Everywhere and Every Way

By: Jennifer Probst



Christian half rose from the pillow. “Don’t even think about going behind my back, boy. I have ways of making your life hell beyond the grave, and if I wake up and they’re here, I’ll make sure you regret it.”

Again that brief flare of pain he had no right to feel. How long had he wished his father would show him a sliver of softness? Any type of warmer emotion? Instead, he’d traded those feelings for becoming a drill sergeant with his boys, the total opposite of the way Mom had been. Not that he wanted to think of her anymore. It did no good, only scraping against raw wounds. Caleb wasn’t a martyr, so he stuffed that shit back down for another lifetime.

“Whatever, old man. Save the fight for the surgery.”

They were interrupted when Dr. Wang came in with an easy smile. “Okay, gentlemen, this is it. We gotta wheel him into surgery. Say your good-byes.”

Caleb froze and stared into his father’s familiar face. Took in the sharp, roughened features, leathery skin, bushy silver brows. Those brown eyes still held a fierce spark of life. In that moment, Caleb decided to take a chance. If something happened in surgery, he didn’t want to regret it for the rest of his life.

He leaned down to kiss his father on the cheek.

Christian slapped him back with a growl. “Cut it out. Grow some balls. I’ll see you later.”

The tiny touch of emotion flickered out and left a cold, empty vastness inside his belly. So stupid. He felt so stupid. “Sure. Good luck, Dad.”

“Don’t need no damn luck. Make sure you do what I say. I don’t want to see your brothers.”

They were the last words Caleb heard as his father was wheeled into a surgery that took over five hours to perform.

The next morning Christian Pierce was dead.

And then the nightmare really began.





chapter one



* * *



Caleb sat in the fancy conference room of the lawyer’s office. His brothers had arrived and taken seats at the gleaming mahogany table far away from one another, eliciting a raised brow from his father’s lawyer. Yeah, the Pierce brothers had no love lost between them. Caleb had waited too long to make the call, and now there was another item to be checked off the Caleb-is-a-shit-brother list. He should’ve gone with his instincts and told them as soon as Christian was wheeled into surgery. Instead, he figured he’d wait a bit, not wanting them to hurry home to his father’s nastiness. Caleb never doubted he’d make it through the surgery. It wasn’t even a worry in his mind as he sat in the waiting room drinking bad coffee, answering texts, and watching CNN on the television. Of course, he’d been wrong, and now he was taking the heat. He’d ripped the choice out of Dalton’s and Tristan’s hands on whether they wanted to make the trip to see Dad, and when they showed up and looked at his body, something cold passed between them, stretching the distance by a few miles more.

He refused to feel a pang of pain. It did no good. There was never going to be a tearful reunion   around his father’s casket anyway, and even during the wake they’d all stood separately, greeting people with a polite demeanor and only speaking when necessary.

Even now, Dalton’s face held a permanent scowl. Didn’t really go with the whole California-surfer vibe he had going on. His hair was caught back in a ponytail and had gone almost blond. The face that launched a thousand ships—his many girlfriends’ tagline—now looked like he’d be happy kicking someone’s ass. Probably Caleb’s. He’d gotten the height in the family, so those long limbs were crossed at the ankles under the table like he was on lunch break at the beach rather than waiting to hear the will. He’d changed. Still the best-looking in the bunch and probably still a man whore, but there was a new determination his aura reflected that was never there before. At twenty-eight years old, he was the youngest and always seemed to be competing for his place. Of course, it had been over five years since Caleb had seen his brothers. After his mother’s death in a horrific car accident, everything had splintered, shoving them into confrontation, and breaking underneath the strain. Both his brothers had walked out shortly after they lost her and never looked back. This time, the pang came and went without even an inward flinch. He’d gotten better under his father’s tutelage to bury all that anger and discontent. Too bad Dalton hadn’t received the same benefit.

Caleb flicked his gaze over to Tristan. The golden child. The peacemaker. Caleb always figured Tristan would be the one to run the family empire. Even now, his amber eyes held a steady light, and his manicured hands were calmly clasped on the smooth surface of the tabletop. His reddish-brown hair seemed perfectly tousled, and he wore some type of pricey customized suit that screamed I’m important. Guess property sales and renovating dumps was a decent living. Tristan refused to look him directly in the eye, which told Caleb how seriously pissed he was.

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