Colters woman, p.10
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       Colters Woman, p.10

         Part #1 of Colters Legacy series by Maya Banks
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Page 10


  * * *

  Holly and Lacey rode into town in silence. As Lacey pulled up to the small wooden building that housed the sheriff’s department, Holly stiffened. Her heart began to thunder. Mason’s BMW was parked a few feet away.

  “You didn’t say he would be here,” she said, turning her furious gaze on Lacey.

  Lacey shrugged. “He’s your husband. Where else would he be? He’s been worried sick about you. ”

  “You know nothing about my husband,” Holly spat.

  Lacey sized her up in a quick glance. “Look, he says you were kidnapped. If you weren’t, fine. Just come inside, sign a statement and you can be on your way. ”

  Holly fumbled with the door, her hands shaking. She stepped onto the icy pavement and waited for Lacey to precede her into the station.

  At the doorway, she wiped her sweaty palms down the legs of her jeans. She would find courage. She would. She could do this. Mason couldn’t hurt her in front of a witness, and she wouldn’t go with him, no matter what. This was her chance to be rid of him.

  “Darling! There you are!”

  She cringed as Mason’s voice echoed across the room. Just as quickly she found herself yanked into his arms. She pulled away, putting as much distance as she could between them.

  Mason turned to Lacey. “Thank you so much for returning my wife to me. If you don’t mind, we’ll be on our way. I want to make sure she hasn’t been harmed in any way. ”

  Holly gasped. “I’m not going anywhere with you. ”

  Mason rounded on her, his back to Lacey. His eyes glittered dangerously. “I realize what an ordeal you’ve been through, my love. I’ll take you far away from this shit hole. ”

  Holly backed away, looking to Lacey for help.

  Lacey cleared her throat. “Mr. Bardwell, your wife claims she wasn’t abducted. She’s here of her own free will and apparently has no wish to leave. ”

  Mason whirled back around but Holly could see he donned his most charming smile. “I appreciate your concern for my wife, but this is a private matter best resolved between us. Perhaps we could have a moment of privacy. ”

  “No!” Holly cried.

  “I’m afraid that’s impossible, Mr. Bardwell. Unless that is what Mrs. Bardwell wishes?”

  She looked to Holly for confirmation.

  Holly shook her head vehemently. “You said all I had to do was sign a statement. I won’t go with him. ”

  Mason reached out and grasped her arm in a bruising grip. His fingers dug painfully into her upper arm, and she gasped in pain. “I’ve arranged a flight out of Denver. We must be on our way soon if we’re to catch it. ”

  She stared over at Lacey who looked a little flustered. “Can we have a moment? Two minutes. If I’m not outside that door in two minutes, come in for me. ”

  Lacey arched a brow in surprise but nodded. “I’ll be outside. ” She pinned Mason with a hard stare. “Don’t try anything stupid, Mr. Bardwell. ”

  As soon as Lacey disappeared through the door, Holly wrenched her arm free and backed hastily away from Mason.

  “Stay the hell away from me,” she hissed. “I’m never going back with you. ”

  “Maybe you don’t remember what happens when you defy me,” he said, his voice carrying a heavy warning.

  She jerked her chin up, determined not to show him the horrible fear that ate at her. Instead, she took a huge gamble.

  “I know what you did on our wedding day,” she said quietly. “I saw you kill that man. ”

  Mason’s lips compressed in a fine white line. “Don’t threaten me, Holly. I’ll make you sorry you were ever born. ”

  “Don’t you threaten me!” she countered. “I am going to file for divorce, Mason, and you are going to give me that divorce or I swear to God, I’ll go to the media, the police, the FBI, whoever I have to go to in order to tell the world what a sorry bastard you are. ”

  Mason’s eyes flared in surprise. “You little blackmailing bitch. ”

  She clenched her teeth. “I am going to walk out of here, and I’m never going back with you. If you ever come near me again, if you ever so much as breathe my name, I’ll make sure you rot in prison. ”

  Surprise flickered in Mason’s eyes. He’d underestimated her. She could read it in his expression. Well, that was fine. But she’d make damn sure he didn’t do it again.

  The door opened and Lacey walked back in. “Everything okay in here?” She eyed Holly as she spoke.

  “I was just leaving,” Mason said, anger coloring his voice. “Apparently a mistake has been made. ”

  He stalked by Lacey and slammed the door behind him.

  A buzzing started in Holly’s ears, and she felt dangerously close to fainting.

  “Here,” Lacey said, shoving a chair at her. “Maybe you ought to sit down. ”

  Holly sank into the chair, her hands curled into fists in her lap. She’d done it. She’d faced Mason and stood up to him. Now she just wanted to get back to Adam, Ethan and Ryan.

  “Can I use your phone?” Holly asked hoarsely.

  Lacey gestured toward the desk. “Be my guest. ”

  Holly rose and walked over to the desk then realized she didn’t even know the phone number to the cabin. Her cheeks flaming, she looked up at Lacey. “Do you know Adam’s phone number?”

  Lacey rattled off the number with a familiarity that bothered Holly.

  She punched the numbers and waited anxiously as it rang. After ten rings, she gently replaced the receiver, her chest tightening in worry.

  “You could try the cell phone,” Lacey said dryly.

  Heat raced across Holly’s face again, but she picked up the phone and looked expectantly at Lacey. After punching in the series of numbers Lacey once again supplied, she raised the phone to her ear and waited.

  * * *

  The brothers were nearly to town when Adam’s cell phone rang. Adam snatched it up and barked a hello.


  Holly’s soft voice filtered over the line.

  “Baby, are you all right?” he demanded.

  “Can you…can you come get me?”

  “Where are you?”

  “I’m at the sheriff’s office,” she replied.

  “We’ll be there in five minutes,” he promised. “Are you okay?”

  “I’m fine,” she said, her voice stronger than before.

  “Hang tight, baby. We’ll be right there. ”

  He hung up and tossed the phone aside. He had a dozen questions he’d wanted to ask, but his priority was getting to Holly as fast as he could.

  “What’s going on?” Ethan demanded.

  “She wants us to come get her at the sheriff’s office,” Adam replied.

  He glanced at Ryan in his rearview mirror and saw relief flash across his brother’s face.

  They roared into town and down the street toward the sheriff’s office. Adam frowned when a BMW nearly took off the front end of the Land Rover.

  “Son of a bitch,” Ethan swore. “That’s her husband. ”

  Adam slammed on the brakes, opening the door before the Land Rover came to a complete stop. Had the bastard taken her? Had Lacey let him walk out with her?

  The brothers hit the pavement running.

  Adam was first to the door and flung it open, scanning the interior for Holly. Tension left him when he saw her huddled behind a desk. She looked up and, with a small cry, launched herself across the room and into his arms.

  She hit him square in the chest, and he caught her up in his arms.

  “Thank God you’re all right,” he said in a low voice.

  She clung to him tightly, her face buried in his neck.

  “I did it,” she whispered. “I told him I wanted a divorce. ”

  Adam stroked her hair and kissed her temple, all the while satisfaction humming through his veins. Reluctantly, he set her down. Just as quickly, Ethan folded her up in his arms, holding on as t
ight to her as Adam had. Ethan kissed her lingeringly, his relief over her safety evident.

  Across the room, Lacey’s mouth fell open. Then her eyes widened in understanding. Adam knew the realization had hit her.

  “It wasn’t me,” she said faintly. “It was never me. It was them. ”

  Adam didn’t pretend to misunderstand. He ran a hand through his hair and walked a few steps closer to Lacey.

  “I made a mistake,” he said honestly. “You’re a good woman, Lacey. ”

  “Not good enough apparently,” she said bitterly.

  Adam sighed. He hadn’t wanted this scene between them and especially not in front of Holly. Once he’d been attracted to Lacey, even thought his brothers might feel the same, but they hadn’t. Ethan had reacted indifferently to her, and Ryan had instantly disliked her. He knew then it would never work between them, but it hadn’t stopped him from spending time with her on occasion. She’d been good company and someone to have a beer with. But she wasn’t the one destined to occupy a place in his heart. That was reserved for Holly.

  He gazed at the hurt he saw in Lacey’s eyes and wished he wasn’t the cause of it.

  “We should be going,” Ryan said, speaking up for the first time. “It’s supposed to snow. ”

  “I need her to sign that statement,” Lacey said flatly. “Then y’all can be on your way. ”

  She rummaged around on her desk for a moment then flipped a piece of paper and a pen to the end. Holly approached and looked down at the blank paper.

  “What should I say?” she asked softly.

  “Whatever’s on your mind,” Lacey drawled. “I’m married but don’t want to be. Or maybe, I’m fucking with the minds of four men. ” She shrugged. “Just make it quick. I’ve got work to do. ”

  “That’s enough, Lacey,” Adam said, his voice harsher than he intended.

  Holly scribbled three lines then signed her name with a flourish. She flicked the pen back across the desk at Lacey then turned away. She walked toward the door where Ryan and Ethan still stood, her intention clear. She was ready to go.

  “Let me get your coat,” Ryan said gruffly. “You forgot to bring it. ”

  He ducked out of the office and was back within thirty seconds carrying Holly’s coat. He helped her into it then wrapped his arm protectively around her.

  “I’m taking her out to the Rover. ”

  Adam nodded and watched as Ethan followed them outside. He turned back to Lacey, his lips pulled thin.

  “I understand you’re upset, but that’s no reason to be a bitch to Holly. ”

  Lacey’s cheeks flamed at his reprimand.

  “Why didn’t you ever tell me they had to accept me too?” she demanded.

  “Because they didn’t,” he said quietly.

  “So I never had a chance. ”

  Adam shook his head. “No. ”

  Her fingers curled into fists at her sides. “Well then, there isn’t much more to say is there? Have a nice life with your helpless little doll. ”

  Adam’s eyelids narrowed at her insult, but he refused to be baited into further argument. Holly waited for him to take her home. And that was all that mattered.

  He turned and walked away.

  Chapter Nine

  Holly slid into the backseat with Ryan while Ethan got into the front. Despite the warmth of her coat, she shivered. Mostly in reaction to the last hour.

  Beside her, Ryan shrugged out of his coat leaving him in a t-shirt that stretched tightly across his muscled chest and shoulders.

  She wanted nothing more than to burrow into that chest, but she hesitated. She still wasn’t sure where she stood with Ryan. He seemed to have a lot of mistrust regarding her. So she focused her attention out the window and waited for Adam to come out.

  She would have to be a fool not to notice the sparks between Adam and Lacey, and that bothered her. Bothered her a lot. Had they been lovers? There was more than idle interest burning in the redhead’s eyes. And then there was her comment about Ethan and Ryan which led Holly to believe Adam had wanted Lacey but his brothers hadn’t.

  She frowned and closed her eyes. She was tired and mentally exhausted, and she didn’t like to dwell on the burning jealousy in her gut.

  She barely registered the door opening and closing as Adam got in. He turned to look at her, but she didn’t meet his gaze, wasn’t sure she wanted to see what was there. She was feeling way too insecure to try and figure out what the hell was going on between him and Lacey.

  They backed out of the small parking lot and headed out of town. And further from Mason.

  She began to shake in earnest as the reality of what she had done hit her. She’d stood up to the bastard and won. Now maybe the awful fear that gnawed at her gut would go away.

  A warm hand kneaded and massaged her neck. She glanced over to see Ryan staring at her. She searched his face for some sign of what he was thinking, but could find no clue.

  “Come here,” he said.

  She flew into his arms and buried her face in his hard chest. Strong arms wrapped around her and a hand rubbed up and down her back.

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