I sat at my desk, studying the project plans for the new resort in Florida. My stomach growled letting me know it was about time for lunch. A couple of times this week, I considered calling Sara to see if wanted to meet me or suggest I go home and combine business with pleasure.
I shook my head. That woman was spoiling me sexually.
I heard voices outside my door, recognizing my wife’s. That though jerked me to attention. My wife. I’d certainly called her that, but I couldn’t remember thinking of her in those terms. Of course, she was my wife, but this was a business deal.
There was a knock and then Hunter walked in with Sara in tow. What the fuck was he doing with Sara? I stood, not liking the angry scowl on Hunter’s face. Granted, the guy never smiled, but he clearly wasn’t happy. I stood and came around my desk.
“Some dumb fuck was man-handling your intern outside the building,” he growled.
My gaze jerked to Sara. “Are you hurt?” I scanned her perfect body, stopping when I saw bruises developing on her arm. “Who did that to you?” My voice was calm although on the inside, rage was boiling.
“It’s nothing. Hunter chased him off.” Her voice sounded calm, but I could see in her eyes that the incident unsettled her.
“Those bruises aren’t nothing.” I wanted to pummel the fucker that dared lay his hands on my wife. “I have a right to know.”
I noted Hunter’s brows pulling together and I wondered if he thought I’m overstepping the bounds for an intern. If only he knew the truth.
Sara sighed. “He’s an ex-boyfriend who tracked me down to talk to me.”
Hunter’s head swiveled to her, wearing the same expression. “He was yanking you up the street.” He turned his attention back to me. “He doesn’t seem to know or accept she’s not into him.”
Sara’s behavior last weekend was starting to make sense. “Did he hurt you? I mean before.”
She swallowed. I saw her eyes fill with tears, but she kept them from falling. “Not really. He’s mostly all talk.”
I had the urge to grab her and hold her tight, protecting her from all the evil in the world. At the same time, I needed to hunt the mother fucker down and make him regret ever touching or scaring her.
Hunter studied me and perhaps saw the murderous rage building in me. He’d certainly be able to recognize it.
“Sara, why don’t you get some water and freshen up,” Hunter suggested. “Take a minute to settle.”
She looked at him and then me. I nodded because I couldn’t trust the words that might come from my mouth. They wouldn’t be angry at her, but they still might not be appropriate.
When she left my office, I ran my fingers through my hair. “Fuck.” Deciding I needed a drink, I went to the bar. I poured a double shot of the first bottle I grabbed, not caring what it was as long as it was at least eighty-proof.
“What’s going on, Chase?” Hunter asked. He stood with his hands on his hips, his dark eyes piercing mine. I felt like he could see into my soul.
“Want a drink?”
“No, I want to know what’s going on with you and the intern.” Hunter was always direct, often to the point of abrupt. Usually I appreciated that in him. Right now, I needed a moment to get my shit together.
“Did you hurt him?” I asked.
“A little. I threatened to kill him.”
My lips twitched up at that, although I’d rather be the one doing the killing.
“I’m not happy that someone at Raven Industries was accosted on my watch, but I’m even more concerned at your reaction. What’s going on, Chase? No bullshit. You know I don’t like it.”
I downed my drink and then, like a man, I turned to face my brother. “Sara isn’t an intern anymore.”
Hunter’s expression remained unchanged, except for one brow that lifted as he waited for me to elaborate.
“She’s my wife.”
His other brow joined the first, and his jaw dropped. “What?”
I nodded, rolling my shoulders to help work out the tension. “Since last weekend.”
“You’ve got to be shittin’ me.”
I shook my head. I leaned back against my desk, curious as to what he’d do.
“This has to do with Dad’s crazy new plan?” he asked.
“And she agreed?”
“Yes. Of course. I didn’t force her.” I wasn’t an asshole.
Hunter looked away, his brows knitted as he appeared to process what I’d said. Then he pulled his phone out.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Texting Ash and Kade, or do they already know?”
I sighed, realizing I couldn’t put off telling them all any longer. “No, they don’t know. At least not about Sara.” I remembered that Ash thought I was seeing someone.
“Kade is going to shit himself.” Hunter grinned, a rare sight on him. “The little shit deserves it.”
“I’m glad you’re finding humor in my marriage. But someone just tried to grab my wife and I don’t like it, Hunter.”
His jovial expression vanished. “I’ll find out who he is.” He cocked his head. “You’re pretty worked up about this. Is this a match made in heaven and not just a business deal?”
“No,” I said quickly. “But that doesn’t mean I’m okay with some asshole going after my wife.”
Hunter’s head did a double take. “That’s weird.”
“What?” I could hear exasperation building in my tone.
“Saying ‘my wife.’”
Yeah, well, it should have been weird to say it and it was starting to unsettle me that it wasn’t.
“What’s going on?” Ash poked his head in the door.
“Come in. Is Kade with you?” I asked working to psyche myself up for this talk.
“Yep.” Ash and Kade strode in with curious expressions.
“Did someone die?” Kade asked. “I hope it isn’t Dad. I haven’t found my wife and had a kid yet.”
Hunter bit his lip to hide amusement. Since the guy had come back from the war, I could count the number of times I’d seen him smile or looked amused. Half of them had just happened in my office in the last few minutes.
“You’re behind,” he said.
I shot him a look.
“Which of your harem have you decided to marry?” Kade asked Hunter.
“I don’t need this job as much as you guys do. I’m happy to forfeit my inheritance and live happily ever after with my harem. Chase on the other hand…”
“Chase what?” Ash asked.
I took a deep breath. “I got married.”
Kade’s mouth dropped. Ash’s brows pulled together. Hunter continued to watch it all with amusement. Fucker.
“Who’s the lucky gal?” Hunter prompted me.
I shot him a look.
“Yeah, what poor soul was willing to put up with you?” Kade asked.
Kade’s eyes narrowed. “Who?”
“Intern,” Hunter said.
Ash let out a loud bark of a laugh. “She’s the one you were fucking all weekend?”
I hated that he used the word fucking. It was vulgar even if it was what we were doing.
“Honeymoon,” I said.
“Holy shit.” Kade laughed. “So, you could be on the way to fulfilling the second half of Dad’s crazy scheme too.”
Kade shook his head. “I didn’t know you had it in you.”
“To make a baby?” I asked. Just because I wasn’t a horndog didn’t mean I didn’t know how to fuck.
“So, you sold your soul to the devil. Poor kid. I bet she has no idea what she’s gotten herself into. Christ, she’s what… nineteen, twenty? Was she a virgin?” Kade said.
“Kade, stop being an asshole,” Hunter said.
“She’ll be back here in a minute. I’d appreciate it if you could get your heads out of your asses and treat her with respect.” I said with special attention to Kade.
“Yeah, she’s his wife,” Hunter said, with another smirk at me.
“Yes, one who was assaulted on the street today,” I said back to him. “Security is getting lax around here.” I hated being an asshole to him, but I wasn’t going to take anymore of his snark.
My words effectively knocked the smirk off his face.
“What do you mean she was assaulted?” Ash asked. At least I could count on him to focus on what was important.
“An old boyfriend tried to grab her,” Hunter said. “Good thing I was there, so I could stop him.” He glared at me.
“Is she alright?” Ash asked.
“Yes, but I think we need to consider that anyone associated with us could become a target.”
“It was her ex,” Hunter said.
“Yes, but any opportunists would see that if they kidnapped any member of our family, there’d be money it.”
“If I get married for this dumb plan, a kidnapping would solve my problem,” Kade helped himself to a drink at my bar.
“You really are an asshole,” Ash said.
“You’re okay with someone taking what’s yours?” I asked.
“You’re telling me this marriage is for real? Love ever after? Tell it to us straight, Chase. How long is this marriage supposed to last before she rides off into the sunset with whatever millions of dollars you offered her? Don’t give me that ‘what’s yours’ bullshit.” Kade downed his drink.
“There is no end date,” I said.
All three of my brothers looked at me. I felt the scrutiny but held strong. “She won’t abandon the child. So, we’ll live together like a family.”
“That’s fucked,” Ash said, his voice disappointed.
“Like mom and dad,” Kade said, his voice low. I was pretty sure Kade had been the child my mother had to try to get my dad back and involved in the family, but the opposite happened. I think he had less time with Dad than the rest of us growing up. Maybe that’s why he was such an asshole so often.
I nodded. “Except we like each other more.”
Ash studied me. “So you’re just going to be friends with benefits or does that end when she has a child?”
“I’m having a hard time believing you agreed to that,” Kade said before I could respond to Ash.
“Why?” I asked.
“You’re not the type to get saddled with a woman,” he said pouring himself a second drink.
“I can see it,” Ash said. “He doesn’t see himself saddled. She’s a means to an end. As long as she doesn’t make too many demands or expect an emotional attachment, he can put up with her. I bet you have separate rooms.”
My jaw tensed that he’d be so spot on.
“Oh, I don’t know,” Hunter said. “He was pretty emotional when he heard she’d been grabbed. And he calls her his wife.”
“Technically she is,” I ground out.
“Well, this is going to be interesting. I wonder what Dad will say. Legit or not, if he learns it’s all for the inheritance, he might disqualify you,” Kade said.
“So, he won’t find out.”
“Chase, you married within a week of him announcing his crazy deal and to a woman you hadn’t even known then,” Ash pointed out.
“Love at first sight. Or maybe I knocked her up. He’ll buy it.” At least I hoped he would.
Hunter laughed, making us all look at him and gape. “Mom would be horrified by all this. But to me, this is the most fun I’ve had since I can remember.”
“I’m pleased you find my personal life so humorous.” I looked at each one of my brothers. “You can continue to poke fun at me, but I will insist that you treat Sara with respect. She’s not from our world.”
Kade waved a hand. “She’ll get used to it. Money has a way of doing that.”
“Not, Sara. She’s struggling to adapt. I mean it, Kade. Treat my wife with respect.”
Hunter snorted. “Sorry… that ‘my wife’ thing gets me every time.”