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Make me whole, p.6

Make Me Whole, page 6

 part  #1 of  Callaway Series


Make Me Whole

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  “I know. He’s easy to trust.” That was one of the things that scared her about the way she felt about Cole. It was like she could tell him anything, and she wasn’t used to that kind of trust, not anymore.

  “That’s Cole for you. How are the other brats treating you?”

  Like family was what came straight to her mind, but she didn’t want the line of questions Becca was bound to ask if she said something like that. “They’re all very sweet, Bec. You’re lucky to have them as brothers. Do you know if anything went down between Nick and Em when she was here?”

  “They have their moments— What? What do you mean something happened between Nick and Em?” The shock in Becca’s voice made her smile, because they might not know the story, but there was definitely one there.

  “Just a feeling. He asked about her, but there was something in his eyes that told me something may have happened. Remember how sad she was when she got back?” The questions Nick had asked her about Emilia and the tone of his voice made it pretty clear there was something going on there.

  She listened to Becca laugh on the other end of the line and found herself laughing with her. “Oh, my God, you are so right! My best friend and my brother…. I’m the one who’s going to need therapy for this.” Both girls laughed and giggled for a while, and Jamie pushed aside the twinge of guilt she felt about that comment and how it could relate to her and Cole, before hanging up.

  Jamie woke up to someone screaming. She bolted upright in her bed and looked at the clock: 2:00 a.m. She heard more screams, so she slipped out of the bed and headed for the hallway. The screams were coming from a room at the end of the hall, Cole’s room.

  John stormed into the hallway at the same time she did. “Shit, he hasn’t had one of those in a long time. I got him, Jamie. You can go back to bed.”

  No way was she leaving him. She understood that John wanted to help Cole, but she felt responsible for this resurgence of memories after their discussion and she wasn’t leaving him. He’d been there for her when she’d had her nightmare, and she was going to do the same for him.

  She put her hand on John’s arm. He looked defeated, listening to his brother scream. “Let me do this, John. I’ve got him, I promise.” Cole’s screams got louder and she couldn’t stand outside his bedroom any longer.

  She opened Cole’s door and the sight before her was something she could relate to; the covers were off the bed, and his shaking body was covered in sweat. Jamie stood beside the bed and put her hands on his shoulders. “Cole, it’s all right. It’s a dream. Cole, I need you to wake up for me. Cole. Come on, wake up for me, please.” His body relaxed under her touch and he slowly woke up at the sound of her voice. When he opened his eyes, he looked lost and disoriented. She slid into bed next to him without hesitation.

  “You’re home, Cole. You’re safe. You were just having a dream. You’re okay. I’ve got you.” She wrapped her arms around him and held him tight. She laid her head on his chest and pressed a soft kiss to his wet skin.

  He tightened his hold on her body and she felt his breathing slowly return to normal. “Please, don’t go.” Her emotions clogged the back of her throat and she couldn’t move, nor could she leave him.

  She looked at John, who was still standing by the door watching them, and gave him a faint smile. “I have him, John.” He nodded at her and left the room. “I’m right here, Cole, I’m not going anywhere. Try and get some sleep. I’ll be right here when you wake up.” Her body relaxed against his and when she felt him drift off, she kissed his cheek. She had never seen anyone have a nightmare like that, but if this was what she looked like in the middle of one, she could understand people’s concern. She held him close all night, rubbing her hands up and down his back, hoping her presence was enough to keep the nightmares away.

  Jamie woke up alone in Cole’s bed the next morning, replaying the previous night’s event. Cole had looked so vulnerable and broken when he’d asked her to stay. It was a side of him she hadn’t seen before. He always seemed so put-together, it was easy to forget he was battling demons of his own. Returning from Afghanistan had left him more scarred than he was letting on. She dragged her feet to her room to get dressed before going downstairs.

  When she walked into the kitchen, all four brothers were cooking, and they made quite the sight. “Well now, isn’t this a view.” If she thought the Callaway brothers couldn’t get any hotter, seeing them in the kitchen was quickly changing her mind. They all looked at her with grins on their faces. “You guys cook, too?”

  “Our mom raised us well. Plus, women are always impressed when they learn we can actually cook.” Andrew’s wink didn’t go unnoticed by Cole, who shot him a look that could kill while she fought back the urge to laugh at the caveman display. No one mentioned Cole’s nightmare and she didn’t want to be the one to bring it up, so she kept quiet and opted for playful conversation instead.

  “Men who can cook are rare. I’m sure the women who date you are very appreciative of your mother’s cooking instructions,” she said, smiling as she settled down on one of the kitchen stools.

  She watched the brothers interact with one another as they ate breakfast, and she couldn’t help but feel a sense of belonging, like she somehow fit right in their daily schedules and their world. Her eyes landed on Cole just as he was looking at her, and although she couldn’t quite describe the look in his eyes, it seemed a lot like lust and desire.

  “So, Jamie, what do you and Cole have planned for today?” Andrew’s voice brought her back from her thoughts. She looked at Andrew, whose smile clearly told her he knew what she was thinking about, and she smiled, hoping her blush wasn’t too obvious.

  “I don’t know, actually. Cole?” She turned her body sideways to glance at Cole and his gaze was fixed on her. He gave her a smile and broke the spell with an answer.

  “Well, I thought we could get a session in this morning and then we could go into town later this afternoon.” She caught a few looks from his brothers and Jamie couldn’t quite figure out what had just happened, but she got the feeling that pushing wouldn’t get her very far.

  “That sounds like a good idea.” She didn’t say anything else. Instead, she helped clean the kitchen and when everything was done, she headed to the clinic. She was alone and rather of waiting for Cole, Jamie decided to get started with some basic stretches to warm up.

  One of the things she had really loved doing with Becca was yoga, but she doubted Cole was the yoga type. She was halfway through her set when Cole walked in. “You don’t have to stop on my account. Finish your set and we’ll get started.”

  Focusing on her routine with Cole in the room proved to be more difficult than she’d anticipated. She could feel his eyes on her with every movement and pose she took, and it didn’t take long for her to finish. When she sat down in the chair in front of his desk, he looked at her like she wasn’t real, like she was an illusion. “I don’t want you to think I don’t appreciate what you did last night, Jamie. I don’t get them as often anymore, but every now and then they creep up on me. No one’s ever been able to talk me down as fast as you did. Thank you.”

  “I’m glad I was there.” Jamie waited for more, but Cole clammed up and pushed her through her exercises. They got through their session quickly and efficiently, but Jamie couldn’t help but think she had done or said something to wound Cole, because he seemed distant and cold during their morning therapy.

  She showered and got ready to go into town, wondering if she should ask him about it or if she should just let it go. Although she didn’t know him very well, she liked him and didn’t want him upset with her for any reason. She shrugged the thought off as she dried her hair and put a little bit of makeup on. Opting for jeans and a knitted shirt since it was a bit chilly outside. She was fixing her hair when Cole walked into her room after knocking once.

  “Hey, are you almost ready to go?” He leaned against the wall in faded blue jeans and a plaid button-up shirt. His hair was sti
ll wet from his shower, and his five o’clock shadow made him look dangerous, with more sex appeal than any one person should have.

  “Yep, I’m ready. I just need to grab my jacket. Do you think we’ll need scarves and gloves?” She grabbed her purse and her jacket from the corner chair and headed to the door, but Cole didn’t move. “Cole, is everything okay? I can change if you think I won’t be warm enough.” Her hand rested on his forearm as she waited for him to reply.

  “I’m okay. You just look beautiful, that’s all.”

  “Oh. Thank you.” Her cheeks warmed and she smiled a little. Somehow, hearing those words come out of his mouth made her nerves about spending time with him fade away.

  The drive into town took about thirty minutes, and Cole took the time to show her all of the various properties and give her the lowdown on each of the ranches. He told her about growing up with his brothers and Josh, who owned the land right next to theirs, and how they used to give his mom gray hair from playing pranks and staying up all night. Some of the best memories he had growing up were spent on the very land they were driving on, and he loved being able to share that piece of himself with her.

  “Becca used to always follow me and Josh when we were younger; anywhere we went, she went. She was just too cute for me to get mad at her.” Cole told her many more stories about growing up on the ranch and how Becca used to do whatever she could to get onto Thompson land, since they were always there when they didn’t have to be on the ranch. Josh and Cole were the same age, as were Drew and Owen, one of Josh’s brothers, so they grew up raising hell together.

  When they got to town, he watched as Jamie’s eyes took in all the little shops, and he could see she was falling in love with every little thing she saw. Living in a small town wasn’t for everybody; the options were limited for people who didn’t know how to make the best of it. He never cared what patients thought about his town, but with Jamie, he wanted her to love it as much as he did.

  “Oh, my God, I’m going to have to come back here just to take a tour of all these little shops. I love this town,” she said as he parked his truck. When he turned, he caught her looking at him like she had that morning and he was taken aback. Unsure of the emotions in her eyes, he climbed out of the truck and stepped to her side to open her door.

  “I’m sure my mom would love to come spend a day here with you. She hasn’t done that in a while. You should ask her.” He held out his hand, helping her out.

  “You think so? You don’t think it would be strange?” He helped her adjust her jacket and felt her shiver as he wrapped the scarf around her neck. The urge to kiss her was strong, but he knew this wasn’t the time.

  “I’m sure she would love it. She likes you a lot.” Cole took gloves out from his jacket and put them on. It was a cold December afternoon in Montana, but it was a perfect one; the sun was sinking down, reflecting off the snow, and the wind wasn’t too chilly.

  “She’s a pretty phenomenal woman. She raised all four of you by herself after your dad died. I admire her.” His heart clenched at how much she cared about his mom, but before he could say anything, she got a face full of snow as a gust of biting wind covered them. “I’m not used to this cold weather,” she said, trying to get rid of the snow, and he laughed as the wind hit her in the face again.

  “You look pretty bundled up there.” They both chuckled at how many more layers she was wearing than most people as they walked down Main Street.

  Cole was stopped by almost everyone, catching up on how he was and how his family was and, even though tension rolled off his body, he was nothing but kind and patient to everyone. They made their way to the Green Apple Diner and the instant they walked in, Cole knew Amanda would never let him hear the end of it.

  “Well, won’t you look at what the cat dragged in? Cole Callaway, out and about on the town? Come here, you.” Amanda hugged him and he hugged her back. The thing about growing up in a small town was that everyone knew everyone and when you had brothers, you were always bound to run into one of their ex-girlfriends—like Amanda.

  “Hey, Amanda, this is Jamie. She’s staying with us for a few weeks. She’s a friend of Becca’s from Austin.” He watched Jamie closely as he made the introductions. The last thing he wanted her to be was uncomfortable, but when Amanda hugged her, she surprised him by hugging her back, and he felt some of the tension in his body fade away.

  “It’s nice to meet you, Jamie. Any friend of Becca’s is a friend of mine. We grew up together. How is she doing?” Amanda was a firecracker all right. She asked tons of questions about Becca and about living in Austin before taking their order. He was going to have to thank her later for making Jamie feel so at ease.

  When she came back with their order, Amanda turned to him with a look he’d seen many times over the years. “So, how’s your brother?”

  “Drew’s fine. Are you two ever going to work your shit out?” Cole asked her directly with a smirk on his face. Drew and Amanda had dated on and off in high school and then in the blink of an eye, they were permanently off. No one ever found out what had happened.

  “Not likely,” was all she said before she headed back to the kitchen.

  “She and Drew go back, I take it?” Jamie asked him as she took a sip of her iced tea.

  “You could say that. They dated back in high school and then Amanda left town. Drew took it really hard. Her dad passed a few weeks back and she moved back to take over the diner.” Cole dug into his hamburger, trying not to stare at Jamie while she was eating, but when she glanced up, she caught his eyes on her.

  “Do I have something on my face?” She wiped her mouth with her napkin and he couldn’t help but find it adorable, which was just ridiculous. If his brothers could see him right then, he would never hear the end of it.

  “Oh, no. It’s just nice to see a woman eat, not pick at her food.” He picked up a fry and dipped it into his ketchup before taking a bite. If someone had told him he would get a hard-on from watching a woman eat, he would have called them crazy. But watching Jamie eat was such a fucking turn-on, he was transfixed.

  “I love food, and as you can see, I’m not afraid to eat it.” She shrugged and dug back into her plate.

  “Every man in here is looking at you and thinking how gorgeous you are and what a lucky bastard I am for being out here with you,” he told her, maybe a little too honestly.

  She smiled, a sexy blush coloring her cheeks. “Thank you.”

  The rest of their meal was filled with small talk about Jamie’s childhood and her years in college, and how Cole had enrolled in the Army and the difficulties of settling back into civilian life. Before they knew it, two hours had passed. He paid the check and walked them outside.

  The thought of kissing her had occupied his brain all damn day and, if he was honest with himself, he didn’t think he would be able to hold off much longer. He needed to feel those lips on his; he needed a taste of her. The minute they stepped outside the diner, he grabbed her by the waist and drew her to him so her breasts were pressed against his chest.

  Her intake of breath told him she was surprised by his move, and strangely he didn’t care that they were in public; she was so damn sexy he just had to touch her. He shouldn’t love the thought of branding her as his in the middle of town, but he did, and he knew nothing was going to stop him from tasting her. His erection pressed against her and when she whimpered, he lost it.

  Cole knew she was as affected as him the moment her hands reached for him. He could feel her shaking with need. Her skin was hot and he wanted to give her what they both wanted right there and then, but when someone coughed as they walked by, he was reminded they weren’t alone. He softened the kiss and backed away slowly. She looked lovely, her cheeks all flushed, her lips swollen, her eyes full of lust and passion.

  Cole was pretty sure his brain melted with that kiss but as soon as Jamie pulled away, he felt the loss of not having her near him. He lifted his head to look at her face, desperately needin
g to see what she was feeling, to see if she was as affected as he was. The heat reflected in her eyes left no doubt she was feeling this as much as he was. He didn’t say a word, not trusting himself to not say something that might scare her off, but he took her hand and walked them back to the truck.

  The drive back to the ranch had to be the longest thirty-minute ride Cole had ever been on. He knew that by staying quiet he was hurting her, but he didn’t know what to say, didn’t know how to process what he was feeling. They didn’t talk, didn’t touch, and when they pulled up to the house, she got out of the vehicle and went straight inside, leaving him alone in his truck.

  When Cole finally got a hold of himself, he realized how badly he’d messed up by letting Jamie go off like that. He hadn’t meant to kiss her, or be blown away by the softness of her lips, or be ignited by the sparks that flew when they kissed. Looking back at how he handled the situation, he was kicking himself for remaining quiet instead of talking about what happened. Judging by her silence, the kiss had shaken her just as much as it had him.

  His mom was sitting at the kitchen table when Cole headed inside. “Hey, Mom.” He kissed her cheek before sitting down beside her, trying to understand what had gotten into him.

  “She’s a handle-with-care, that one.” His mom kept her eyes on the book she was reading as she spoke.

  Of course, she knew exactly what he needed to hear—it was like she had a sixth sense about these things. “I messed up, Mom. I kissed her, and then….” Cole ran his hands over his face and through his hair, pondering what his options were at that point which didn’t require a time machine.

  “This one is different, Cole. This woman is the one thing that’s going to make you lose that iron-clad control you have over everything in your life. But you’re going to have to work for it because Jamie has been through too much already for you to break her heart.”

  She closed her book, stood up and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Good night, baby.” Cole wandered outside, rethinking the whole day. He knew he had to figure out how to fix things with Jamie and he needed to do it fast before he lost what little of her he already had.

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