Home > Deathly : The Dillon Sisters(2)

Deathly : The Dillon Sisters(2)
Author: Brynne Asher

The man’s bulky fire pants ride low on his hips, only hanging on by the suspenders strapped over his wide, bare shoulders. The only other thing he’s wearing north of his waist, is a simple gold cross hanging around his neck. He gives the leash a tug and the puppy wiggles at my feet trying to get to me. “Been waiting for you. It was easy to see from across the room you liked what you saw.”

I look from the dog to the man who’s wearing a five o’clock shadow from yesterday. His hair is long on top and tight on the sides and back—all but a few strands are trained to sit obediently in place. I’m jealous of the rebellious hairs that kiss his olive skin and strong, thick brows. “Excuse me?”

I work hard to focus on anything other than the faint scar that mars his right brow. I try so hard, my gawk falls to his pecs, and then farther to his rippled abs, but I force myself to stop there. This is awkward enough and not a part of my plan for the evening, so I focus on his square jaw that couldn’t be more tense at the moment.

His irritated stare matches his tone. “The dog. You couldn’t take your eyes off it from across the room. Look, I got roped into this. I don’t want to be here, but I do want him to find a home. I had to drag my ass through all these women, so if you’re not serious about him, just say the word, and I’ll move on.”

I squat as best I can in my cocktail dress that was designed solely for foreplay. It might be off the rack, but off the rack in black is easy to perfect, and this dress fits like a glove in all the right places.

The man gives the pooch enough slack to attack me and I instantly understand my childhood friends’ obsession with pets. My mom never wanted dog hair marring her pristine house, so Briar and I never experienced the unconditional love of a canine, or anyone else for that matter. Briar rectified this childhood injustice and surrounds herself with animals by working for Redmond Rescue. Despite her frequent attempts to get me to adopt, I've resisted.

“I’ve never had a dog.”

“So you’re a chick who likes cats. Got it. I’ll move on.”

He starts to pull the puppy away, but both the dog and I resist. “I’m not a cat chick. I’ve never had a pet and I work long hours.”

The beast of a man stops and I set my wine next to me to properly give this pooch the attention it deserves when he asks, “Your parents hate you or something?”

I pull in a breath but don’t look away from the sweet, furry face. “Or something. Is it a boy or girl?”


As much as I don’t want to, I look up to keep the precious doodle from licking off my makeup. Crouched at the firefighter’s feet, my view does not suck as he lifts a bare shoulder. I try not to think about what other things might be like from this view. “Does he have a name?”

“I don’t know.”

I press my lips to the dog’s head and stand straight on my heels. “Why would you volunteer your time if you’re unhappy about being here?”

I’m too fascinated for my own good by his irritation and the way every movement and tick creates a ripple through the rest of his muscles, like a never-ending wave lapping at the shore. He pulls a big hand through his dark hair before spearing me with his intense scrutiny, gritting his words in a way I have a feeling he’d rather spit them at me. “Only so many single firefighters. I was guilted into it.”

I tip my head and ignore the puppy vying for my attention. I can’t focus on anything else but the half-naked, angry man in front of me. “I’m sorry.”

His expression barely shows any patience. “Why are you sorry?”

“Because I know firsthand it’s not fun to be guilted into anything. It’s stressful.”

“This isn’t stressful.” He lifts his chin toward the chaos around us. “It’s irritating.”

“I stick with my earlier sentiment—I’m sorry.”

He shakes his head and starts to turn. “If you’re not interested—”

“I never said I didn’t want a pet,” I interrupt and he halts mid-turn. “I said I never had one. I work long hours, but my sister works at the shelter and loves animals.”

He hikes a brow again and this time there’s condemnation laced through his tone. “So you’re going to guilt your sister into taking care of a dog you don’t have time for?”

If I were sitting in my office in my favorite chair where I’m most comfortable, I’d be able to handle this … handle him. Instead of deflecting whatever frustration or anger he’s not trying to hide, I say nothing. For the first time in a long time, I’m at a loss for words.

He shakes his head. “Got it. I’ll keep roaming the damn room until he finds a home and this shit show is over.”

With nothing on my mind but my damn list—its top item blinking like a neon sign in my brain reminding me why I’m here—I swallow my nerves and steady my voice before he has a chance to turn away from me for good. “Maybe I need a pet.”

His dark eyes narrow, questioning every word I utter. I don’t blame him, I’m questioning my judgments, motives, and words, as well.

“I just … see, all I do is work. My sister doesn’t need me as much as she used to. Being needed will give me balance. At least that’s what I tell people. Might as well live by my own advice, right?”

“Don’t make commitments you can’t keep.”

They might be simple words, but, from him, they feel like a slap and a warning. Little does he know, I made a vow long ago I’d never allow anyone to control me by delivering power plays like that. I’ve learned how to draw the line.

I deliver my words with a bite. “I’ve never made a commitment I haven’t kept. Ever.”

By his expression, I must’ve caught him off guard, but I don’t wait for a response. I look back to the excited pup at my feet, pulling this way and that, not knowing what to focus on with all the activity. I bend at the knees again and he comes straight to me, flopping on his back for a belly rub.

“He likes you—” the hero starts, but we’re interrupted.

“Oh-Em-Gee, look at this one!”

I’m forced to stand when we’re surrounded by a group of women flashier than a disco ball. From platinum locks to fake bronze to high-pitched squeals, I’ve lost the attention of the dog as he has a slew of new women to dote on him.

The one in red slithers between me and the firefighter. “What station are you with?”

I take a sip and expel a relieved sigh when I realize his disdain isn’t only directed at me. “Sorry, not into sharing where I work.”

“But isn’t that why you’re here? To be auctioned off?” Long, highlighted hair sways in front of me and her crimson painted index finger taps him on the pec. “There might just be a bidding war over you.”

“That’d be a waste of your money,” he mutters and turns to leave with the dog.

I watch him walk away, every lat moving in symphony with one another, as he stalks through the room without stopping to speak to another soul until we lose sight of him altogether.

“Wow, what’s with him?” one woman complains. “Every other man we’ve talked to is chasing ass as much as we are.”

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