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Home > Who I Am with You (Unexpected Heroes #1.5)(8)

Who I Am with You (Unexpected Heroes #1.5)(8)
Author: Melody Anne

As she stepped into the living room, Taylor didn’t have any complaints about the nice fire that Travis was currently stoking. And even as angry as she was with him, she also didn’t mind the view she had of his sweet backside as he leaned down and added another log. Sure, she could build her own fire, but not as quickly as he’d managed to get this one blazing.

Right now was one of those times she really wished she’d paid more attention when her family had gone camping. It wasn’t that she didn’t enjoy the outdoors—she loved it. It was just that she preferred nice dirt roads and arenas to camping in the woods. Especially now, since she was continually thinking about all of those creatures waiting to rip into her tender flesh and chew on it mercilessly.

Because it was summertime, the daylight hours were pleasantly hot, but the nighttime temperatures cooled off dramatically. If Taylor had her way, she would live in the desert, in one of those places that never dipped below fifty degrees. But as much as she was on the road, she always made time to come back home. Even when her family drove her nearly to madness, she still couldn’t stay away from them for long. And they would never leave Montana.

“I appreciate the fire, Travis, but really, this place is too small for both of us . . .”

There, that was said in a calm, even tone. He would see reason, understand that this was her brother’s place, and she therefore had first dibs on it, and he would pack his belongings and be on his way.

Just then, some animal made an eerie sound outside the window and a shudder passed through her. No way was she letting herself get freaked out, though. She’d grown up in Montana, and as long as she stayed inside during the nighttime hours, she’d be fine.

Sure, the occasional cougar decided to go hunting, but they were more afraid of humans than humans were afraid of them, or at least that’s the crap her father had always told her. Still, she happened to be pretty dang afraid of any animal with claws and sharp teeth, but the vicious beasts of the forest didn’t have to know that. And no one else needed to know that, either. It would ruin her carefully cultivated image.

She hadn’t gone to many of the counseling sessions the doctors had offered after the accident, deciding that an injury wouldn’t affect her. She would choose to beat these newfound phobias on her own. If she told herself she was fine, then she would be. It was as simple as that. Mind over matter!

Refusing to look at the window, where she felt red eyes feasting upon her, she focused on Travis’s back again. He’d continued stoking the fire as if she hadn’t said a single word. She was beginning to get irritated when he finally stood.

“Not leaving, Taylor,” he said almost pleasantly before adding, “Would you like some coffee or hot chocolate?”

And then, much to her surprise, he sauntered into the kitchen area. The cabin really wasn’t very big, and the kitchen and living room were divided only by a small breakfast bar. The dining area was to the side of the kitchen, sporting a rustic table that seated four.

No television, no frills. Just a couch, comfy chair, and small end tables with lamps on them. She was actually surprised her brother had installed electricity and plumbing in his man cave. She supposed he was a bit too used to his pampered lifestyle to go without the basics while at his hunting retreat.

“Don’t you think this is something we should discuss like reasonable adults? Obviously this place isn’t big enough for both of us,” Taylor said again as she flopped down onto the couch, dragging a thick quilt onto her lap.

“Nothing to discuss. I’m the one who was invited—did Bryson invite you, Taylor? No, I didn’t think so—and I’m not leaving. But if you want to stay with me, be my guest,” he said as he set a pot on the stove and began boiling water before moving to the fridge and pulling out cheese and cold cuts, lining them up on a tray, and then creatively fanning out some crackers.

Realizing she hadn’t eaten in hours, Taylor stared at the food, her mouth watering. He was putting enough out for both of them, but wouldn’t it count as caving if she accepted his offerings? Not that she actually knew if he was going to offer her any of his meal. She could go and get herself a dish of her mother’s macaroni salad, but that didn’t sound appealing right then.

The water began boiling and he poured two cups of hot chocolate without getting her confirmation that she wanted any. When he set the cup in front of her, she was tempted not to drink it, just to prove she didn’t need his pitiful cup of chocolate goodness. But the aroma was enticing and her stomach was growling, and she was only hurting herself if she played the martyr.

“Thanks,” she muttered as she lifted the cup. Her reward was a beaming smile as he set the tray of meat and cheese down next.

“Dig in,” he said as he piled a cracker high and slipped it into his mouth.

“Fine, but only because I haven’t eaten in hours. This isn’t me caving in. I still don’t give you permission to stay,” she mumbled, eagerly grabbing some goodies.

“I don’t need your permission, Taylor. Bryson already gave me the key and his blessing, and apparently he didn’t give you permission. I have dibs, doll. I’ll tell you what, though—I’ll let you have the bedroom,” he said with a wicked smile. “For tonight, at least.” He ate a few more crackers and then leaned back, looking as if he was going to get real cozy on the couch. He seemed half asleep.

Taylor sent him a glare, but with his eyes closed, it did her no good. After five minutes of complete silence, when she’d emptied the remaining food from the tray, Taylor knew this conversation was going nowhere, at least not tonight.

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