Finding Gray: A Colloway Brothers Prequel (.5) (The Colloway Brothers Book 1)

BOOK: Finding Gray: A Colloway Brothers Prequel (.5) (The Colloway Brothers Book 1)
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Finding Gray
The Colloway Brothers (.5): Prequel to Forsaking Gray
K.L Kreig

F
inding Gray

Copyright © 2016 by K. L. Kreig

P
ublished
by K. L. Kreig

ePub: ISBN-978-1-943443-18-5 ISBN-10: 1943443181

mobi: ISBN-13: 978-1-943443-19-2 ISBN-10: 194344319X

A
ll rights reserved
. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the author.

T
his book is
a work of fiction. The characters, events, and places portrayed in this book are products of the author’s imagination and are either fictitious or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

C
over Art by Yocla Designs

Editing by Heather Roberts

P
ublished
in the United States of America.

Chapter 1

W
hen I see him
, I stop dead in my tracks. He is the epitome of sexy. The very definition. My skin turns hot and my heart starts this little pitter-patter rhythm that makes me angry. I dreamed about him and those smoldering eyes of his all night last night. Woke up soaked everywhere, my pulse pounding, my core throbbing.

I don’t want to want him, the arrogant son-of-bitch, but
crap
...I kinda do.

My entire body is a turncoat right now, because while my mind may be confused, my body is not. She wants the penetrating eyes of this incredibly handsome man to run all over her, followed by his tongue, then maybe his hands.
Definitely
his hands.

But thinking about the tip he left last night infuriates me. He may be panty wetting good looking, what with that strong jaw rockin’ the scruffy look, but leaving a hundred-dollar tip on a fifty-dollar bill is nothing short of haughty.

Harnessing that irritation until it overrides my raging hormones, I steel myself, grabbing a menu covered in plastic from the pile and march over to his table.

“I don’t need your charity,” I shoot with venom as I throw it down in front of him. It skitters to the edge and tips over into his lap. He looks down at it, then back to me. The ends of his mouth kick upward before he picks it up and sets it back down gently. I try not to notice how thick and masculine his fingers look and how well they would fit inside…

“It’s a good thing I’m not a charitable person, then,” he replies casually. My body, that bitch, she preens as his eyes walk all over me: from scuffed black shoes and drab clothes all the way to my messy hair, which is falling out of the bun I’d put it in prior to my shift.

“Go out with me,” he states plainly. As if he liked what he saw, even though I’m sure I have mascara smudged underneath my eyes. As if he didn’t ask me out five times last night and forgot what the word
no
meant. As if the different worlds we come from don’t matter at all. But they do. Unfortunately even that doesn’t stop my body from prickling.

“Are you really that conceited or are you just stupid? I thought MIT was a college for smart people?” I throw that little factoid from last night back in his face. His very
attractive
face.

He chuckles, amused. “I’m that confident.”

My mouth falls open. Why the hell do I like that so much? I should hate this arrogant asshole. For some reason though, he fascinates me instead. But he’s so far out of my league; I could swing all day and miss every single time. Coming to my senses, I snap my mouth shut and lie, “I already told you I didn’t want to go out with you.”

Again with the grin. “I don’t give up that easily, Livvy.”

I feel my face flame hot. Holy balls, that nickname dropped straight inside my panties and caressed me deliberately from front to back.

“My name is Livia. Not Livvy.”
You sounded breathy, didn’t you?
Shit.

“Tomorrow night. Just one date.”

“I have to work tomorrow night.”
Better. More power behind that one. Now next time, mean it.

“Then the night after that,” he counters smoothly, undeterred.

Sighing, I look over his shoulder to the cracked plastic of the booth he’s in. I have a feeling this guy won’t give up until he gets what he wants. And it’s obvious he wants me.

I want to say yes. I want to let him take me out to a fancy restaurant. Wine me. Dine me. Do
more
to me. But letting myself live in this fantasy where there’s any chance we could work is foolish and irresponsible. I’m working my ass off just to pay for a few classes at the local community college while he will probably graduate from a $50,000 a year university not owing a dime, no doubt his rich parents footing the bill.

Not to mention the responsibility I have caring for Alyse, my younger sister. I doubt Mr. MIT would know the first thing about the weighty obligations of being a stand-in parent because your mother abandoned you and the only one you have left gambles away the mortgage payment and grocery money.

No. No, we would never work, so just push that thought right out of your head, Livia. “Sorry. I have to work every night for the next six nights. Some of us need to make a living.”

Bravo. Now that had oomph behind it.

Before he can formulate another argument, I spin on my heels and head over to greet my next customer, willing away the sharp pang those words leave behind. Wishing things could be different. But I’ll never fit into his world and he won’t fit into mine. I have to make sure Alyse graduates, gets into college. I have an entirely different focus than he does. And he’s better off with a Stepford wife who thinks shopping is an Olympic sport.

Only, in the same breath I think those things, I also wonder if they’re really true. The romantic side of me whispers:
Maybe he’s more than you think, Livia. Maybe you should give him a chance?
Unfortunately, the logical side of me yells:
Leave it, Livia. He’s not worth it. He’s like every other guy. You wound his pride; he’ll lose interest and move on to the next willing victim with T&A.

And, of course, my whispers of what
could be
are drowned out by the screams of
can’t ever happen
, so I move on, convinced I’ll never see this player again.

Only that’s not at all what happens.

Chapter 2


T
hat MIT hottie is back
.
Again
,” Christa, a fellow waitress, whispers in my ear.

I know.

“Yeah?” I feign indifference. I keep busy rolling silverware in paper napkins, trying to suppress my grin, but god…I can’t. I try not to feel his eyes watching my every move, but it’s impossible.
Impossible
. The second that bell clanged, I knew it was him walking in. For the sixth night in a row. I knew because he’s come in at the exact same time, and always asks to be seated in my section. I know this because Holly, the hostess, told me that after night three.

“Fuck, he is smokin’ hot,” she tells me, sounding as dreamy as I feel.

I lift up one shoulder. “He’s okay.”

“Okay?” She screeches so loud you’d think I just spilled soda on her Gucci shoes. Her dad owns Rocky’s Pizza and she’s “finding herself” by waitressing two nights a week. If only we all had it that easy. “Jesus, girl, you need to get your hottie radar fixed. And fast,” she adds. “Because he’s looking at you like you’re the special of the night instead of the six cheese pizza.”

I glance over my shoulder and catch his eyes, watching. Assessing. Strategizing. They do look hungry as they crinkle at the edges when he smiles. A smile I’ve already come to know is a genuine one, not an
I’m feeding you full of shit just to get lucky
one.

After I get my fill of his cut jawline and full lips, I let my eyes wander over his broad shoulders, down sculpted arms that stretch the fabric of his pullover sweater. I imagine what all six plus feet of him looks like without a stitch of clothing. And it’s a good vision. A damn good one if I do say so myself.

Holy hell, I want him.

I want him and the flag of surrender is already half way up the pole.

He’s working so damn hard to get me out on just one date.
One
. I think any other guy would have just given up by now, but not him. And no woman would deny that the effort he’s putting into this is a head rush.

I like it.

I like
him
.

And that scares me more than anything, actually. Everything in me screams if I succumb to his advances I’ll only get hurt. He’ll be leaving in just three short weeks to return to Cambridge. To return to the life he had before me. I’ll be the one left behind. A memory. A hard fought victory, maybe.

But if you’re not…

If you’re not, then what?
Long distance relationships never work. Never. Only the naïve believe they will. And naïve isn’t something I’ve been since I was eight and my mother walked out on our family.

But that doesn’t stop me from returning that smile. It doesn’t quell the need building low in my core. And it doesn’t squash these feelings I have for a man I’ve gotten to know only through brief two-minute conversations over the course of a week.

He’s smart. Driven. Loyal. Tenacious. Has this confidence that borders on arrogance, but falls just short of it. He has another few months of college left before he graduates. He plans to take over his father’s consulting company one day, along with his two brothers, Asher and Connelly, who were in with him on the first night.

Which means he’ll be moving back to Detroit.

Which means maybe I
could
take a chance.

Just one date.

What can
one
date hurt?

I stand and scoop up a menu and start toward him, ignoring Christa when she tells me to
get laid already
. His grin gets wider and more hypnotic the closer I get. Butterflies leap in my belly and I work hard to contain the excitement that’s building, threatening to burn me like a backdraft.

But all that effort goes up in a plume of smoke when I stop in front of him. I know as I set the menu down tonight, his patience has finally paid off.

He’s worn me down.

“Aren’t you getting sick of pizza yet?” I let a small smile play at the corners of my lips.

His face lights up. “To tell you the truth, I’m really starting to fucking hate it.”

I laugh. So does he. Seconds crawl. We hold each other’s gaze, neither of us wanting to look away. Sweet lord, I am in trouble.

“Then why do you keep coming back?”

“You.” The way he says it could be taken as cheesy, but it’s not. It’s said with sweet intensity and that cocky conviction he wears like a second skin. It’s honest and absolute.

It’s working.

I sigh, wondering if I’m really about to do this. No one has pursued me this way before. It’s intoxicating and scary at the same time. “What are you really after, Gray?”

“You.” Again with the sincerity. It floors me.

My head starts to shake, truly not understanding. “You’re a good looking guy. You could have anyone you want. Why me?”

His brows wag. That grin turns smug. Wow, his teeth are really white. “You think I’m good looking?”

I want to keep this banter going. It’s been escalating each time he comes in and I’ve come to love the way he flirts, how at ease he is with himself and with me. But I need an answer, not deflection. I set my hand on my hip, cock it and wait.

He blows out a breath and leans back. He crosses his arms almost as if he’s incensed I asked. Then he pins me with this look I will remember for the rest of my life.

Pure, utter resolve.

I crumble right on the spot.

“Why not you, Livvy? I find you extremely attractive, but there’s something more about you, unique, different. And I have this visceral need to figure it out. There’s white hot chemistry between us and I know you feel it too.”

Jesus, do I. “You’re going back to school soon.”

One corner of his mouth ticks down. “What are you really afraid of, angel?”

Everything.

I can’t hold his penetrating stare for a second longer. I feel as if he sees straight through me, into part of me where the fear I’m not good enough hides. I drop my attention to the floor, then back up. “We’re very different, you and I.”

He hesitates, as if he’s thoroughly thinking through how he’ll convince me to say yes. But all I want is the truth. “I’ve heard opposites attract.”

“I don’t sleep with a guy on the first date, so if that’s what you’re after then you might as well not come back.”

He grins. I melt. “Good. Neither do I.”

An eyebrow lifts and I tease, “You don’t sleep with a guy on the first date, either? Good to know.”

Laughing, he says, “Guess I should choose my words more carefully next time, huh?”

I narrow my eyes, trying to vet out the lies, but I don’t see them. All I see are silent pleas to give him a chance. That he’s different. Safe.

Give him a chance, Livia.

One chance. One date.

I take in a long breath, and when I blow it out, “Okay,” comes out along with it.

He straightens up, his eyes going wide. “Okay? Okay you’ll go on a date with me?”

His excitement makes that teenage giddiness I thought was lost at the age of fourteen roar back as if I’m at the Sadie Hawkins dance and Kenny Willis just asked me if he could hold my hand. I start to fidget with the worn corner of the plastic the menu is encased in.

“You’ve worked pretty hard for it so I guess I’ll throw you a bone.”

He grins ear to ear. It dazes me. Scrambles my brains a little. Before I lose my nerve, I reach into my apron pocket and pull out my notepad, scribbling my phone number. I rip it off and hand it to him, hoping he doesn’t notice my hand shaking.

I make him work for it, though. He has to tug it from my clinging grip, but when it slips out, he sweeps those striking hazels back up to mine. They twinkle in triumph. My knees feel a little soft.

“This real?” he asks, shaking it in the air.

I bark a laugh, drawing the attention of the neighboring patrons. I realize I’ve spent far too much time here already and I have two more tables that have been seated since Gray arrived. I find I don’t want to walk away from him yet. It’s the same feeling I had that first night and every night since, even though I’ve done my level best to be a standoffish bitch.

Yep…I’m in whopping trouble.

“Yes. It’s real. Well, ah, I guess I should get back to work.”

“Okay. I’m going to call you later.”

I nod and head to the neighboring table, but for the next hour I’m hyper aware of him. He watches me constantly, his eyes greedy. Full of possibilities I want to explore.

Later when I bring him the check, he asks me a question straight out, not shy in the least. The surety emanating from him is so damn sexy I know I’m not the only one falling prey to it. “So, ah…what date do you sleep with a guy on, then?”

I told him I didn’t sleep with men on the first date and that’s true. But it’s mostly because I don’t date. Period. At twenty, I should be sowing my oats, living life. I should be experienced in men, but I work fifty plus hours a week and take a couple classes in my down time, hoping to get my teaching degree some time in the next ten years. And keeping tabs on my sixteen-year old sister, Alyse, is more than a full time job in and of itself.

But in Gray’s case I find that I might say fuck it and let him have his way with me the second I fold myself into his car. God knows if he took me in the back right now I wouldn’t stop him if he pulled my panties aside and thrust two fingers inside me. They would slide in so easily at this point. So damn easy. I would come long and hard, then beg him to fuck me against the dingy bathroom wall until we were both sweaty and spent.

And I think he knows it.

Only I also get this distinct feeling he’s willing to take this at my pace. Fast or slow. Whatever it is, he’ll keep up with me, urging, encouraging, but never pushing.
“I’m in no rush,”
he had told me on night four. “
You’re worth the wait, Livvy
.”

He thinks I’m worth the wait, but even as I toss saucily over my shoulder, “I guess you’ll know if you get there,” I have to admit to myself that I’m already in that terrifying place where I’m not waiting at all. I’m starting to envision not just one date with him, but ten. Twenty. A
thousand
.

Gray Colloway stole a piece of me the second our eyes first connected almost a week ago now. I fought letting him take for all of two seconds. Now that it’s his, I know I’ll never get back.

And I think he knows
that
, too. I daresay he’s even counting on it.

BOOK: Finding Gray: A Colloway Brothers Prequel (.5) (The Colloway Brothers Book 1)
12.14Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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