Authors: Kathi S. Barton
Bowen Boys Book 2
Kathi S. Barton
World Castle Publishing
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of
the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed
as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locations, organizations, or person,
living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
World Castle Publishing
© Kathi S. Barton 2013
Edition World Castle Publishing June 1, 2013
rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner
whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations
embodied in articles and reviews.
Khan looked out the back door to his
home and watched the deer playing. He’d not been out much and they’d made a
playground of his yard. He turned away from them when he felt his cat snarl at
him. He wanted to go out and hunt them down. Khan walked into his living room
and looked around.
His house was a sty. It probably smelled
bad too, but he was so far gone in that department that, on his own, he didn’t
notice it. That was one of the reasons he’d told his mom to stay away. She’d
hang him out to dry if she could see this place. But he was in hiding.
His brother and his mate had left for
their honeymoon three weeks ago. And in all that time, he’d not left his house.
Not even to go out and run with his brothers. His mail he’d get well after dark
and then only if he ran out, got it, and returned quickly. He hated doing this,
but he was not meeting his mate.
Caitlynne, his brother Walker’s mate,
had told him he was going to meet her and she would be human. She wasn’t
clairvoyant or anything, but she’d been predicting that it would happen every
day he talked to them. He liked the girl well enough, but was still not going
to bring another human in this group. So he’d been hiding.
The phone ringing startled him and he
ignored it. It was one of his brothers again, and he wasn’t in the mood to talk
yet. He was staying right here until everyone got the idea that he wasn’t going
to mate with anyone and that they should leave him the hell alone. He nearly
screamed when someone lay on the doorbell, ringing the sucker like it was their
Opening the door, he was ready to snarl
at the person there when he was suddenly engulfed in a pair of female arms and
she was kissing him on the cheeks. Khan tried in vain to pull her off him, but
Caitlynne was a lot stronger than she looked. Finally, when he saw Walker, he
told his brother to control his female.
“Female, huh? I guess we haven’t moved
on to the first name thing yet. No matter. I still missed you.” She walked in
the house and went to his living room as if she owned it. Maybe she kinda did.
He wanted to talk to her about that too.
“Come on in. Make yourself at home, why
don’t you?” He glared at Walker when he laughed. “This isn’t funny. I told you
when you called me this morning to stay the fuck away. What are you doing here
Khan growled at her.
“And your house looks like a frat house.
Though I’m thinking that a frat house might smell better. What the fuck have
you been doing?”
“I’ve been minding my own business like
I wish the hell you did. Get out of there.” He jerked the box of cereal from
her and put it with the others. “Tell me what you want, then leave. I think I’ve
made it perfectly clear that my home is—”
“Yeah, yeah, it’s yours. So what? We
have to talk to you and I can’t do it in here. Not unless you want me to
decorate with puke. Christ, I thought you had more balls than to hide away like
some sort of hermit.” She moved to the kitchen and out of the living room. “I’m
waiting on you.”
Khan looked at Walker, who hadn’t said a
word and was smiling like a sap. He didn’t know whether to punch him in the
nose for siccing Caitlynne on him or kick him out with her.
“You’d better go in there. If it looks
half as bad as this room, she’s probably calling a cleaning crew.”
Khan looked at the mess and knew that it
was worse in the kitchen. He took off after her.
“Yes. Today, if possible. I’ll pay
extra. And you might want to bring in extra help. It’s been awhile.” He could
only stare at her when she hung up the phone. “You should be ashamed of
yourself for this. What the fuck would your mom say?”
“You do know that I’m not going to let
them in, don’t you? You might as well call them back and tell them not to come.
My house is mine.” She smiled and sat down. “Caitlynne, I’m not kidding you.”
“You know, that’s the really sad part. I
know you’re not. But I can’t visit you in this place. I will really be sick
everywhere.” Walker came into the room and smiled at her. “We have something to
tell you. You might want to sit down.”
He sat. He knew that there were battles
to win with her, not that he remembered winning any, but he sat. When she told
him her news, he was going to demand that she call the cleaning crew back, and
then he was going to discuss the money in his account.
“We’re going to have a baby.”
Khan opened his mouth and closed it
twice before he looked at Walker.
“See, I told you he’d be speechless.”
She stood up again and started stacking
dishes. He could smell that she was nervous and didn’t say anything as she
continued to clean. Walker sat beside him and stacked the dishes in front of
both of them as he started talking.
“We knew before we left, but didn’t want
to tell anyone. She was nervous that no one would let her go on our honeymoon.”
Khan nodded, took the stack of dishes
that Walker handed him, and gave them to Caitlynne.
“We wanted to tell you first, then we’d
all go over to Mom and Dad’s and tell everyone there. We stopped here because
we’ve heard that you’ve become something of a recluse.”
“I’ve been trying to get things
together.” Khan flushed when his brother raised a brow at him and looked
around. “Cleaning up was low on my list.”
Caitlynne snorted, and Walker laughed. “It
looks to me like your list didn’t include cleaning at all. Why didn’t you hire
someone to come in and clean? You know that there was enough money to do that,
That made him remember his bank
statement. “You put money in my account and I want you to take it out. And my
bills too. I want you to tell whoever is getting them and paying them to stop
that too. I pay my own way.”
“Of course you do.” He decided that it
was the pat on his head like he was ten years old that made him grind his teeth
at her. “Unless you want me to kick your ass, I would take it down a notch. I’m
a little hormonal right now and you’ve not said one word about the baby. Are
you so pigheaded that you can’t even be happy for us?”
Then Caitlynne Bowen did something he
would never have thought of seeing her do. She burst into tears. Walker didn’t
even bat an eye, but picked her up, dirty dishrag and all, and held her. Khan
was glad he’d been sitting down or he might have fallen.
“She’s been having a hard time with her
emotions. I told her it would pass, but it’s difficult for her.”
Khan nodded at his brother’s
“She isn’t as bad as she was a week ago,
but we’re still having issues.”
“I am not. I’m perfectly fine until some
asshole makes me upset.” She stood up and began where she’d left off cleaning.
“As for your money. You can do whatever you want with it. It’s yours, but know
this; I will not stop doing what I’m doing. I’m enjoying myself. And you would
too if you got out of this house.”
She went to answer the door and he didn’t
move. Khan knew it was the cleaning service and wondered how much money she
promised them to get here in an hour. He stood up when he heard them coming
toward where they were. “I want to go on a run. Now, I want to go now.” He
moved to the door and out it before he realized that Walker was coming with
him. Good, he’d have someone to help him look for women…strangers.
They had been in the woods for nearly an
hour when he finally lay down. Walker and he had run for most of that time
without saying much more than, “go this way,” or, “okay.” He hadn’t realized
how much he needed this until the panic of someone being in his house made him
“She feels bad because she ran you from
your house. I told her it was because you felt embarrassed at the mess more
than anything.” They had shifted and were near the lake that ran along all
their houses. “She said to tell you that if you wait another couple of hours,
the house will be spotless and she’ll be gone.”
Khan didn’t look at Walker, but he did
feel the need to explain. He picked up a handful of small stones and began
skipping them across the still water. He had to talk to someone. “I’ve been out
of my mind with worry that my mate will show up at the door and she’ll be
human.” He skipped two more stones waiting for his brother to say something.
“I don’t know what to tell you, Khan,
but you staying in the house all the time and living like that won’t keep you
from meeting her. I think there are bigger forces at work here than you hiding
in your house.” He watched as Walker’s rock skipped seventeen times. “Mom
called me before we left France.”
He figured she would call him sooner or
later. “What did she tell you? That I need to be committed? That I’ve gone over
the deep end? I assure you that I haven’t.”
Walker didn’t comment, for which Khan
was grateful. They started back toward the house an hour later. Khan knew that
he’d hurt Caitlynne and was sorry for that, but she’d frightened him with her
“If I meet my mate and she’s just what
Caitlynne said she’d be, I’m never going to live it down, am I?” Khan looked at
Walker when he laughed.
“Nope. And like she told you months ago,
she’ll gloat until you tell her that she was right.” They were near the house
now and he could see the five vans and two cars in the driveway. It looked like
she’d called in the entire company.
“I should probably just tell her she was
right all along if that happens.” Walker agreed, and they both watched as
people, mostly women dressed in jeans and t-shirts, poured from his house. “Walker?”
“I know, Khan. I know you’re afraid of
getting hurt again, and I don’t blame you, but if you just give the girl, any
girl, a chance, you’ll see it’s pretty fucking wonderful.”
George couldn’t stop smiling. A
grandchild. Walker and Caitlynne were going to give him a grandchild. He
grinned at his mate and held her hand. They were going to spoil it rotten.
He looked over at Khan and realized how
much weight his son had lost. He would say right around thirty pounds if he had
to guess. Weight that he didn’t need to lose. Caitlynne sat down next to him
and handed him a brightly wrapped gift. She’d been handing them out since they
got up from the table. This was his third or fourth one.
“You have to stop this. You’ve given us
so much.” He tore into the paper like a little kid. He loved getting presents.
“I know, you hate all this hoopla. But
we had fun shopping, and even though I’ve been there a lot with business and
all, this was the first time I was actually there to have fun.” She handed a
similarly wrapped package to Corrine. “Did you know that they love cats in
Japan? That’s where we got this one.”
It was a medallion. He held it up to the
light and saw the cat etched on it. He could see the dark colors and knew it
was a panther. Corrine had one as well. Hers was on a chain to wear around her
neck, and his was attached to a beautiful pocket watch. George kissed her on
the cheek as he put it in his pocket.