Everywhere and Every Way

By: Jennifer Probst



“Yeah, and then I got a little female trouble going on. May be a good idea to leave town for a bit. Let things cool off.”

Cal raised a brow. “She’s not married, is she?”

Tristan snickered.

Dalton narrowed his gaze, eyes flaring with temper. “Hell no! I don’t do that, okay? Things got intense. I think she used the L word, and when I pulled back a little, she got crazy. Started stalking me. An address change may be good for both of us. But I want my share of the profits, and the business, if I decide to help you out. Got it?”

Thank God. He’d give Dalton anything he wanted. Besides, his brother took after his grandfather and was famous for his furniture. He’d be a huge asset. “Got it. Thanks.”

Cal turned to Tristan. His voice softened. “Are you in?”

Their gazes met. In those familiar amber eyes, he caught a mixture of anger, resentment, and something else.

Want.

Tristan wanted to put his own stamp on Pierce Brothers, and it was finally his opportunity. Cal held his breath and hoped it won out over pride and a desire for revenge.

“Fine. I’m in. But it’s not going to be easy. We’re not used to working together, let alone living together. Let’s hope we don’t tear each other apart after the first week.”

“Agreed.” Cal raised his glass. “To Pierce Brothers.”

Tristan hesitated, then finally raised his wine. “Pierce Brothers.”

Dalton slowly got up from the rocker and lifted his empty beer bottle. He didn’t say anything but clinked his container with theirs.

It was a start.





chapter three



* * *



Morgan Raines tightened her fingers around the steering wheel and stared up at the gorgeous sprawling house that could put a Southern mansion to shame. She was used to impressive houses, but this one had a unique blend of old-fashioned charm and classic breeding that made her want to sigh.

Of course, she’d be quite worried if the house wasn’t up to par. If Pierce Brothers boasted to be one of the top customized builders in the Northeast, first impressions were important. Her gaze took in the stone Georgian with the perfectly placed fat columns and the sweeping circular upper deck. The mix of colored stone, terra-cotta, and blinding white gave an onlooker pause and a desire to stare longer. From the larger-than-normal arched windows and massive carved wood door to the wraparound porch and definitive bursts of rich green foliage against the backdrop of a sparkling turquoise pool that rivaled a lake, the effect was dazzling.

Good. She’d made the right choice.

Now she just had to convince Caleb Pierce to take the job.

She’d gone to the Pierce Brothers official office first, located just down the road, but when Caleb’s assistant told her he was at the house, Morgan decided it was best to track him down here. She’d learned early to try to maneuver around the layer of protection in the form of savvy executive assistants and go direct to the source. This way, he couldn’t force her to stay in the waiting room for hours or sneak out to lunch through the back door.

Morgan pulled down the sun visor and checked her lipstick in the mirror. After reapplying a fresh coat of poppy pink to her mouth, she smoothed the stray flyaway strands of hair and did a quick review of her appearance. Good. No smudges, hanging threads, or stickers she’d forgotten to rip off. Other than the bitch of a blister on her heel, she looked professional, competent, and sleek. Morgan grabbed her Chanel purse and slid out of the white BMW convertible. Reminding herself she had gotten her way with much tougher clients than a mere contractor, she marched to the front door, her nude heels clicking smartly over the smooth pavement. She rang the bell, took a calming breath, and waited.

And waited.

Voices echoed and rumbled from behind the massive hand-carved cherrywood door. Trying not to be impatient, she raised her hand to knock, and the door swung slowly open. Almost like it was welcoming her in.

Morgan hesitated. The voices grew louder.

“Hello?”

She waited a bit longer, then poked her head in. The foyer made her want to sink to her knees and praise the godlike interior designer who’d completed such work. Gleaming marble, a curved staircase to rival Scarlett O’Hara’s, perfectly cut thick crown molding lining the ceiling and walls with intricate carvings she wanted time to study. Maybe the doorbell didn’t work, and the house was so huge, no one could hear her. She took another tentative step in, glancing around for any human activity, then froze.

Two massive dogs sat at the bottom of the steps, staring at her.

Not regular dogs. No, these were Cujo-size dogs, gigantic bodies and heads in a mottled brown color. Saliva dripped from their mouths as they both panted, never taking their gaze from her as if she were a delectable piece of meat who’d wandered in for lunch.

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