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Duke(7)

By´╝ÜCandace Blevins



Since there was a good chance she’d need to walk around on a rough surface, she’d worn three-inch heels with a wider base, instead of four inch spiked heels. Her hair was in a French twist, and her business suit looked as if she could step in front of a television jury and give closing arguments. She’d learned long ago if she wanted to play with the big boys and sell million-dollar properties instead of podunk family houses, she needed more than her smarts and business sense, she’d need to look the part.

She smiled at Brain and Dawg, as they’d been the two she’d walked this property with yesterday. Her eyes went to the other four men and her feet stopped moving.

Keith Bevering. God, she’d crushed on him so hard her freshman year in high school, and he’d never given her the time of day. Then he’d graduated and she’d seen him at Isaac’s a few times, but she’d never managed to have an entire conversation with him. She’d dreamed of those lips a thousand times, though. Maybe a hundred thousand.

Brain introduced him as Duke and, like an idiot, she said, “No, that’s not right. It’s Keith.”

He tilted his head, thought a second, and smiled. “Frisco’s little sister? Gen?”

She nodded and he stepped forward to pull her into a hug. She thought it highly unprofessional, but he was large and apparently didn’t care. His arms wrapped around her and his hand landed on her gun, folded over it, and then brushed away. His mouth went to her ear and he said, “Tell me you aren’t wearing that because you’re afraid of us?”

His voice came out in a growl, and while she hadn’t been afraid, she suddenly was. “No. I pretty much always have it with me. I’m legal, I have a—”

He stepped back, folded his arms on his huge chest, and demanded, “What’s happened that makes you carry a gun almost always, Genesis? Something you need help with?”

She shook her head. “Frisco and Isaac’s girlfriend, Cassie, was raped two years ago. And before that our friend, Sam, was shot. Cassie’s rapist came back after her again, and Cam, her other boyfriend, shot the rapist. Frisco hadn’t been able to help because he didn’t have a gun, but Cam walked in with one and saved them all, even though most would think Frisco is the bad-ass, because, well, he kinda is, you know?”

They were all looking at her like she was growing things out of the top of her head, so she wrapped it up. “Long story short, Frisco put in a shooting range out back, and Isaac taught me to shoot and helped me get my license to carry. They have a party at their house the first Sunday of every month, and we all go out back and shoot. Isaac sets up these obstacle course things in the woods, so we have to watch things pop up, see if it’s a good guy or a bad guy before we shoot. He times us, makes it a fun competition.” She looked around at them all and added, “I meet clients who contact me online, and I pick them up and take them to empty houses and office buildings. I pretty much always carry a gun. It isn’t just ya’ll.” She looked at Brain. “You put me at ease about two minutes after I met you yesterday. It was like, if someone came at us, you’d take care of them and I wouldn’t have to. I felt safer with you than away from you.”

“Okay, next question,” Keith said. “Frisco and Isaac have the same girlfriend, and she has another boyfriend? What the fuck?”

Gen looked around, realized she was being unprofessional, and said, “Once we complete our business, if you want to have dinner and catch up, let me know. Meanwhile, let’s take a look at this property, shall we?”

A slow smile slid across his face. Goodness, Keith was still sexy as sin. She was twenty-nine, which would put him in his thirties, but he looked twenty-five. He had a little patch of close trimmed hair under his lip, but was otherwise clean shaven. He wore faded jeans and a tight, black t-shirt with a black leather vest over the top. All of them wore either a leather jacket or a leather vest, never mind it was eighty degrees. All had the same huge logo on the back, the view of looking over the handlebars at a curvy road, with the words Rolling Thunder framing the top.

“Okay, Gen. We’ll play it your way. We’ve already walked it, tell us why this is the place for us.”

“I wasn’t given a lot to go on as far as your needs, yesterday. This property is four acres and includes two dwellings, though it’s understood you’ll likely tear those down. It’s zoned commercial, as you already know. If you’re building condos or apartments, this isn’t the best spot, but otherwise it’s a bargain for pretty much any use you may have. It’s very close to two hospitals, with a third not terribly far away, so this area of town never loses power. I suppose if you took a direct hit from a tornado you would, otherwise, the electric company brings it in from over a dozen directions so they can supply the hospitals even in a time of major crisis. Unless the grid is entirely down, you’ll have power. Also, if you’re setting up a factory with a high injury possibility, you’re in a good place.”

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