Liam came out of his fantasy as the last wave of cum shot out of the tip, splattering the ground. Panting for breath, he rested his head against the wooden beam.
The fantasy he’d had so many times was starting to wear thin. Claire was an addiction he didn’t want to get rid of. He prayed she felt the same way.
As the days passed, Claire canceled her rent on the apartment and moved her meager belongings to the ranch. Liam and Shane had prepared a room for her, and it was beautiful. A full four-poster, king-sized bed with white drapes lay against the far wall. When they’d been growing up, she’d mentioned about wanting to have a similar bed. The bed was fit for a princess. She laughed and hugged her friends. Not wishing to tell her friends her ideals had changed, she embraced her friends and thanked them for their thoughtfulness. She’d have any bed, providing Liam and Shane shared it with her.
The ranch hands grew happier to be working and were pleased with the changing meals she served. She cleaned the ranch house and made it a home rather than a dumping ground, and made sure her men had clean clothing. This is where she belonged.
Liam and Shane were attentive. However, Liam didn’t mention what had happened on the freezer or make any more advances. She tried not to think about the touch and taste of him as he’d kissed her. Her parents weren’t happy with her decision to move in with two men. The same negative comments had been voiced to her by a few of her coworkers in town. She was happy and wouldn’t leave the comfort of the ranch. The men were respectful and ate her food, each one telling her what a good cook she was.
This was her family. Liam and Shane had always been her family, and now she could be with them properly.
Except that Shane avoided her at every turn, and she didn’t like it. He’d been different with her ever since the night she’d attacked him.
Fucking hormones. Being a teenager had sucked.
The days were getting hotter, and cooking in the kitchen was becoming unbearable. She found the old barbecue and started to light it up. It was a black one that needed charcoal to burn. The meat was already defrosted in the fridge. As the coals were burning down the last bit, she got the meat out and left it on the side to get to room temperature. She’d made coleslaw, potato salad, as well as several other salads throughout the day.
The barbecue was big enough to serve her workers.
As the bell dinged, she set up the bench and left sauces, relishes, buns, and plates for the boys to serve themselves as they wished. She skipped the burgers and went straight for the steaks. They’d been marinating in olive oil and peppercorns for most of the day.
The sound of the soap bucket alerted her to the hungry horde.
“Steaks are cooking. Orders—rare, medium, or dead?” she asked.
“Medium.” Orders were called. She served one by one, leaving herself to the end. She sat down with the men and listened to their banter.
“So, Claire, are you going to marry one of these douche bags?” The question caught her off guard. She didn’t know who the query had come from.
“Why?” she asked.
“Because we get the guarantee of great food.” Silence descended on the table.
“Looks to me like someone needs to go and wash his mouth out,” Shane said, dropping his hamburger bun on the plate.
“Which one do you think would be the best candidate?” she asked, ignoring the glare Shane sent her.
All the men pointed at Liam. “He’s the nicest of the bunch.”
She burst out laughing. Liam might be the joker and the more easygoing of the two, but he had a dark side. When he thought no one was looking, she’d seen the flashes in his eyes and the telltale signs of a darker man underneath. Nothing scary, but clearly more than the laid-back persona he gave off.
“I’m sure he’s got his secrets just like the rest of us. Now stop being a pain in the ass and eat your food before they fire you.” Claire dived into her steak as if the conversation hadn’t bothered her.
Marriage was such a huge step. Although most girls growing up thought about their white wedding and who the guy would be, from the type of church to the horses and the dress, Claire spent most of her time wondering where the guys were going and if she’d have to prove herself being the only girl.
In fact, she’d never thought of marriage for herself, ever.
Liam and Shane had dominated most of her life from a young age. Being with the guys had been her only dream.
When the ranch hands went home, Claire cleaned away all the dishes. The barbecue pit was too hot to deal with, and she marked it as something to do in the morning. Her thoughts couldn’t move away from marriage.