Broken Creek (The Creek #1)

Broken Creek (The Creek #1) by Abbie St. Claire

Book: Broken Creek (The Creek #1) by Abbie St. Claire Read Free Book Online
Authors: Abbie St. Claire
Tags: Contemporary Romance
behind me. “We’re friends. I can’t deny I love you and I want more, but you’re hurting and you need to know—well, I think I’ve proven this week that I can be a friend to you. At the very least, we can be friends, can’t we?”
    I looked back over my right shoulder and saw his face; his concern for me was obvious. He didn’t approach me or try to close the ten feet of distance between us. There was no rush to get me into his bed.
    “Okay,” was all I could muster.
    Once inside, I laid my keys on the side table and sat on the small, hand-me-down sofa that he had thrown a blanket over to hide its ugliness, but I still remembered.
    He opened the fridge and stared at the contents, as if time was going to change what was on the shelf.
    “I have beer, Dr. Pepper, and potato chips, but I can go back to the store. Oh, and I have an old bottle of Jack.”
    “Bring the Jack.”
    He brought the liquor and a glass for me and a Corona for himself. He walked over to the small fireplace and stirred the few hot coals—remnants of an earlier fire. He added kindling and more logs, so the fire would take quickly and remove the chill from the air. But nothing was going to remove the cold I felt internally, especially toward my parents.
    I’d finished two shots before a word was ever spoken between us. I wasn’t sure if he was waiting me out or sweetly giving me space.
    “The other day when I got the call and you asked if I’d won the lottery.” I paused.
    He nodded, watching me intently.
    “It was a man at the paper in Fort Smith. He saw my ad to lease the land and called before it even ran, saying Ben, his son, was looking for land to lease. Well, Ben came today. Loved our place and made an offer to buy the back parcel and lease the front. He wants to put a cabin on it for his ranch hand, Justin, who also came with him. He made a fair verbal offer. Only problem is the bank won’t be able to split up the lien to sell off part of the land. Why didn’t she tell me? Why didn’t you tell me?”
    “Don’t yell at me. Look, I understand where you’re coming from, but don’t make this my fault. I don’t get into people’s money business, and I truly thought you knew.”
    “I know. I’m sorry.” I leaned back against the sofa and took a couple more quick shots, staring at the fire.
    We were both quiet for a while, but I felt his gaze on my skin. For some reason, I got up and crawled into his lap in the recliner. He held me until I fell asleep.
    When I opened my eyes, it was dark, only what remained of the fire provided any light into the room.
    Stephan had flipped out the recliner and still had his arms tightly around me. I inhaled deeply, and his familiar scent tickled my nose. This time it was comforting. When I leaned my head back, I caught his eyes watching me.
    “Feel better?”
    “Nope.”
    “I’ll run you a hot bath. That will help.” He put the foot rest down and helped me stand up.
    “I should go. I don’t have any clothes or…”
    “I still have some of your stuff. You left shorts, sweatpants, and underwear and stuff. I put it in a box in the spare room, or you can wear one of my T-shirts. I don’t think you should drive after drinking, but I’ll drive you if you want to go home.”
    I shook my head.
    The bathroom was built for me. He knew I loved to take long bubble baths, and he’d cornered two large picture windows from floor to ceiling, overlooking the canyon with a vintage claw tub sat an angle in front them.
    I looked around the room at all the details, once again admiring his work. With his and her vanities on opposite sides of the tub, the room looked like something out of a magazine, everything either white or black.
    There was something calming about hot water, and as I inched into it, the tension in my body began to release. I leaned back against the edge and closed my eyes. When I finally opened them, he was sitting on the stool, watching me.
    “You’re a perv, you know that?” My

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