Songbird (A Sinclair Story #1) (6 page)

BOOK: Songbird (A Sinclair Story #1)
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She
licked her lips, trying to find some moisture. Nathan groaned under his breath
as he watched the movement. Melodee wiped at the non-existent sweat along her
brow as a distraction. She had faced down her assassin parents and sociopathic
cage fighters and not batted an eye, but this rich, privileged … basketball
player had her off her game. Jewel cried out then, distracting everyone.
Melodee sucked in a breath as she tore herself from the force-field of Nathan.
They were still in the front room near the fire, so she only had to take half a
dozen steps to reach the car seat. Jewel was awake and apparently not happy
about it. Her tiny arms were flailing, face red and scrunched up, but still
adorable beneath her dark curls.

It
took Melodee no time to reach down and unclick the safety over Jewel’s chest
and pull her free of the cushioned surface. The chair looked worn and
threadbare, just as the young girl’s car had been. Melodee knew poor when she
saw it, and this was one of the reasons she worried about the future for Jewel.
As much as she hated the fact, money ruled the world and it was much harder to
chisel out a bright future with no education or cash behind you.

“Dinner
time I think,” Nathan said. He had already started moving toward the kitchen.
Charles held out his arms for Jewel.

Melodee
didn’t hesitate, gently handing the little girl across. She was an excellent
judge of character and Charles was good people, maybe a little damaged, but
weren’t they all. More often than not the best people were the ones with the
rough edges. Life had tried to chip away at them, but they still carried on.
Nathan was smoother, he covered his rough spots with good looks and a
charismatic personality, but Melodee sensed deep down he was filled with
darkness, secrets and without doubt the hottest ass she’d ever seen.

Jewel
had stopped crying now and was babbling as she looked around. They made their
way back into the massive, state-of-the-art kitchen. Nathan already had Jewel’s
formula ready in a clean bottle and was organizing the rest of the food to
start dinner.

“Damn,
girl, you must be special,” Charles said as he handed Jewel back to Melodee.
“Nate’s definitely never cooked for any of his women before.”

Nathan
glared at his brother, while Melodee tried to figure out where her jealousy and
anger came from. She forced a neutral expression. Picking up the bottle and
tilting Jewel back, she started to feed her. The little girl attached on much
easier this time.

“I’ve
never brought a girl to Gramps’ place before,” Nathan said. It seemed to
Melodee he’d felt compelled to add that.

She
met his direct gaze. “You didn’t bring me either, I smashed over an embankment,
upside down in the car of a man who drove like a lunatic and wouldn’t take no
for an answer … and is now dead.” She spoke matter of fact, and while Charles
seemed surprised, Nathan’s eyes narrowed.

He
was doing that thing again, where he seemed to stare into her damn soul. Or
should that be ‘damned’ soul. If Melodee wasn’t careful she was going to find
herself exposed for the empty shell that she was: someone too damaged to ever
live a normal life. She didn’t rely on anyone but herself and everything stayed
safe.

Yeah,
okay: safe, boring and lonely. But there were some things that a person couldn’t
survive, and boring wasn’t one of those things. And Melodee was determined to
survive.

 

Nathan couldn’t remove his
eyes from her. He felt somehow that if he let her from his sight, she would
disappear. Her head was lowered as she attended Jewel, her dark hair falling
like a curtain across her delicate features. They were all quiet as he fixed
what food he could from the random packages.

“Do
we need to take anything to Miguel?” Charles said finally.

Nathan
shook his head, “No, he had plenty of snacks and a few soups that he was going
to boil over the fire. He’ll ring the bell if he needs anything, or help with
the mare.”

“Don’t
feel you have to stay here with me, Jewel and I will be fine,” Melodee’s
musical voice rang out.

“We
would never leave a beautiful woman alone in a storm,” Charles said with a
grin. “Besides, you’re far better company than Miguel or the mare.”

“I
always wanted to own a horse, or any pet, really,” Melodee said, a smile
gracing her full lips, before disappearing just as abruptly. “I asked on my
sixth birthday, but my present ended up a little different.”

Nathan’s
body tensed in anticipation of what she would say. When nothing was forthcoming
he pushed her a little.

“What did you get?”

“Forty-eight hours tied up
in their basement prison. If I escaped before I starved I could pick one of the
handguns to call my own.”

“What
the fuck?” Charles snarled. “You were six.”

Nathan
clenched his hands into fists, forcing his body to relax. They’d never gotten presents
in the Sinclair house either, but that was mainly because his parents were
selfish as fuck and because they were given their own credit cards by the time
they were six. They were expected to just buy their own shit.

“How
long did it take you to escape?” he finally asked.

“Eight
hours and change,” she said, surprise shadowing her eyes again. “I ended up
with pretty decent hunger pains and bleeding wrists. Could have been worse.”
She spoke so matter-of-factly, as if that shit was normal treatment for a
child.

Charles
was muttering as he shoved back his chair and started to march around the room.
Nathan turned back to the soup and sandwiches, forcing down the urge to smash
the glassware he held. He was starting to get a very grim picture of the life
she grew up with. Melodee was a survivor, he recognized this, but at the same
time what sort of monsters had her parents been?

 

Melodee sucked in a deep
breath, trying to calm the nerves flooding her system. She was sharing way too
much of her past with them. She stayed away from people so they didn’t see into
her personal life, but the Sinclairs, and Nathan in particular, were just too
easy to talk to. She wasn’t really secretive, she’d long ago accepted her life,
and if asked had no problems telling the truth. But not everyone wanted to hear
the reality.

Nathan
came to her side then, his large frame towering over her as he sat down two
plates. Normally she would hate anyone at her back; it was a huge vulnerability
to let her guard down. But as Nathan brushed against her, her nipples went
instantly hard, and she realized she had no problem with this man near her. He
didn’t move, and Melodee wondered if he was trying to give her an orgasm
without actually touching her. Heat bled off of him, and his smell … damn, it
was masculine and spicy and everything that had her wanting to strip him naked.

“I’m
glad your parents are dead,” he said, his face close to her ear. “And if they
weren’t, I’d feel obligated to kill them myself.”

Melodee
met his gaze. “I haven’t missed one night’s sleep since they died.”

 
She could see that he was serious, Nathan
wanted to defend her. For some reason he cared for her, and that was not
something she knew what to do with. Men had used her, men had wanted her, but
she could not remember one man to ever care for her. No wonder Nathan scared
the shit out of her.

 

After dinner Nathan and
Charles went upstairs to find a few mattresses for them to sleep on. They had
voted down Melodee’s suggestion that she sleep on the couch and they go to
their rooms, insisting they all stay together in the fire room, just until the
power came back on. Melodee expected them to return with a couple of roll-out
foam things. Instead a huge, pillow topped mattress was hauled through with
ease by the two men.

“This
is for you and Jewel,” Nathan said. “Charles and I will just crash on the
couches.”

She
opened her mouth to protest, but he cut her off. “You’re going to be sore from
the accident, you need the softest surface money can buy.”

Charles
laughed. “And luckily for you, everything in this house was bought with money,
shit-tons of money.”

“Is
there somewhere I can clean up?” Melodee rocked the drowsy little girl in her
arms. She hoped Jewel was okay, she seemed to be awfully sleepy. But what would
she know about kids, maybe they slept this much.

“Give
Jewel to Charles and I’ll show you to the bathroom,” Nathan said.

She
handed the little girl across – Jewel went without a murmur, snuggling into
Charles’ broad shoulders – and she followed Nathan from the room. He led her
down the same hallway and up a flight of stairs near the back of the kitchen.
The house was dimly lit by small lights placed high in the skirting. But it was
more than enough light to see where they were going.

“These
are the old servants’ entrance,” he explained as they walked. “Thankfully, my
grandparents weren’t big on that, even in their early days here, so they gave
us boys free run of the back part of the house.”

Melodee
could tell that he loved his grandparents; there was that echo of wonderful
childhood memories in his tone when he talked of them.

“Who
owns this place now?” she asked.

“It's
mine,” he replied.

He
reached out, and before she could protest he took her hand. Her
self-preservative instincts roared to life and she was just about to wrench it
free when she realized there was no pressure. His grip was warm and firm, but
he wasn’t holding tightly, he was letting her have the control. If someone had
told her last week that she’d sleep in a mansion and have its gorgeous owner
hold her hand and lead her around, she’d have called them insane. And yet here
she was. Life was funny like that.

Upstairs
was just as opulent as down, with plush carpets, high ceilings and more
bedrooms and bathrooms than anyone could need. Nathan opened the door at the
very end of the wide-set hallway.

“This
is my room,” he warned, before moving out of the doorway. “I know the generator
is still hooked to the main bedroom in the house, so this is our only outlet
for hot water.”

Melodee’s
first impression as she stepped inside was huge and masculine. Dark colors, and
a four-post bed that was the biggest she had ever seen. They moved through and
she tried not to stare at the bed. All she could think about was Nathan
sleeping in it, probably naked. The bathroom was about the size of her entire
apartment in Syracuse. There was a huge Whirlpool and Melodee was amazed to see
it was already half full.

Nathan
grinned, “I started it when we got the mattress. It’s a big tub and takes a while
to fill. I figured the jets might ease some of your muscle aches.”

Damn
him, why was he so thoughtful? Melodee knew she was already obsessing way too
much over the bazillionaire with the aqua eyes and rock hard body. He was one
of those unobtainable things in life, and she didn’t need to want for any more
shit that she couldn’t have.

“Thank
you,” she finally said.

He
showed her the cabinet which was stocked with clean towels, toiletries, even
spare clothes.

“Help
yourself to anything,” Nathan said as he left the room.

Melodee
was a little nervous as she unzipped her hooded long-sleeved shirt. She hoped
Jewel was alright downstairs. Her muscles ached as she attempted to lift her
arms up to remove her undershirts. She groaned out loud when her shoulder joint
shifted above her head. She hadn't noticed downstairs, or even while fighting
with Charles, but she definitely had an injury that was a bit more severe than
bruises.

“Are
you okay?” Nathan burst through the door. He froze when he saw her standing there
half naked. “Shit, sorry, I heard you cry out and worried that you’d hurt
yourself.”

“Well,
since you’re here, I could use a hand with this shirt.” Melodee wasn’t precious
about her body and she had a black-silk bra on. It covered as much as a
swimsuit.

Nathan
was silent as he stepped closer, his warmth flooding the room, and Melodee’s
body responded immediately. When he was next to her, he seemed so much larger.
He filled the room and Melodee could not breathe.

“What’s
wrong?” he said as he reached out and took her shirt into his hands. “Why did
you cry out?”

Melodee
gritted her teeth as he helped her lift off the shirt. “I must have mildly
dislocated my shoulder, popped it in and out, and didn’t realize. I couldn’t get
my arm high enough to get my top off.”

Nathan
stared down at her for a heartbeat, his features hardened. “You were wrestling
with Charles?” He bit out. “Did he do this? I’ll kick his ass.”

Melodee
laughed. “I kicked his ass just fine on my own. But no, I think it was from the
accident and I just didn’t notice until now.”

Melodee
had always been like that with injuries. She’d sustained enough in her life;
she had gotten really good at ignoring them.

“Thanks
for your help, I’m fine now.” She waved him off. Nathan crossed his arms for a
moment before nodding.

“I’ll
wait in the room. Call if you need me.”

BOOK: Songbird (A Sinclair Story #1)
8.01Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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