(Not professionally edited)
Sam stood back, her hands on her hips, a frown on her lips. She shook her head. “I don’t know, Andrew, this seems awfully big.” The dry board Andrew had convinced her to get was huge. In Sam’s opinion, too huge. It was bigger than her couch for pity sake.
Andrew drew a big happy face in the center of the white board complete with eyebrows and eyelashes. “I already told you, Sam, you’ll need it big.”
She gave him a sideways glance. “And how would you know?”
His left shoulder lifted as he erased the happy face. “It’s just a matter of factoring in what you have, calculate what you’ll need. You have eight kids, first and last names and age, where they were last seen, what they were wearing, etc.” He put his name down in reference. “Then you have my activities.” He marked that down. “Then everyone I knew. It takes up a lot of space. You might even find this isn’t big enough.” He turned to his sister and saw the smile on her face. “What?”
“You’re really enjoying this, aren’t you?”
His face flushed with embarrassment. “Kinda. It’s fascinating.” He popped the top of the beer Sam handed him, took a swig then set it on the small wooden table beside him. His beer lifted from the table, a coaster slid beneath before it was set back down.
“I hate when he does that.”
“I hate when he’s inconsiderate to the furniture. Would it kill him to use a coaster?” Shaking his head, his hands on his large hips, Trent scowled at Andrew.
“And he hates when you’re inconsiderate of the furniture. Trent’s a neat freak. Who do you think keeps this place clean?”
Andrew swept a wary gaze across the room. “Man, how do you live with it? I’m just glad it’s not me.”
She patted him lightly on the back, a thin smirk on her lips. “I hate to tell you this, little brother, but you’ve got a roommate. Your apartment is haunted.”
“Shut up!” He shook her off, shuddering as if she were something cold and slimy instead of flesh and bone. “That’s not even funny.”
“Don’t worry, Andy, she’s friendly.”
“She?” Suddenly he perked up.
“Yeah, she, but not your type. She’s fifty two, or was when she died. Read the names off to me will you.” She lifted the marker, erasing his name and stats.
Frowning, he began to rattle off the names of the missing children. “How did she die?”
Sam smiled; it was rare that he asked anything about her work. “Diabetic shock.”
“And she died in my apartment?”
“Yes and no, she died in that spot, technically, but it wasn’t an apartment then.”
“What was it?”
“An elderly care home.”
He shuddered. “Okay, after we’re done this, come to my place and do your little mojo thing and get rid of her.”
Sam shook her head. “So tell me, little brother, how come you’re spending your Friday night with your big sister instead of out on a date or partying or something?”
He took a gulp from his beer. “I could ask you the same thing.”
She grinned slyly. “I don’t have a big sister,” she teased.
“You know what I meant, wise ass. Hey, is this her?” Andrew lifted the sketch Sam drew days ago. Sam nodded. “She’s cute. Sad. You do eyes so well. Like they’re real and watching me.” He taped the picture she’d sketched of the land with the back of his hand. “Man, this could be anywhere.”
Sam nodded, taking a sip from her beer. It made her proud to know her brother thought her work was good. “I know, and that’s what’s so damn frustrating.” She wrote the names down as Andrew recited them to her then took a step back.
“Okay, these three went to the same school.” She marked the school beside their names. “And these two were on the same ball team.” Sam added it beside the names. “These two were in scouts together.” Still nothing matched all of them. More frustration.
“Where do they all live?”
“Everywhere.” Sam blew out a breath, frowning. “There’s a few that live close, the ones that go to the same school, but not all of them.”
“So far, there’s nothing connecting them. Have you asked each of the parents if they know anyone with the initials of D.B.?”
“The ones that will talk to me, yeah. I’ve got lists of names a block long, but there’s no damn D.B. on any of them. You never answered my question, bro. Why aren’t you out on a date?”
“No one worth dating,” he muttered in a low, depressed sort of tone. “Why aren’t you out on a date, sis?”
“Same deal as you.”
“What about this Montgomery guy? Colleen’s boss?” Sam only groaned. “Uh oh, trouble in paradise?”
“There is no paradise, Andrew, he’s married.” She set her beer down to look at her dry board and all the names. Why couldn’t something just pop out at her? It would be so much easier.
“Yeah, but I heard he was getting a divorce. So what's the problem?”
She let out a long sigh and the words just flowed. It wasn’t often she leaned on her brothers shoulders. “His wife is being a real bitch, trying to break him financially, and personally. She wants to make him suffer.”
“Sounds like a winner. Okay, so, big deal, he’s married. Don’t let that stop you. Go for it.” When she turned to him with a frown on her face, he lifted his hands. “What's the big deal?”
“The big deal is the marriage he happens to still be in.”
“But it’s not like he’s living with her or having sex with her, right? And they are going through a divorce so he’s almost single.”
“Almost doesn’t count.” The doorbell rang, baffling her. Setting her marker down, Sam walked to the door, replying to her brother’s comment. “I have no intentions of sneaking around with a man just to be with him.” But when she opened the door and saw Ethan standing there, wearing that stupid brown wig and beard, holding yet another box of pizza, her heart simply turned over. Her mind, however, was on alert. “What are you doing here?”
He lifted the box, his smile partially shaded from the beard. “Aren’t you going to ask me in, Samantha?”
“Yeah, Samantha, aren’t you going to ask him in?” Stepping up behind her, Andrew elbowed Sam in the side.
Doing her best to ignore her brother, Sam stepped aside to invite Ethan in. “Ethan Montgomery, my annoying little brother, Andrew,” she introduced, and as Ethan moved past her she could smell a combination of pizza and Ethan’s rich dark cologne. He couldn’t make it easy on her, could he?
“Pleased to meet you, Andrew.” Ethan shot Sam a wide-eyed look.
“He’s cool, for the most part. He won’t tell anyone you were here, will you, bro?” Sam smacked Andrew’s arm.
“Ouch! Boney knuckles. My lips are sealed. Nice to meet you, Ethan.” Andrew’s eyes went wide when Ethan pulled the fake beard away and then the wig. “I thought it looked a little ratty. Not usually Sam’s type. She doesn’t go for facial hair.”
“Shut up, Andy,” she snarled through her teeth.
“This is kind of hot.”
“Oh, sorry.” She took the pizza box from Ethan. “Would you like a drink? All I’ve got though is beer.”
“Beer is good.”
Sam left to get the beer, setting the pizza on the counter and blowing out a long breath. So much for her conversation with Andrew about not wanting to sneak around with a married man. Ethan had just blown that out of the water.
“So, what’s with the disguise?” Andrew asked with a lift of his fingers.
“It’s a precaution. In case one of Sam’s family members is over, as is the case now,” Ethan explained, tipping his head to Andrew.
“Aw, how sweet. Sparing my sister the questions my parents would have if they knew it was you. Still, it must suck to sneak out in order to be with my sister?”
Sam shot him a dirty look as she entered the room. “We’re not seeing each other,” she emphasized, handing Ethan his beer.
“Right, and he isn’t here now, dressed in a disguise, sneaking out to be with you.”
Sam’s clenched her jaw. “Andrew.”
He waved a hand at her. “I’d better go. Keys.” He held his hand out to her.
“Dream on, bro.”
He narrowed blue eyes. “My cars in the shop, remember? You drove me here,” he reminded her.
Damn, he had her there. “Damage my car and I’ll hunt you down.” She pulled them off the hook by the door and held them out to him, her eyes stern with warning.
“Yeah yeah.” Andrew grabbed the keys from Sam’s hand and darted for the door. “See yah later, sis. Nice meeting you, Ethan.”
The door closed and the room filled with silence. One look into Ethan’s eyes and Sam was lost. Without a word, they fell into an embrace. Like each time their mouths met, the kiss was explosive.
How was it she’d gone her entire life feeling so empty? Until now. He filled her, from the top of her head to the tip of her toes. Mind, body and soul.
“I can’t take another moment without you, Samantha,” Ethan murmured breathlessly against her lips.
“Then take me.” He scooped her into his arms and the excitement she felt nearly bubbled out in silly girlish giggles.
He carried her past the dry board. “Which room is yours?”
“Last room on your left.” She rested her head on his shoulder while he carried her to her bed. “This is a mistake.” She heard herself say, but was in no way going to stop what was about to happen.
“We all make mistakes. I’m not going to regret this one.” He set her down and taking her face in his hands, began a slow seductive kiss that made her toes curl.
So many reasons why she should floated in her mind, but she pushed them all aside. One night, just one night was all she needed. If she was damned for an eternity for her sin, then she would go eagerly. Tipping her head, she danced with his tongue as it dipped between her teeth and into her mouth. Her hands worked feverishly to unbutton his shirt and feel the man beneath.
She’d been with men before, but none made her feel even half as special as Ethan did now. Maybe it was because she was in love with him that it felt so special. She didn’t care to analyze it at the moment, but enjoyed it instead. His mouth was gentle as it rained kisses over her face, then her neck and down while unbuttoning her shirt. When his fingers skimmed over her breast, slipping the lace bra aside, she shivered with the pleasure he gave her.
He slid the clothing away and replaced them with his lips. His mouth was hot and yet made her shiver. He teased; a flick of his tongue here, a nibble there, and when his teeth scraped over sensitive flesh, her entire body tightened with anticipation.
He gave her pleasure, showed her tenderness and love. And as he removed his own clothing and slid over top of her, she saw the wanting in his eyes.
Taking her lips, his kiss so gentle, he pressed himself inside. She welcomed him not only into her body, but into her soul as well. If there was one defining moment that a person knew when love was eternal, Sam knew it now.
Their eyes locked, he rocked inside of her in slow erotic motions. Two bodies, matching perfectly, joined as one. They held each other, their eyes never parting while slowly he drove them both to the brink of unbridled passion.
Closing her eyes, ignoring the tiny voice inside her head that said she would never really have him, Sam gave him everything.