Read Monroe, Marla - Their Broken Lady (Siren Publishing Ménage Everlasting) Online
Authors: Marla Monroe
“Thanks, Bryan, for taking care of it for me. I told Tanner to send me the bill.”
Bryan started to say something, but Tanner stopped him.
“Leave it, Bryan.”
“Anyway, I cleaned everything up so your room didn’t have fingerprint dust all over it. You’ll probably want to dust again, but most of it’s gone.”
“Thank you. You didn’t have to go to all that trouble.”
“Had to do something while the locksmith was working. He didn’t like me hanging around him.
“I told Amber we’d take her back once you were back and the windows were finished.”
Tanner stood up and let Amber slide down his body. It did things to her insides. She shook it off and stood up straight.
“Yeah, sure. Where is your stuff?” he asked.
“I don’t have anything, remember?” Amber frowned.
“Yeah you do. All the things we bought you. They’re yours,” Bryan insisted.
“I’ll have my own things when I get back home. You can take those back, can’t you, and get your money back? You bought too much anyway.” She turned to look at Tanner.
“Take the clothes, Amber. We bought them for you.” Tanner sounded defeated.
She swallowed and nodded. She wouldn’t argue with them about it. Instead, she walked upstairs and folded everything up, then packed them in the bags they had come in.
Before she could lug them downstairs, Bryan walked in the room and took them from her.
“I’ve got them. Go ahead downstairs.” He followed behind her.
When she got to the bottom, Tanner was there to meet her. He took her hand and led her to the front door then out onto the porch. Bryan closed the door behind them. They walked over to the truck. Bryan put the bags in the backseat. When she started to get in after them, he shook his head.
“You’re riding up front with us. I don’t want you to go. I’m sure not losing this opportunity to hold you one more time.” He helped her up into the cab of the truck, then fastened the safety belt around her. When he climbed in, he did the same and grabbed her hand.
Amber took one last look at the beautiful house with its wraparound porch and swing then they were backing out of the drive and turning around to head to her house. Bryan didn’t let go of her hand the entire drive. When they arrived, he unfastened their belts then helped her out of the truck. He held her hand all the way to her door. Tanner unlocked the door, and they all three walked inside.
They walked around with her to check all the windows and make sure she knew how to unlock and lock them. Then the guys stood with their hands in their pockets as if waiting for her to say something. What could she say? She’d said more than enough already. It wasn’t so much that she regretted saying it. It was how she said it.
Finally, Tanner sighed and pulled her into his arms. He let her go, and Bryan did the same thing.
“You have our numbers. If you need anything. I don’t care what it is or what time it is, you call us. Understand?” Tanner asked.
“I will. I’ll be fine, though.”
“We know you will,” Bryan said.
They turned toward the door and opened it. They didn’t look back. Tanner closed the door behind them. One of them knocked on the door above the lock. She threw the deadbolt, and a few seconds later she heard the truck crank, and they pulled out of her drive to go home. Amber sat down on a chair and cried.
* * * *
Neither of them said anything on the drive back. Bryan wanted to hit something, but knew it wouldn’t do any good, and he would probably break his fucking hand in the process. Why was she so stubborn?
Once they pulled into the drive at home, they just sat there, not wanting to get out. Finally, Bryan couldn’t take it.
“She’s so afraid we’ll take away her sense of self. Why?”
“Evidently her previous boyfriend did somehow. I think he was controlling and told her what she could and couldn’t do. Then he got abusive. She’s scared we’ll be the same way.” Tanner still had his hands on the wheel.
“We would never hit her. Not in a million years. If she believes that, then she doesn’t know us at all.” Bryan started to get out of the truck.
“That’s just it, Bryan. She doesn’t know us. We did everything ass backward from day one. It’s been exactly two weeks since she was nearly run down. In that time we’ve run her life for her because she was hurt and needed us. Then when we were finally going to get around to taking her out and getting to know her, she was attacked, and once again, we took over and took care of everything.” Tanner rubbed his face with both hands.
“Then, we have sex with her and have still never taken her out. She’s right. She doesn’t know us at all. She has a point, Bryan. What would you think of a woman who moves in with a man after knowing them two weeks?”
“That she was a moocher.” Bryan said reluctantly.
He really didn’t like it that Tanner was right, but he was. He sighed.
“So, what do we do now?”
“We ask her out.” Tanner said it as if it was the simplest thing in the world.
“You think she’ll go?”
“Won’t know until we ask her,” Tanner said.
They climbed out of the truck and walked into the house. Both of them headed for the fridge and a beer. They popped the tops and stood at the bar in silence for several minutes. Bryan didn’t think Amber would go out with both of them at once. They weren’t willing to settle for anything but a ménage relationship. It was how they were brought up, and they knew it worked. When one husband was ill or out of town, the other one could be counted on to take care of everything. It meant their mom never had to worry about anything. They took care of her. She had a life. She attended clubs in town and he could remember her baking things for their bake sales.
It wouldn’t be any different for them. If she wanted to work at the bank, that was fine with him. He’d rather she stayed at home, but he could understand that she wanted that. The fact that the people at that bank probably would look down at her for dating them both irked him. Only because it mattered to Amber, though. He didn’t give a rat’s ass what people thought about them. He only cared because of Amber.
He drew in a deep breath and slowly let it out through his nose. No matter how he looked at it, he couldn’t see her changing her mind. His heart hurt at the idea of losing her. But they were losing her as surely as the sun rose and set.
“I say we give her a couple of days to adjust to being home then ask her to go out with us Friday night. We’ll take her to the club. People there won’t care one way or another.” Tanner took another swig of his beer.
“Maybe she’ll go with us.” Bryan had little faith that she would.
“I think she will once she calms down. We blindsided her with taking over everything. It was necessary, but she was feeling smothered.”
“If I had five minutes with the bastard that did this to her,” Bryan began.
“You would end up in prison and force me to take care of her by myself.” Tanner crushed his empty beer can and tossed it in the trash.
Bryan drained the rest of his and tossed it as well. He looked at the cinnamon rolls and sighed. He hadn’t had anything to eat all day, and still the thought of eating didn’t agree with him. He did want another beer, but because he wanted it, he wouldn’t get one.
“I’m going out to the barn to check on everything. I’ll be back in by dark.”
Tanner nodded and left the kitchen. Bryan figured he would go to the office and bury himself in paperwork. It was how he normally dealt with a problem he couldn’t solve. Bryan worked it out doing hard manual labor. He would see what the men were doing and help. He thought they were out riding fences.
He saddled up his horse and headed out in the general direction he was sure they had taken. By the time he found them, he desperately needed something to take his mind off of Amber. He had run the problem around in circles inside of his head until he had a headache.
The men welcomed him, and they spent the next four hours fixing fences and pulling barbwire. He had several small slices on his arms from getting too close to the wire while they were working with it. All in all, he’d worked hard enough he planned to sleep well that night. He didn’t want to think or dream about Amber.
When he got back to the stable, Bryan brushed out his horse then headed back to the house. There was a note on the door that Tanner had gone in to the hospital and would be back later. Dinner was on the stove. Bryan sighed. He’d take a shower first then see what Tanner had left to eat. Now that he could smell it, his stomach rumbled unmercifully.
Bryan figured Tanner had gone in to work on his charts he always seemed to have to do something with. Then again, he might have actually gotten called out for one of his patients. He hoped not. Tanner already had enough on his mind without something going wrong with a patient.
Bryan finished showering in record time and helped himself to the roast, potatoes, and carrots on the stove. He spooned up some beans then pulled a roll out of the oven. They were a little hard, but he added extra gravy to his roast. That would do the trick.
While he finished up dinner, he thought again about Amber and hoped she was safe in her little house. They’d done all they could to make her that way. He would have preferred putting bars on the windows. Still, she was her own woman, and evidently needed to make decisions for herself. He realized that was true, and hated that they had screwed up so badly.
He looked at the window as he loaded the dishwasher. Maybe she would give them a chance to prove they could give her all the independence she wanted. He would do just about anything for that chance. He turned off the light in the kitchen but left a lamp on in the living room. He was totally washed out. It was time for bed. He hated that he would be going to bed alone.
Amber tossed and turned and started at every sound the house made. She finally got up at three and sat in the kitchen with a cup of coffee. Thank goodness it was Sunday. She needed rest, or she was going to be worthless at work on Monday. Every time she heard the house creak, she cringed. This was ridiculous. She was a grown woman. She shouldn’t be afraid to go to sleep. Yes, she’d been attacked, but there were good locks on the windows now.
Somehow it didn’t make her feel any better. Amber sipped the coffee and tried to talk herself into going back to bed. Finally, once the sun rose, she climbed back in the bed and lay down. She dozed off and on for several hours before she finally got up for good. She needed to finish washing her things. She still had a drawer full of T-shirts to wash, and her dirty clothes. She had hung everything up in her closet that Tanner had bought, and put away the bra and panty sets.
She knew she would think about them every time she wore any of it. She wasn’t sure if that were a good thing or not. She’d about cried herself all out the night before.
Her phone rang and she jumped. She checked caller ID and found it was the police department.
“Miss Reynolds, this is Officer McKenny. I wanted to check and see if you were doing okay, and let you know we’re still looking for the guy who attacked you. He did leave fingerprints, but unfortunately, they aren’t on record. Once we find him, though, we can match the prints to his.”
“Okay. So he’s still out there somewhere.” She closed her eyes and rubbed her head where it ached.
“Yes, ma’am. Have you given any thought to who might want to hurt you? I still think these are all related.” He hesitated. “Um, I did some research, and you had a restraining order against two different men at different times.”
She sighed and sat down. “I made some bad choices in boyfriends. That’s why I left, to start over,” she said.