Home > Built (Saints of Denver #1)(14)

Built (Saints of Denver #1)(14)
Author: Jay Crownover

I took the stairs two at a time and practically jogged across my living room into the room at the front of the house that Zeb had converted into an office for me. The door was propped open slightly, so when I hit it going full speed it flew open and crashed into the wall behind it with a loud bang.

The sound made Zeb whirl around from where he was looking out one of the big windows behind my desk. I flinched when I saw his reaction and told myself to calm the hell down. I plastered what I hoped was a friendly smile on my face and made my way much more slowly across the room. I shivered when his dark green eyes settled on me and felt secret places in my body get tight and start to tingle.

“Hey, Zeb. How are you?” It sounded forced and strained to my own ears and I could tell he heard the tension in my tone as well when his dark eyebrows dipped over his leafy-colored gaze.

“I’ve actually been better.” He sighed and I saw his gaze slip from the top of my head to the tips of my bare toes. I wiggled them involuntarily when his gaze seemed to stay stuck on the brightly colored appendages. Since everything I wore was typically black, taupe, or gray with an occasional neutral color snuck in, I liked to have my pedicure be as loud and as outrageous as possible. My toes were hard to miss, but when they made the corner of Zeb’s mouth twitch inside of the facial hair that surrounded his mouth, it made my heart rate kick up. Even his smile was rugged and tough looking.

“Poppy mentioned that you seemed a little tense when you came in, so I figured this isn’t a social call. What can I do for you?” I kept my tone level and as professional as it could be considering I wanted to purr and rub up against him. Professional I could handle. Heated and aroused just by being around him I had no clue what to do with.

He heaved a sigh and walked around to the front of my desk. He propped his backside on the edge and crossed his arms over his broad chest, pulling the thin material of his T-shirt tight and making his biceps bulge. It was an eye-candy feast that I would have appreciated much more fully if I hadn’t noticed the muscle ticking in his cheek under the facial hair that covered it and the emotion in his eyes that darkened them from a deep green shade to one that was almost black. Sensing things were going to get serious really fast, I walked over to shut the door I had just thrown open and then took a seat in one of the cream-colored chairs I had bought to match the rest of the sedate decor in the office. I had to look way up at him when I sat down and I could see his struggle with whatever it was that had brought him to my door stamped clearly across his strong features as we watched each other silently.

“I didn’t mean to rattle Poppy. I know she’s sensitive and has every right to be. I thought I was holding it together better than I am, but something about actually admitting out loud what I’m about to tell you really has me on edge.” He blew out a long breath and looked me straight in the eyes. “I fucked up, Sayer. I mean, I really and truly fucked up and I think you are the only person that can help me fix this mess that I made.”

Startled by both his harsh words and the rawness with which he poured them out, I leaned back in the chair and curled my hands around the arms. “Are you talking about my professional help?”

I was asked for legal advice all the time, so I would gladly hand over any knowledge that I had that might benefit him in any way. In fact, it made me want to breathe a sigh of relief. Business, the law, cold hard facts, I could handle with ease. It was anything that required dealing with someone on an emotional and personal level where I tended to fall apart and drop the ball. When you shut your emotions off to survive, it is nearly impossible to turn them back on, even for someone you care about.

Zeb chuckled, but there was absolutely no humor in it. “Yeah, I need your professional help and maybe your personal help, too, considering you know what it’s like to find out you have a long-lost family member that no one bothered to tell you about. You know what it’s like to have your world turn upside down in the space of a few seconds.”

I reared back a little and took a minute to get my thoughts in order before asking, “You have a sibling your family never disclosed to you, too?” It seemed highly unlikely, but I was missing a piece of the puzzle here and he didn’t seem to be in any hurry to hand it over. I couldn’t believe he’d found himself in a similar situation to the one I was in when my father died and his will revealed that I had a brother. The bastard couldn’t even be bothered to tell me himself. Ever the consummate Svengali, toying with the people he was supposed to love like we existed for nothing more than his amusement. His games and ploys had been exhausting, but his last one had failed. Thank God. I was so lonely growing up, so sad and isolated, that when I found out about Rowdy, I dropped everything in my old life in Seattle and hightailed it for Colorado as quickly as I could. It was the one time in my life when I acted without thinking. It was the one time I had let myself feel . . . until that fateful day I met Zeb.

I made it no secret that I considered Rowdy to be the greatest thing that had ever happened to me, so if that was what Zeb was talking about I could walk him through the ups and downs of it all.

He pushed off the desk and started to pace back and forth in front of me. I was trying to figure out what exactly was going on as he brooded before me, but I couldn’t stop my eyes from tracking the way the muscles in his shoulders and back bunched and flexed under his T-shirt each time he reached the end of the rug and turned around to walk back the other way. The man was hot even when he was troubled and it made me feel a little bit like a pervert for not being able to control my fascination with him.

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