than an office one. Her jeans hung low on her full hips and curved over her thighs like a second skin. Tears at the knees and one at the thigh were not from some manufacturer’s idea of what worn jeans looked like, but from actual work. Jared found himself wanting to ask her to turn around so that he could see if her ass looked as good as he remembered. Conley clearing his throat had Jared look back at him. He knew in that moment that the other man knew just where Jared’s thought had been. “I start working here tomorrow. I’m Jared Robert.” He reached for his wallet, suddenly glad he’d had new identities made with his partial name on them. “Miss Kensal set it up. I was just seeing where I’d be working.”
Conley took his driver’s license and with a quick glance, handed it to Willow. She looked, but made no comment as she handed it back to Jared. “I’m Will James, the foreman here. This is my second in command, Thomas Conley.” She cocked her head at him. “You were at the bar last weekend…Monday, in the back room when…” She looked up at Conley. “Yeah. I’d just come home from another job. I’m here to fill in work until the job is complete. You should have been notified sometime last week that I was coming.” At least he hoped so. “Yeah, got it Friday. Work begins here at eight on Monday, Robert, not Sunday afternoon. You’re lucky no one shot you. Conley, show Robert the lay of the land then both of you get the hell off my job site. I got shit to do and I don’t need a babysitter.” Willow looked pointedly at Conley and he smiled back at her. “Okay, boss. But you’ll call if you…you know.” She nodded at Conley and left them standing there. Jared and Conley stood watching each other until they heard the board move back over the opening again. It was quiet for a full minute before Conley spoke. “She ain’t gonna like that you lied to her. She’s real big on honesty.” Jared didn’t say anything, but was shocked. “You and I met about five years ago at a company function. You here to fire her or to congratulate her?” A man that got to the heart of things. Jared liked him instantly. “Neither, for now. I’m here to work, like I said, and to see what’s going on. We’ve gotten a few…quite a few complaints about her.” Jared studied the man standing before him. “Are you going to tell her?” Conley looked down the stairs before answering. “Nope. Not my place. But I won’t help you either. Don’t come to me about information on her. I won’t help you either way. But know this, if she asks me, I will tell her.” Conley looked down the stairs again. “If you want my opinion, I think sending in a spy for your old man is about as low as it comes. I’m sure you know your way around your own site, Robert.” And with that, he left. The same dirty truck was in the lot the next morning. There were any number of others there, a car and two motorcycles as well. Jared wasn’t sure which vehicle was Willow’s or Conley’s, but he parked next to a truck that made him wonder if the driver lived it in. There were enough fast food wrappers and cola cans that he was sure they could fill a large land fill. With a shake of his head, he went to the trailer where several men and Willow were standing. It was just past seven-thirty. “…Sherman on floor two. I want those walls primed for Wednesday A.M. when the painters get here. Viktor and Jacobs, you’re to get the ceilings done on the top floor. There are…” Willow looked down at the clip board in her hand before she continued. “Seven on the second and the entire entrance this week. If you have time, I want you to begin the second floor as well. There are some more lights that go in there that the owner had decided to add. This is Robert, Jared Robert, and he’ll be with Thomason and Ruby on the set of the stone in the main entrance and office of the president. The rest of you get the drywall hung. Anything else?” “You didn’t assign me nothing, boss.” The voice was heavy with scorn and he had sneered her title like it was a dirty word. Jared turned to see the man behind him. He knew who he was, Talbor. The man had both his eyes still blackened, but probably not as bad as it had been. Jared wanted to laugh at the squat man, but didn’t want to get off on the wrong foot this early in the job.
“Have you finished the clean up?” Willow didn’t look at her list for him. “I told you on Tuesday and then Wednesday that was your job until it was complete. I was told I had to work you. Doesn’t mean I have to find you something constructive you can fuck up. Now you—” “I ain’t no fucking maid service. You put me to work inside, out of the sun, or I’ll tell my daddy that you ain’t complying to the arrangement.” Jared, as did everyone else, turned back to the man. “You ain’t fucking gonna get away with this soon as Stone finds out what I have to tell him.” Willow laughed at the man’s threat. “You ever get tired of that same litany every time you don’t get your way, Talbor? Your daddy bailing your ass out all the time? Clean up or I’ll cite you for failure to do your job.” She walked away even as he kept the insults up. The men didn’t say anything either, but simply went to their assigned jobs. Jared wasn’t sure if she had told them not to speak or they just didn’t care. At this point, he wasn’t sure what to think either. He followed the two men who went into the building to the main hall. Laying stone was usually left for a mason on a building site. Jared had been taught how to lay the stone when he’d still been in high school and knew that it was on his application that Willow had received from Sarah. He was really good at it too. He knew from the file on the men working here that both the men he was working with were masons and they wasted no time getting set up and to work. The sub flooring had already been sectioned off into four even squares with a snap chalk line. It started at the middle of each of the four walls and met in the center of the room to form a large X. It would be the starting point for them to work with. Ruby set Jared to work spreading the mortar after he asked Jared if he’d ever done it before. Jared had the thin-set mortar spread over about a four foot square area. The mortar needed to be in a combed pattern so they could follow the lines in the floor to keep the lines straight. As the men began laying the design of colored stone tile, putting spacers between each one to keep an even grout line, they began to talk. “You gonna be replacing one of us or you just here to fill in? Got my hopes on the first part so long as it ain’t me, you understand.” Ruby sounded like he hailed from the Deep South. There was a soft cadence about his voice that was soothing and funny at the same time. Jared knew he was from Atlanta and that Thomason, the other man, was from California. “Nah. Just helping out. I’ve been out of town for a while and this gig came up so I jumped on it.” his cover story was as close to the truth as he could give without giving away who he was. “I was missing home so I thought what the hell.” The men worked in silence for the most part after that. Twice he heard Willow’s voice and once he’d caught a glimpse of her as she strode by the room, but she never stopped to speak to them. He was impressed that she didn’t micromanage her people, but for a reason he didn’t want to think about, was aggravated that she didn’t. They were breaking for lunch when he saw her again. She was directing a delivery truck to one of the many site storage units. It was a tractor trailer loaded with drywall and buckets of what he assumed was plaster. He watched her as she walked over to a forklift and strapped in when the truck was parked. As she began to unload the heavy pallets, Jared felt someone come up behind him and wasn’t surprised that it was Shawn Talbor.
“She’s a fucking bitch, you know. Thinks her shit don’t stink. I fucking hate her.” his voice was low but full of hatred. Without turning around, Jared asked him, “Then why do you work here? Seems to me there are plenty of other construction companies around you could sign on with. Most or all of them would welcome someone from Stone Construction.” Which wasn’t true. Word was that Stone was difficult to get hired on to, but if you left on your own, you were either stupid or retiring. Jared knew that they paid top dollar and treated their employees with respect. The answering laugh sent a chill down Jared’s spine. “’Cause it would make her day. I’ll stick around. ‘Sides, Daddy said if I play my cards right, I’ll have her job before much longer. But she’s been fucking that old man Stone for years and got herself buried in like a tick. Only reason she got this far is ‘cause she gives good head.” Jared didn’t turn now because had he done so, he would have killed the man. His parents were the most faithful people he knew and his father had never had an affair. He knew this because his mother told him that as long as he was alive, then she knew this for a fact. She claimed, and Jared didn’t doubt her, that no one would ever find his body if he even thought about having one. “Course you can ask any man here about that too. ‘Specially Conley. Them two been going at it for months. Heard tell she prefers married men to the single ones. Why I don’t stand a chance with her, not that I’d touch some man’s seconds.” With that and his maniacal laughter, he left Jared to go to the lunch wagon. Jared ate with the other men. Willow emptied the flatbed while they did. Most watched her; a couple of them wandered over then came back. Jared wondered if they set up duties or offered to help. He wasn’t sure why what Talbor said bothered him so much. It wasn’t as if he was dating her or anything. After lunch, he went to the upper floors before going back to work on the tile. The second floor had been less than a quarter finished with hanging the drywall last night. Today all but one wall was hung and it was being done now. Willow was setting a screw to the last one as he stood watching her. ~o0o~ Willow had a set of headphones on and was listening to a book. She didn’t particularly care for music, but needed something to drown out the constant hammering and other things going on. It really was too bad the book wasn’t working. When she got the last sheet into place and the last screw set, she turned to get her pail and trowel. She was startled to see the new guy there. She pulled off the headphones. “Something I can help you with, Robert?” She looked around and found they, for the most part, were coming along. “You just looking around again?” He’d been leaning against the doorjamb, but straightened now. There was something about the man that made her nervous. It wasn’t his height, though that was impressive at about sixfoot-six. It was something…manly, she thought, that made her feel weird. He looked like one of those guys on the cover of one of the books, Shasta, her mother’s cook, read. She called them bodice rippers and the men looked like they could take on the world. “No,” he said as he moved closer. “I was just wondering what you’re doing. Didn’t see you at lunch and thought maybe you had a picnic or something up here.” Willow wanted desperately to back away, but stood her ground. “No, just me. I don’t usually stop for…shouldn’t you be on the tile job?” Anywhere but here, she thought.
He reached up and plucked at her hair and showed her the plaster he’d removed. “We’re waiting on the stone to be delivered. Supposed to be on the way.” Willow nodded as she watched his fingers roll the plaster between them. His fingers were incredibly long and so slender. She couldn’t help but think about them touching her. And her skin heated. This man worked for her. She looked up at his face when his fingers stopped moving. It was a beautiful face, strong jaw line, straight, narrow nose. The stubble on his face was dark and begged to be touched to see if it was soft or hard. His eyes were a dark brown, like hot cocoa made with melted dark chocolate rather than with cocoa. His hair was a warm brown and curly at the ends. He wore it long and he had it pulled to the nape of his neck in a pony tail that was probably six inches long. His voice, when he spoke to her now, was dark, low, and made her body tingle. “How’s your mouth, Willow?” He ran his thumb over her lower lip and asked her again. “Fine. Sore. I’ve had worse.” She took a step back then another when he stepped toward her. “You should go back to work.” Her own voice was like nothing she’d ever heard before. She didn’t know what he might have said, but a shout from the lower level had them both back apart. Willow had never been so glad for the noise in her life.

 

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Willow The James Children Chapter Two

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~Chapter 2~
Jared woke at ten in the morning. He was groggy and a little disorientated, but came awake quickly. He was out of the shower and dressed by ten-thirty, waiting on breakfast. He decided he needed a house, or at the very least somewhere he could have his own kitchen. He thought about where he wanted to stay and realized he could move into his parents’ house while he tried to figure it out. He would have all the comforts without all the strangeness of it all. He made a mental note to clear it with his dad when he spoke to him tonight. Jared had planned on going to the site on Monday of the next week. That would have given him four days and the weekend to sort out living arrangements and set up appointments with Talbor and Will James. Jared smiled when he thought of “Will.” His father had assumed she was a he. So had Jared, actually. But he was a she, and a very lovely she at that. When she had left the bar, he thought about following her home, but three men that had left when she did made him rethink that. Jared wisely thought he could handle one man, but three? Well, he wasn’t that stupid. Besides, he had her file on his desk. Picking up the file now, Jared skimmed over her impressive records and degrees. Not only was Miss James qualified to do her job, she might be considered over-qualified by many. Then he picked up the file his dad’s secretary had handed him at the airport when he’d landed yesterday morning. “We have had numerous letters from Ranch, a former site foreman, and the city council. Mr. Talbor is claiming that W. James is not bringing the building up to standard and that the men are a nuisance in the city at nights. We also have a letter…we quite a few from one of our employees stating that W. James is forcing all the men to have sex with him in exchange for extra pay.” Jared smiled at that. He didn’t care about anyone’s sexual preference, but Talbor was claiming that Foreman James was forcing them to do so. Mr. James might have raised a brow or two, but Jared highly doubted there was a man alive who wouldn’t feel it a great honor to have to sleep with Miss James. But that accusation was just one of the many things on his list of things to check out. His cell phone was ringing when he was leaving the hotel. His mom. “So, how is the jet-setting Stone boy getting along? Seduced any women yet? Or should I just ask how many?” “It’s only noon, Mom. I’ve only been able to move through the hotel staff so far. But I have a request for them to bring in the older babes later, just for an aperitif.” Jared laughed when she huffed at him. “How are the beaches? Enjoying yourself?” “Yes, but I miss you. Come down for a visit this week. We’ll go on a clam bake. The neighbor’s daughter is visiting and she is a pretty single thing.” Jared wondered what his mother would think of Willow and frowned. He didn’t care what she thought of her. He was here to do a job, not date the help, even if she was very beautiful. Deciding to ignore her not so stubble hints at matrimony, he asked her about the house. “Of course stay there. I’m sorry I didn’t think to tell you to stay there anyway. The staff is still there…mostly anyway. Beard is there and I’ll tell him to hire what you’ll need to fill in.” He could hear her clicking a pen to make herself notes as she continued. “I’ll call her when we get off here. How’s it going otherwise? Have you gotten any sleep?” “I’m fine. I have some things I need to work out at the site. Then I have a couple of things I’m going to have to do at the office for tomorrow. Dad said he left things in the air about the
foreman and for me to handle it as I saw fit.” Jared threw the file on the seat next to him. “Mom, who do you know who would be able to do some research on a couple of people?” “Sara Kensal is your father’s lawyer. She would know most everyone we do. If it’s social background, maybe I can help. Who is it?” Jared debated. He figured his mom would have heard about Shawn Talbor. He’d been on a campaign to have the foreman fired for over three months, according to his dad. But it was Willow he was actually wondering about. His mother would know if she’d been in trouble on a site before and anything she might have done before Stone. He decided to hold off on Willow and get what he could about the Talbors. “Shawn Sr. is on the city council. He’s a pompous ass, if you ask me. About three years ago, he thought it would be a good idea to cut the city bus drivers pay by one third. He didn’t tell them and when they got their next check, they were in an uproar about it.” His mother laughed. “They drove the buses to his house and parked them all over his lawn when he wouldn’t return their calls. My goodness, that was funny.” Jared could almost see his mom sitting at her little desk telling him this story. He smiled at the thought. “And Mrs. Talbor? What do you know about her?” The sobered reply came immediately. “She passed on several years ago. Some say she killed herself, others said she died of a broken heart.” Like her humor, he could see her in sorrow too. He decided to change the subject quickly. He moved on to his trip to come there and see them. Toward the end of the call, he asked his mother about his plan in dealing with the situation here in Ohio. “I’ll just show up as an employee. I’ll have Sara set it up that I’m to be hired on. I believe getting both sides of this would go better in the long run. If what you say is true about the Talbor family, then maybe the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” “If you show up as Jared Stone, you think anyone is going to connect the dots? Not all of them can be as stupid as this Talbor is,” his mother said. “Go by Jared Robert. It’s still your name and it’s common enough that no one will give it a second thought.” Jared was glad he’d told her about it. He would never have thought about changing his name until someone asked him for it. Then he would have been stuck. “Okay. Then I’ll start this Monday. I’m going to move my stuff over to the house today when I get back.” he tried to think if he was forgetting anything. “Mom, thanks. I’ll see you in a couple of days. No matchmaking while I’m down there, all right?” She huffed at him again. “It’s my right to be matchmaker. And until I’m holding Jared the sixth on my knee, I’ll continue to do so. I’ll see you in a few days. I love you, Jared, be careful.” The rest of his day was filled with moving his things to the house, making arrangements with a realtor, setting up appointments with the people he’d need to see at the firm, and packing for a few days at his parents’ house. Jared had been in Paris for the past eighteen months overseeing a huge construction site there. The mall they were building had been riddled with one issue after another—shorted supplies and not enough staff to complete the job were just a few of the problems. Jared had been sent over to see what the real problem was. He’d found more than they’d bargained for. The foreman was a thief. Not just with the Stone supplies, but even a ring of house thefts had been linked to him and almost half the crew. Jared caught on to it the second day he had been there.
Then they were behind schedule, which put them over budget. By the time he’d gotten there, walls should have been up and foundation poured for flooring. Half the walls up had to be torn down and redone. And none of the foundations were worked enough to even begin the pouring process. It had taken the first five weeks just to get a crew organized and another ten weeks of working seventy hours just to get back on track. They were way over budget now, but going to finish on time. The foreman was in jail along with seven of the crew and indictments for another five. The man he’d left in charge was going to do a great job. Jared decided he was going to enjoy a few days with his parents and forget work and everything else. ~o0o~ Tuesday morning, the city inspector, the city councilman, Talbor, and his son were on site when Willow pulled up at seven o’clock. She was half tempted to just start her truck back up and go home. When she got out, all of them approached her. She didn’t even slow as she walked past them. “Gentlemen, Talbor.” She didn’t really think any of them were even close to being gentlemen, but she said it anyway. She didn’t stop walking until she was inside her office and shut the door in their faces. Then she turned the tab to lock the door behind her. Leaning against it, she realized that other than leaving at night, it was the first time the lock had been engaged since she’d been on this site. Ignoring the knocks, then the pounding, she set about opening her emails and forwarding on to the company attorney anything she didn’t know what to do with. Sarah Kensal usually handled all of it anyway. At three minutes until eight, someone unlocked the door and came inside. “Morning,” Tommy Conley said when he walked in. “Got yourself quite a crowed out here, boss. You gonna hide—mother fuck. Is that what Talbor did to you last night?” Willow had been surprised herself when she’d gotten a look in the hand mirror that Shannon had given her when Willow had woke up. Her lip was swollen and the eight tight black stitches stood out in sharp contrast against her fair skin. Her eye had four stitches across the brow. Shannon had put them in when Willow had been asleep or she wouldn’t have allowed her to do it. Willow’s eye was puffy, but not as swollen this morning. However, she couldn’t put ice packs on it so she was sure it looked bad again. “Talbor has a nice right. Hopefully, he doesn’t look any better this morning.” Willow hadn’t really looked at him when she’d gotten out of her truck. She had just wanted to get away from them as soon as possible. She stood up now to go out and talk to them. Conley stopped her with a hand to her arm. “You’re gonna have to take him back, aren’t you?” She nodded. “That fucking sucks, you know that, right?” Yes, it did. But she wasn’t going to lose her job over an asshole like Talbor.

 

Willow Teaser 2

 

Willow Teaser 3

 

Willow Teaser

 

Willow Teaser

 

 

FREE
Kathi S. Barton Author
#free
#darkfantasy #erotica #romance
http://smarturl.it/willow
amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/…/dp/B007H4C…/ref=sr_1_22_twi_kin_1…
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Willow The James Children Chapter One

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00072]

 

FREE
Kathi S. Barton Author
#free
#darkfantasy #erotica #romance
http://smarturl.it/willow
amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/…/dp/B007H4C…/ref=sr_1_22_twi_kin_1…
Smash Words https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/169818
I tunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/willow/id537464960?mt=11

 

~CHAPTER 1~
Jared Stone pulled up in front of the bar simply named “Jim’s” at a quarter till one in the morning. He’d sat in his hotel room for over an hour and just wanted a beer and a few hours around people who spoke English for a change. The hotel staff, while very nice, just didn’t cut it. He got out of his truck and went inside. He loved the place at first glance. There were several televisions on, all to a game on Monday night football. The stools around the bar were evenly spaced and a little worn. Most of them were filled with butts that kept hopping up and down with the announcer on the television over the bar. The bar itself was a work of art, inlaid with different woods both light and dark to form a scene of the different highlights around Ohio, including the famous horseshoe stadium and a few buckeyes. There were several booths as well as half dozen or so tables with chairs scattered around the room. Jared could see a sectioned off area in the back and from the sounds, he thought it might be a pool room. He heard some shouting too, but ignored it as best he could as he sat up at the bar. A young woman walked toward him while she rubbed down the bar. She looked barely old enough to be there and all Jared could think was he really needed to get out more. “What’ll you have? Got draft and menu’s short tonight while the game is on.” A crash and loud voices punctuated the cheers around the bar. The girl turned. “When your boss gets here, I hope you all get canned.” Then under her breath, “Fucking construction workers.” Jared started to stand and go see the men in the back when the front door exploded open. In walked a blur of jeans, flannel, and dark hair. He looked back to the bartender when she yelled, “Catch.” He watched as a Louisville Slugger sailed through the air and land in Flannel’s hand. Jared was impressed. She hadn’t even broken stride. Then he realized she was headed to the back room and he got up to follow her. He watched as the woman slapped the bat under her arm and pulled a handful of her rich, dark hair up and off her neck. By the time she was steamrolling through the doorway, the bat was back in her hand and her hair was in a haphazard knot at the back of her head. Jared got a nice view of what he considered a fine ass and shapely long legs before he lost her. By the time he got to the doorjamb where she had gone, he could see a dozen or so men standing around two pool tables. He could also see that most of them were wearing J.R. Stone Construction t-shirts. Jared stepped into the room to listen to her talk to his men. “…nothing better to do at,” she jerked her sleeve up and looked at the watch on her wrist, “one fucking o’clock in the morning than to come down here and babysit a bunch of overgrown idiots.” Jared nearly burst out laughing when every man dropped their heads and mumbled something to her. “Donaldson, get Sherman and take him to the ER,” she snapped. The sea of men parted to show a man sitting in one of the few booths with a bloodied towel at his head. Jared wondered how she’d seen the men. Even with her height, most of the men in front of the injured one were a good five to six inches taller. “I’m okay, boss. Nothing more than—” “Did you think I was requesting you to go? I was not. Donaldson, now. And tell the doc to send the bill to me. Understand?”
A burly man broke from the standing pack and helped the injured Sherman up and out the door. Jared got a good look at the cut as they went by him and was surprised that the man was standing. The men shuffled again. He would bet she wasn’t finished. “Conley, tell me what happened. And you aren’t reciting War and Peace. Short informative sentences will do.” “Well now,” Conley started, and moved to the front of the pack. “Sherman there was playing a game of pool with Talbor, Denny, and me. He was winning. Sank the eight in—” A sharp look from Miss Flannel had him straighten up. “Sherman was winning and Talbor there got pissy. Said we was cheating.” “He fucking was. I seen him—” The bat raised so quickly that Jared was sure it had been spring loaded. The man speaking, Talbor, Jared assumed, snarled at her. “When it’s your turn you can wow me with your side.” Her voice was low and calm but full of venom. “I’m listening to Conley and you will shut the fuck up. Conley?” “Talbor started yelling about suing. Sherman ignored him. You know how he can do that. Can talk to the man all day and it’s like he ain’t heard a word. But he’s listening, he can—” This time, she slapped the bat in her hand. “Sorry, Will. Anyway, when Sherman didn’t fight back, Talbor hit him with his stick.” The woman turned toward Talbor now. “I’ve had about all you I can take, Talbor. Tomorrow morning, you stay off my site. I don’t want—” Her head snapped back from the blow. Talbor’s fist shot out so fast no one could have prevented it. Jared was two steps in when Miss Flannel leapt forward and hit Talbor back. Her fist hit him in the nose and blood spurted forward. Then in a move that Jared was both impressed and startled by, she had the bat around the man’s throat and him on the floor in front of her. Talbor held it from his neck with both hands as blood stained the front of his shirt. The muscles in his forearms were bunched and corded trying to push it away, showing the girl was as strong as she was gutsy. “You’re going to pay for this, bitch,” he snarled at her. “When my daddy finds out, he’ll yank your permits so quick that that fucker Stone won’t have no choice but to fire your tight fucking ass. I’ve been talking to him you know? Stone. He ain’t no happier about you than anybody else is.” Jared stopped his forward motion. This was why he was here. His father had called him home from the job site in Paris to come here to fire his foreman. Jared had a sneaky suspicion that Will James was the woman before him and not the man his father thought she was. She let Talbor go and he fell forward. She stepped around him and Jared got his first look at Miss Flannel. Her eye was swollen shut and her lip was bleeding. Blood stained her shirt front too. One of the men standing there stopped her from falling or Jared wasn’t sure what she would have done. When she turned back to him again, he took a breath. Even bloodied and beat up, she was beautiful. Jared was suddenly glad that he had been sent to Ohio. ~o0o~ Willow looked at her men. She was exhausted and hurting. All she wanted to do was sit down on one of the numerous stools and bawl, bawl like a little baby. But it wouldn’t solve the problems she was now dealing with. “You all have ten minutes to clean this mess up and set the room to rights. I want this floor cleaned and chairs put back where they were.” She leaned against the pool table, careful not to
get her blood in the green felt. “If you aren’t on time tomorrow, I will dock you an hour’s pay. You don’t show…then I suggest you use your day off wisely and find another gig.” She turned away and noticed the man standing there, but ignored him. A patron of the bar had come to see the show, she figured. When Talbor started in again on suing her and Stone Construction, she stood up, left the room, and went to the bar where Lindsey was. Willow handed her the bat back, took the bag of ice, and put it on her eye. “Bastard outta be locked up. His daddy’s been bailing his ass out for more’n ten years.” Willow nodded. “You hurt much?” Lindsey asked her. “Enough.” Willow pulled her credit card out of her back pocket and slid it across the bar. “Run this for damages. Don’t worry your insurance company. They’ll just raise your rates anyway. I’m sorry about this, Lins.” Willow noticed the man from the doorway slide back onto a stool about midway down the bar. Willow couldn’t see much of him because of the shadows. She could only see that he was tall and dark-haired. “Sorry about this, Will, but you know Durk the Jerk. If I don’t get some money, he’ll make me pay it outta my own pocket.” Lindsey gave her back the card. Willow knew that and also that Lindsey would only charge what she thought was fair. Her boss, Durk Josephs, would double whatever he thought he could get out of Willow. Willow looked down at her credit card. Willow D. James, it said, and she wondered every time she used it who that girl was. She was a long way from that rich girl who was named there. Moving toward the door, Willow followed her men out the door. Some of them would follow her home. She knew they would no matter what she told them to do. She didn’t bother. She was tired and her head was pounding. Sliding under the steering wheel of her truck, she started up and headed home. Willow loved her house. She’d bought it ten years ago just after she started working for Stone. She’d only been a gopher then. Fetching coffee and nails, bringing equipment to the other men, whatever they needed. Tony Ranch had been the foreman then and had been a bastard and treated her like shit. It wasn’t until a year later that he’d been promoted and Tommy Patel had been promoted into his position. That’s when she had started working on the site as a worker and not some slave to Ranch. Willow had been going to school then. At nineteen, she was in her last year of a business degree with one more year of architectural design. She already had a landscaping degree from attending college while in high school. Her parents loved her so they indulged what they thought of as a whim. She smiled when she thought about the day she’d gotten her first site job and how they had tried to hide their disappointment. Her brother Alexander had been the one to tell them that she would be brilliant at it. She secretly thought they had hoped she would grow bored with it and move on to more feminine projects. She hadn’t. And now, if one asked them, they would tell people it had been their idea all along. Her smile reminded her of her split lip. Turning on the lights in her bedroom, she heard the vehicle that had followed her home drive away. She was in the bathroom a few minutes later. She looked at her watch and discovered it was just shy of two-thirty. Fuck, she was tired. Debating whether to shower and stay up or go have her lip stitched, she turned on the water. No reason she couldn’t do both. By three, she was sitting on a gurney waiting for the nurse to come in and sew her up. “Want to explain how a woman I know never took a drink in her life gets her lip split in a bar fight? Or do you have some extra sideline work going on that I’m not aware of?”
Willow rolled to her back when Shannon Weiss came in with a small arsenal of medical supplies. “Nope. Just building buildings. Talbor did it.” “Ah. Say no more.” Shannon shook her head. “Punk-assed bastard. Why don’t you fire him? He’s gotta have a file a mile wide by now. And what’s he worked for you now…six, seven months?” “Five. But I can’t. The last time I tried, our permits were yanked for nine days. Stone was pissed. Said I either make it work or else he’d find someone who would.” Willow shrugged. “So I’m making it work.” She didn’t say anything while her mouth was being stitched. The Novocain made it difficult anyway. So she just closed her eyes. She used to like coming to work. At least until Stone moved away to the warmer climates during the colder months—not that she’d ever met him. All their conversations had been through emails. Willow supposed that the Carolinas weren’t all that far, but it wasn’t like the big boss was all that close either. She felt herself drifting off and with a raised hand to stall Shannon, she asked her to wake her when she was finished.

 

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Willow Teaser