Authors: C. A. Harms
Book Three of the Sawyer Brothers Series
Copyright © 2015 by C.A. Harms.
All rights reserved.
First Print Edition: February 2016
Limitless Publishing, LLC
Kailua, HI 96734
Formatting: Limitless Publishing
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to locales, events, business establishments, or actual persons—living or dead—is entirely coincidental.
Spending too much time on past regrets could make you miss out on the now. And the now may be the path to the most rewarding future.
Table of Contents
A Little Over Four Years Ago
“I just can’t do this anymore, Noah. This is not the life I want or where I want to be forever. I thought you wanted more too. More than this quiet town with no real hope of being somebody.” Stacey sat on the end of my bed, the sheet still wrapped around her naked body.
Of all the times to have this type of conversation, I never thought it would be now. She chose first thing in the morning when I was already late for work.
“So what are you saying?” I asked as I stood in the doorway, fisting my shirt in my hands. I was trying not to blow up, trying to remain the rational one in this relationship.
“I don’t want to be here, in Livingston, for the rest of my life. I want to go somewhere with greater opportunities. I feel like if I stay here, I’m giving up my dreams. I feel like I’m drowning.”
She stood from the bed and let the sheet fall to the floor. Stacey was a gorgeous woman—tall, fit, and almost angelic. She was also very selfish and spoiled. Everyone called her by first name until she finally forced her parents to change it to her middle name instead. “Jessie” was entirely too hick for her taste.
“Noah, you had to see this coming,” she said. And the lack of compassion in her voice only made my anger grow.
“I had to see this coming? Are you fucking serious right now?” I took a step toward her, and she quickly slipped her shirt on over her head. “I asked you to marry me, and now you’re fucking telling me you’re leaving?” I lifted my hand and gripped my hair, pulling at the ends. “So what the hell was last night? And again this morning? One last roll in the sack before you walk out on me?”
“Come with me,” she said with a hopeful expression.
“I can’t just pick up and walk away. I just got on track with where I want to be at the station. I have the ranch and my responsibilities to my family. Plus, this is my home. I don’t want to leave.”
“Then you’re choosing this place and all of them over us.” She actually had the nerve to look hurt and offended.
I stood in the center of the room, watching as she began grabbing items and tossing them in her bag. “I have to get out of here. I gave you the option to come with me, and you declined. So that is on you.”
Heat rose in my neck, and a swooshing sound filled my ears as I fought against my anger. “It’s on me, what the fuck? You’re truly something else, you know that? You throw this shit at me five minutes before my shift starts at the station and have the nerve to blame the end of us on me. You fucking did this.”
She ignored me as she finished dressing and gathered some more of her things. I stepped up behind her and grabbed the bag from her hands, making her stop what the hell she was doing and look at me.
Stacey spun around and gasped as I leaned in, bringing my face only inches from hers. “This is all on you. You’ve been planning this escape all along. Now you want to blame me.” I stepped back and held my arm out, pointing toward the door of my apartment. “Get out,” I said through gritted teeth. “I’ll send your shit to your parents, because right now I can’t fucking look at you a minute longer.”
Her eyes widened, and she covered her mouth with her hand. I gave a sarcastic chuckle as I shook my head. She had already pushed me past my breaking point, and I was through playing the nice guy. “Cut the tears, Stacey. You wanted this, you got it. Now get out. I’m not holding you back from your perfect life any longer.”
I waited until the door slammed before I caved and sat on the end of the bed. My clothes from last night were still tossed around the room. I had given her years of my life, thinking we had a future.
I guess her being younger and unsettled should have warned me off, but her vibrant attitude was what had attracted me from the start. Now I just felt like a dumbass for not seeing what others saw in her. She was a wild card, but I took a chance.
I had finally been able to get beneath Noah Sawyer’s shield. He was definitely a hard one to crack. His walls were made of steel—damned near unbreakable. But I don’t give up easily.
I’d had enough of the game we were both playing. I wanted a chance to know the real man beneath his cocky, confident mask. So when I asked him out on a date—yes, I asked him—I didn’t really give him a chance to decline.
“Thank you,” I said with a sweet smile as Noah took my hand and helped me from the truck. I was a pro in heels, but with my nerves and the way Noah made me feel, I was wobbling on my legs and had to focus on not falling over.
“You’re very welcome.” A sly grin spread across his lips. Noah pretended to be all confident and self-assured, but I knew it was just a front. He had a soft side, and I had made it my mission to uncover it. I had a feeling he would be one hell of a lover.
When I was steady on my feet, Noah stepped closer, pressing himself against me. “Have I told you how amazingly sexy you look tonight?” His gruff voice warmed my insides. I loved his deep, raspy tone. It had me thinking all kinds of dirty thoughts.
“You have, a couple times, but please don’t feel like you can’t keep expressing your appreciation.” I placed my hand on his chest and slid it upward to rest just over his heart. “Tonight has been a perfect night. Everything about it.”
I ran my tongue over my dry lower lip to moisten it and caught his gaze as he followed the movement. A whimper left me as he mirrored me, wetting his own lips.
“It has been,” he agreed, not taking his gaze from my mouth. “Do you know what would make it that much better?”
I shook my head as my heart raced with anticipation.
He leaned in just a little closer, and his mouth hovered over mine. “This,” he whispered, just before covering my lips with his own.
My body sagged as he wrapped his arm around my waist and spread his palm out over my lower back. Our bodies molded together as I weaved my hands up his torso and linked them together behind his neck.
Our kiss started out innocent and sweet and quickly deepened. He swiped the tip of his tongue across my lips, and I immediately opened up to him and chased his tongue with my own.
Noah backed me up until he’d pinned me against the side of his truck. He moved his arms up, caging me against it.
“You’re making it really hard for me to be a gentleman,” he said before diving back in for more.
Pulling away from the kiss, I arched my neck, and he trailed kisses along its side to the base of my throat.
“God, then don’t,” I panted. “Stop thinking so much, Noah, and just react.”
He groaned as he pressed himself against me tighter, and I could feel just what I was doing to him. His hardness pushed against my stomach as he ground against me.
“You’ll regret saying that,” he assured me.
“No, I can safely say I won’t regret a moment of the time I spend with you.” I meant it too. Whether we spent it in a lust-filled state like we were now, or being playful like we were less than two hours ago, my time spent with Noah was nothing short of perfection.
His eyes were locked on mine, as if he could see what I was thinking. We were both so completely lost in one another, we didn’t notice anyone approaching until we heard a woman’s voice.
Noah looked back over his shoulder, still shielding my body with his. When his body stiffened, I rose up on my toes to look over his shoulder.
A very attractive blonde stood five feet away, staring up at Noah. I couldn’t tell whether she looked scared or just shocked, but Noah didn’t look happy.
“It is you,” she responded, then looked over toward me. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.”
“Sure you didn’t, because you aren’t conniving or manipulative.” Noah’s voice was instantly cold and distant. “No, not you, Stacey. You’re sweet and kind. You never have an ulterior motive.”
Stacey, as in his ex-fiancée. My throat tightened as I watched them in silence.
Stacey shifted nervously on her feet, and I saw movement toward her left.
“Momma? I thought we were getting ice cream.”
A small boy, maybe around three years old, walked up to her side and tugged on the hem of her shirt. Then he looked up at Noah, and in that moment everything shifted.
Things seemed to be moving in slow motion, as though I could see every little flicker of someone’s eyelashes, every little rise and fall of their chest. When I looked to my left, I instantly sensed that Noah was experiencing the same thing. His nostrils flared, and his cheeks reddened in anger.
“Is there something you need to tell me, Stacey?” he asked in a disgusted tone I had never heard from him and didn’t even realize he was capable of.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered as her eyes filled with tears, and in that moment I knew. I slowly felt Noah fading away from me as he walked toward the little boy staring back at him with curiosity.
My heart ached, not just for Noah, but for myself. It may have been selfish, but I could feel what Noah and I had been building together over the last few weeks slowly slipping away.
I watched as he carefully knelt before the little boy and stared at him in amazement.