Excerpt from Dreams: A Sapphire Springs Novel
Blackthorn.” Devin growled into the phone. It was five thirty in the morning. If whoever was calling didn’t like it then they should have called at more reasonable time. His mood was foul. He knew it, but he also knew it would change for the better once he talked to Kylie.
What if she doesn’t…?
Devin growled low and menacingly. If he had to, he’d bring Kylie back here and convince her the only way he knew how that they belonged together.
“Damn, Son, you’re in a shitty mood. Try saying ‘Hello’ or ‘Howdy’ or even ‘What the hell do you want’,” Cole’s bemused voice boomed across the line.
“What the hell do you want, Lawson?”
“See. That’s better.”
Cole laughed and Devin managed a smile, his mood improving upon hearing his best friend’s voice. Devin knew he could count on Cole to help him out if he needed him. Hell, Cole Lawson was probably the one person Devin knew that wanted Devin to get with Kylie more than he did. Cole had been bitching at him for years to pull his head out of his ass and just tell Kylie how he felt.
“What’s up, Cole? It’s a little early for you isn’t it?”
“It’s a lot early for me. I tried calling you earlier but I didn’t get an answer. Did I catch you at a bad time?”
“No, just woke up.” Devin stretched the truth a bit. What could he say? I have a raging case of lust for Kylie this morning and after jerking off twice in the shower and having the wet dream of all wet dreams in less than an hour and a half later, I still want to sink my cock in her so deep she tastes my come when I unload in her. Smooth, Blackthorn, real smooth.
He was only guessing, but figured Cole would file that tidbit under the ‘way too much fucking information’ segment of the conversation. Pun intended.
“Well Buddy, I hate to do this to you, but I have to go to Seattle today.”
“Seattle? What the hell for? You have a security system install today and I need that information on Hawks’ outfit you are heading up.”
“I know. I have three other things on the books as well, but we will have to reassign my install and a couple of other things. Heather and Tony were in a car wreck last night.” Cole rushed on before Devin could respond. “They’re both going to be okay but they need someone to help out with the rug-rats. I can take care of the Hawks thing while I’m in Seattle, if you still want to go ahead with it. As for the other two cases, I’m still doing skip traces and research online. I can handle that from Seattle, too.”
“Damn, Cole. Are you sure they are going to be okay.” Devin sat up in the bed leaning back against the headboard.His mind focused on Cole’s sister, Heather, and her husband being hurt. “I can handle the reassignments, just let me know what you need me to take over. You being in Seattle will be a good thing since it is where Eric Hawks is located. I wanted to get a better look at his day to day anyway.”
“I agree. Before we write this merger in stone, I want to take a look at his books too. I like Eric, he’s always been straight with us, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t holding something back. He came to us with this merger idea, not the other way around.
Devin agreed. He liked Eric Hawks a hell of a lot. The man fit in with BSI easily, but he had been running his own show for years. Why would he want to umbrella his company under Blackthorn Security and Investigation? Personally, Devin would never work for someone else. He couldn’t see Cole doing that either. Although they were both hardheaded, thought independently, his business relationship with Cole was solid. As Kylie always teased them, ‘Two alpha wolves could pull together when it came time to bring in food’. Devin had never thought much about it, but he supposed she was right. He and Cole did their own things, had their own clients, but when they needed an extra pair of hands or another pair of eyes it was easy for them to work closely together. The only reason the company was under Devin’s name was because of his father and the fact that Cole needed to work in the shadows. Whatever the hell his friend had done in the service was still following him around like a crazy ex.
“Do you need a lift to the airport?” Devin asked as he brought his mind back to the situation at hand.
“Yeah. I called Kylie to bum a ride and let her know I have to leave town and won’t be able to help her with the winter festival organizing I signed us up for, but she couldn’t do it. Something has come up, because she had taken the day off but she’s has to open the shop now.”
Devin chuckled. “Why the hell did you sign up for the festival planning?”
“I had my reasons.” Cole had been saying that for months. He wouldn’t tell Kylie or Devin why it was so important for him to stay close to her. “You’ll need to keep an eye on her while I’m gone, Devin. It’s important Kylie have at least one of us close to her at all times.”
“What came up? And why the hell do we need to stay close? Damn it, Cole. What aren’t you telling me?”
“I have a bad feeling. Now that Allen has shown his face again that feeling has only gotten worse. I knew Kylie would sign up for the winter festival, she does it every year. I thought it would make the perfect cover to stick close to her.” That was all Cole was going to say. There was no reason to tell Devin what he’d heard in rumor and hadn’t been able to confirm. If he had been able to just prove one of the rumors true, he would have told Devin everything. But since he hadn’t been able to find a thread of proof there was no need in getting Devin all riled up. Knowing Devin he would have Kylie under twenty-four-seven guard and locked up at Three Peaks in the blink of an eye.
“Caroline’s daughter is sick. I think Kylie’s a little pissed at me for leaving her in a lurch on this festival planning.” Cole added to keep Devin from growing too suspicious. Devin’s curious mind and ability to sniff out a lie were two of the things that made him such a great investigator. The damn man reminded him of bloodhound or an old Indian tracker. He was that freaking good at finding things; links, puzzle pieces, people, and the truth. Devin Blackthorn was just freakishly accurate in his abilities.
Devin almost smiled. The winter festival was just what he needed to get his foot back in the door. Time he could spend with her alone, without Allen hovering around them. Kylie was his, but she would bulk if she thought he was watching her for her safety. Cole had a good cover. One Devin could use to get back on track with Kylie and not bombard her with his feelings all at once. If he showed her how good they could be together, maybe he wouldn’t scare her off with his intensity. Because if nothing else, he was feeling extremely intense where Kylie Ann was concerned, it also might prevent him from beating the hell out of his own brother, too.
“Your prayers have been answered. I’ll give you a ride to the airport and take over in your festival duties.”
Cole was quiet for a long moment.
“Cole? You there, Buddy?”
“What?” Devin interrupted. “She doesn’t want me anywhere around now that Allen’s back, right?”
“Nooo.” Cole stretched the word out. “I didn’t say that. As a matter of fact she thinks you’re pissed at her.”
“I’m not pissed.”
“Then what the hell would you call your behavior? You practically spit venom when you speak to her. God help her if Allen’s in the same room when you enter, because you could kill them both with the looks you shoot them.”
“It isn’t like that, Cole.”
“Keep thinking that, Devin. She could probably use a friend now that Allen is making waves about Jamie spending weekends and holidays with him.”
Devin sat up straight and swung his legs over the side of the bed, prepared to get up. Anger consumed him. “Wait a damn minute. Are you saying Allen is demanding visitation rights now? That little sonofabitch, I’ll kick his…”
“Wait, Devin. I don’t know all the facts here. I only overheard Allen make a passing comment that Nadine would like to meet Jamie, and how Allen wanted to spend more time with the kid. And, yeah, he used the term kid. I don’t know what Kylie said in response but it was heated, then she rather abruptly left the table and went back to work.”
“Nadine can’t see Jamie, or Kylie for that matter. I took care of that years ago.”
“Do you still have the protection order in place? After all this time?”
“Damn straight I do, and when it comes up in few months, I’m going to talk to Kylie about adding Allen’s name.”
That was if she hadn’t chosen to be with Allen over him, not that that was an option. Kylie was his. Always had been and always would be. “When she left the table to work, was it customers or busy work?” That could tell Devin a lot about her state of mind and how she was feeling. If customers had entered she would handle them and then return to the conversation. If she had started cleaning the already spotless counters, well that would tell him she was upset over Allen’s supposed paternal desire.
“Busy work. I’d definitely say it was busy work. No one else was in the place but the three of us. I tried to talk to her but she shook her head and went to the back to clean something else. When I heard the pounding and scrubbing of pots and pans, I asked Allen to give her some space.”
“Did you go into the kitchen and check on her?” Devin asked. If Allen made her cry, he’d take a strip of flesh off his younger brother for every tear that fell. Little son of a bitch. Why was he even back here?
“She stared straight at me and pointed in the direction of the door. She was mad but wasn’t crying, so I left.”
Devin knew Kylie had sent Cole away for the express reason that she was about to cry. The girl hated to cry in front of anyone, even the two of them, who had seen her through the most horrific times of her life.
“I’ll put one of the guys on Jamie first thing this morning,” Devin stated with authority.
“You better ask her if she wants you to do that. You know what happened last year. She nearly skinned you alive when you had her watched when that rapist was on the loose,” Cole reminded him.
“Damn woman refused to understand, I was just making certain she was safe.”
“In her defense, Ryan Johnson was a terrible agent and he did tackle her on her way into the school with all those cupcakes. He ruined her pretty new boots and dress, along with all the treats for the kids, just because Justin Sinclair approached her.”
“That’s right, the fucking moron. I have never enjoyed firing someone so much as I did that idiot, although, I wouldn’t have fired him if he had tackled Sinclair instead of Kylie. Anyway, I replaced her boots. I even bought her two other pairs by the same designer and three pairs from other well known designers.”
“Uh, does she know this?”
Devin was silent.
Cole laughed. “You’re such a dumbass. A man buys pretty, expensive things for his woman so she’ll jump in his arms and show him how much she likes them and appreciates her man. Not keep the damn things in their boxes hidden in a closet in that mausoleum you call a house.”
“I’m working on it.”
“Work a little faster, dickhead. She won’t wait around forever. Hell, half the male population over twenty is trying to get her to go out with them.”
“Not going to happen, Cole. She’s mine. I’m taking the morning off. Kylie and I need to talk.”
“Been making plans and lists lately?” Cole chuckled. He knew Devin. The man didn’t take a shit without planning it out and making a list of things to do before hand.
“Something like that, smart ass.”
“That’s good, Dev. I’d say it’s about time, but hey, it’s been years in the making so that would be a lie because it’s well past time. The two of you need to talk but you need to lock her down more. Kylie needs a strong man who will love her and isn’t afraid to show it. Jamie needs stability. And, hell, man, you just need them.”
“I know. Stop your nagging. You are starting to sound like a woman.”
“Then stop screwing around and get this done.”
“I hear you, old friend, but you need to hear me. By the time you return from Seattle, Kylie and Jamie will be living here at Three Peaks and my ring will be on her left hand.”
“For all your sakes, I hope you’re right. This thing between the two of you has been simmering for too damn long and with Allen back…Well, let’s just say it’s about fucking time.” Cole took a deep breath. “How are you going to manage this grand seduction you’ve planned with me out of town and Jamie hanging around?” Cole was always willing to distract Jamie when Devin needed a little alone time with Kylie, not that the dumbass had used it to his advantage.
“Dad said the boys were all coming home for the holiday and Katy and Beth will be here also. Braden said he was coming home too and he was going to bring Duncan with him even if he had to tie the little shit up and toss him into the back of his truck. If they can’t distract Jamie there are always Tia and the girls. Don’t worry. I have plenty of back up if I need it,” Devin stated on a slow smile. All he had to do was let his family and their friends know he wanted to be alone with Kylie and he would have more offers than he knew what to do with to take Jamie for a few hours or a full night. Grandpa Dominick and Grandma Katy would demand at least a week with Jamie over the holidays. They did every year and God bless Kylie, she let them play grandparents to the boy as often as they wanted.
“What time do you need me to pick you up to take you to the airport?” Devin wasn’t going to comment any further about his plans for what he had in store for Kylie and himself, or how he was going to make it happen.
“I have a better idea. Can you get access to the Flying D Chopper?”
“Yeah, Dad, Katy and Beth are still in Colorado. It’s just sitting on the helo-pad over at the Flying D. Why?”
“I think you need to get your ass to KJ’s this morning instead of giving me a ride to the airport. I’ll fly the chopper to the airport so it will be waiting for Dominick and the ladies when they come in.”
“Kylie’s really taking the morning shift by herself?”
“Yes, she is.” Cole told Devin a little of his conversation with Kylie this morning, including her little question about any men he might know. He also reminded Devin she would be at the shop alone or only one assistant. He knew Devin would never let her handle a Friday morning rush shorthanded.
“Keys to the chopper hanger are at the guard shack. I’ll call Dad and let him know you’re leaving it for him in the hanger at Burt Mooney.”
“No more wimping out, Blackthorn. Get this done and fast, but enjoy it my friend. You both deserve this.” Cole disconnected before Devin could say anything further.
Devin hung up the phone and then turned to the messed up bed. Mrs. Callahan was due to come in to clean today. He stripped the bedding from the bed and headed toward the laundry room. There was no need to scandalize the sweet woman with evidence of his crazy morning.
After he started the washer he returned to his master in-suite and took another shower. This one was much quicker than the one earlier. He had his plan of action down. He knew what he needed to do and where he needed to start.
As Devin dressed he went over everything that had happened this morning. From his erotic dream waking him, to the conversation he had just finished with Cole. He had to admit, the whole morning had been out of control. It surprised him a little how history seemed to be repeating itself.
Nadine hadn’t wanted him anymore than Allen wanted Jamie. The only difference was, Nadine had wanted Dominick’s money and that was the only reason she had kept re-entering their lives. Devin couldn’t put his finger on what Allen’s motivation could possibly be with Kylie and Jamie other than a change of heart, but that was completely out of character for his brother. Devin wasn’t even sure Allen had the capacity to care for anyone other than himself, and that wasn’t him being a jealous dickhead either. His brother had always been shallow and self-serving. What could have possibly changed in Allen’s life these last ten years to alter his personality to the point he would actually want to be a father and husband?
Devin shrugged off thoughts of his brother and turned back to what he was thinking earlier. He was about to embark on the same path Katy had taken when she came into Dominick’s life. That was when Devin realized he was already on that path. Jamie was already his son because he wanted it that way. Blood didn’t mean anything when you loved a child as much he loved Jamie.
Even after all his lists and planning, Jamie was still at the root of Devin’s trepidation. He loved that boy as if he was his own son. He never wanted Jamie to think he wasn’t an important part of what Devin was trying to put together. Maybe Jamie would just have to wait until Kylie gave birth to their next child to realize he would always be the first born and Devin’s son. Katy had proven it to him when Grayson had been born. After that Devin never questioned his worth or his place in the family again. Perhaps that was all Jamie would need…if he needed anything at all. Unlike Devin’s beginnings, he’d always treated Jamie as his. Maybe Devin was projecting his own childhood onto Jamie and there was no need to do so.
“There’s only one way to find out, old man,” he reminded himself. Jamie wasn’t the issue right now. Kylie and Allen were. And if Devin didn’t get his shit together and lay his cards on the table he was going to lose Kylie to Allen all over again or to someone else because he hadn’t let her know how he felt.
“So, not fucking happening,” Devin vowed as he slipped on his boots. “Hang tight, Kitten, I’m on my way. After today you will either be mine or…” he wouldn’t say it. He wouldn’t even think it. Losing Kylie, and Jamie for that matter, was not an option.
Before Devin left the house he wrote a quick note to Mrs. Callahan to prepare Jamie’s room. He specifically left off making up Kylie’s for her. He asked for Mrs. Callahan to air out his room, make the bed and prepare it for him to have an overnight guest. She would probably surmise Kylie to be that guest but the elder woman wouldn’t mind. She’d been almost as vocal as Cole over the years regarding his relationship with Kylie. He had to smile as he reached for his keys and hurried out to his truck.
It was time. He was going after his family and God help anyone who was stupid enough to try to stop him.
Praise the Saints, Devin Blackthorn has found his balls. It’s about time you pulled your head out of your ass and claimed our woman.
That damn voice was back. “Okay, demon side of me or whatever the hell you are, I’m going after my family starting now. So, will you do me a huge favor and lay the fuck off while I get this done?” Devin spoke to no one.
He had pretty much surmised he had gone crazy in the wee hours of this morning, but that was okay. Crazy worked right now, because if nothing else, he was going to need every ounce of everything he had to pull this one off.
As Kylie continued filling orders from her morning rush of customers, Miss Millie’s story wouldn’t leave her mind. Seth had died almost eight years ago, but Millie still told the story with a twinkle in her eyes. Seth and Millie had spent every day of their lives together for sixty-two years. It must have really been love at first sight.
Kylie wondered if she should take a leap of faith and see what, if anything, could come of her obsession with Devin Blackthorn. She bet he would run faster than a cheetah if she walked up to him and asked him out, followed by another one of those kisses like the one they shared this past summer.
Oh, yeah, she could really stand more of his panty melting kisses.
Kylie looked up, noticing the line hadn’t reduced in length. Actually, if it were possible, it was now longer than it had been before Miss Millie started telling her story. She quickly covered her sigh and placed another friendly smile on her face as she apologized for the wait and asked her next customer what he would like this morning.
She hoped the line didn’t last too much longer, but if it did, at least Jake would be there to mop her off the floor after she turned to a puddle of mush from exhaustion.
She had just finished with an impatient gentleman’s order and was about to ask the next person in line what they would like, when the wall of people in line seemed to part like the Red Sea showing her Devin had just walked in.
“What the hell is going on in here?” Devin roared loud enough to rattle the cups lined up on the counter for sale.
“Why, Kylie’s doin’ the one legged bunny hop, Devin my boy. Don’cha see how she’s entertainin’ us all?” Miss Millie offered helpfully, with a teasing grin, but there was a glare in her eyes.
“Morning, Miss Millie.” Devin greeted the elderly woman kindly, his voice lowered and respectful.
“Now that’s better young man. Don’cha know, a woman don’t like havin’ her man yellin’ at her first thing in the morning? Why she’s liable to spike his coffee or eggs, and lock the bedroom door at night for such an offense.”
Several customers still waiting in line snickered, but many more laughed outright. Kylie felt her face turn as red as a tomato at what the ancient woman said, and hoped people thought it was the steam from the espresso machine causing her flush. She turned her back on the group to fill the next request of three lattes and two mochas to go, but couldn’t let everyone think she and Devin were sleeping together.
“I’m not his woman, Miss Millie.”
“Oh, posh. You two young’uns were made for each other. Why hell, the whole town can see it. Maybe you two need to go see doc Red Bear and get them peepers of yers checked,” Millie stated as she pointed a finger at Devin as another round of laughter followed her comment.
Kylie turned to place the drink order on the counter just in time to see Miss Millie get up from her chair and swat Devin’s behind. “Now get yerself in there and hep the girl. She’s been goin’ none stop for over an hour and won’t let no’buddy hep her,” Miss Millie admonished.
One could always tell when Miss Millie had stopped teasing and became serious, her vocabulary slid into a country southern slang and her Alabama accent thickened.
“Yes Ma’am,” Devin answered, with a smile on his face.
Devin played it up for the crowd. He rounded the counter and quickly pulled Kylie into his arms, placing a very sensuous kiss on her open mouth. His tongue swept into the heated recess and tasted the hazel nut and cinnamon of her morning coffee. He stroked her tongue with his until she melted into him with a sigh, which he swallowed. Devin wondered what it would be like to have this kind of access to her anytime.
The crowd went crazy with shouts of “that’s it” and other comments along the same line. Devin swore he heard someone say, it’s about damn time, carrying just above the raucous applause. A few well meaning people got into the act by suggesting places where the two could go for a little more privacy. A couple of Devin’s employees were in line and were bold enough to throw out critiques of Devin’s kiss and Kylie’s response.
He had only thought to tease her with a little kiss. He hadn’t thought about what holding Kylie and tasting her sweet mouth would do to his body. The moment her body made contact with his, his cock began a slow burning ache. When her lips touched his, the slow burn turned into a raging fire. When she moaned, he couldn’t have stopped his body’s reaction to her for anything.
He became instantly hard. His cock throbbed, pulsing to get inside her. He broke the kiss, burying his face in the nook between her neck and shoulder, and pulled his lower body away from her slightly. He took several long, slow breaths, trying to stop the image of him tossing her onto the counter and driving his cock slowly in and out of her soft, wet pussy. He nearly came in his jeans.
“Jamie is in my office and there is a crowd of people here,” Kylie whispered.She didn’t sound upset, just resigned to the fact they were never alone when he did things like this.
Kylie knew Devin was playing it up for the crowd. He would have never kissed her like that if they had been alone. But, damn, that man could kiss.
As soon as he pulled her into his arms she knew what was coming, and secretly thrilled at the idea of kissing him again. If she couldn’t have him forever, then she would take what she could, when and where she could get it. And enjoy the ride in the process.
Please, just one more before you stop, she pleaded silently.