He loved the one where she leaned back on the bed, the phone in her hand and a smile on her face, like she was laughing. Her green eyes were bright, and that smile could light up the whole fucking world. The clock by her bed read ten o’clock. Gavin remembered calling Hannah at just around that time a few nights before. He’d lost an important phone number. She’d teased him about his organizational skills.
This was how she looked when she talked to him? Half-dressed, plump lips welcoming?
Fuck, he’d explode next time he had to call her at home.
Gavin flipped the photo over.
Don’t let those perverted brothers touch you. You’re mine.
Gavin shoved the photo aside and surged to his feet. Hannah was in danger, and he’d been getting a hard-on looking at evidence. What kind of man was he?
You know, that voice said. You know exactly what kind of man you are, asshole.
He was a man who had just shoved his half brother aside in one of the cruelest ways possible.
He shoved everyone away. Now, he was going to lose everything if he didn’t get his shit straight.
Not this time. By damned, he was going to make things right.
Gavin paced as he waited for Slade, a plan already forming.
* * * *
Hannah Craig stopped and stared as Dex Townsend walked out of Gavin’s office and into the grand reception area she liked to consider her turf. Walked? Dex never walked. He strode. He swaggered. And now he charged out of the office like an angry bull.
She inched back into the hallway to observe him. She’d discovered that all of her men tended to put on a front when they realized she was in the room.
Her men. It was all she could do not to laugh at herself, but that was the way she thought of the James Gang—Gavin, Slade, and Dex. In her fantasies, they were her men, though she would never, ever tell them. But she’d fallen madly in love with them, and all three were way out of her league.
Now one of her men walked straight up to the wall across from her desk and scrubbed an angry hand across his head. He looked back at the door to Gavin’s office as though he wanted to march back in and give his oldest brother a piece of his mind. Something definitely had Dex in a state. His handsome face was a mottled red and yet…she swore she saw a slight sheen of tears in his eyes. With a little huff, he pulled back his fist and put it straight through the wall. The drywall gave without a fuss, merely cracking and sending up a little cloud of dust. Dex yanked on his hand to pull it free.
It was time to bring that man down from whatever had him so mad or he’d start in on the furniture.
“I never did like that wall,” Hannah said softly.
Dex turned, shock obvious on his face. His angry, red flush muted to an embarrassed pink.
“Hannah. I didn’t know you were here.”
She smiled at him and walked in as though nothing at all was wrong. Life was what a person made it, her Gran had always said. It was time to make Dex’s life a bit calmer. “I mean it. I’m glad someone finally put that arrogant wall in its place. I’ve slapped at it a couple of times, but it always just stands there.”
He huffed a little laugh. “You’re crazy, girl. You know that, right?” The tension in Dex dialed down several notches.
“I have no idea what you mean. And you’re one to talk. I’m not the one taking out my frustrations on a wall.”
She set her purse down and looked around for the mail. Nothing. Gavin probably had it. She was going to have to have a discussion with the man about his priorities. A CEO looking at the mail. Hannah sighed. If she let him, he would make the coffee, too. Gavin James was a micromanager. She opened her calendar to get ready for the day ahead.
“Hannah, I’m sorry.”
When she looked up, Dex was in front of her desk, six foot five inches of the hottest cowboy she’d ever seen forced into a business suit. Dex had the broadest shoulders and the deepest chest, but what got her every time was how often he showed off his big heart. He tried to hide it, but she knew he’d helped out more than one employee with money troubles or medical bills.
If she told him what was happening to her, he would move heaven and earth to fix the problem. More than once, the information had been right there on the tip of her tongue, but she held back. Dex had his own troubles, and she could handle hers. She was an independent, strong woman who wasn’t going to panic because some idiot sent her a few letters. And called a couple of times. And had potentially killed her cat.
She forced a smile on her face. “You didn’t hit me, big guy, so no apologies. Do you want to tell me what’s going on with Gavin that has you feeling violent?” She didn’t want to bring him into her trouble, but she couldn’t stay out of his. Dex and Gavin had a difficult relationship, to say the least. Slade was the bridge between the two, but he wasn’t here, so it was up to her.
Dex took a long breath and then that “aw shucks” smile was back on his handsome face. “It’s nothing, darlin’. Just a small difference of opinion. Put it out of your mind.” She looked over at the hole in the wall.
He flushed again. “I’ll have that fixed.”
The outer doors crashed open, and Slade rushed in. He was one disheveled hunk of male hotness. His dress shirt hung together by one small button at the hips. The rest fell open, exposing his hard pectorals and giving her a breathtaking glimpse of his ridged abdomen. She damn near swallowed her tongue. His inky hair sat slightly askew. And he looked rattled.
Hannah managed to smile without panting. “You are going to be a big hit in the board meeting.”
He looked down at his clothes as though it was the first time he’d given it a thought. “I was in a hurry. Hannah, are you all right?”
She picked up the phone, knowing exactly what he needed. This wasn’t her first rodeo, as the folks back in Two Trees liked to say. “Wendy, you have a code blue.” Wendy, Slade’s admin, sighed. “Which part do I need to replace? Tie? Socks? That man is constantly wearing athletic socks with his dress shoes.”
Hannah looked Slade up and down. He knew the drill, turning in a circle for her inspection.
“Nope, Wendy. This is a head-to-toe fixer-upper.”
She hung up the phone just as Slade got a look at her wall. He stared at it a moment before glaring at Dex.
“Seriously? Please tell me that wasn’t Gavin’s head. Where’s his body? Do I need to call 911?” Slade asked the questions with a sarcastic edge, but Hannah heard his concern.
Dex simply shook his head. “No trouble at all. I’m going to call maintenance and get them up here to fix this. Then I have a few things to do. I think I’ll skip the meeting.”
“You can’t skip the board meeting.”
Dex shrugged as he moved toward the door. “Watch me. I have more important things to do.
And Hannah, you’re having lunch today with me and Slade.”
She glanced down at her calendar. “I can’t. I agreed to have lunch with Scott.”
“Who the hell is Scott?” Slade demanded.
“He works with the IT teams. He said it was important,” Hannah explained. “I’m sure it has something to do with those installs I’ve been helping to coordinate.” Both men went very still.
“You’re not meeting Scott anymore. You’re having lunch with us, and we’re going to have a long talk, the three of us.” Dex’s dark eyes held hers for a moment. He was so serious that her heart started racing. When his voice got deep and dark, it made her blood pound.
“Absolutely.” Slade crossed his arms over his chest.
“Okay,” she said. She hadn’t sounded that breathy, had she?
Dex walked out, the doors slamming behind him. Slade shook his head. Even disheveled, he was a gorgeous sight. With thick, dark hair and a face that looked like Michelangelo sculpted it, Slade always made her sigh.
Gavin opened his door and stepped out. He radiated power. Unlike Slade and Dex, there was nothing less than perfect about his appearance. No suit would ever dare to wrinkle while Gavin James wore it.
He nodded grimly at her. “Good morning, Hannah. I need to talk to Slade, but I would like you to stay close to your desk this morning.”
“Of course.” It was an odd request, but one she could handle.
Slade disappeared into his brother’s office. Gavin closed the door, watching her intently until it shut between them with an ominous thud.
And then Hannah was alone.
She reached into her purse and pulled out the number for the private investigator she’d hired two days before. He’d cashed her check but hadn’t returned her calls. Maybe it was time to admit that hiring someone named Vinny who worked out of the back of a tarot reader’s shop hadn’t been the greatest idea. When he didn’t answer, she left another message while e-mailing Scott to cancel lunch. After that, she called the local animal shelters to check if they’d found Mr.
Snuggles. Her cat had been gone for days, and Hannah was beginning to fear that she was gone forever.
Her eyes teared up. She was going to have to take action and soon. She felt alone now that her three men were gone. It was a long time until her lunch with Dex and Slade. The office seemed big and empty. She wanted so much to call them back and tell them her trouble.
But why tell the busy men she loved—who couldn’t possibly love her in return—that someone was trying to kill her?
Slade’s blood pressure rose as he looked down at the photographs in front of him. From listening to Dex and Gavin on the phone, he’d figured out that someone was stalking Hannah, but seeing the sick evidence in front of him was staggering.
Gavin walked around his desk and sank into the huge wingback chair their father had sat in for forty years. Slade would have burned the big reminder of the son of a bitch, but Gavin had kept it, even after he’d completely redecorated the office.
“They were addressed directly to Hannah,” Gavin said, his voice clipped. “No return address.
“So this asshole brought the envelope into the building? It has to be an employee. No one can get past reception without a keycard.”
Gavin went pale. Then he flushed with fury. “Goddamn it.”
“Have you looked through the security tapes?” Slade picked up a photo of Hannah lying on her stomach across her bed, a book in her hand. He couldn’t make out the cover, but he’d bet it was a romance. She always had one in her bag. And every copy was battered and dog-eared as though it had been through many a hand before hers. For her birthday, he and Dex had bought her a new eBook reader and loaded it with credit. The look of delight in her eyes had done strange things to his heart.
Now, someone was watching her. Stalking her. And from the messages on the back of several photos, the creep knew how he and Dex felt about her. And, Slade suspected, Gavin too.
This threat seemed so surreal, but the proof was staring him in the face. Someone wanted to hurt Hannah.
Gavin frowned. “I don’t have cameras outside my office doors. Maybe I should have listened to Dex about that. I’m sure he’s is in the mailroom now, interrogating the employees.” He sighed. “I think I should call in an outside firm.”
“What happened between you two? He put his fist through a wall.” Slade’s stomach was turning at the idea of some asshole harassing Hannah, but he had to deal with his brothers’
problems, too. Gavin would only be talking about calling in an outside security firm if things had gone terribly wrong between them.
“It’s complicated.” Gavin looked down, a sure sign that he was ashamed of something.
“How about I uncomplicate it for you? You took one look at these photographs and blamed Dex. Because he wants her badly, you leapt to the stupid conclusion that he was desperate or impulsive enough to become a peeping Tom. And his only choice was to call bullshit and walk out. Simple enough?”
Gavin’s gun metal gray eyes flashed back up, but there was a weariness to them that had Slade backing off. “Almost spot on. I thought Dex was using the photos to tempt me into joining the two of you in seducing Hannah. I know you want that, Slade. I can’t do it. I just can’t. Dex took offense to my mistake, and now he says he’s quitting as soon as she’s out of danger.”
“And Dex leaving is all right with you?” Slade wasn’t sure he wanted the answer to that question, but he had to ask.
Gavin clenched his fists. “No, it’s not. Damn it, Slade, he’s my brother, too. I have no intention of letting him walk out because of a misunderstanding.”
“I was listening in, Gavin. Dex didn’t misunderstand. You flat out blamed him.” Gavin sat back, raking his hand through his thick, chocolate-brown hair. “Okay, I’ll rephrase.
I have no intention of losing my brother because I was an asshole. Nor do I intend to allow someone to stalk my admin.”
Slade bit back a smile. Despite the horrors of the morning, he sensed a little progress. Gavin had admitted that he didn’t want to lose Dex. He was still calling Hannah his admin, but that would change, if Slade had his way. “Have you talked to Hannah yet?” Slade wasn’t looking forward to the conversation. Hannah was going to be terrified when she found out about these pictures. He stacked them, pulling out the least salacious one. They would have to show her so she grasped how serious this was, but he didn’t want to embarrass her.
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