Holly's AwakeningBy: Sam Crescent
His gaze still hadn’t moved from her.
“Also, I was wondering if you’d be able to look after your siblings Friday. I need Holly here, and I don’t want her worrying about her family.”
She turned her attention to her brother. John wouldn’t mind having the kids. The instant he’d turned eighteen he’d started working for Kade and moved into a new apartment. He would have taken all of them with him, but his place wasn’t big enough to house them all, and their father’s threat had hung over their heads stopping them from moving forward. Beside her and John there were three brothers and two sisters. She didn’t know how her mother had managed to carry seven children, but she had. Holly had also heard all the rumours surrounding her down to the fact they were not all from her father.
“I’ve got no problem at all, Sir.” John smiled at her.
“Good. I’ll pay for any expenses. Thank you.” Steven stood, shook her brother’s hand, and then made his way back to the office.
Taking her sandwich out of her bag she followed John outside. There was a small grassy area outside of the ranch where they sat to each lunch. They rested under a tree getting as much shade as possible. Some of the other ranch hands waved at her in passing. She waved back and opened her brown lunch bag. Chicken paste sandwiches with an apple waited for her.
“He’s still taking most of your wage?” John asked.
“I have no choice, John.”
“He’s a fucking bastard who needs to be put down. Why don’t you come live with me? You don’t have to stay there with the kids.”
She’d graduated high school two years ago, but she couldn’t leave the others. With her around there was someone for him to take his anger out on. If she wasn’t then he’d start on the others, and Holly knew it was only a matter of time before he ruined one of her siblings. Some damage couldn’t be repaired, and she refused to let him win.
“I can’t, and you know that.” John helped when he could, and she accepted his help. “You don’t have to take care of them if you don’t want to. I know you’re a man now and chasing all sorts of women.” She bumped his shoulder trying to change the topic.
“Don’t start, and you know family comes first. You guys will always come first. I love you, sis.” He kissed her head. “Speaking of love, I think the boss has a thing for you.”
Holly froze. What did she say to that?
“I don’t know what you mean?”
“Steven has a thing for you. His eyes go all intense, and Kade is always watching you. Both of them have a thing for you.”
“That’s crazy talk, and I don’t want to hear another thing from you.” She took a bite of her sandwich.
“It’s not crazy, and I know it.”
She knew it. There were plenty of couples around town, but she never thought anyone would be interested in her. Especially not two gorgeous men who could have any woman they wanted.
Steven watched Holly out in the far field with her brother. It was the only time she ever relaxed.
“She’s still wearing that bloody sweater,” Kade said, coming up behind him.
“I know. She’s going to pass out one of these days with the heat.” Steven saw several of their men pass by. John gave them a wave while Holly merely smiled. The smile never reached her eyes.
“That shiner had to have come from her dad,” Kade said.
“Yep, the bastard is a mean one sober and drunk. I’ve heard he causes way too much trouble at the bar in town.” The stuff Steven heard about her parents scared him. He hated the moment she left the ranch every night. Steven always knew there was a risk she wasn’t coming home, but there was nothing he could do. He was looking into it, but the sheriff and lawyer he’d hired advised he tread carefully.
“I’m going to pick up the pace and start hassling the sheriff. I’m tired of hearing the shit I hear, and knowing he’s hurting her is not acceptable. It wouldn’t be acceptable for anyone.” Kade wrapped his arms around Steven’s waist.
Leaning against his lover, Steven inhaled his unique scent. Kade smelt of the earth and sweat, and it was a heady combination.
“She’s the one, Kade. I know it.”
His lover didn’t say a word. Kade’s arms tightened around him.
The words were whispered against ear.
“You agree then?” Steven asked.
“I can’t deny it. I’m always looking at her, and I hate watching her leave.” A sigh brushed his ear. “If we take Holly on we’ve got to take on her whole family. Are you ready for that?”