It’s raining men… heroes and side characters…in my case, it’s Zach and his brothers.
“You know, if Zach ever decides to come back, my agent is there to help him…and I know you’re done with it. How are you going to feel if he does it?”
Instead of pointing out that Zach had said a hundred times that he didn’t want to go back, she reached for the knife and started slicing up the bread. “Zach’s life is his own, Seb. I can’t control it.” She shot him a look and then went back to the chore in front of her, hoping he’d take the point. See… look at me, I’m busy,busy.
He laughed a little. “Yeah, that’s what you think.”
The undercurrent in his voice got to her, rubbed her so very, very wrong. Carefully, she put the knife down. Because she didn’t want to get pissed off here, because she didn’t want to get pissed off at Sebastian, she took a minute to reach for her wine. It was more to give herself a minute to think through anything she might say, to puzzle through just what that might mean. But she had no stunning revelations in the thirty seconds it took to drink the yummy Ratafia that Zach always managed to keep on hand for her. It came from a winery in Albuquerque and she was tempted to toss the entire glass back and then pour another.
But she doubted it would do a damn thing to lessen her irritation.
So instead, she lowered the glass back down and lifted her gaze to study Sebastian. “Okay. So you think I can control Zach’s life. Exactly how do I do that?”
“You got him to move away from L.A.” Sebastian’s eyes narrowed on her face and although his voice never once raised, she heard the resentment there.
And it was strong. Damn it, where in the hell had that come from?
“I got him to move?” she asked, pushing away from the counter. “Exactly how did I do that? We’ve been seeing exactly for exactly two weeks. He moved to Tucson years ago.”
The door opened, but neither of them paid it much attention.
“He’s spent more than half of his life doing exactly what you wanted him to do, Abby,” Sebastian said, his voice icy, full of disgust. “Are you ever going to–”
He cut a look over his shoulder at Zane. “Back off,” he snapped. “This is between me and Abby.”
“There shouldn’t be a damn thing between you and Abby,” Zane said.
Abigale glanced over at him and the look on his face was one of apology, but she ignored it, looking back at Sebastian. “Am I ever going to what?” she demanded.
“Sebastian, if you don’t shut the fuck up,” Zane warned. “I’m going to—”
Whipping her head around, Abigale glared at Zane. He’d been liked the big brother she never had, teasing her, protecting her, needling her. And right now, he was pissing her off. “Zane, you either shut the fuck up, or I’m going to punch you,” she said.
She was vaguely aware the door had opened again, vaguely aware that more people had trickled into the kitchen, but she didn’t give a damn. Sebastian was still glaring at her, although when he shot the people around them a look, a muscle pulsed in his jaw.
“We’ll discuss it some other time,” he said quietly.
“Oh, the hell we will.” Crossing her arms over her chest, she glared at him. “I want to know just in the hell I’m controlling Zach. I want to know how I’m stopping him from chasing after a life back in California…even though he sure as hell doesn’t want it.”
“How in the fuck would you know?” Sebastian snapped. He shoved a hand through his hand and advanced on her, bending down to snarl in her face. “You don’t know shit about what he wants, because the one thing he does want? You’ve never even—”
His eyes shot over her shoulder and Abigale watched as he slowly straightened. His jaw clenched and that pretty face of his went hard as stone. “Zach.”
A hand came up and curled over Abigale’s shoulder. Abruptly, the rush of anger cleared from her head and she felt a little sick as she looked around. Almost the entire family had gathered in there. Not just Lana and her husband, Ron. Not just Zach’s brothers and their dates. But cousins, the kids. Friends. Nearly thirty people had managed to squeeze their way inside the brightly light kitchen and they were now watching the entire thing.
Pressing a hand to her belly, she blew out a breath and then shifted her attention over to Lana and the twins. The hell if she apologized to Sebastian, the jack-ass. But Lana, the twins…it was their day. “Lana, guys, I am so sorry,” she whispered.
Lana’s eyes snapped and burned, but she smiled at her. “Abby, I don’t think you’re the one who needs to apologize.”
Sebastian’s eyes narrowed as he slid his mother a look.
Then he looked back at Abigale and like he was chewing off ragged bits of rusty metal, he bit out, “Sorry.”
Without looking at anybody else, he turned to go.
Zach, until that moment, hadn’t said a word. But then, after a gentle squeeze on her shoulder, he eased around her. “Sebastian, kid…you and me need to have a word.”
Abigale groaned. She knew that tone.
Passing a hand over her face, she said, “Zach, just let it go.”
But it was like he didn’t even hear her, and before she could try to go after him, Zane barred her way. “Leave the two of them alone,” he advised.
“They don’t need to be fighting at their brothers’ party,” she said.
A grin split his face. Thick brown hair tumbled into his eyes as he caught her in a hug and pulled her close. “Oh, now come on, Abby. Since when have we ever managed to have a single party or even a cookout without one of us getting mad about something?”
Other people having man-fests…
Megan Hart:Read in bed!
Mandy M Roth