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Forgive me callaway book.., p.7

Forgive Me (Callaway Book 2), page 7


Forgive Me (Callaway Book 2)

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  She stayed silent on the drive home. He kept checking on her every few minutes, making sure she was okay because Amanda drunk wasn't usually quiet. She focused on her hands which were crossed on top of her thighs; she looked so fragile. "What were you doing at Owen's bar?"

  She didn't answer him until they pulled in her drive. "Trying to forget."

  He put his truck in park, unbuckled his seatbelt, and turned his body so he was facing her. "Forget what?"

  She looked up at him, and the sorrow he saw in her eyes broke his heart. "You." She said it like she was hoping he wouldn't hear her.

  "Why were you trying to forget me?" he asked calmly.

  "Because I want you so much, and it's all I can think about, and it's not fair that you're this hot." She turned her head back to face the passenger window. When he didn't speak, she unbuckled her seatbelt and her hand went to the handle.

  Before she could climb out of his truck, he reached for her shoulder, smiling when she jumped a little at his touch. He moved his body across the console so his mouth was right beside her ear and gave her the words that would change everything. "You have me, Amanda. You've always had me."

  Chapter Five

  Five in the morning came way too soon. He rolled out of bed, his aching muscles urging him to go back to bed, but he couldn't. For the past two weeks, he'd been working twenty hours a day between fixing Amanda's place and the work that still needed to be done on the ranch. They were making good progress on the house, and everyone was giving it their all, but he could tell they were feeling the exhaustion.

  He walked into the shower, letting the warm water ease the ache in his muscles. Everything in his body went lax under the water except his cock, which had been permanently hard for the past few weeks. Amanda had been at the house almost every day, doing whatever she could to help them, and having her around looking all sweet and damn gorgeous was torture. The first day, she greeted them wearing those damn cut-off shorts that made her ass look perfect. When he caught Owen looking at her ass, he all but killed the man. The next day, she was right there on her front porch wearing a sundress that made his mouth water, showing off her curves. She was driving him insane, and the worst part was she had no idea she was doing it.

  He stepped out of the shower, cursing that he didn't have time to find release, knowing he would be walking around with a hard-on all day. He got dressed and headed downstairs, following the sound of his brothers messing around in the kitchen.

  "Fuck, every inch hurts." He knew John was feeling the physical nature of the work more than any of them; that was what he got for spending so much damn time behind his desk crunching numbers.

  "I'm with you, man. When did we get this fucking old?" He laughed as he listened to Nick. If there was one thing his brother wasn't, it was old, unless you qualified your late twenties as old.

  He walked into the kitchen and slapped Nick across the back of the head. "Stop complaining. You guys are worse than a bunch of women."

  "We're not the ones doing this to get laid." The room fell silent as Nick's words lingered in the room. Drew's fists clenched at his side, battling the urge to use them on his brother's face.

  "What did you just say?" he asked, anger laced through his voice.

  "You heard me." As soon as Nick finished speaking, Drew had him backed against the kitchen wall, his arm pressing down on his neck.

  "Don't ever fucking say that shit again, Nick, or so help me God, you'll be hurting for a different reason. You don't ever disrespect her like that." The urge to kick his brother's ass was overwhelming.

  Just when he was about to wipe the smirk right off Nick's face, he felt a hand on his shoulder, and heard Cole's voice. "Drew, calm down."

  Drew let Nick go and backed away before turning around to face Cole. "Don't tell me to fucking calm down, Cole. What if it was Jamie he was talking about? Amanda is not just some piece of ass. She's everything. You better start accepting it, because she's not going anywhere." He looked straight at Nick as he spoke the last words, making sure his brother got the message loud and clear. He wouldn't stand for anyone talking down about Amanda.

  Nick lifted his arms. "Okay, man, I'm sorry. I was just kidding around. I didn't mean anything by it. We good?"

  Shit, he was fucking losing it, getting up in his brother's face like that. He ran his hands over his scruff as he answered, "Yeah."

  Drew grabbed a cup of coffee and sat down. As he did at the same time, John asked him the one question he didn't have an answer for. "Are you ever planning to do something about it? You two have been dancing around each other for weeks now."

  "I don't want to push her." He knew if he pushed her too hard, too fast, he would lose her.

  "Man, I don't want to tell you what to do, but I'm pretty sure that's what she's waiting for. You didn't see the way she was looking at you yesterday. I'm pretty sure she was ready to jump you." He was going to have to kill Nick; it was that simple.

  His brothers were seriously pissing him off this morning. "Shut up, Nick!"

  "Hey, I'm just saying she was all but drooling over you. Don't ask me why, man, 'cause you ain't that pretty." Could he kill his brother and bury his body without anyone noticing?

  "Seriously, Nick, shut up." Drew pushed his chair away from the table and paced back and forth. He felt like a caged animal with nowhere to go, and he hated the feeling. He hated having everyone interfere in his personal life. He knew Amanda better than they did. He was doing the right thing, wasn't he?

  "He's right. Ask her out, man. From what I heard, she was all over you the night you picked her up from Owen's." Just what he needed, a reminder of her soft body hanging all over him, her lips on his skin. Fuck, he could have taken her right there and then, but no, he had to be a good guy.

  "She was drunk." He could still feel her ass in his hands, her lips on his neck, and it was making him crazy.

  "I remember Amanda being pretty damn honest when she starts drinking." He knew John was trying to get him to spill about whatever Amanda said that night, but that was between them.

  He shook his head and ran his hands over his stubble. "Maybe so, but there's no way I was making my move with her when she was drunk out of her mind."

  "Well, she's not drunk now and you're still not making a move, which makes me think you're scared she's going to turn you down."

  "I just don't want to come off too strong." He wanted to kiss her until she realized they were inevitable, kiss her until she moaned his name and begged him for more. But he was holding back because if they went there, and he wasn't sure about her headspace when it came to them, he might not survive her shutting him out.

  "Wake up, man. That's what she needs you to do, so just do it already so we can stop witnessing the eye-fucking sessions you guys have." Drew knew John had a point. He and Amanda had been playing hot and cold all week, and he could always feel her eyes on him, eating him up like he was her last meal. Her attraction to him wasn't the problem. It was that he wanted more than her body—he wanted all of her.

  "Assholes." He listened to them bicker about everything and anything after that, glad the topic was finally away from his life, or lack thereof. He sat and looked around at his brothers, wishing like hell his sister was there with them. He was sure she would have more than her share to say about him and Amanda.

  He finished eating and headed straight for the new shed they were building on a spare acre of land. Between working on Amanda's house and their chores at the ranch, they were all burning the candles on both ends. Drew knew it didn't matter, though, because no matter how tired or exhausted they were, they wouldn't let Amanda down.

  "Cole told me you'd probably be out here." He looked up at the sound of his soon-to-be sister-in-law and he dropped the hammer on the ground, running to her. "Jamie, is everything okay?"

  She brushed him off, and he was pretty sure he'd just shed ten years off his life. Ever since Jamie and Cole announced they were pregnant, they'd all grown overly protective of t
heir new sister. "Oh, yeah, I'm all good. I just thought I would come say hi."

  He let out a breath he hadn't realized he was holding and ran his hand through his messy hair. "Jesus, I thought something was wrong."

  She smiled at him, and he was pretty sure that was the smile she used with his brother whenever she wanted something. Not that Cole would refuse her anything, of course. His brother was completely and overly in love with Jamie. "They all did," Jamie said softly.

  "They're worse than a bunch of women." As much as he loved his family, his brothers really needed to stop meddling.

  "They love you." He pulled down the tailgate of his truck and helped her sit down. If anything happened to her out there, Cole would have his ass.

  "You can tell them I'm just fine," he said through his teeth. He was lying to her, but he truly didn't know what he was anymore. He ached for Amanda but had no what to do about it.

  "Are you?" He knew by the tone of her voice she didn't believe him.

  "I'm fine, Jamie," he repeated, hoping he sounded more convincing that time around. But judging by the look on her face, she wasn't falling for it. He remembered when Jamie first came to the ranch. She was a little broken and so unsure of herself, but the woman beside him had changed, no one would ever be able to tell she had been through hell. She was strong and beautiful, and he knew Cole was a big part of that. He wanted to be that person for Amanda, the one person who was always there, no matter what. The one person to make her smile regardless of what was going on in her life. After spending time at her house and watching her, he knew she was unhappy, and it was killing him.

  "You know I don't know Amanda all that well, but from what I do know, it's obvious she still has feelings for you. It's pretty obvious you still love her, too. I was scared out of my mind about falling in love with Cole, but I knew that if I just gave it a chance, it could be the best thing I would ever do. You guys have a history and that's important, but what you need to ask yourself is if the possibility of a future with her outweighs your fears that she might leave again."

  "Did you start taking psych classes and I didn't notice?" Was he that obvious that everyone saw through him? He wanted to tell her she was crazy, that she was imagining things, but he couldn't, because she was right. He was scared of her leaving again.

  She laughed and put her hand on his shoulder. "No, but it's obvious you're afraid she might leave again, or that she might want more than what you can give her."

  He took a deep breath before speaking, desperately needing to calm his pounding heart. "I just don't think I could survive going through that again."

  She smiled at him and pressed her hand on his shoulder, giving him the small comfort he needed. "Then you need to ask yourself if you're willing to risk it. If you're not, you need to let her go, Drew."

  "I can't let her go." He didn't even have time to process the words before they were slipping out, giving more away than he wanted. Letting her go again would kill him; he loved her too much to watch her walk out of his life again.

  She smiled at him like she had just gotten what she had come for, and in a way, he guessed she had. "There's your answer then," she told him, no doubt proud of herself.

  "My brother is marrying a smartass." He kissed the top of her head as he hugged her close. He was happy his brother had found someone like Jamie. She was good for Cole, and God knew she was good for their family.

  "Your brother loves my ass," she said, laughing and blushing. The last thing he needed to have in his head were images of his brother and Jamie getting it on. It was like imagining his sister having sex, and that was just wrong.

  "Don't ever say that again." He hugged her tightly. When he saw Cole standing a few feet away from them, he let her go, whispering 'thank you.' He nodded the same thanks to his brother.

  Amanda should've been smiling. Hell, she should've been singing with the birds at the progress the guys had made on her house, but no. There she was in the middle of the diner's kitchen, day-dreaming about Drew and his half-naked body. She was sexually frustrated, which she didn't even know she could be, since she didn't know what she was missing. But frustrated she was. Weeks of little sleep, high levels of stress and Drew in her life, and her house, left her anxious. Plus, Cole and Jamie's wedding was getting closer, and to top things off, two of her staff had called in sick that morning.

  "Did you get a chance to speak with Cole and Jamie about the cake?" God bless Abby for keeping up with her moody self over the past week. She was pretty sure she was making everyone miserable, but Abby always showed up with a smile and never complained. That woman deserved a raise, a raise she unfortunately couldn't afford to give her.

  Abby smiled at her like she had just given her a million- dollar question. God, what she wouldn't give to have that feeling at the moment. "Oh, yes. They wanted something simple, so I suggested a marble cake with butter cream frosting with some lace decoration."

  Amanda smiled at Abby's idea because it was exactly what she had envisioned for Cole and Jamie. "That sounds perfect."

  "What about you? Have they decided on a menu?" That was another item on the list of things that were making her life difficult lately. The wedding was in two weeks, and she still didn't have a menu, which made her more than a little nervous.

  "Not yet, they're still looking over the options I gave them," she told Abby as she fixed her ponytail.

  "I was talking to John last night, and he said everyone is real happy you're doing the wedding."

  "You and John have been spending a lot of time together." If Abby was to date anyone in this town, Amanda felt pretty good that John wouldn't let anything happen to her. She might not know Abby that well, but they'd become close and she would be devastated if something happened to her.

  "He's a good man."

  She wanted to press Abby for more, but something held her back. The flicker of something she couldn't quite put her finger on flashed across Abby's face as she spoke about John, and Amanda couldn't help but wonder what he was up to with her. "Yes, he is. All of them are. Is anything going on between the two of you?"

  "Not really, we're just friends." The sweetness and lingering hope in Abby's voice reminded her of when she and Drew had started dating. She knew that push-and- pull feeling all too well, like you didn't know if you wanted more or if you wanted to run away before having your heart broken.

  The intensity that all of the Callaway men had was something that could be overwhelming and terrifying when you're trying to decide what you're feeling. As she looked into Abby's eyes, though, Amanda didn't see any confusion, just love. "But you want something to happen?"

  She watched as Abby smiled and her whole body came awake. It reminded her so much of herself as a teenager lovesick over Drew. "Yes. Yes, I do. He's so handsome and polite, and he's so sweet, but no matter what I do, I don't think he sees me that way."

  As much as she wanted to give Abby hope, the last thing she wanted to do was give her false expectations. She hadn't been around John in a long time, and as telling as it was that he was spending all of his free time with Abby, Amanda didn't know what it all meant to him. She covered Abby's hand with her own and squeezed lightly. "I've never seen John date. Maybe he just wants to take his time getting to know you."

  "Maybe. What about you and Drew? Is there something going on there?"

  Amanda laughed because she didn't know how to answer that. She leaned back against the island in the middle of the kitchen and sighed. "I don't really know. I've seen him almost every day but he hasn't made a move or anything, so I don't know."

  "Must be quite a sight to see the four of them working on the house in this hot weather." Amanda laughed with Abby, because that was the understatement of the century.

  "Oh, God, you have no idea. When they take off their shirts, I swear the temperature climbs a few hundred degrees." And when the Thompson brothers showed up, she had the making of a hit reality show. Maybe I should start filming them.

  "I wouldn't mind seein
g John without his shirt." Abby was so cute, blushing like a school girl with a crush.

  "It's quite a view, sweetie, but to be honest, I only see Drew. He's just so damn hot. It's like I can't take my eyes away from him." That wasn't a lie either; as hot as Cole, Nick and John were, she couldn't look at anyone but Drew. His body had transformed into something right out of a movie, with a V that made her mouth water every time she saw him.

  Amanda noticed something change in Abby's demeanor and when she covered her mouth with her hands, she knew whatever it was, it wasn't good.

  And that's when she felt him again. "Oh, no, don't tell me he's behind me again." She already knew the answer, though. She felt his eyes on her, almost like a caress to her skin.

  "Afraid I am." Her whole body came alive at the sound of his voice, her skin tingling with the awareness of him being near her.

  "I'm just going to go do…something out there." Abby was babbling, but Amanda couldn't make out was she was saying because it hit her that Drew had probably heard their whole conversation. God, she wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out.

  "Abby, it's good to see you." His voice was playful and warm; he had a soft spot for Abby, which made her even more curious about her relationship with John.

  "Hi, Drew." Abby giggled from embarrassment, and Amanda knew she had to turn around and face him. What she wasn't ready for was the intensity in his eyes, an intensity she'd seen before when he was turned on and on the edge. She gripped the counter, hard enough to make her knuckles turn white, and he just smiled at her, like he knew exactly what she was thinking.

  "I'll make sure to tell my brother to take off his shirt the next time he sees you." He looked down at Abby, and her whole face turn bright red.

  "Oh, God, no. Please don't." Abby's face turned bright red, and it was adorable.

  "I'm joking, Abby." Amanda watched the girl hightail out of the kitchen, and she suddenly felt like she was facing a predator. The instant Abby was out of sight, he closed the distance between them, and she fought to release her next breath.

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