Half My Blood
Copyright © 2015 by Lauren Gilley
No, there weren’t a lot of guys in her past, because she’d been focusing all her energy on working, getting her education, and taking care of her family.
Not that Erin appreciated that.
Not that men did, either. She’d dated casually, and she’d had sex just enough times to need to count it on two hands, and now she had this thing – whatever it was – with fellow professor Doug Schaffer at school. But she hadn’t entertained a full-on crush, a longing, a desire for anyone since high school.
Since she’d endured an unrequited girlhood passion for Aidan Teague.
Well fuck him and his motorcycle. She didn’t have a thing for bad boys anymore.
And she had papers to grade.
“I wish,” Ava continued, “that he could see this as a positive thing, because he thinks his whole family’s dead, and turns out, he has a relative after all. I think it could be really good for him. But he hates Colin.”
“Well,” Sam said, “there’s hate, and then there’s hate. If Colin did something really awful to him, that’s one thing. But if it’s just personality clashing, maybe he can get over it.”
“Maybe.“And I have a real hard time imagining anyone doing anything really awful to your husband and living to tell the tale.”
Ava snorted. “Yeah.”
The sound of a motorcycle engine cut through the afternoon, distant and growing louder. Ava cocked her head, listening as it drew closer. “My brother,” she said decisively, and popped a chip into her mouth.
It shouldn’t have, but Sam’s stomach shriveled into a little ball, her appetite fleeing. She forced herself to swallow the bite of sandwich in her mouth and reached for her Coke, taking a tentative sip. She shouldn’t care at all the Aidan was approaching the house. She didn’t, in fact. Nope, not at all. Her pulse was not knocking against her eardrums, and her palms were not suddenly clammy.
As the growl of the Harley grew louder, punching as the bike rolled over the curb into the driveway, Ava stood. “I better go let him in.”
Sounds of the bike shutting off. Ava’s bare feet on the hardwood. The back door opening.
“Why are you here?” Ava.
“Dude, can’t you just say, ‘Good to see you’?” Aidan.
Boots coming in, door shutting, footfalls returning.
“No, but really,” Ava said as brother and sister entered the kitchen.
Sam sent her gaze skittering across the kitchen, fixing it to a white cabinet face across from her. It was an automatic reaction, one she kicked herself for mentally. An old habit from her teen years that it turned out she hadn’t shaken – don’t stare boldly at the cocky, swaggering, dark-haired outlaw boy with the gorgeous chocolate-colored eyes. Just act cool and natural, and like she didn’t know he existed – then ogle him from the corner of her eye when he sat down.
God, I’m pathetic.
She was also thirty now, so she hitched up her shoulders and purposefully turned her face back to the siblings. She wasn’t just some girl in Aidan’s class these days; she was his sister’s friend, and she had every right to be here.
“…borrow his .30-0-6,” Aidan was saying. He opened the door of the fridge, leaned in and plucked a beer off the top shelf. As he did so, his wallet chain swung forward, catching sunlight in fast glimmers. His cut had that chafed, weather-beaten look of leather that was used hard and not worn for fashion, the patches dusty and faded. Sam stole a look at his ass as he was bent forward at the waist, and silently wished he didn’t wear his jeans so baggy.
“It’s in the safe,” Ava said beside him. “I’ll go get it.”
Aidan twisted the top off his beer and flicked it onto the counter, took a long pull, head tilted back, throat working as he swallowed.
Sam told herself, aggressively, that it didn’t matter if thirty looked damn good on the man, she was not interested.
“I can get it,” he said, wiping his mouth on the back of his hand. “It’s in the bedroom closet?”
“First off,” Ava said, holding up one finger, “Merc doesn’t want anyone knowing the combination to the safe. And two” – second finger – “do you really want to go pawing through my closet?”
“He doesn’t want anyone knowing the combination?” Aidan repeated with apparent disbelief. “Don’t you know it?”
“It’s in my house, so yes, I know it. And it’s nothing personal against you – it’s just his policy. This is a home thing, not a club thing.”
Sam had her bite her lip to keep from laughing. Aidan’s expression was a hilarious blend of indignant, wounded, and doubtful. Like he was wondering when the hell his little sister had turned into this adult who was someone’s wife and most trusted confidant. By all rights, Aidan’s face was one of those severe, laser-cut ones that shouldn’t have been capable of much emotion, but that had never been true. He was dramatically expressive, even with those cruel, slanted eyebrows.