Rush Too Far (Rosemary Beach #4)(4) by Abbi Glines

That was it. He was refusing to come home and do anything about this. Blaire was left here for me to either help or throw out. He didn’t care. I couldn’t form words. I ended the call and dropped the phone to the sofa before staring out the window in front of me.

Nan had hated this girl most of her life. She had envied her. Blamed her. For what? Having a father worse than the mother we’d been given?

There had been no knock on the door leading to the top floor, which I claimed completely. I heard the door open, followed by the sound of footsteps. Only one person would walk up here without knocking.

“I put gas in her truck,” Grant said as his foot hit the top step. “You don’t have to pay me back.”

I didn’t look back at the guy I considered my brother. We had been stepbrothers once, when our parents had been married for a short time. I’d needed someone to lean on at that point in my life, and Grant had been that someone. It had bonded us.

“You gonna keep her under the stairs like Harry f**king Potter?” Grant asked as he plopped down onto the sofa across from me.

“She’s safer under the stairs,” I replied, cutting my eyes in his direction. “Far away from me.”

Grant chuckled and lifted his feet to rest on the ottoman in front of him. “Knew you couldn’t ignore the fact that she was smoking hot. That innocent, big-eyed thing she has going for her is even more tempting.”

“Stay away from her,” I told him. Grant wasn’t any better for her. We were both fu**ed up. And she needed security. We didn’t have that to give to her.

Grant winked and leaned his head back to stare up at the ceiling. “Calm down. I’m not touching her. She’s the kind you admire from afar. I can’t promise not to admire, though. ’Cause damn, she’s fine.”

“Her mom is dead,” I said, still unable to believe Abe had known her mother was sick all this time and had done nothing.

Grant dropped his feet to the floor and leaned forward to look at me, resting his elbows on his knees. The concerned frown on his face only reminded me how tenderhearted my brother could be. I couldn’t let him make a mistake and hurt Blaire. He wouldn’t mean to, but he would, eventually. “Dead? Like recently?” he asked.

I nodded. “Yeah. She’s alone. She came here because Abe told her he’d help her get on her feet. Then he left.”

Grant let out an angry hiss between his teeth. “Motherfucker.”

I agreed with him. Completely.

“Have you talked to Abe?”

Before my conversation with Abe, I had disliked him and had been disgusted with him. Now I hated him. I hated that I had brought him here. That I had let his selfish, cold heart into this family. There was no one to blame but me. “He said he can’t help her,” I replied. The distaste in my voice was obvious.

“You ’re gonna help her, though, right?” Grant asked.

I wanted to yell that this wasn’t my problem. That I hadn’t asked for this shit. But I had—when I’d brought that man into this house. “I’ll make sure she gets a job that pays well and is safe. When she has enough money to get her own place, I’ll do what I can to help her find something affordable.”

Grant let out a sigh of relief. “Good. I mean, I knew you would, but it’s good to hear you say it.” Only Grant expected me to do the right thing. Everyone else saw me as a rock legend’s spoiled son. Grant saw more. He always had. Not letting him down was one of the reasons I did something with my life. I didn’t become what the world assumed I would. Or what many thought I was. I had made my own way because someone believed in me.

“Best place for her is the club,” I said, reaching for my phone. I was a member of the Kerrington Country Club, which was the hub of this small tourist town of Rosemary Beach. A job there would be safe for Blaire, and it would pay her well.

“Don’t call Woods. He’s a dick. He’ll take one look at her and make it his goal to f**k her,” Grant said.

The idea of Woods Kerrington, son of the club owner, touching Blaire made my skin crawl. Woods was a nice guy— we’d been friends most of my life—but he loved women. He loved them for one night, and then he was done with them. I wasn’t judging—I was the exact same way. I just didn’t intend to let Woods touch Blaire. “He won’t touch her. I’ll make sure of that,” I said, before calling the human-resources director of the club.

Blaire had already found the club, and Darla had already given her a job. I couldn’t help but grin. Maybe she was tougher than she looked. But the small tug of pride I felt for her stopped my suddenly good mood. Why the hell was I smiling like an ass because Blaire Wynn had gotten herself a job? So what? She was nineteen, not ten. I wasn’t supposed to feel anything toward her. She was a f**king stranger. One I had despised most of my life.

I reached for my phone and called Anya. She was always available, and she always left when we were finished. She didn’t sleep over. It was the only reason I brought her back over and over again. That and the fact that she gave the world’s best head and made some killer Italian food.

She would get Blaire out of my mind. And Blaire would come home and see me with Anya tonight. Not that Blaire needed reminding to stay away from me. She was terrified of me. The only time I had seen interest in her eyes had been that morning when she’d turned to see me watching her. She had more than enjoyed seeing me without my shirt on. Problem was, I f**king loved it.

Yeah . . . I was calling Anya. A f**k with a no-strings-attached, dark-haired beauty was exactly what I needed.

CHAPTER FIVE

She had watched me. Fuck.

It had been so easy to close my eyes and sink into Anya while picturing Blaire’s face looking up at me. Her mouth slightly open and her cheeks pink. The fast breaths she would take as I filled her over and over again. I’d come so f**king hard I had been weak when it was over.

I also hadn’t been able to look at Anya. I had felt like an ass. I didn’t f**k women while picturing someone else in my head. It was wrong. But I had felt Blaire watching me. My entire body had come alive when the heat from her gaze found me.

When I had turned my head just enough to glance back at her, the door to the pantry was closing behind her. She had left. But her presence had made me harder than I’d ever been. Why was she getting to me like this?

The first thing I noticed when I walked into the kitchen this morning was that the place was cleaned up. I hadn’t left it like this. I had sent Anya home with a peck on the cheek and a thanks, before closing the door on her and running off to my room to pace and curse.

Which meant . . . Blaire had cleaned up. Why was she cleaning shit up? I told her I didn’t need her to clean up.

I moved to make coffee, slamming cabinets and drawers as I went. I hated thinking of Blaire in here cleaning up the mess Anya and I had made. I hated the fact that she’d done it after watching me f**k Anya. But more than those things, I hated the fact that I gave a f**king shit.

“Who the hell pissed in your Wheaties?” Grant’s voice startled me, causing me to slosh scalding-hot coffee on my hand.

“Stop f**king sneaking up on me,” I growled.

“I knocked on the damn door when I walked in. What’s your deal?” Grant sounded as unfazed by my angry outburst as I expected. He went behind me to fix himself a cup of coffee.

“You made me burn my hand, you dickwad,” I snarled, still pissed that I had been so lost in my thoughts that I hadn’t even heard Grant enter the house.

“No coffee yet, huh? Drink up. You’re acting like an ass. After your night with Anya and her talented oral skills, I would have thought you would be in a much better mood.”

I stuck my hand under the cold tap water in an attempt to cool off my heated skin. “I just woke up. And how did you know Anya was here last night?”

Grant jumped up and sat on the counter before taking a sip of coffee. I dried my hand on a towel and waited for him to tell me how he knew about Anya.

“She called me last night. Wanted to know who the girl was living in your house.” He shrugged and took another sip.

I wasn’t sure I liked the sound of this. How did she know about Blaire? I hadn’t told her.

“Stop with that confused frowning thing you do. It’s annoying,” Grant said, waving his cup in my direction with a smirk. “She saw Blaire last night when she came home. Apparently, you two were getting busy outside, but she saw Blaire over your shoulder. She was curious about why she disappeared under your stairs . . .” he said, trailing off.

I could tell there was more to the story so I waited. When Grant didn’t continue, I glared at him.

He chuckled in response, then shrugged. “Fine. I was going to leave out the part where you looked back at Blaire and then fu**ed the hell out of Anya. She noticed something switched in you, dude. Sorry, but you’re not that good at covering your emotions up.” His grin grew wider. “Best f**k she’s ever had, though. But then, she hasn’t had me.”

I was gonna have to send her flowers. Or something. Shit! She had known it was Blaire that got me off last night. I was an even bigger dickhead than I thought.

“It’s Anya. She doesn’t care. You know that. She’s in it for the sex, just like you are. Nothing more. But I will suggest that you get your shit together, and fast. If Blaire is getting under your skin, then you need to stop it. Now. She’s not an Anya, and you know it. Besides, you can’t touch her. She is gonna hate you when all this comes out. Her dad, your sister, all of it. You can’t go there, and you know it.”

He was right. Blaire was not someone I could ever get close to. Soon I would be her enemy, and she’d hate me as much as I had hated her over the years. The only difference would be that she had a reason to hate me. I would deserve her hate. “I know,” I said, hating the way it tasted on my tongue. The truth.

“I’ve got to get to work. Thought I’d come by and let you know about my late-night call from Anya first, though,” Grant said, jumping down and carrying his cup to the sink.

“Thanks,” I said.

He slapped me on the back. “It’s what I’m here for. To keep your stupid ass straight,” he teased, and then turned and walked away.

I waited until the door closed behind him before heading to the shower. I had a full day ahead. First, I needed to send some flowers and an apology card to Anya. That would be the end of our f**k visits. I couldn’t do that to her now. Even if she was cool with it, I wasn’t.

Nan was waiting for me when I walked back downstairs after getting dressed. I was wondering how long she would stay away pouting. She knew Blaire was here, and she was pissed. Her long red hair was gathered to the side in a ponytail that fell over her bare left shoulder. The white tennis skirt she was wearing was meant to be worn with a matching polo. But that was too boring for Nan. She had ordered a tank top that she had some fancy name for. I had made fun of her for weeks.

“She’s still here,” Nan said in an annoyed tone.

“No, she’s at work,” I replied, knowing that wasn’t what she meant.

“Work? She’s at work? You’ve got to be kidding me!” Nan’s tone went from annoyed to a screech. My little sister wasn’t used to not getting her way with me. I was the one person in the world who moved mountains to make sure she was happy. But this time . . . this time, it was different. I wasn’t hurting someone innocent just to make Nan happy. I had my lines, and she’d pushed me to draw one here.

“Nope,” I said, walking past her and toward the living room, where I was sure I’d left my wallet last night before getting na**d outside.

“Why is she working? Why is she still here? Did you call Mom?”

Nan wasn’t taking the hint. She was going to make me tell her that I wasn’t giving in this time. She was going to lose this argument with me. I wasn’t kicking Blaire out. Not for her . . . hell, not for anyone. The girl needed help. “She got a job. She needs money to get on her own feet. Her mother died, Nan. She buried her mother alone. All f**king alone. Now the father you two share is off in Paris with our mother, enjoying life. I’m not just throwing her out. This is my fault.”

Nan stalked toward me and grabbed my arm tightly. “Your fault? How is this your fault, Rush? She’s no one to us. No one. Her mother died, but I don’t care. Her mother ruined my life. So that sucks for her. But none of that is your fault. Stop trying to save the world, Rush.”

I had created this heartless woman. Another thing that was my fault. Nan had been neglected as a child, and I had tried like hell to make up for it. Instead, I’d created a heartless, vengeful adult. I would do anything to change that, but I didn’t know how.

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