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Make me whole, p.7

Make Me Whole, page 7

 part  #1 of  Callaway Series


Make Me Whole

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  Chapter Five

  It had been a week since they’d shared that kiss in town; a week of awkward meals, a week of therapy sessions filled with empty air and no conversation, and Cole was more than fed up with it and more than ready to do something about it. He was fresh out the shower when Jamie knocked on his door before walking into his bedroom, crashing into his naked body. He grabbed her by the waist trying to keep them both upright, and when he felt her fingernails on his biceps, he groaned. She regained her balance and took a step back, as if hit by lightning. Her eyes travelled down his body, and his erection twitched at the sight of her checking him out.

  “I… I… just wanted to….” Her gaze wandered down his body and he saw her pulse leap in her neck. Her eyes went darker and her breathing heavier. There was no hiding the fact that he was just as turned on as she was. “Do you mind putting some clothes on?” she asked him¸ her voice coming in short spats.

  Cole had to admit this wasn’t something he’d expected—Jamie walking into his bedroom while he was stark naked, eating him up with her eyes, licking those plump lips—but this was an opportunity to break the awkward phase they were in. There was no way he was letting it pass. “I don’t know. Whatever you have to say to me must be pretty damn urgent since you didn’t bother waiting for me to come open the door.”

  Her eyes shot back up to his and he just stood there smiling, waiting for her to say what she had to say. “Well, I just…. Could you just cover up, at least?” He shook his head, challenging her to keep going. “Well, I just wanted to say I’m sorry about the kiss and about how awkward things have been since then. So if you want to forget about it, I’m fine with that.”

  She didn’t let him answer; she walked right back out of his room, smacked into Nick’s chest. “In a hurry much, sweetheart?” Cole couldn’t see her face but he could picture the blush creeping over it. He watched her shake her head and laughed loud enough for her to turn her head and glare at him, making him hoot even harder.

  “Nope, not at all, just… hmm… I was just thirsty and was going to get some water, that’s all. Nothing going on here at all. Nothing to see.” She walked past his brother and didn’t bother looking back when he chuckled even harder.

  Cole was putting his jeans on when Nick walked into his room. “What was that all about? And what’s this I hear about you guys kissing?” Cole didn’t miss the smile crossing his brother’s face.

  “She walked in and I was naked, which probably explains the shades of red on her face.” Cole grabbed a shirt from his bed. “And I might have kissed her last week when we went into town. Things have been a little tense since then, so she wanted to clear up the air.” To say things had been ‘a little tense’ since the kiss was putting it mildly. They got through their therapy with little interaction and that pissed him off more than anything, because he knew he was responsible for the situation they were in.

  Nick sat down on the edge of his bed, and he could see his brother was trying to put the pieces together; hell, he couldn’t even do that. “So, you kissed her and now things are weird? Was the kiss bad?” The smile on his brother’s face told him that he already knew the answer to his question.

  Cole laughed because that was the furthest from the truth. That kiss had rocked his fucking world and he couldn’t stop thinking about the way she tasted, the way her body felt against his. “Fuck no, man. It blew my fucking mind.”

  “Then what’s the problem?” His brother looked at him like he was the biggest idiot on the planet, a sentiment he couldn’t argue with.

  “I’m supposed to be helping her get better, not fucking her ten ways till Sunday, Nick. But fuck, do I ever want to get her under me.”

  “Ever thought that the reason Becca sent her here was so you two could heal each other? You’re fucking smart, Cole, but sometimes you’re a fucking moron. That girl downstairs, she’s it for you, man. You better figure that out before it’s too late.” He watched his brother leave, and he couldn’t come up with one good reason to keep his distance from Jamie.

  The rest of the day went by quickly. The therapy session focused mostly on muscle training and relaxation using yoga techniques, which seemed to take Jamie by surprise at his inclusion of yoga. They didn’t talk about their morning encounter; they didn’t talk about much of anything. Occasionally, he would let his hand rest on her shoulder or thigh a little longer than necessary, and she’d brush her hips against his.

  By the end of the day, Cole was ready to blow. The tension between the two of them had escalated to the boiling point, and he wasn’t sure he could handle much more of it. The little minx was damn good at flirting and making herself desirable, but two could play this little seduction game. “Come lie down so I can work out the tension in your upper body.”

  She came over to where he was and gave him a look that said ‘What are you up to?’ as she lay down on her stomach. He unbuttoned her top and when his hands touched her bare back, she jumped a little. He smiled at the truth her body was telling him. “Jumpy?” he asked with a smirk.

  “Something like that,” she answered, her head buried in the table, trying to hide the sounds of her moans as his hands worked her sore muscles.

  “This right here is therapy; this is me helping you get to where you want to be. So take a deep breath, relax and let me help you.”

  He couldn’t remember a time where he had been so in tune with a woman’s body. Every tremor, every goose bump on her skin told him she wanted his hands on her as much as he wanted to touch her. He took his time memorizing her body’s reaction, storing the information for later.

  Cole’s hands massaged her back longer than was necessary, but touching her was so tempting he couldn’t help himself. When he was closer to jumping her bones than massaging her muscles, he backed away from the table. She shifted to sit on the edge, still holding her shirt, and the lust in her eyes hit his groin, his erection pressing against his sweats.

  “When you look at me like that, the only thing I want to do is lay you down on this table and fuck you until we both scream. I can’t do that without jeopardizing your recovery, and that kills me.” His voice was strained and raw, fighting for control as he stepped toward her, putting his hands on either side of her body on the table.

  Jamie didn’t say a word. Instead, she pressed both her hands against his chest and took a long, deep breath. There was no doubt in his mind that she could feel his heart beat against her palms. The hand on her back was keeping her top from falling down, and he had to fight himself to keep it upright when all he wanted to do was let it drop and kiss every inch of her.

  “I promised myself that I would focus on my recovery. But this thing… this pull between you and me, it just keeps drawing me in and I don’t think I want it to stop, Cole. Can we try to make both realities work?”

  Leaning in to her, he rested his forehead against hers, feeling his world shift on its axis. He remembered how his dad used to say that the minute he saw his mom, he just knew she was the one. Cole had never really believed it could happen until the day he met Jamie. Since then, he couldn’t picture watching her leave or not seeing her every morning.

  “I’m not going to let it stop, babe. I won’t let you go.” His lips softly caressed hers, showing her exactly how affected he was by her. This kiss was soft and slow, letting her know that this thing was way more than just sex to him. Allowing her leave his arms was one of the hardest things he’d ever had to do, but they both had things lined up for the day and keeping her to himself would be selfish.

  God, how he wanted to be selfish.

  While Cole worked on some paperwork for the clinic, Jamie spent the rest of the day with Kathy, making Christmas treats for the town’s annual Christmas party. “So, Nick told me this party is a pretty big thing for the town.” She was rolling dough for apple pies and Kathy was prepping a cranberry turnover cake.

  It felt so natural to be in this kitchen with Kathy, talking about Christmas traditions and baking. The whole
scenario was comfortable, but she didn’t stop to think about what that meant. Jamie was still reeling from her conversation with Cole, and she was so confused she didn’t know left from right anymore.

  “Oh, it is, honey. Every year, the entire town gathers at the community center and we have a big party. Becca called last night and said she would be here, and I guess I have you to thank for that.” Kathy squeezed her hand, and Jamie could see how pleased she was that her daughter would be there.

  “I’m so happy she’ll be home this year. She misses you all so much. She talks about you and her brothers all the time.”

  “Good Lord, Mom, what smells so good in here?” At the sound of John’s voice, Jamie and Kathy looked at each other and laughed. He was leaning over the oven, trying to peek inside, and Jamie loved that she could bake something which filled a home with a familiar scent, something her mother had taught her to do.

  “Oh, Jamie is baking apple pies for the Christmas party.” Kathy kissed her son before getting back to her turnover. John was in front of Jamie in seconds, his hands wrapped around hers, and she couldn’t do anything but smile and laugh at his reaction.

  “Jamie, just marry me, right now. That smells so good.” John was swirling her around the kitchen when the sound of someone coughing stopped them. When John saw Cole standing by the doorframe, his arms crossed over his chest, he let go of her hand, stole a cookie and went back outside, laughing the whole way. She had no idea what had just happened, but she knew something important had just passed between them.

  “You two need to work whatever it is out, honey. Life is too short to hold back.” Jamie smiled at Kathy’s words before getting back to her pies. They spent the rest of the day cooking, laughing and telling stories about Kathy being a single mom of four boys and Jamie’s travels. By the time Jamie went to bed that night, contentment filled her soul.

  When Jamie woke up the next morning, she wasn’t feeling all that great. Her head pounded like never before, and her whole body ached. Getting out of bed took every ounce of energy she had. Making her way toward the shower, her legs went weak and she fell on the bathroom floor. She tried to force her body to stand up but her body wasn’t having any of it. She was stuck on the floor, unable to move, and anger surged. “Dammit.” She didn’t know what to do; she knew there was no way her legs would support her enough to get up.

  Everyone was probably already downstairs getting ready for their work day, but to her surprise, John rushed into the bathroom where she was lying helpless. He got down on his knees and checked her for injuries.

  “Honey, are you all right?” She was touched by his concern but right then, she was in pain and she wanted Cole. She didn’t care about sounding needy; she didn’t care that it revealed how important Cole had become to her in the short amount of time she’d known him. All she wanted was Cole.

  “I’m not feeling so good. I think I’m coming down with something. Can you go get Cole?” was all she managed to say before she felt the whole room spin. John yelled for his brother and in a matter of seconds, Cole crouched down beside her on the bathroom floor, telling everyone to give her some room.

  “Jamie, honey, are you okay?” He cradled her head in his lap, stroking her hair while checking her vital signs. “It’s going to be okay, honey, I promise. Right now, I’m going to lift you and put you back into bed.”

  She hated that he was seeing her like this, so vulnerable, so incapacitated. She didn’t want him to see her as weak; she wanted to be strong.

  The thought of him lifting her made her nervous. She wasn’t small, and the last thing she wanted was for him to get hurt helping her. “Cole, I’m too heavy; you can’t lift me.” In the background, she could hear chuckles. John must have sensed her unease because he took a few steps toward his brother and knelt down beside them.

  “Sweetheart, you are not too heavy. We lift 300 pounds as easily as a feather, so lifting a little thing like you is not going to be a problem.” Cole kissed her forehead, and she found herself relaxing at the reassurance the little gesture gave her. “Slip your hands around my neck, baby, and I’m going to put you back into bed, okay?”

  “Hmmm, Cole?” Jamie realized she really needed to pee before going back to bed. This had to be one of the most awkward moments in her life. She felt her cheeks flush when she noticed how right she felt in his arms, even if these were less than seductive circumstances.

  “Yeah, baby?” he asked her while brushing hair away from her face.

  “I kind of need to pee.”

  His laugh echoed throughout the room and he pressed his forehead to hers. At the gesture, her whole body relaxed in his embrace.

  He smiled at her before walking toward the bathroom. “Okay, let’s do that first, and then I’ll put you back in bed.”

  Once she was settled on the toilet, he left her in the bathroom and made sure she knew he was just behind the door, and that his mom could come in and help her at any time. She managed to pee without falling off the toilet, and a few minutes later, she was cradled in Cole’s big arms again before he tucked her into bed. He kissed the top of her head and whispered, “I’ve got you.”

  Once Jamie was sound asleep, Cole made his way downstairs. His emotions were still high and all over the place. She’d given him a scare he would remember until the day he died. Walking into the room and seeing her lying on the bathroom floor had made it hard for him to breathe. His brothers were waiting for him in the kitchen with a cup of coffee when he got downstairs.

  “Is she all right, man?” Andrew asked. Cole was humbled by the looks of worry on his brothers’ faces, but he wasn’t surprised because he knew Jamie was already a part of this family.

  “She’s sound asleep. She’s going to be fine; she didn’t break anything. I think she bruised her ego more than anything else. She has a fever, so I think it’s a virus of some sort,” he said, taking his cup of coffee from the counter.

  “Good, good. Man, when I heard her fall and saw her there, she looked so scared, and when I asked her if she was all right, she just wanted you. It was like you were her lifeline, the only thing she needed or even wanted.”

  Nick took a few steps toward Cole, patted him on the shoulder, and said, “Whatever you need, man, we’re here for you. Just name it.”

  “Thanks, but I think I got this one covered.” Cole had a plan to show his sleeping beauty just how perfect she was to him. With Jamie in bed all day, Cole took the time to put his plan in motion. Taking his favorite horse, he headed out to the log cabin his brothers had built for him when he returned from Afghanistan. He hadn’t been back there in months, so the place definitely needed a little attention. He cleaned, put fresh sheets on the bed, and made a call to Nick to see if he could pick up some stuff from the grocery store.

  Once everything was set up the way he wanted it, he rode back to the house and found his mom in the kitchen putting together a basket. “Hey, honey. Nick went out to the store, but I figured you might want something already made so I stocked you a basket. I hope that’s all right.”

  “You didn’t have to do that, Mom, but thank you. My cooking isn’t nearly as good as yours,” he told her, giving her a kiss on the cheek. He hoped his plan would work. He still didn’t know much about Jamie, and the last thing he wanted was to confuse or scare her.

  “Jamie, honey, you’re up.” When he heard her name, he turned around and saw Jamie standing in the doorway, her hair pulled back in a ponytail, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. The faint smile she gave them made him weak in the knees.

  “I’m sorry about this morning; I didn’t mean to cause anyone any trouble.” Embarrassment flushed her cheeks and he hated to see the emotion on her face.

  Before he could say anything, his mom walked to Jamie and hugged her. “Oh, honey, don’t you dare apologize. Now, come, sit down and let me fix you something to eat. Let’s try and get some food into you. It’ll make you feel better.” Before Cole knew it, his mom was making soup. He sat down in the chair next
to Jamie and took her hand in his.

  “How are you feeling?” he asked, his thumb tracing small circles on her hand.

  “Much better! Thank you for what you did this morning, even if it’s all kind of hazy for me.” She didn’t look away and didn’t flinch. She stayed connected with him, and he never wanted the moment to end. The feeling of warmth and belonging were overwhelming, but he couldn’t bring herself to break the connection.

  She was vulnerable right then, but dammit, he needed to kiss her. He leaned forward and pressed a soft kiss on her lips; nothing animalistic or passionate, it was a caring and loving kiss from a man who had been scared to death to lose the woman he was falling for.

  He pressed his forehead against hers and for a minute, they just stayed like that. Her hands were softly running through his hair, his were rubbing her back. They were completely lost in the moment of being present for each other. “It scared me half to death when I saw you lying there, you know that?” Cole’s breathing was strained, the concern in his voice palpable as he spoke to her.

  She let out a quick breath and whispered, “I’m sorry.”

  “Sorry to break this moment up, kids, but Jamie, honey, you need to eat.” They were brought back to reality by Kathy’s voice.

  Cole could feel Jamie’s eyes on him as he did the dishes. When he turned around, he caught her smiling at him and he laughed. “Are you checking me out again?”

  Jamie erupted into laughter, and it was one of the most wonderful things he’d ever heard in his life. Right then, he made it his mission to make her laugh like that every day. After a couple minutes of hysterical laughter, she looked up at him with a killer smile that would have brought any man to his knees. “Good Lord, I haven’t laughed like that in ages.”

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