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Authors: Kathleen Brooks

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BOOK: Acquiring Trouble
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“Since you’re an old friend, I’ll save you some time. We don’t lift our skirt for just anyone and certainly not you. Good luck finding as much as you can about us,

cause I
won’t
give you a thing. And if you manage to be good enough to find the information, I’ll give
you
a heads up. We won’t sell. There will be no takeover. You all try to dress it up and call it a merger
—e
ither way, it’s not happening.”

“Well,” Miles could hear the smile on her face, “I look
forward to trying to sneak a pee
k under your clothes. It’s
been great talking to you
, Miles. I’m sure we’ll talk again onc
e
I complete the investigation.”

“Forgive me for my lack of manners, but I hope I don’t hear from you again. I will fight this and so will my members. Goodbye, Morgan.”

Miles placed the phone on the counter and walked to the shower. Stepping under the spray he was assault
ed with visions of the past. Visions of a
slightly overweight girl with raven hair, mystical violet eyes
,
and baggy black clothes
… o
f the girl that kissed him graduation night with such abandonment he st
ill got hard thinking about it.

Stacy had walked in
in
the middle of a kiss that had left him so hot he
would’ve
taken Morgan against the wall before he even realized what was happening. Her lips had set him on fire, and her touch had almost undone him right then and there. Stacy had shrieked
and the spell had been broken.

Morgan bolted and he had been
left with one pissed
-
off cheerleader. Not that he was surprised. He was utterly and completely at fa
ult. He
could’ve
stepped away. H
e
could’ve
prevented her fr
om kissing him. B
ut he didn't
. He had apolo
gized and taken responsibility.

Stacy was crying
and he had never felt worse
.
He
begged, pleaded
,
and promised anything he could to get Stacy to stay with him. Finally, in the early hours of the morning Stacy had forgiven him. She had th
e promise ring on her finger
althou
gh she wasn't moving to Texas A&
M right away. The vice around his heart
had
eased as he
drove her home.

He smiled as she slid her hand onto his leg and leaned over to kiss his neck. He turned down Main Street and suddenly
her hand wasn't being so gentle
. She had gasped, and then pummeled him until he stopped the car.

"What the…"

"You bastard! You said it was a one-time thing, but it's not, is it? How long has this been going on?"

"Stacy, calm down. What are you talking about?"

"That!"
Stacy pointed toward the sky. Miles had looked to where she was pointing
. T
here, in bright red paint was Morgan's
artwork.

"I didn't do that!"

"It has your signature on it. And, you had red paint on you yesterday." Stacy accused.

"I was painting a barn, you know that."

"No, I don't know that. That's it. It's over. My father warned me about you. I
should’ve
listened." Stacy shook her blonde hair and stared out the window.

"Warned you? About me?"

"Yes. He knows I’
m going to join the Belles and said you didn't quite come up to snuff. After all, you're just going to be a farmer. I need to go to Vanderbilt and keep my options open."

"You're right. T
hat's exactly what you need to d
o." Miles started the car up and drove the remaining couple of blocks to her house. He watched as Stacy got out of the car, "Good bye
,
Stacy. Good luck finding the perfect man for you."

 

Miles stopped his car outside of his parents' farm and looked around for unknown cars.
His mom was starting to get smart and would pick
“the guest”
up or have
her
park behind the house. He thought about checking, but he was honestly too tired. After he had gotten out of the
shower he had climbed into bed, but sleep had evaded him.

Hopefully Marshall was here tonight. He needed a moment with him to talk about Morgan. Miles had never told anyone wha
t happened that night. He hadn’t
want
ed
to hurt Stacy or Morgan so he just kept his m
outh shut. One night in the des
ert of Somalia
, however,
he had told Marshall what really happened. Marshall was the only one who really knew how much of an effect that kiss had had on him and now he needed Marshall.

He didn’t need many things. He w
as the oldest of the six Davies
kids
and was responsible for keeping his eyes out for his siblings. But, now he rea
lly needed to talk to Marshall.

Miles
took the stairs two at a time and hurried into the house. Looking around he
saw that it was just family and Marshall wasn't here yet. His sister-in-law, Annie
,
was talking baby stuff with his sister, Paige. They were both looking very round as they finished up their seventh month of pregnancy. He couldn't wait to be an uncle.
He’d
s
poil them rotten.

"Son, how are you doing?"

"I'm fine Dad." Miles nodded to his dad and took the beer he offered. His father, Jake, was a tall quiet man. His brown hair had started to gray. Most of his sons looked just like him.

"I know you've taken your role as big brother seriously, but if
there’s
something bothering you, you know you can come to me, right."

"Dad, nothing's bothering me." Miles turned to the sound of the front door opening and saw Katelyn Jacks and her
family enter
.

"Well, just remember what I said." His father gave him a pat on the back before walking away.

Miles watched as Katelyn
, a former model dressed perfectly with her long blonde hair put up into a sleek
ponytail
, mad
e the rounds
. He
worried that with her here he w
ouldn't be able to talk to Marshall
. He really liked the new veterinarian, but Marshall tended to have tun
nel vision when she was around.

 

After talking to Katelyn's father about a
possible
deal
between
his hotels
and the
farmers
,
Miles was feeling like his old self. This
could be his
second biggest
account and would
strengthen Family Farms for
the war he was sure Top Producers would wage.

Finally he saw his brother sneaking into the house. He excused himself from talking about the bust with Cole and intercepted Marshall before he g
ot across the room to Katelyn. But, it was to no avail. Tunnel vision had set in
. B
etween Marshall's preoccupation with getting to Katelyn and
their
mother calling for dinner
,
Miles
decided not to bother him
. Clearly Marshall had other matters on his mind. Miles would just take care of it himself just like he'd taken care of everything and everyone
else in his life… by himself.

 

Chapter
Three

 

Miles stopped his car at the gate to his property and stepped out to undo the chain. He checked the piece of clear tape he kept on it to see if it had been opened while he was gone.
After scanning the horizon for movement
and listening for out-of-place sounds, Miles returned to his car.
Old habits from the war were hard to break.

He had a medium
-
sized pond between the gate and the house filled with geese
that honked if
they were bothered. The geese lifted their heads and honked in welcome as he drove by. He checked the motion sensor that was hidden in
the tree line to make sure the detectors
were
n’t
obscured. A small red light was blinking
so
he stopped the car. That meant something had set it off.

He opened the trunk of his car and pulled out a
sniper rifle. He clipped on the night scope and started a systematic scan of his property.
Through the green lens he saw a deer munching on the berry bush,
a possum chilling in a tree,
a
dog sitting on his front porch,
and
a herd of cows munching on the grass... wait, a dog on his porch? He didn't have a dog. He was not a pet person.

Miles finished his scan and determined the stray dog had set off the motion sensor. He drove up to the house and parked his car in the garage. Miles walked slowly toward the small dog trying to determine if it was friendly. The dog
looked
like
a corgi mix with a really long tail. He
had a gray face, black nose,
tan hair with dark brown ears
,
and a white chest. His
legs were short and stumpy. When Miles looked into the dog's sad brown eyes
,
all he could think about was this dog had an old soul. Something tugged at
his heart
strings when the dog
sat up on his hind legs and waved at him.

"I guess you expect me to let you into the house and take care of you, huh?" Miles smiled when the dog batted his big lashes and gave a little yip. "Okay, but only for tonight."
The dog thumped his tail and
followed him inside the house.

 

Miles undressed and lay down in bed after checking all the door and window locks. He set the alarm,
but
turn
ed
off the mo
tion sensor
with the dog in the house
.

He shut his eyes and a pair of violet eyes danced before him as he drifted off to sleep. In his dream he was kissing Morgan again all those years ago.
Then the shot rang out. Morgan's eyes widened as she fell to the ground. When he looked up he was no longer at the graduation party, he was in the mountains of Afghanistan.

 

Afghanistan, six years ago…

 

Morgan was gone and he was looking through his scope at his brother, Cade. He was behind a large rock
with a shoulder rocket launcher
ready
to
disable
a
n approaching
caravan of terrorists. Their
intel
told them that the middle car in the three
-
car caravan
held the daughter of the Secretary of State who was kidnapped while her college archeological group dug for Bronze Age artifacts near the Afghanistan and
Tajikistan
bo
rder.

Miles and Cade had been sent in as
members
of the elite Delta Force
on an
unsanctioned mission to destroy the terrorists and rescue the hostage.
Cade was to take out the first truck
.
Miles was to take out any terrorists that came out of the third truck while Cade reloaded the rocket launcher to take out the third vehicle. Then
they’d
converge on the second vehicle and rescue said hostage.

Miles trained his scope
on the road and watched as two
covered trucks
and one
Subaru WRX STI
appeared on the horizon.
The covered trucks probably carried supplies, guns
,
or rebels. The beast of off-road racing, the Subaru, was
probably
where Mariah Brown was being
held
.
He signaled to Cade who readied the launcher. Miles gave one last sweep of the area and stopped at the rocky terrain beside Cade. Something bothered him, but he couldn't tell what it was. He slowly scanned the area and then saw it. A slight reflectio
n of the
sun off a scope
caught his attention
.

"Cade, we have company," he said into his
com
.

"Where?"

BOOK: Acquiring Trouble
13.38Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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