Life isn’t meant to be fair, but sometimes it would be nice if it was.
How much can someone take? Drama was the root of Cooper
and Brittany’s relationship, and all they want to do now is enjoy
being back in each other’s arms. Is that too much to ask?
Plane crashes, jaguar attacks, almost drowning, men with
spears, arrows through the shoulder, beastly animals, mental
institutions, murderous loggers...it’s all in the day’s life of Brittany
and Cooper. But when they thought that finding their way back to
each other was the end to all their problems, little do they know,
their problems are just beginning.
I’m not sure if it’s the heat or all the excitement that has me feeling a bit…off, but
sitting here in this rocking chair is helping to calm my strung out, exhausted
nerves. My eyes are heavy and, with each smooth rock of the chair, I’m soothed
into a relaxed sleep that eases my mind from the achiness in my bones.
Sleep never seems to be enough lately. I think I’ve reached deep sleep when I’m
awakened by a deep, sexy voice. Of course, I can’t complain. The sound of
Cooper’s voice is like a song sung from the angels above. I peek through my
lashes and am graced with Cooper’s face hovering over mine, his beard tickling
my chin. My smile spreads wide as he kisses me. “Is it safe to go back into the
lion's den?” I ask with a smirk.
“Only if you want to be pounced on by the king lion himself,” he whispers hoarsely.
I quietly moan at the thought. I’d gladly let my man pounce me. “You all right,
hummingbird? You look a bit flushed.”
My lips form a weak smile as I nod. “I’m peachy, warrior. Couldn’t be better.”
“You’re a bad liar, you know that?” Cooper takes my chin between his thumb and
index finger and holds my eyes until I cave.
“I’m tired, that’s all.”
“It’s more than that, Brittany. What aren’t you telling me?”
“Nothing. I’m fine. I promise.” I cup Cooper’s cheek with my palm and tug lightly on
his beard, pulling his face to mine so our lips meet in a gentle kiss. “Just kiss me
and shut up, will ya?”
He growls into my lips and kisses me until we’re called in for lunch by his mother
who is standing, staring at us, at the front door. I’m not sure how long she’s been
watching us make out, but by the excitement on her face, long enough to make me
pink-cheeked and embarrassed.
I must say, sitting at the dining room table with Cooper’s family is leaving an
unsettling and anxious feeling deep in my chest. The last time I sat around a table,
eating with family, was the night my asshole parents and Chad sent me to
Westwood Haven. I shiver involuntarily, which earns me a sideward glance from
Cooper. Concern seeps from his pores, so I flash him a reassuring smile and
ignore his raised brow.
“So, how’d you end up finding her, Cooper?” Stuart asks, tossing a roll at Cooper’
s head. He catches it without even the slightest flinch.
I glanced at Cooper with a wrinkled brow. “Yeah, how did you find me? I know you
went to Charlie’s ranch, but why would you even go there to begin with?”
Cooper points his fork at Hoot, then swallows a mouthful of food. “Hoot called me
one mornin’ and asked me to take a drive out to this ranch to buy a certain kind of
feed. Accordin’ to my dad, it’s the best and he only feeds the animals the best.
When the local feed store closed out here, Hoot sent me to the place that makes
the stuff, which happened to be Charlie’s ranch. I thought Charlie was a tad
intense the first time I went. He kept staring at me, but I didn’t think too much of it,
except it freaked me the hell out. I got the heck out of there as quick as I could.
Then when Stuart was stayin’ with me, I remembered the ranch had lots of things
to do, so I took Stu out there to go horseback riding. It was when Hoot called me to
ask me to go back out there to buy something else for the farm that Charlie told
me he knew you. I still don’t even know how he knew who I was or how he figured it
“He recognized you from the news and knew about you from me because he was
the one person I could confide in after I got back,” I say flatly. “He put two and two
together.” I want to crawl under the table when I look up from my plate to see
everyone’s eyes are on me. I don’t like feeling so exposed, and with five sets of
eyeballs looking at me, I’d like to pull the tablecloth over my head.
I’m grateful for Hoot, who cuts the awkwardness with his charm. “So, you’re tellin’
me I’m cupid and tossed my arrow through the phone to reunite you two love
birds. Well shit, I should be given a gold medal or something, don’t ya think, Char?”
The baby between Hoot and Sam bounces happily in her highchair and squeals
loudly, breaking the silence and sparking laughter from around the table. My head
pounds with the noise, and for a moment, my vision blurs and I start to whirl like I’m
on a merry-go-round. Grabbing the table to brace myself, I exhale slowly, waiting
for the spinning to stop. There’s a muffled, garbled sound coming from my right.
The sound isn’t clear, and I don’t realize it’s Cooper until his hand rests on my
arm. I look down at his distorted fingers, ten not five. Blinking doesn’t help, but
then Cooper’s voice starts to turn from muffled to echoing like we’re in a tunnel. It
slowly gets clearer until I hear my name. My eyes adjust and I’m no longer on the
tilt-a-whirl. Again, everyone is staring at me with concern, and when I look over at
Cooper, his face is contorted into a terrified expression.
“Brittany?” Cooper says, his voice trembling with concern. “What the hell just
D. M. Thornton
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