Authors: Marla Monroe
Amber yelped and quickly arched her back to finish pulling up her underwear. Despite her quick reaction, she was sure he got an eyeful of her pussy. When he pulled her shorts up her legs, she gave up and let him pull them over her underwear.
“Okay, I’m dressed and in bed. You can leave now.”
“Let me set up your breakfast, then I’ll leave you alone.” He grinned down at her before walking out of the bedroom into the kitchen.
He returned a few seconds later with a sausage and biscuit with jelly on the side. He settled it on her lap with a smile.
“It’s not much, but it’s homemade.”
“Oh, well, thank you. I appreciate you thinking about me, but you don’t need to keep coming over. I’m fine. I can take care of myself.” She felt foolish saying it since he had just helped her out of the tub.
“Think you might want to rethink that, Amber,” Bryan said, looking over toward the bathroom.
She felt her face grow warm once again. Naturally he would point it out that she’d made a grave tactical error in getting into the tub in the first place.
“I’m sure you have somewhere you need to be,” she said.
“Yep, probably, but I like being here right now.” He hitched up his pant leg and sat on the edge of the bed. “Go ahead and eat it. I’m sure it’s not hot anymore, but it ought to be warm.”
With a sigh, Amber opened the biscuit and added some of the grape jelly on it before closing it and taking a bite. It was very good.
“This is really good. The meat has a good taste,” she said.
“We make our own sausage and beef jerky from our ranch.”
“I thought you only raised cows out here.”
“We keep a little of everything on our ranch. Hogs, horses, chickens, and cows for the most part. Had a couple of emus, but they’re mean birds, so we got rid of them.”
“Wow. You must be really busy, then.” She tried to urge him to leave again.
“Yep, and we’re down one of our ranch hands, too.” He didn’t budge, just sat there smiling while she ate her breakfast.
“Why are you really here, Bryan?” she finally asked.
“To see about you. Why?”
“Because people just don’t go out of their way to help someone like you and your brother have. I have to think you have an ulterior motive.” She crossed her arms and watched his face.
He never changed his expression. “We might at that. We want to take you out when you’re healed up.”
Amber opened her mouth but couldn’t think of anything to say to that. She closed it again. What could she say to that?
“You’re wasting your time, then. I’m not looking for a date with either one of you. You can tell your brother that, too.”
“Wouldn’t be just one of us. It would be both of us, and we don’t think we’re wasting our time. We happen to think you’re worth it.”
“Only if I’m going to go out with you, which I’m not. I don’t plan on dating at all. Thanks for the thought, though.” She wiped her mouth, having finished her meal.
She set the plate on the other side of the bed. She’d put it up later. Right now, she needed to convince Bryan that she had no intention of going out with him and his brother. Both of them? She felt a flush spread over her face.
“Hmm, you just thought of something. Your face turned a pretty shade of pink.” Bryan stood up and moved closer to the head of the bed. “What were you thinking about, baby?”
“Nothing, and stop calling me baby.”
“Tell me why you’re not looking to date anyone, Amber.” He leaned over placing one hand on the wall over the headboard.
“I–I don’t want to. That’s all there is to it.”
“I don’t think so. There’s more to it than that. I think you’ve been hurt in the past, and now you’re running scared.”
Amber drew in a quick breath. Was she that obvious?
“I think you need someone who will appreciate you and treat you right. Tanner and I will take good care of you, baby.”
“I–I don’t think so. Um, maybe you could…” she began.
“What, Amber? Kiss you like this?” He closed the short distance between them and covered her lips with his.
At first, it was a gentle kiss. Just the pressure of his lips against hers, then he licked along the seam asking to be invited in. Amber couldn’t think with him so close to her. When he nipped at her bottom lip, she gasped, and it was all he needed to gain access to her mouth. His tongue explored her mouth with careful determination. When she moaned, he took it as an invitation to suck on her tongue.
She had no defenses against his onslaught of oral attention. Her already aroused body responded to his kiss like a thirsty sponge, soaking it all up and begging for more. She felt her panties grow wet with her juices. Why was she attracted to him? After what she had been through, why did she respond to any man at all?
Bryan sucked on her lower lip then pulled back. His eyes were heavy lidded. He hadn’t been unaffected by the kiss, either.
“Fuck, you pack quite a punch for such a small thing.” He stood back up and smiled at her. “I think you need to rest again. One of us will be by later on to check on you and bring you lunch. Try to stay out of trouble.” He grinned when she scowled at him.
“Don’t bother coming back. You’re not welcome.” She crossed her arms.
Bryan chuckled and leaned over her, picking up the plate. “I’ll drop this off in the kitchen on my way out. See you later, Amber.” He turned around and walked out of the room before she could think of anything suitable to say.
She heard the water run in the sink then his footsteps as he walked toward the door. Then she heard the creak of the door and the definite sound of it shutting behind him. She let out a shaky breath and rubbed her face with both hands. What was she going to do about them? They were not taking no for an answer.
Face it, Amber. You don’t want them to, either. You like them.
“Yeah, well I liked Ted, too. Look where that got me,” she said out loud.
She readjusted her angle on the bed to get comfortable and tried flexing her foot again. It still didn’t move much because of the swelling. Still, I didn’t throb as bad, and she’d managed to put a little weight on it when she had been hobbling to the bathroom earlier. Surely that meant it was healing up.
She sighed. She had hoped it would be better by today, but it looked like she was going to have to call in at work after all. If she couldn’t drive herself there, she couldn’t work, either. She hated calling in sick.
Amber tried to get comfortable and take a nap, but she kept thinking about Tanner and Bryan. They were two very good-looking men, but they were bossy. Bossy led to controlling, and that led to abuse. She knew the pattern well. Why did she always like men like that? And what was with two men? Bryan acted as if he expected her to date both of them at once.
She shook her head and closed her eyes and fell into a restless sleep.
Tanner pulled up behind the Pathfinder at Amber’s house with lunch and a smile. Bryan had filled him in on the morning’s activities and how flustered she had gotten when he kissed her. He was counting on finding out for himself how good she tasted. He hoped his plan of slowly breaking down her walls of resistance worked. She was exactly the type of woman they were looking for.
Her feisty attitude proved it. They didn’t want someone they could walk all over. Amber was definitely not a doormat. So what had happened in her past to lead her to decide not to date anymore? He wanted to find out so they didn’t make that mistake.
He climbed out of the truck and walked up to the door. He slipped his credit card between the lock and the door and slipped the door open. He’d learned fast from his brother what to do. He didn’t like that it was that easy to get in and out of her house. He planned to remedy that Monday morning. He would have a new set of locks installed, including a deadbolt.
“Amber? It’s Tanner. I’m bringing you some lunch.” He carried the bag through the living room into the kitchen and located a couple of plates, then he arranged the food on them. When he walked into the bedroom, it was to a very pissed off woman. She fumed at him from across the room.
“I told your brother to tell you not to come. I don’t need for you two to constantly be in and out of my house bringing me food. I can take care of myself.” She huffed out a breath and stared at him.
“Hi to you, too,” he said with a grin. “We want to take care of you, Amber. Just give us a chance. Besides, where can you get a doctor to make house calls nowadays. Let me check your ankle while I’m here. Have you needed any of the pain medicine?” He set the plates on her dresser and hovered over her foot.
“I had to take one to get to sleep last night. It was throbbing. It’s better today, though.”
“It’s still pretty swollen, though. You’re not going to be able to walk on it for another day or two.”
“That means I have to call in sick to work tomorrow.”
“I’m sorry, Amber. It will just be for another couple of days, I’m sure. Then you should be able to tolerate some pressure as long as you sit down while you work. We can take you to and from work. You won’t be safe to drive for a week at least.”
“A week! I can’t not drive for a week.” Her face held an almost frantic expression.
“Easy, Amber. Bryan and I will make sure you have everything you need and we’ll take you to work, like I said. Don’t worry about it.”
“I can’t impose on you like that. I don’t want to owe you for one thing. I already told your brother that I’m not going out with you—either of you.”
“That has nothing to do with your needing help, Amber. We would never blackmail you into going out with us.” He suppressed a growl at her insinuation.
“Then why are you spending so much time helping me?”
“Because we like you and you need help. We’d help anyone who needed it.”
He watched as Amber digested that. Finally she sighed and nodded.
“Okay. It’s really nice of you to do this, but you shouldn’t go to so much trouble. I can get around some.”
“Hmm, you shouldn’t be on your foot any more than is absolutely necessary. Like bathroom only.”
She rolled her eyes at him but smiled. Things were looking up. He turned back to the dresser and retrieved their food.
“It’s probably cold, but hamburgers are usually fine even cold. The fries might not be, though.”
“It should be fine. Grab a chair…” She stopped when he hitched up his pant leg and sat on the edge of her bed.
“I’m fine right here. Go on and eat. You need the food to fuel your healing process.”
“Yes, doctor.” She took a bite of her sandwich.
When they were finished, he took their plates back into the kitchen. There were several other plates in the sink. He quickly washed dishes and put them away. When he returned to the bedroom she was frowning again.
“What?” he asked.
“You washed dishes.”
“They needed washing, or you wouldn’t have had anything to eat on tomorrow.”
She sighed and shook her head. “This being helpless sucks.”
“Tell me about it. I had a three-wheeler accident about a year ago and was laid up for a week. I was a very bad patient. Just ask Bryan about it. He’ll tell you.” He chuckled at the memory of Bryan losing patience with him on several occasions.
“Now, how are you really feeling?” he asked.