Dedicated to my favorite avid reader, Rachel.
NEVER ONCE HAD MEGAN considered that this was going to be so damn difficult. Tomorrow she'd have to go and spend some time with Joe, make sure that they were on the same page. Anna and Sara were all over Corey, tending to blood from his open lip. His eye turned a deep shade of red and began to swell. This was all her fault. She wouldn't blame him for walking away because of all the trouble she brought into his life. Megan stepped forward, and Corey held out his hand to her. There were two choices here, go with the man she loved, or decline and have Karen take her home. If she left with him, then she would have a chance to talk to him and clear this whole mess up. A tight knot formed in the pit of her stomach again, knowing that she would have to tell him what she'd done.
Turning to look for Karen, she noticed the small crowd that had gathered around the dance floor to watch the fight and cringed. Her sister-in-law had never left the table. Instead, Karen stood beside it, her arms crossed over her chest watching everything. Megan bit her lip, wishing she knew what to do. She needed to go with Corey, wanted to hold him in her arms and take care of him. Glancing back to Corey, she noticed the tender expression on his face. Uncertainty and pure desire danced in those dark eyes and sent heat zinging up her spine to the point she found it hard to breathe. He was unsure of her, of what she wanted, and knowing that seemed to make her decision clear. Megan laid her hand in his for the second time that night.
"I'll see you tomorrow," Anna said, squeezing Corey's upper arm.
He nodded and pulled Megan closer. Together they headed toward the front door, listening to the laughter and some drunken fools chattering about the brawl. Megan shook her head and was relieved that she never had to come back to The Stix if she didn't want to. Passing Joe and Beth at the bar, Megan stopped.
Dropping Corey's hand, she walked over to them. "We need to talk. I'll be over some time tomorrow. Good night. Beth, please take care of him."
Megan returned to Corey, threaded her arm under his and around his waist as they headed to the door. The quiet outside the bar as they left the dull beat of the music behind them brought a smile to Megan’s face. Crickets sang as they crossed the parking lot to his truck, their footfalls scraping over the pavement. She thought he'd say something, but Corey remained silent. Corey opened the door for her and closed it after she'd slid into the truck. Megan's heart picked up speed, pounding deep in her chest, nervousness settling in. Corey got into the truck, put the key into the ignition, cranked the engine, threw the gearshift and took off out of the parking lot without even looking at her.
COREY’S EYE AND LIP throbbed and burned as he drove toward Megan's house. Damn, he'd been an ass tonight. She trusted him to stay calm when Joe arrived, but truth be told, Corey Brady never backed down from a fight. He hadn't started it, but he was willing to finish it once and for all. After the fight, when Megan went and spoke to Joe, a disturbing thought formed in his mind, and he knew he wouldn't be able to move forward with Megan if he didn't know the answer to that troubling question.
He pulled the truck into the bottom of the driveway, not wanting to disturb Dex and the kids, and made sure that Karen had enough room to get past when she came home. He expected her any moment and hoped she'd show up, and head into the house so he could talk to Megan without any interruptions. Cutting the engine, Corey turned to Megan.
"Before you chew me out, I just want to say that I didn't start it and that I was only defending myself."
Megan sighed, her breasts straining the thin fabric of her black top. Corey couldn't help that his eyes feasted on those small, perky globes. He loved the feel of them, her brown nipples erect and calling out to his mouth. His groin tightened at the thought, and he expelled the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding.
"I know you didn't start it, but I hate that you and Joe are fighting, especially over me. I don't know why you two can't get along, but I want you to know something."
Lifting her knee up off the floor, she turned and rested her thigh on the bench seat. Corey's eyes moved down her slim frame and stopped on the apex of her thighs, imagining his hand running up her leg to her hidden secret. He had to drive these thoughts out of his mind, but he couldn't help the burning he felt when he was close to her.
"Just say what's on your mind, Megan," he coaxed.
She sighed, took his hand and held it in hers. "About my relationship with Joe."
"I know you are friends," Corey interrupted. "I guess that I’m a little possessive when it comes to you." Corey slid closer, the urge to kiss her, to forget everything that happened that day and just focus on the two of them for a change, was all that crossed his mind.
Megan's mouth opened as if she were going to speak, but not a sound came out. Corey took that opportunity to lean in and mold his lips to hers but flinched back in pain as soon as their mouths met. He'd been craving her touch for days, couldn't stop thinking about how it felt to have her pressed up against him like that night in her kitchen. Resting a hand her thigh he stroked her leg with one hand, while the other cradled her face, keeping her close.
“Does it hurt much?” Megan whispered.
“A little.” He didn’t care about the pain, he just wanted to kiss her. Corey lowered his mouth to hers, hovering just above as she moaned. He thrust his tongue deep into her mouth, swirling his around hers. Leaning closer to him Megan's arms reached up and locked behind his neck, her fingers grabbing clumps of his hair and tugging. She was letting go in his arms, enjoying the invasion of his mouth.
Her sweet perfume lingered in the air. Corey broke the kiss, dragging his lips down to her neck as her scent filled his nose. His hand slid up her thigh to her waist. He couldn’t help the smile that washed over his face or the intense feelings of triumph that Megan was finally his.
Her hands left his hair and slid down his face. "Ahh," Corey said pulling away. Although her touch was delicate, his face still hurt from the fight.
"I'm so sorry." She looked at him, her hazel eyes wide and full of concern.
"I'm fine, honest."
"Come inside and we'll put some ice on your face," she suggested.
Corey shook his head. “Not tonight."
Megan sighed. She stared at the house for a moment and then lights flooded the yard. Karen pulled into the driveway in Megan's car, parking just beyond Corey's truck. She got out of the vehicle and headed to the house without looking their way. Turning to him, she rested her head on his shoulder.
He wrapped her in his arms and held her tight. "Yeah."
"I think I'd better get going."
He wished she wouldn't, but knew it had been a long day for her. He couldn't imagine going home knowing he would never see his father again. His chest tightened at the mere thought. How Megan was going to handle the major change in her life, he didn't know. What he did know was that he would do whatever he could to help her through the hard days ahead.
"Okay, Megan. You get some sleep and we will pick this up tomorrow."
She sat up, pulled out of his arms and stared at him, her jaw dropped and her eyes were huge. "Tomorrow?"
Corey chuckled and shrugged. "Yeah, that's what guys usually do. They show up, bring flowers and candy, take their ladies out on the town." Shaking his head, he stared at her, "Unless of course, you'd prefer I didn't do any of those things."
Megan laughed and swatted his arm. "I expect it."
"So," he began, moving his mouth over hers, "what would you like tomorrow?" He pressed his lips to hers, stifling her reply.
Breaking the kiss, Megan slid closer to the door. She got out of the truck, closed the door and stuck her head into the open window. "Surprise me." With a wink, she turned and rushed off toward the house.
AS IF ON A cloud Megan floated into the house. She knew she should tone her excitement down, but it seemed an impossible task at that moment. Corey stepped up to the plate and in a big way.
Dex stared as she moved through the living room. "What's got you in such a good mood?"
Megan shrugged. She wasn't ready to deal with Dex and what he thought was best for her. He had always been opinionated, and the last thing she wanted was to listen to a big brother speech that would deflate her happiness. She headed into the kitchen for a bottle of water, and he wasn't far behind her.
"What's going on with you and Corey?"
Megan went to the refrigerator, grabbed a cold bottle of water, and turned to face him. "I guess we’re dating." Twisting the cap off, she took a drink.
Karen stepped into the room behind Dex. "That's great, Megan."
Megan smiled at her sister-in-law. "I can't believe it's finally happening."
"So I guess this means you don't want to move to Florida with us."
Shaking her head, she smiled, "Nope."
"Speaking of Florida," Dex began. "Mr. Roberts dropped off Dad's will."
"That was quick," Megan muttered. The thought of the will made all the sadness rush over her like a sudden downpour of rain. Her father was dead, and instead of mourning like most normal people did, she focused on Corey Brady. The hard reality of that truth made her cringe.
"He's going out of town in the morning and won't be back for a few weeks. He thought that I wouldn't want to go home and come back for the reading.
"What does this have to do with Florida?" Karen asked.
Dex heaved a heavy sigh. "Maybe we should sit down."
Karen turned and headed into the dining room, with Dex right behind her. Megan didn't know what to do. She wanted to know what the will stated, but she didn't want to interfere in their personal conversation. Whatever Dex had on his mind, it was big.
Megan replaced the cap on the bottle and realized she'd left her purse at The Stix. "Damn it," she muttered.
Dex spun around, his brow creased and his eyes cold. "Since when do you talk like that?"
Megan rolled her eyes. "You're joking right?" He hadn't changed his facial expression or the rigid stance of his body.
"Okay, I guess when I turned eighteen and no one was around to make me stop. I need to go back to The Stix."
"At this hour?" Dex asked, his big hands resting on his hips.
"Forgot my purse."
"It's on your bed," Karen interjected and smiled.
"Great." Megan moved past Dex and headed through the dining room.
"Hold up. Have a seat, this does concern you too."
Megan stopped dead in her tracks. Her eyes closed as fear grabbed a hold. As far as she knew, they owned the house free and clear, but she could be mistaken. What if I lose the house? Where will I go?
Megan turned and took a seat at the dining room table. Dex continued to stand and looked from one to the other.
"Apparently, the will was drawn up right after Mom died. He'd never changed it, probably didn't even bother to think about it again."
"So what does that mean?" Karen asked.
Dex tore his eyes away from Megan and her heart sank. It was bad. He didn't have to say another word, they lost the house and she'd have to find a job and a place to live. Florida started to have appeal.
"It means that Megan was a child, and my father left me everything."
"Oh," Karen muttered half under her breath. She turned her attention to Megan. "It doesn't mean anything, Megan. This will be your home for as long as you want it."
"Speaking of homes, I've been thinking," Dex said.
Megan felt like she could vomit, bile churned in her stomach, ready to send her rushing off to the toilet. "I need to lie down." She stood from the chair and turned to flee.
"How would you like to move back to Endurance?" Dex asked his wife.
Megan's head spun as she stumbled down the hallway. Her father hadn't bothered to look at the will in ten years, and she didn't get anything. She wanted to cry, but couldn't, the tears refused to come. She made it to her room, left the light off, closed the door, took her jeans off and curled up on her bed, burying her face in the pillow.