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Make me whole, p.2

Make Me Whole, page 2

 part  #1 of  Callaway Series


Make Me Whole

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  “Well, Becca said you needed me, so let’s see what I can do for you.” The second the words were out of his mouth, Cole was hit by how sexual they sounded. What was happening to him? At this rate, the poor woman wouldn’t even consider coming to Montana, thinking he might maul her the minute she stepped on his land.

  As he waited for her to speak, the sound of heavy breathing coming through the phone made him think about doing things to her that had nothing to do with physical therapy—sexual therapy was more like it. When she didn’t speak, he cleared his throat and the dirty thoughts running through his head. “Jamie, are you still with me?”

  “Oh, yeah, sorry. I got distracted by something. But yeah, I booked the flight for Thursday. That should give me enough time to make sure everything is settled here before I leave. I hope that’s okay.”

  Cole chuckled, wondering what she had been distracted by, because he sure as hell was having a hard time keeping this conversation on track. “Yeah, that’s fine. I’ll have everything set up for you.”

  “Okay, but don’t go to too much trouble for me. I don’t need much.”

  “Honey, this is Montana. We treat guests like family, and more importantly, we treat women really well,” he told her in all honesty. He focused on getting his sexual thoughts about Becca’s best friend, and his new patient, under control before he made a fool of himself.

  “I’m sure you do. So, I’ll see you Thursday, then.” Her voice brought him back to the task at hand.

  “See you then, Jamie.” By the time Cole hung up the phone, all he could think about was what she looked like and how soft her skin would feel under his touch. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d reacted like this to a woman. Since coming home from Afghanistan, he’d been craving some kind of connection, but hadn’t found someone he felt comfortable opening up to.

  When he looked up, his brothers were all gathered in the kitchen. “So, who was the hottie on the phone?” Andrew asked him. He loved his brothers, would give his life for them, but sometimes they just annoyed the shit out of him, like right then.

  “How do you know she’s hot?” Cole asked. Even if he already knew just by Jamie’s voice that she was, he wasn’t about to admit it in front of his brothers. They had been riding his ass nonstop about finding someone to settle down with ever since he’d come home from Afghanistan, and there was no way he was giving them the ammunition they needed.

  “You don’t have a voice like that and not be hot.” They all laughed together. Sometimes, Cole forgot how good it felt to be back home surrounded by family. He’d missed that while he was deployed, but after losing so many friends, he’d developed a whole new level of appreciation for his family.

  “Her name is Jamie. She’s a patient of Becca’s in Austin. She’s an aid worker and went through some bad shit on a mission in Darfur. She was shot and beaten, but I’ll spare you the details; that’s her story to tell. Anyway, Becca said she was making progress with her recovery, but the emotional trauma she’s suffered is holding her back, so she asked me to see if I can get her to release some of that tension.” Jamie’s story had made national headlines when she was rescued, but no one really knew the extent of her injuries—both physical and emotional—since she had refused to do any interviews. Hell, Cole couldn’t blame her. When you went through something like what she had, the last thing you wanted to do was talk about it on national TV.

  “I’m sure you’ll help her release tension, all right,” John told him with a smirk.

  Cole threw his brother a look that said, Really, man? before throwing a towel at his head. “Is that all you think about, dude? Don’t you guys have chores to do?” Cole told his brothers in a tone that didn’t leave room for discussion, but he couldn’t deny he wouldn’t mind going a few rounds between the sheets with her to release some tension.

  When Jamie walked into the restaurant where she was meeting Becca and Emilia, she couldn’t help but feel a sense of uncertainty about having someone else, especially a man, work with her. She hadn’t let a man touch her in a long time, yet she was going to have Becca’s brother’s hands on her, of all people. The thought scared her because she knew how intense a connection became with a therapist; there were no barriers, physical or emotional. She shook off the feelings that were making her second-guess her decision to go to Montana. After speaking with Cole, she’d made up her mind for certain. She glanced around the restaurant and saw Becca and Emilia sitting at a corner booth in the back.

  “Hey, guys, sorry I’m late. I had to pack and make travel arrangements.” Jamie sat down beside her two friends and took a sip of the margarita, which was waiting for her. She loved the little things like girls’ night; it was one of the things she had missed most while being out of action.

  “So, you talked to Cole?” The concern in Becca’s voice was faint, but Jamie could sense it. She smiled at her best friend, hoping to reassure her.

  “Yeah, I did. He seems really nice, a straightforward type of man.” Jamie blushed at the memories of the thoughts she’d had about her best friend’s brother while they’d talked on the phone; but if her friends noticed, they didn’t mention it, something she appreciated more than they knew. The last thing she wanted was to talk about how a man’s voice, a man she’d never met before, had gotten to her more than it should have. Becca laughed, sipping on her margarita. “That’s Cole, all right. He’s never been the ‘walking around on eggshells’ type, which is probably why the guys who go to him for treatment respect him so much. He doesn’t take any self-pity bullshit. He’ll work through whatever demons and scars you have better than anyone else because he gets it; he had demons of his own when he came back.”

  Jamie looked at Emilia when she started to speak. “When Cole got back, Becca insisted I go down to Montana and try to get him to talk. The corps had offered him therapy, but he was so stuck in his own head that he saw it as a sign of weakness. He was reluctant when I got there, but I had a few sessions with him and, honestly, the fact that he’s able to help others deal with what’s happened to them, and assist them on their road to recovery is something I never thought I would see happen. He was broken when he came back, but now he’s such a different man; stronger, wiser.” Jamie briefly remembered Emilia talking about the time she’d spent with Cole at the ranch when he returned stateside, but the emotions in her friend’s voice that night seemed to hold so much more than Emilia was letting on.

  “Well, he seemed genuinely committed to helping me, so I’m all in.” Jamie’s focus was on her recovery. She was well aware that her humanitarian career was probably over, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t going to try to get back some of what she had lost.

  “Plus, between me and you—and Bec, you might not want to listen to this—the Callaway men are hot enough to melt snow.” Emilia’s comment made the girls laugh and set the tone for the rest of the evening.

  Chapter Two

  Standing on the front steps, Cole still could not believe his sister had made him say yes. Well, on second thought, Becca always got what she wanted. Hell if he knew why, but his sister had really wanted him to say agree to working with Jamie. She’d explained her friend’s situation and he’d felt for the woman because he knew better than anyone what it was like to have to climb up a hill which seemed insurmountable. After his last patient had left, Cole had looked forward to being by himself and working on the ranch, but he couldn’t say no to his little sister. Hands in the pockets of his worn-out Levi’s, he heard a car coming down the dirt road leading up to the main house.

  His sister had told him a little about Jamie. She was an only child, her mother had passed away in a tragic car accident a few years back and, according to Becca, Jamie was one of the most compassionate people she’d ever met. She didn’t have a boyfriend and didn’t date. Cole wondered why, since Becca had told him Jamie was as beautiful as they come, but when he’d pressed, she had refused to share more than she already had.

  As she drove up the dirt road leading
up to the main house, Cole tried to get a glimpse of the woman who had turned him inside out with just a phone call, but the sun was shining brightly, making it hard for him to make out anything. He wasn’t the type of man to worry about what a woman thought of him—the Callaway men had always been blessed with good genes—but for the first time in his life, he found himself hoping the mystery woman driving up his driveway liked what she saw. His body was strong from the military and hard work on the ranch, and women always complimented him, but what if Jamie didn’t? He had to get a grip on himself; she was there to get better and probably didn’t give a crap about how he looked. Cole stood there on his front porch, hands still in his pockets as he waited for her to pull up. Once she was close enough to see him, he motioned to her where to park and made his way down the front steps to greet her.

  When she stepped out of her rental SUV, Cole took a step back and enjoyed the beauty of the woman standing before him. She was wearing jeans, which must have been painted on, a vivid red V-neck shirt, and a leather jacket, which clung to every curve of her body. Curves like that on a woman should be a crime, but he could sure as hell enjoy the view without taking the bait. Her light brown hair was tied back in a ponytail and, if she was wearing any makeup, he couldn’t see it. Damn, his sister had been wrong about this woman. She wasn’t beautiful; she was downright breathtaking. He forced himself to regain control before walking toward her and introducing himself.

  “Jamie, welcome to the Callaway Ranch. I’m Cole.” He extended his hand to her and when she took it in a firm handshake, he felt her touch all the way to his toes. Her hands were soft and for an instant, he was pretty sure he saw the same lustful reaction in her eyes. She slipped her hand from his, sliding both her hands into the pockets of her jacket.

  “Nice to meet you, Cole. Thank you for agreeing to take me in. Although, I’m not sure how much choice you had in the matter. Becca can be quite persuasive. Honestly, you have no idea what it means to me to be here.” She looked at him and smiled. Not a fake one but a real, honest, and beautiful smile.

  No, but I’m sure there’s a couple of ways you could show me, crossed Cole’s mind. What was wrong with him? The woman had been there for less than five minutes and he was already thinking about touching every inch of her body. He felt like he was sixteen again. Hell, he was a grown man who should be able to get his mind out of the damn gutter.

  Cole found it hard not to stare at her; she had a pretty face and her body was curvy in all the right places. His hands were itching to touch her and knock away the lack of confidence he saw behind her brown eyes. He could also see she worked out and kept herself in good health, something he admired.

  He indicated that she should follow as he turned and made his way to his family home. As much as he wanted to check on her to make sure she was okay navigating over the graveled path, it was clear she was an independent woman, and that was one thing he would never take away from a patient. Still, the ground wasn’t all that even, so he turned to check anyway… and caught her staring at his ass. It took everything in him not to go to her and kiss her, an instinct that pulled at him. He forced himself to remain professional because the last thing he needed was for someone to doubt his ethics when it came to his work. But the ten shades of red creeping up her face from being caught staring at him tested his self-control.

  He could tell she was embarrassed that he’d caught her checking him out, but he couldn’t hold back a smile. She could stare at his ass any time she wanted. There was no way he would object to Jamie looking at him the way she was at that moment, like he was the hottest thing she’d ever seen.

  “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to stare,” she managed to a say in a soft voice, stopping him dead in his tracks.

  He turned around and smiled at her. “No need to apologize.” Before giving himself a chance to wonder about what he could do to her with his mouth, he took her bag and said, “Let’s get you settled in, and then I’ll give you a tour before we settle on your rehab plan.”

  Cole watched Jamie’s expression change as they entered the house. He had spent a great deal of time remodeling the family ranch after returning from Afghanistan. Until that point, he’d never cared about anyone’s opinion, but he wanted her to love it as much as he did. He had insisted on keeping the warmth and feel of the country home during the renovations, but had added sky-high ceilings and windows, letting the sun in.

  “This is beautiful,” she whispered. He watched her run her fingers along the woodwork of the furniture. Cole wasn’t about to tell her he had made the furniture, but seeing her admire every curve in the finished product made him think about having his hands on every delicious one of her curves and exploring her body until he knew it by heart.

  What was he thinking? The woman was there for rehab, not to get scared off by his sex drive, which had been dormant until she drove up to his house. He was going to have one hell of a talk with his little sister the first chance he got.

  Before Jamie could say anything else, Cole’s mom walked into the living room holding a tray of cookies. “You must be Jamie. Forgive my boy here. He’s like a wild animal—he forgets to act civilized.” Cole swore under his breath and his mom gave him one of her famous stares, which could bring a grown man to his knees. “I’m Kathy Callaway, the mother of this charming bunch, most you’ll meet later. Would you like some hot chocolate, or I can make you some coffee, if you’d like?”

  “Thank you for welcoming me into your home, Ms. Callaway.”

  Cole laughed because he knew his mom hated being called Ms. Callaway. Just like he knew she would, his mom put her hand up. “Call me Kathy, please,” she told Jamie as she offered her a cookie.

  “You have a beautiful home, Kathy. This woodwork is breathtaking.” His mom smiled then turned to him, and he knew exactly what she was going to say.

  “Cole did all of the remodeling and the furniture. He’s very talented.”

  “Wow, you did this?” Jamie ran her hands along the coffee table, admiring the quality of his work. “This is beautiful, Cole.”

  When she turned around and glanced at him, he looked her right in the eye. He leaned over to grab a cup of hot coffee and said, “Thanks. It keeps me busy when I’m not at the clinic.”

  He grabbed a cookie and made his way to the kitchen, but not before he heard his mom say, “Don’t mind him; he’s innocent under all that talk.”

  When Jamie mumbled, “Somehow, I doubt that,” he smirked, because he was the wondering mind was the furthest thing from innocent.

  Jamie settled into her room. It was just as magnificent as the rest of the house. The bed was luscious with a gorgeous floral duvet, which made you never want to get up, and the hardwood floors were warm and inviting, just like Cole and his mother had been to her.

  During the conversation with Kathy, she’d learned there were three other Callaway brothers, Nick, John, and Andrew, who all worked on the ranch. She wondered what it must have been like for Becca to have grown up with four older brothers. Cole had suggested they go over her rehab plan after dinner, to give her a chance to settle in. She was curious to see what the next eight weeks were going to be like because Cole didn’t seem like the traditional therapy type.

  Her thoughts went back to his strong hands and how they would feel on her body, rubbing away the tension in her muscles, or creating new ones, because the man was a walking advertisement for hot sex. It was obvious he didn’t do it on purpose; the man just exuded sexuality. For a minute, she let her mind wander to what sex with Cole would be like. Would he be soft and gentle when he undressed her, or would he be the rough and tumble kind, and take her against the door? She touched her lips, contemplating what it would feel like to be kissed by Cole. The instant her finger touched her mouth, she jumped out of the trance she was in, and she couldn’t help but wonder where those thoughts had come from. She hadn’t thought about sex in a long time, yet there she was, in the middle of a room in a stranger’s house, thinking about sex with her bes
t friend’s brother.

  Her skin was hot when a knock at the door brought her out of her dirty daydream. She gathered her thoughts before opening the door to the man she’d just fantasized about.

  “You settling in okay? Mom wanted me to make sure you had everything you needed,” he said, entering her room. As he passed by her, she smelled a mixture of citrus and pine. She loved how he smelled the way a man should, that he didn’t bury himself in cologne.

  “Oh, I’m fine! Everything is perfect.” She closed the door behind him. “This room is beautiful, just like the entire house.” As she said the words, Cole grinned boyishly and she flushed. As if he sensed her uneasiness, he changed the subject.

  “Dinner will be ready in thirty minutes. If you drink whiskey, now might be a good time to take a drink or two. The Callaway brothers aren’t a quiet bunch,” Cole told her as he walked to the door, making contact with her shoulder and thigh as he brushed past her. A sigh escaped her lips. And she waited for some sort of response from him. It never came. Cole was being a gentleman about it and didn’t utter a word about her reaction.

  He glanced at her one final time with a smirk on his face that sent shivers down her spine. He then shook his head and walked away, leaving her breathless, standing in the middle of her room.

  After Cole left her alone with her dirty thoughts, she unpacked her clothes and took a quick shower. She loved how the warmth of the water made her pain disappear a little. If it were up to her, she would stay in the water all day. Opting to let her hair down, she applied a little mascara and some lip gloss. She then slipped on a pair of jeans when she probably should have gone with yoga pants, as her legs were killing her from all the travelling. Jamie finished getting ready for dinner, looked at herself in the mirror and sighed. “Well, honey, this is as good as it’s going to get.”

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