Read Love Under Two Kendalls Online

Authors: Cara Covington

Tags: #General Fiction

Love Under Two Kendalls

The Lusty, Texas Collection

 

Love Under Two Kendalls

 

After months of gentle wooing, Adam and Jake Kendall know their sweet Ginny Rose is on the verge of saying yes to a romance with them. But then her former abuser escapes from jail, and suddenly, all bets are off.

 

Ginny can’t reason through the terror that grips her when she learns Deke Walters is free. He threatened to kill her and her son Benny—and Ginny will do anything to keep Benny safe.

 

Adam and Jake assure Ginny that they can keep her and her son safe, but Ginny has had enough of feeling like a victim. Besides, how can she stand tall and behave like a whole woman when deep inside, she knows the wounds she suffered never truly healed?

 

Bold action is required, and Ginny finds her courage, but will that discovery cost her the love of the men she knows she can’t live without?

 

Genre:
Contemporary, Ménage a Trois/Quatre, Western/Cowboys
Length:
66,892 words

 

LOVE UNDER TWO KENDALLS

The Lusty, Texas Collection

Cara Covington

MENAGE EVERLASTING

Siren Publishing, Inc.

www.SirenPublishing.com

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A SIREN PUBLISHING BOOK

IMPRINT: Ménage Everlasting

LOVE UNDER TWO KENDALLS

Copyright © 2012 by Cara Covington

E-book ISBN: 1-61926-388-2

First E-book Publication: February 2012

Cover design by Les Byerley

All art and logo copyright © 2012 by Siren Publishing, Inc.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
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All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.

PUBLISHER

Siren Publishing, Inc.

www.SirenPublishing.com

Letter to Readers

 

Dear Readers,

 

If you have purchased this copy of
Love Under Two Kendalls
by Cara Covington from BookStrand.com or its official distributors, thank you. Also, thank you for not sharing your copy of this book.

 

 

Regarding E-book Piracy

 

This book is copyrighted intellectual property. No other individual or group has resale rights, auction rights, membership rights, sharing rights, or any kind of rights to sell or to give away a copy of this book.

 

The author and the publisher work very hard to bring our paying readers high-quality reading entertainment.

 

This is Cara Covington’s livelihood. It’s fair and simple. Please respect Ms. Covington’s right to earn a living from her work.

 

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DEDICATION

For all of my wonderful readers who’ve been asking for Ginny’s story: here it is.

I hope I’ve done her—and you—proud.

Cara Covington

January 2012

 
LOVE UNDER TWO KENDALLS

The Lusty, Texas Collection

CARA COVINGTON

Copyright © 2012

Chapter 1

Is he out there, even now?

The question wouldn’t go away. Ginny Rose let the curtain fall gently back into place, the gossamer lace swaying with the action, turning the view of the quiet, lighted street outside the window into a kind of exaggerated jigsaw puzzle.

A shiver slithered down her spine, and she felt bone-cold. She rubbed her arms, and walked over to the thermostat set in the wall. The heat rarely came on in her apartment, because it was always so warm in Lusty.

According to the digital display, her apartment was a balmy seventy-eight degrees.

Deep inside where peace had been growing these last six months, tiny rivulets of terror snaked out, like bad weeds quickly spreading in every direction.

Freezing everything they touched, they choked off the peace, leaving echoes of the past to awaken and breed. Fear upon fear, unchecked, ran rampant within her.

Ginny knew what was happening inside of her, but, God help her, she didn’t know how to stop it. She had moments where she felt like the same frightened woman who’d cowered in the corner of her bedroom back in Waco while Deke brought his belt down on her over and over again.

She didn’t want to go back to being that woman. She never,
ever
wanted to go back there.

But what if that wasn’t in her hands? What if he came and
made
her go back there? A tiny voice began screaming in the back of her mind, and it wouldn’t shut up.

Run away now, before he finds you! Run, Ginny, run!

She couldn’t think, she couldn’t reason, because fear was eating up her energy and robbing her of logic.

Fear had become a dark and dismal cloud locking everything in place.

Ginny thought of Adam and Jake, and she thought of all the strong women and protective men that made up her new town, and she felt ashamed of herself for the first time in a very long time.

“Stop this right now, Virginia Earline Rose. You just stop this useless dithering and mental meandering and go to bed.”

Ginny walked over and checked the apartment door, ensuring it was locked. She loved this apartment more than she’d loved any place she’d ever lived. It had been Kelsey’s home when she first met that generous woman, and before she’d truly understood what was happening, Kelsey, Steven, Matt, and Adam had moved her and Benny into here, and she’d felt secure.

She hated that she was letting Deke Walters scare her like this, hated that she no longer felt as safe and secure here as she had just that very morning.

Had it only been a few hours since Julia, Dev, and Drew’s engagement party? Only a handful of minutes since Adam had given her the news that had shattered her world?

“Deke Walters escaped custody about a half hour ago.”

“What? Oh my God! How could this happen? Where…where did this happen?”

“We don’t have all the details yet. He was in Abilene when he got away from the police.”

“He’ll come here. Adam, you know he’ll come here. He threatened to kill Benny, to kill me, when you charged him.”

“I know, baby. But he’s not going to do that. We’re not going to let him do that. We’re going to do everything we can to keep you both safe. Do you trust us? Do you trust Jake and me to keep you safe?”

“Yes. Yes, of course I trust you.”

Ginny did trust Adam and Jake Kendall. But the knot of fear kept growing inside her, anyway. Determined to ignore that fear if she couldn’t make it go away, she continued on with her nightly routine.

She showered, making quick work of washing off the day, willing her stress and anxiety to go down the drain as surely as the soap bubbles did.

She toweled off quickly, her back, as usual, turned to the bathroom mirror. She didn’t think about it overly much, even as she understood she rarely looked at her own nakedness, either directly or in a mirror.

She kept her nightgown on the back of the bathroom door. Slipping it over her head, she settled the garment in place before she turned around and rushed through the rest of her bedtime routine. In less than ten minutes her teeth were brushed, her face moisturized, and her hair dry enough to sleep on.

She turned off the bathroom light and headed toward her bedroom. Stopping at Benny’s door, she stood and watched him, and here, at last, she found her peace.

Unable to resist, she crept into the room, careful not to awaken him. Ginny smiled. Usually her little man slept deeply and well, and never so much so as when he’d spent time at one of the family get-togethers at
Lusty Appetites
.

Ginny shook her head and gave up the pretense. It wasn’t the parties so much that her son loved, that found him settled and happy, and she knew that very well. So she let that thought form again, and let it ring with truth this time.

Benny never slept so well as when he’d spent time with Adam and Jake Kendall.

She reached out, brushed the hair off his forehead, away from his eyes. It was almost time for him to get his hair cut again. Keeping her movements gentle, she pulled the blankets up, tucking them around him snugly.

Benny was everything to her, and there was nothing she wouldn’t do to keep him happy, and keep him safe.

She recalled the decision she’d made more than six months before, the decision that ultimately resulted in her landing here and finding her second start in life, just at a time when she’d been sure she’d ruined everything, forever. Now she easily reached out to touch that same resolve and found it deeper, and stronger, and wider than it had ever been.

There was
nothing
Ginny Rose wouldn’t do to keep her son safe.

She tiptoed to her own bed and slid under the blankets. She always slept with her bedroom door open, in case her son needed her in the night. Usually, sliding between her clean, soft sheets guaranteed she’d be asleep in minutes.

But as the minutes ticked by, sleep eluded her. The peace looking in on her son had provided her slowly gave way to the fear that refused to be silenced.

She wanted more than anything to simply rest in the knowledge that Adam and Jake Kendall would keep her and Benny safe. But deep inside, that knowledge proved inadequate to hold back the fear.

So she lay in bed, her mind scrambling for a way to conquer this demon within, a way to stop thinking like a victim.

As the darkness waned, Ginny Rose came up with a plan.

* * * *

Adam Kendall took a moment to blink away the fatigue that stung his eyes and threatened to skew his vision. The display at the bottom right on his computer told him midnight had come and gone. He’d been officially off duty before Julia, Dev, and Drew’s party and had been just about to leave his office for
Lusty Appetites
when the alert had come in about Deke Walters.

If he’d just left that few minutes earlier, none of them would be any the wiser right now. They’d all have had at least one more night of…what?

Adam shook his head. No, it was better they all knew of that bastard’s escape as soon as possible. He regretted the fear he’d seen in Ginny’s eyes, fear that he’d put there. But they were all better off knowing.

“Do you trust us? Do you trust Jake and me?”

“Yes. Yes, of course I trust you.”

He’d seen that trust in her eyes, felt it in the way she’d gripped his hands. She’d looked at him and Jake, and then she’d seemed to relax, just a little.

That was something, at least.

He didn’t blame her for being scared. But he’d meant the promise he’d given her. And he wouldn’t rest until Deke Walters was back in custody.

“You want me to make a fresh pot of coffee, Adam?”

Adam looked over at Jasper Jones, another cousin—wasn’t everyone?—and his second deputy.

Jasper pulled the night shift most nights, because, he claimed, he was part vampire. Of course he wasn’t, but he did prefer working at night and sleeping in the day.

Adam was simply there, working, and if an emergency came up, well of course he’d handle it. But otherwise, Jasper was the man on duty in the Sheriff’s Department at the moment.

His deputy’s question finally registered. “Not for me, thanks. If I have any more coffee, I’ll never get to sleep.”

The door opened, not a regular occurrence so late at night. Adam’s head jerked up. Somehow, he wasn’t surprised to see his closest brother standing there. Jake didn’t come all the way in, just stood with one hand on his hip, the other holding the door open, and a sneer on his face.

“You finished harassing every government official this side of the Rio Grande who
used
to call you friend, brother of mine?”

“There’s got to be one or two I haven’t rousted out of bed yet,” Adam said.

“Come on, Adam. It’s time to call it a night. Knowing you, you’ve done all you can do for now. You’ll be better off coming at things fresh, after some sleep.”

Jake was right, and he knew it. “Yeah. There really isn’t much more I can do tonight, and the screen is beginning to blur on me anyway.”

Adam stood, and took a moment to stretch the kinks out of his back. “He had to have had someone waiting for him.” He reached for his hat, started to put it on, then thought better of it.

“Say good night to Jasper and come along peaceably, Sheriff.”

Adam gave Jasper high marks for not snickering out loud. He supposed the deputy was used to the sometimes rather fierce banter between the brothers Kendall.

“Good night, Jasper. You call me if anything comes in about Walters.”

Adam saw Jake open his mouth as if to protest, then snap it closed again.

“You bet, Adam. I’ll scan your e-mails, too, in case you get an update that way.”

“Thank you. See you in the morning.”

“It
is
morning,” Jake said as they stepped out onto the sidewalk.

“Just,” Adam conceded. He looked up and down Main Street. He liked to have a look at his town at the end of his shift. Usually, he’d drive the streets, not expecting any trouble, just more contenting himself that all in his town was well and safe for another day.

“I don’t see your snazzy Audi,” he said.

“I walked so I could ride with you and you could talk about it as we drive past Ginny’s and eventually head home.”

Adam reached out and clasped Jake on his shoulder. “Thanks.” His brother knew him better than anyone, always had. There’d been times, when they’d been not yet even fifteen, when that chemistry had put them at odds as often as not.

With maturity had come wisdom, and a comfort of being in each other’s company that had at first surprised them both.

It was the same sense of brotherhood they’d known their fathers shared, and they’d both understood what it had meant for them, as brothers, as Kendalls, and as future husbands.

“So, you think someone was waiting for him. That calls for some research into his former associates.” Jake fastened his seat belt and looked over at Adam. “Walters didn’t have much of a record—only a few run-ins with the law, enough so that the Waco cops said they weren’t surprised when you arrested him. That means there won’t be much on him in the system.”

“I didn’t arrest him. John Cantor with the Rangers arrested him.”

“Only because you didn’t want the slime bucket taking up space in your jail, so close to Ginny.”

Adam wasn’t going to argue the point, because as usual, his brother was absolutely right. “Having John do the deed allowed for Walters to be kept in any number of facilities.” And he’d been grateful that Cantor had stowed him all the way up north in Abilene.

“The place outside of Abilene is pretty tight. How’d he get out?”

“Complained of chest pains. They had to take him to the ER in town. They didn’t have a choice. They’re still gathering witness accounts as to the identity of his abettor. Walters and this unknown person overpowered the guards and were gone in moments.”

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