Danger is nothing new to Bri McAndrews. After an accident that almost took her life, Bri has to mourn the loss of a relationship that should’ve been forever. Trey Donovan broke her heart and moving on has been nearly impossible, especially when threats start piling in. Bri has an idea of who’s pulling the strings, but finding the proof is presenting to be a whole new set of problems.
The guilt of risking Bri’s life is a living entity in Trey Donovan’s gut, eating away at him with every forbidden word, touch, emotion. But that isn’t enough to keep Trey from having Bri any way he can—even if it means causing her a world of hurt in the process.
Trey will stop at nothing to keep Bri safe, but he’s already taken a gamble with her heart. When push comes to shove, will Trey and Bri rise from the ashes of everything they’ve become, or will they continue Waiting for Someday?
EXCERPT FROM WAITING FOR SOMEDAY
I peered out the window, utterly peeved with myself for jumping right into the deep end. The second I walked out the door and slid into Trey’s car, he saw through me. Makeup never really could mask one’s emotions. I believed now more than ever it was false bravado. That didn’t mean I’d forgo it, but I sure as hell wished it would’ve helped a little bit.
When Trey asked me what was wrong, I didn’t bother changing the subject and laid it all out for him in glorious technicolor. Once I was finished, he became mute. For the past five minutes, Trey went between gently pounding the dashboard to gripping the steering wheel until his knuckles turned white. What killed me the most was his continued silence.
My rapid pulse approached an alarming point. If he didn’t speak soon, I was pretty sure my heart wouldn’t have the ability to support my body much longer. This wasn’t how I wanted our night to go at all, but as per usual, the universe really didn’t give a damn.
After he released another riled huff, I rested my hand on his rigid forearm. “Please say something. I know what I told you was a lot to swallow, but you’re starting to freak me out.”
Trey closed his eyes and took several measured breaths. When he focused on me, the hard edge to his features somewhat faded. “If I do speak, will you allow me to get through everything I have to say without interrupting me?”
I leaned over, kissed his cheek, and whispered, “I’m sorry. I don’t blame you if you’re angry with me. You asked me what was bothering me this morning and I played it off. That wasn’t fair to you or us.”
A torn expression crept up on his face. “My time to talk starts now.”
I angled myself toward him and sealed my lips. Checking the mirrors, he weaved his way through a few vehicles and over to the left lane. We fell into the faster flow of traffic on our way into the heart of the city. As we neared downtown, the hustle and bustle picked up around us, but I wasn’t at all interested in our destination.
Glimpsing between me and the road, Trey said, “I’m not mad at you. We knew it was going to be a tough Band-aid for us to rip off when it came to being honest in the moment and not weeks or months after the fact. That was our biggest downfall the first time around and something we agreed to work at more. I think one of the hardest things we’re going to have overcome is having enough faith in one another when we do share the deep stuff. I’m choosing not to be angry with you. I hope you’ll exercise the same forgiveness with me in the future.”
I opened my mouth to ask what he meant, but Trey cocked his head to the side, his eyes daring me to speak. In an instant, my teeth clamped down on my bottom lip and the corner of his mouth twitched, no doubt enjoying his domineering side got to me.
Bastard. If I could control any part of how his dominant nature spoke straight to my core, I would’ve exercised it years ago.
He’s always going to have that hold over me and he takes pleasure in using it. My only saving grace is I have somewhat of a similar hold over him.
“I suspected something went terribly wrong with Spencer. I should’ve followed my instincts and beat the prick to a pulp before you even went out with him. However, I’m trying not to use my fists to resolve situations. I’m not saying it always happens, but I want you to know I’m working at it,” Trey confessed, his face sincere.
“After I left you this morning, I ran into Jackson. He told me about the frats drugging the drinks. You’ve been able to supply who they’re targeting. I’m sure every girl who got roofied is being stalked. The hardest part is going to be gathering enough evidence to shut them down. The first step starts here,” Trey murmured, gesturing to his left as he zipped into an open parking spot.
He killed the engine, but I remained completely blown back as I stared at the police station. Trey unbuckled his seat belt and motioned for me to do the same.
“I have no idea why we’re here. There’s nothing the cops can do for me. Given their track record lately, it’s a complete waste of time. I’d rather get on with our night,” I grumbled.
Trey scowled. “You need to get a restraining order, Bri. The more distance you can keep between you and Spencer, the better off you’ll be.”
“Other than a verbal threat, I have nothing to link what’s been happening to me back to him. It’s a classic ‘he said, she said’ scenario. They’re going to laugh and tell me to come back when I have something substantial to share. I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but you know I’m right on this one,” I contested.
“What harm is there in talking to them about your options? I swear your knack for brushing off dangerous situations rears its head at the most inopportune times.”
Tossing my hands in the air, I snapped, “I’m not doing that in the least. It’s a fact you don’t want to accept. I have nothing that proves Spencer is behind what is happening or any evidence I’m in imminent danger, so there’s no point in walking in there.”
His eyebrows scrunched together as the vein in his forehead became prominent. I wasn’t trying to piss him off, but he refused to accept the situation for what it was. I needed tangible proof before taking this step.
“We could at least find out what you’ll need to bring forth in order to get a restraining order slapped on the asshole,” Trey bit back.
“As I already told you, it’s looking more like he’s making someone else carry out his plans. I think the most logical path to take is finding out how many other girls are going through the same thing as Peyton and me, compiling all our stories, then deciding on a plan of attack. Running around and trying to do things on impulse isn’t going to help anyone. It could ruin our chances of making all the people behind this bullshit pay,” I replied, matter-of-fact.
He opened his mouth, clearly wanting to spar some more about it, but thought better of it. My face remained resolute to drive my point home. Anger radiated from him, but it didn’t touch his eyes. Seeing the helplessness behind them tugged at my heartstrings. I grasped his curled fist and massaged circles on the top of it until he laced our fingers together.
“If we walk into that station for anything, it should be to look at the police report from our accident. It’s something I thought about doing for years, but couldn’t bring myself to do alone,” I admitted barely above a whisper.
His face paled as he turned to me. “Stop trying to change the subject, Bri. You always do that when you’re trying to win an argument.”
I kept my angry eyes on him. “I don’t want to fight with you. I’m trying to point out the facts, but you don’t like hearing them.”
“I can’t stand the thought of someone lurking in the shadows waiting to hurt you. If you won’t do this now, I need you to promise me something,” Trey demanded in a low tone that made every cell in my body prickle.
“I want you to understand this isn’t me being stubborn. This is me pointing out the obvious. What do you want me to promise?” I asked in a petulant tone.
“You won’t go anywhere by yourself. That’s exactly what sick bastards who stoop to this level are waiting for,” Trey answered, his eyes pleading.
I exhaled. “I’ll do my best, but I can’t guarantee it’s always going to happen. I promise to keep my guard up and leave a place if anything seems remotely off.”
He shoved his key in the ignition and griped, “That’s not exactly comforting, but the best I’m going to get. I’ll have to do everything I can to make sure you’re never on your own.”
“We can revisit this conversation over the weekend. I’d really like to focus on us. Can we please do that?” I requested, crossing my arms.
As Trey pulled into traffic, his shoulders were still tense. Resting my head against the window, I flicked on the radio since I had no intention of continuing our current conversation.
Zipping between lanes, Trey remained deep in thought. The last rays of the sun made their decent, casting shades of red, orange, and yellow in perfect strokes to provide a breathtaking canvas, almost like someone was in the heavens above painting it just for us.
I really hoped whatever he had planned would bring the thunderstorm inside me to a standstill, or at the very least a light rain. I didn’t want anything else to make my temper climb or have my anxiety fly off the charts. All I wanted was a moment to catch my bearings. That wouldn’t happen if we dwelled on things out of our control.
Trey cleared his throat, bringing me out of my daze. I’d been out of it a lot longer than I realized. I hadn’t noticed him park or turn off his Camaro. He leaned over, cupped my face, and swept his lips across mine. I opened my mouth for him to explore every part of it. His spicy musk infiltrated my nostrils, intoxicating me as he coaxed my tongue into one of our most sensual kisses yet.
He slowly pulled away, but he kept his hands on my cheeks. I whimpered at the loss of his lips. “I’m sorry, Bri. That’s how I should’ve started our date. We’ll put everything else on a sidebar for the night. That being said, I’d like a do-over, so sit tight.”
I gaped at him as he came over to my side to open the door. After seeing we were at a bar, I shot him a wary look. Chuckling, Trey slid an arm around my waist on our way into Mick’s. It was close to seven, so the place was starting to see more traffic. We managed to snag one of the last open tables off to the left of the bar. I shrugged out of my jean jacket, sat down across from him, and rested my elbows on the table.
“Something on your mind?” Trey asked, setting down his menu.
I anxiously chewed on my lower lip. “Don’t get me wrong, I love Mick’s, but I’m just a little shocked you picked a bar for our date.”
Jesus Christ! Where is my filter when I need it?
My face flushed with embarrassment. Trey still had a way of causing those slips of the tongue. My eyes drifted around the packed pub. Rustic brick crept up the walls before a cream paint took over. Plenty of Celtic pieces adorned the walls. Plush black booths lined the edges with basic brown tables running between them and the bar off to the right of us. Dim lights hung above us, bringing out the simplicity of everything even more.
I appreciated the humble décor, but I was hoping for a quiet evening. This wasn’t the ideal situation for me to be in and keep my nerves in check, especially since it took a hell of a lot of effort on my part not to look over my shoulder. If I did, it would send up red flags to Trey. That was the last thing I wanted. I was with him, so I had no reason to be paranoid. At least that was what I kept telling myself.
Trey ran his fingers down my cheek. “Do you trust me?”
Resting my hand over his, I stared into his smoldering gray eyes. His passionate gaze stilled my anxiety in an instant. A warmness spread throughout me and settled in my heart as I whispered, “Yes, I do. That’s a very random thing to ask when you already know the answer.”
“Good. Then I want you to believe me when I say there’s a very good reason we came here. All I’ve done is disappoint you for so long. I would never start again by doing that right off the bat. Just know this is only the beginning of the night. I have more than a few things planned,” Trey declared with his cocky smirk.
Between that smile and his husky tone, the heat swirling through my body settled between my legs in an ache that would need to be satisfied very soon. He leaned over our small table and gave me one of the briefest kisses of my life. His lips touched mine just long enough to create an insatiable hunger deep within me.
As he sat back in his chair and picked up his menu, Trey seductively waggled his eyebrows. I swore under my breath and grabbed mine, but rather than skim through the food choices, I fanned it across my body. Unfortunately, it didn’t help all that much. Not that it surprised me. Getting a fraction of control at this point would be a losing battle, especially with him sitting across from me looking sexy as hell.
The sleeves of his light blue button-down were rolled to his elbows and he purposely left several of the top buttons undone so his chest hair peeked out. His faded indigo jeans hugged him in all the right places, but what got me the most was his hair. He was rocking a just-fucked look I rather enjoyed creating when we were in bed, but he mastered it on his own with gel.
Catching me in an all-out stare, he flashed his dimples to goad me. Of course, my body betrayed me as it erupted with fiery sensations that rivaled an explosive volcano. To keep my hands to myself, I decided to actually look over my menu.
“All those years ago, I fumbled through our first date. I wasn’t sure how to express a side of myself I don’t share with anyone. I’m going to rectify that this time around. Please just be patient with me,” Trey requested as he nervously rubbed his right bicep.
I took his hands in mine. “First of all, you didn’t fumble at all through our first date. It still stands as the best date I’ve ever been on, so stop doubting yourself. Second, I wholeheartedly believe we’ll figure out a way to communicate better. It’s just going to take some time. As far as patience, that will always be one of my weak spots, but you seem to enjoy that character flaw.”
His eyes were serene as he avowed, “There’s not one thing flawed about you, Bri. I should’ve said it sooner. You look absolutely stunning. You’re the only person in this world who can take casual clothes and make them become exotically sexy.”
My heart swooned at his earnest words. I gave him a shy smile before placing a delicate kiss on his palm. “You don’t look too bad yourself, sweets. But let’s face it, I’m not even close to perfect. I don’t really strive to be. It’s not what I want for my life.”
Trey cocked an eyebrow. “For as hard as you work at everything, it seems like you do.”
I shrugged. “I think it’s our imperfections that really define us. The concept of utopia has always been a head-scratcher for me. If there weren’t differences amongst people, there would be no opportunity to learn or grow. For as messed up as our world is, we still have a chance to evolve and learn from our mistakes—at least the good people within it do. It’s in those moments we slowly move forward and try harder to make a better tomorrow.”
Seeing the intensity behind his eyes as he stared at me in awe made me squirm. “I love looking at the world through your amazing green eyes.”
Before I could wave off his astonishment, a waiter with messy blond hair dressed in black jeans and a white T-shirt with the bar’s Celtic knot logo in green strolled up to our table. “Are you ready to order?”
“We’ll take fried calamari as an appetizer. I’ll have the fish and chips with a Guinness,” Trey answered, passing over his menu.
His leg grazed mine as he brushed his fingers across my thighs. Every wanton desire I had zero control over exploded through me. Squeezing my legs together, I shot Trey a disapproving look, handed my menu to our waiter, and ordered, “I’ll have a bacon cheeseburger and a Blue Moon on tap with an orange slice.”
He jotted down my order and weaved his way through the tables back to the kitchen. Trey quietly chuckled to himself. I snapped my fingers at him. His laughter became louder as he teased, “You’re still terrified of trying Irish cuisine, aren’t you? It’s really not that bad. You have such a willingness to try everything else, and I’m not just talking about food, it’s surprising you won’t try an authentic Irish dish.”
I feigned being irked. “I’m not scared of it. I didn’t want to order something that would make my breath smell horrible later. Besides, you’re one to talk. Fish and chips aren’t your usual choice when you have the kind of selections this pub has to offer.”
His amusement grew. “I picked something light for the same reason. The food is great here, but it doesn’t hold a candle to my mom’s cooking. I save those meals for her. I’m going to run to the restroom before our food arrives. Try to behave yourself while I’m gone.”
“I make no promises. You’re making sure of that with each bat of the eye and brush of the hand. You know, I could join you,” I purred with a wily grin.
Dipping down, he planted a kiss on me that made every rational thought disappear from my head. If he wanted to throw me across the table and have his way with me, I wouldn’t have done a damn thing to stop him. His tongue intertwined with mine until a needy whimper slipped from me. Making sure his tongue ring explored all aspects of my mouth, he delved even deeper, just to torture me with it some more.
Trey stepped back, produced a panty-dropping smile, and whispered, “Plenty of time for that later tonight. Delayed gratification can be a good thing, remember?”
I cursed under my breath as he strutted away. His swagger always had a way of making my toes curl, but to kiss me like that and walk away was a dirty move on his part. I was about to chase him down, but the waiter appeared with our drinks.
My eyes drifted around, and I willed my nerves to remain dormant. Thankfully, there was nothing but typical pub chatter to take in. I grabbed my glass of Blue Moon, dropped the orange slice in, and took a long drink. Kylie’s ringtone sounded from my cell, and I quickly grabbed it.
Kylie: New locks are on all the doors and we have one kickass security system. This place is like Fort Knox. Anyone who dares to trespass will be sorry. Peyton and I just finished off some Chinese. We have a comedy marathon ahead of us, so don’t worry about rushing back here. In fact, just stay at Trey’s. We’ll be fine. I hope he’s groveled at your feet and giving you the royal treatment.
A wave of relief rushed through me. I chuckled at her last line. Even though this evening was off to an interesting start, I had faith Trey would make it just as memorable as our dates in the past. My heart fell into a steady beat, confirming that thought.
Bri: I’m glad everything is going smoothly. Are you sure you and Peyton will be okay tonight? As far Trey, he’s been tight-lipped about our plans all week. It’s going great so far. He never fails to deliver—in all areas, if you know what I mean. ;)
Kylie: Ugh! Yes, I do. You’re not exactly quiet and we have very thin walls, which is why you should stay at his place. We’ll be fine, promise. I’ll get you the new house key tomorrow. The code to disarm the security system is our high school soccer jersey numbers. Start with yours, then mine, and finish with Peyton’s. And it goes without saying, but be safe—and I’m not talking about all this crap going on around here. Be careful with your heart!
That was a clever way to come up with a code. A person would have to do some serious digging and play around with a lot of combinations to crack it. However, stalkers knew no bounds. I closed my eyes and took several solid breaths to ease the rising panic. We took the necessary steps to ensure our safety. There were plenty more to take, but they couldn’t all be done in the same night.
Bri: Okay, we’ll stay at his place. When we’re at the house, you might want to kick on some music. I don’t plan on curbing my shouts anytime soon. ;)
Kylie: TMI! We’re starting our movie. TTYL!
I dropped my cell in my purse, sipped my beer, and scanned around the bar for Trey. Not seeing him made my nerves prickle. As I stood to find him, a bright light from the stage centered on me. It took a minute for my eyes to focus, but once they did, Trey was on a stool in the middle of the stage with a guitar perched on his lap.
He leaned closer to the microphone in front of him and drawled, “Don’t go running off just yet, darling. I told you I had a surprise for you. You can’t jet out of here before you get it.”
All eyes were on me, and I wanted the ground to disappear from underneath me. Granted, being in the spotlight wasn’t anything new for me, but this was way different. Everyone gaped at me. Some of them were annoyed the band was no longer playing. Other people appraising me seemed genuinely curious as to what I had to do with Trey being on stage. As I sat down and stared at Trey in disbelief, my cheeks burnt to a crisp.
Trey’s eyes skimmed the crowd. “I wanted to thank the boys for letting me steal the stage for a minute. All week, I’ve been trying to think of a way to show that gorgeous brunette how much she means to me. You see, I’m not a man who verbalizes himself all too well. Frankly, I end up with my foot in my mouth more often than not.”
A good portion of the crowd chuckled at his admission, but his devoted gaze remained on me, sending my body into a beautiful frenzy. Butterflies fluttered around in my stomach, and I wasn’t sure how my heart was still in my chest for how fast it was beating. His lips curled into a shy smile. Everything inside me warmed at the sight of it. He never shared that vulnerable look with anyone other than me.
“This is for you, Bri. I’m so sorry for all the ways I’ve hurt you. If there is one promise I intend on keeping, it’s that I’ll never stop trying to be the man you deserve,” Trey professed, strumming on the guitar strings.
I instantly recognized the song. “Whatever It Takes,” by Lifehouse. Tears pricked my eyes as his sexy voice floated across the pub. Chatter in the crowd fell to a dull silence as everyone stared at him in wonderment. His precision with the chords and the heartfelt delivery of every word he sang stole all the air from my body in the best possible way.
Lifehouse was one of my all-time favorite bands. There was something about their music and lyrics I could always relate to. This song was one I had listened to many times, wishing for a moment like this, and now it was unfolding in front of me. I couldn’t hold back my tears of joy. They streamed down my face as I kept my gaze locked on Trey. His voice was like creamy milk chocolate, oozing into every part of me before filling up my heart so much, I was sure it was about to burst.
He placed the guitar down and hopped off the stage. A round of applause roared through the bar as he got closer to me. Trey gripped my hips, but he made no move to kiss me, clearly waiting for me to give him some sort of response. After wiping away a straggling tear, I crashed my lips against his with more force than I anticipated, but with no intention of stopping.
I delved deep into his mouth and poured every ounce of happiness flowing through me into every lick and swoop of my tongue. Hooting and hollering descended upon us, but I didn’t care. Trey needed to know how much what he did meant to me. Our tongues tangled together with an enthusiasm that made me truly believe we’d finally reached our someday.
Every time his piercing slid across my tongue, the intensity of my desire for him grew even more. Before the urge to mount him passed the point of no return, I pulled back, lightly brushing my lips across his swollen mouth one last time.
Trey rested his forehead on mine. “I hope I didn’t embarrass you.”
I gripped his shirt. “I’m not embarrassed at all. You couldn’t have picked a better song for us. As we start over, there’s a lot on both sides that needs to change. I know you’re going to do whatever it takes this time around, and so am I.”
“Sorry to interrupt, but here’s your appetizer and another round of drinks. The rest of your order will be out in a little bit,” our waiter mumbled as he set everything down.
Trey arched an eyebrow and pointed out, “We didn’t order another round.”
“I’m pretty sure you have more than a few free ones coming. A lot of people were impressed with your performance,” the guy said before turning on his heel.
Shrugging, Trey picked up his beer and took half of it down. After plopping some calamari on a plate for him, I passed it over and tossed a few pieces on my own. He set down his glass and dove into the food.
The beer batter and spices encompassing the squid sifted into the air, and I savored the delicious smell of it. A garlic aioli sauce accompanied it, along with a cocktail sauce, produced as much of a lip-licking aroma. I drizzled a little of each on the edge of my plate and swiped a piece through the marinated one. My taste buds exploded with the mixture of flavors dancing on my tongue.
“Good choice for a starter. You never disappoint,” I divulged, polishing off the last few pieces on my plate.
Trey gave me a crooked grin. “I certainly try not to.”
My lips slipped into my come and get it smile. “I’m more than curious to see what else you have planned for the night.”
He finished chewing what was in his mouth before taking another long drink of his beer. His tongue slid along his upper lip to rid it of the foam as he said, “You can give me as many naughty grins as you’d like, but those details are staying with me. I’m glad you told me what was going on with you. After everything I’ve put you through, I was beginning to wonder if I might be the reason behind your growing anxiety.”
I balked. “You do make me nervous at times. I’m sure you always will, but it’s not in a bad way. It’s the rest of the world that brings out my twitchiness. Knowing I can truly count on you again helps me more than you’ll ever understand. You’ve always had a way at preventing an attack.”
“You make me sound like a knight in shining armor. I’m certainly not that in the least. Speaking of the rest of the world, you haven’t mentioned a whole lot about your folks.” I opened my mouth to shut down that line of inquiry, but quickly closed it after seeing the pleading look in his eyes. “I know you don’t like talking about them, but if we’re really giving it our all, I feel like you should—even when it makes you uncomfortable.”
Releasing a shaky breath, I confessed, “My dad still makes his disdain for my attendance at Eckman known, but that doesn’t stop him from capitalizing on it. There isn’t an event I participate in or volunteer for that he doesn’t weasel his way into somehow, especially since the local press enjoys getting a shot of me whenever they have the chance. He’s still the same selfish jerk. I’m just grateful he doesn’t try to control my life nearly as much as he used to. He expects me to show up at plenty of functions for him, but for the most part, gives me my space. My mom still loves her wine, so I don’t have very many conversations with her that she remembers the next day. She’s going to reap the joys of being a senator’s wife for as long as she can—even if it means staying in a loveless and volatile marriage. When it comes to love, they’re the perfect example of what I never want for my life, but for some idiotic reason, I still strive to please them, hoping they’ll finally love me for who I am. It’s stupid, but old habits die hard.”
Trey studied me carefully. An array of emotions flitted across his chiseled face before the one I cared for the least settled on it—pity. “I don’t think it’s really a habit, Bri. It’s natural for anyone to seek approval from the people who are supposed to love us. I’m not surprised to hear you still try because that’s who you are. You’ve got one of the kindest hearts in this world. If they’re too dumb to see what a remarkable person you’ve become on your own without a lick of their help, it’s their loss.”
Before I could respond, the waiter returned with our food. I snatched the ketchup bottle, loaded my burger with it, and took a large bite. Much like the appetizer, the flavoring to it was impeccable and I shoved another portion into my mouth.
I swiped a fry through some of his tartar sauce. “One of two things are going to happen when it comes to my relationship with them.”
Trey paused from popping a crispy chip into his mouth. “What do you mean?”
His voice was on the cautious side and he no longer looked at me with sympathy in his eyes. In fact, a twinge of fear lingered behind them. I gobbled up a few more fries and replied, “They’ll stop throwing money at me to make up for their shortcomings and actually give a damn about me or I’ll end up doing something my dad deems unforgivable and he’ll disown me. Either way, I’ll survive. He may think I’m as greedy as my mom, but I could give a shit less about my trust. If I have to start paying for my tuition and housing, I’ll figure out a way. It’s his constant underestimation of me that will end up being his ultimate downfall.”
“Do you think he’d take it that far? He’s always seemed content on threatening you with that kind of stuff, but never really had the follow through.”
He tried very hard to sound nonchalant, but his alarmed eyes betrayed him. He didn’t doubt for a second my dad would sever ties with me.
“I think we both know he’s got a sinister side to him, so it shouldn’t really shock you to hear me vocalize it. When it comes to his goals, he’ll stop at nothing to make sure no one screws them up. I’m no exception.”
Trey released a drawn-out breath. “I’m sorry, Bri. That’s incredibly shitty of him.”
I finished what was left of my Blue Moon and grabbed the full glass next to it. “That it is. Now, you’re up to speed on the McAndrews fucked-up household. How’s your family doing?”
Changing the subject wasn’t lost on him, but rather than call me out on it, he almost seemed relieved. I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a bit more to his curiosity when it came to my relationship with my folks. When trying to subtly pull information out of a person, he was as skilled as they came, and I might’ve answered an unspoken question of his.
You more than likely did. He may have pressed for things about my home life in the past for good reason, but he hasn’t reacted like this before, so clearly it’s different. He’s digging for more for a reason. Don’t downplay it. Figure out why—and soon.
I shook off the nagging harpy in my head and stuffed another huge bite of my delectable burger in my mouth. Doubting his motives on our first date in years wasn’t the way I wanted our evening to go.
Trey chuckled as he dipped his fish in some tartar sauce. “I love how you don’t hold back when it comes to food. It's refreshing to see when so many women pick at their plates, which is wasteful when there are so many people starving in this world.”
I took another obnoxious bite of my loaded burger, and he laughed even harder before popping a few chips into his mouth. After I swallowed it, I gave him a playful grin and admitted, “I don’t ever plan on being one of those girls. If you ever see me slow down with food, that’s when you want to get worried. You didn’t answer my question. If I’m sharing on the family front, so are you.”
He shrugged. “There’s not much to tell. My mom keeps you informed, so you already know everything.”
I blushed. “I didn’t realize Lillian told you she was still in touch with me. Anyway, that’s not the point. There’s no way I know everything, so spill it. How’s your mom really handling Thomas and Tory hitting the teenage years? They’re so much like you, I imagine they’re quite broody.”
Finishing off his last battered fish, Trey scoffed, “She’s tough as nails, so their ever-changing mood swings don’t throw her off. I’m sure after going through it with me, it’s like a walk in the park with them. They’re not nearly as…what’s the word you like to use?”
I grinned. “I think the one you’re looking for is mercurial.”
He winked. “That’s the one. They have their moments, but for the most part, they’re turning into decent young men. Thomas needs to slow down when it comes to girls, and Tory needs to get a better handle on his temper. Neither are even close to as impulsive as I was in high school, so that’s a good thing.”
“Babe, I don’t think anyone is quite that unpredictable,” I teased.
Trey beamed. “I like being that way. It keeps you on your toes and matters fair between us.”
I giggled. “True. How are the twins doing? Are they still turning heads with the boys?”
Trey groaned. “Yes, they’re terrible. My dad has made it clear they’re not allowed to date until they’re sixteen, but they happened to inherit my rebellious side, so that rule doesn’t really matter. I feel for both my parents when puberty really starts to take hold for those two. They’re going to have their hands full.”
“I honestly don’t know how they do it now, especially with toddlers running around. Mia said Tighe is already a force to be reckoned with,” I replied, baffled.
He gobbled down the last few chips on his plate before wiping his hands with his napkin and tossing it aside. “If you want the truth, I think Tighe is going to outdo all of us when it comes to pushing them to their limits. He’s got way too much charisma for a two-year-old. His temper tantrums actually frighten me. Considering how bad my temper is, that’s saying something.”
My heart surged as I caught the gleam of pride in his eyes. He’d never admit it, but he was the best big brother a kid could ask for. I had no doubt he’d make an excellent father someday.
“It’s a good thing Trevor’s so mellow. How’s he feeling? You mentioned the chicken pox hit him harder than Tighe. Is it finally clearing up?” I asked.
His face was thoughtful as he said, “When I talked to my mom, it sounded like he was on the mend, but I’ll find out for sure when I check in on them over the weekend. I know she doesn’t tell me everything because she doesn’t want me to feel guilty about not coming home. I worry about Trevor the most. He’s so shy, and that’s okay, but I wonder if he’s so reserved because the rest of us take up so much of my mom’s time. Sometimes, the only time I see him really put up a stink about something is when Micah and Mia are over and get him riled up. He’s very attached to those two.”
I grasped his hand. “She just wants you to be happy. You do so much already, but you’re constantly doubting yourself on that front. I’m sure she only holds back some stuff so you don’t stress over it. She knows you try your hardest to be there when your dad is working, but that’s a lot for anyone to take on. As cliché as it sounds, she wants you to live a little for yourself and not be so worried about everyone else.”
Clear pain shot through his eyes. “Someone needs to be around to pick up the slack. Don’t get me wrong, my dad works his ass off for the betterment of our family, but it’s come at a huge price. He’s missed out on a lot over the years. I almost wish he never got the bid for F. F. & Sweeney. That was a life-changing moment for all of us, but now he works twenty-four-seven.”
“He’s doing the best he can. I’m not saying you don’t have a right to be upset over all the things he misses out on, but you don’t have to try to be him when he’s gone. Your mom doesn’t want that for you,” I replied, squeezing his hand.
“It sounds like you two talk about a lot more than my siblings and what’s new with you,” Trey mused, arching an eyebrow.
I released a nervous chuckle. “Actually, she’s always been very good about leaving you out of the conversation. I’m just more astute than you give me credit for.”
Trey trailed his index finger down my nose, pausing at my mouth. I playfully nipped at it. A devilish gleam entered his eyes as he shook his head. “You sure are feisty, but no biting until later.”
I faked being put out while waggling my eyebrows. “Ah, there’s Mr. Bossy. I knew he’d show up tonight. I try not to push your buttons too much, but if you’ll fuck me like you did this morning, I might keep poking.”
“You’re killing me over here, Bri. Would you try to behave yourself?” Trey requested in a low growl.
A shrewd grin spread across my face as I said, “I’ll think about it. Stop making that noise. It’s not fair and you know it.”
His mouth curled into a sexy smile. “Not a chance. You deserve to be tortured after the little stunt you pulled this morning. Let’s just say this is only the beginning of my payback. I know a variety of ways that will leave you wound-up in all the right places and begging for release, but I’m going to make you earn it.”
I blinked, not bothering to hide my genuine shock at his delicious threat. As his eyes scanned over my body, he was practically purring. My clit ached for whatever torturous things he wanted to do to it. I wasn’t about to let Trey on to that fact just yet, especially if he didn’t plan on doing anything to satisfy me anytime soon.
“You’ll have to fill me in on this infraction because I think you’re trying to throw me off my game,” I taunted with a bat of the eye.
Trey pulled the collar of his shirt aside to reveal a dark purple hickey. I tried to bite back my pleased grin, but couldn’t pull it off.
His eyes narrowed into a playful glare. “You seem quite satisfied with your work, Ms. McAndrews. As I said, I’m going to make you pay for it. I don’t care for these fuckers, and my boss hates them even more.”
My humor disappeared as I stammered, “I’m sorry, Trey. I honestly don’t remember doing it. It should be gone before your next shift. If not, I can show you how to cover it up.”
He scrunched up his nose. “I’m not putting on any makeup. I’d rather take whatever my boss has to say about it.”
I rolled my eyes. “Spoken like a typical caveman. I get the whole alpha thing, but touching up a blemish with some foundation isn’t going to strip your masculinity from you.”
“Does it ever bug you?” Trey inquired, his face suddenly very serious.
My eyebrows pulled together. “I’m going to need some more details on that question to answer it.”
“Mr. Bossy. Does it bother you in the bedroom? I know how domineering I can be, but that side of me comes out the most when we’re intimate. You’ve never seemed to mind, but I realized I haven’t actually asked you either. I’m just trying to make sure I’ve never pushed you further than you wanted to go. Our sex life is a bit more mature than most people our age,” Trey trailed off, blushing.
“No, it doesn’t. You allow me to have my fun. As far as pushing my limits, I’m more than okay with it. Let’s face it. We lost our virginity at a very young age. By the time you and I met, I’d grown rather bored with the basics of sex, and I think you had too. I’m not saying that’s a good thing, but it’s the truth. Being with you has always meant so much more than anyone else, but I like that we’re willing to push our boundaries when it comes to pleasure. It may not be conventional, but it makes sense to me, especially with how sexually experienced we already were when we first got together,” I admitted, grasping his hand.
Clear relief filled his face. “Good. I enjoy finding new things to make you scream, so I’m glad you’re okay with it.”
I gave him a flirtatious wink. “I’m more than fine with it. You’ve never disappointed me on that front. It’s not like anything we’ve done is really all that dark and twisted. We enjoy exploring our sexuality. I’m not ashamed of that fact. I know you won’t hurt me, so I never think twice about it when we do try something new. It always ends up blowing my mind.”
Before he had a chance to overanalyze our sex life any further, another round of beers showed up. I gazed around to see who purchased this one and couldn’t help but smile at the elderly couple a few booths down who raised their wine glasses at us. We saluted them before taking a drink.
“Can you bring us our check? Oh, and if you could please add the meals for the tables who purchased our rounds to it, I’d greatly appreciate it,” Trey requested with a no-nonsense look.
“Sure, no problem,” the waiter replied, then headed back to the bar to close our tab.
I looked at him in wonderment. “That was incredibly sweet of you to pay for their meals.”
His lips spread into a coy smile. “Every good deed should be rewarded. If more people paid it forward, there would be a lot less devastation in this world.”
“That’s certainly true. You should pass some of your wisdom on to Micah. He could use a dose of it right about now,” I muttered, taking a long drink of my beer.
“Why do you think that?” Trey questioned, running a hand through his hair.
As he waited for me to respond, his eyes grew more anxious. I finished what was left in my glass and set it on the table.
“Because he keeps blowing off his plans with Mia. They live together, but I think I see more of her than he does these days. If he keeps being so sketchy and withdrawn, he’s going to push her into an all-out meltdown.”
Trey sighed. “I can’t do that, Bri.” I opened my mouth to argue, but he waved his hand, so I snapped it shut. “It’s for all the same reasons you don’t share anything with me that might betray Mia’s trust. This is always going to be a factor for us. I think the best course of action is to let them work out their issues on their own. If we get caught up in the middle of it, that’s going to put some serious strain on us.”
“Fine, but Micah better get his head out of his ass and start being there for her,” I grumbled.
He tugged at the corners of my mouth. “You’re really hot when you pout.”
I kept my arms defiantly folded over my chest and refused to smile for him. After the waiter returned with our check, Trey tossed down several twenties and slipped him a ten. He clutched my hand as we made our way out of the pub.