Home > Inked Obsession (Montgomery Ink : Fort Collins #2)(6)

Inked Obsession (Montgomery Ink : Fort Collins #2)(6)
Author: Carrie Ann Ryan

“So, really. What are you doing here?” I asked. “Not that I don’t love you guys being here. I love seeing you since I rarely get to, but what’s going on?”

Eli shrugged. “As I said, we love you. If all six of us could have gotten here, we would have, but it’s hard to get us all pinned down.”

“Considering that I don’t remember the last time we were all in the same place, you’re right,” I said softly. I missed my brothers something fierce. With all of them being active military, on different rotations, and on different bases, it meant that I rarely got to see them in one place unless it was over a video call.

“We really just wanted to tell you that we love you,” Elliot echoed.

Eli cleared his throat. “And, well, we’re all getting out,” he added, and Elliot winced.

I blinked, my heart racing. I couldn’t have heard that correctly. “What?”

“We’re all getting out. We’re not re-upping,” Eli said.

“We’re done. We did our time—some more than others,” Elliot said as he looked at Eli.

My eldest brother shrugged. “We did the time we wanted. I don’t know. It feels different now.”

I looked between them. “Because Marshall’s gone?” I asked, tears in my throat.

“That’s part of it,” Eli said and sighed. “Not all of it.”

Elliot leaned forward. “We’re done, Eliza. And we are thinking about going home.”

I looked between them and frowned. “Home? Where’s home for a military brat?” I asked, the refrain common and a joke on my tongue.

“Home, down to Texas,” Eli said. “We’re all going to work down there.”

“Together?” I asked.

“We’re working on it,” Elliot said softly.

“We want you to come with us,” Eli added. “Come, be with family. You don’t need to stay here. Marshall’s gone, let us take care of you.”

I looked between them and sighed. And then went to make more coffee. This would be a long discussion, and one I didn’t want to have.

Because I barely knew who I was anymore, and I didn’t want anyone taking care of me. It seemed my brothers didn’t understand that. Then again, I really didn’t either.



Chapter 3






The doorbell rang, and I frowned as I walked towards it. I opened the door, and Lee stood there, scowling at me.

“It’s late.”

My best friend looked down at my gray sweatpants and the fact that I wore nothing else and rolled his eyes. “You were either going to bed, or you have a woman in there. And considering I don’t think you actually have a woman in there, you’re going to let me in, and we’re going to talk.”

I set my jaw. I knew exactly what Lee wanted to talk about. And exactly why I didn’t want to talk about it. “Let’s not,” I said.

“Oh, let’s…” Lee said as he shouldered his way in. I let him—he was one of my best friends. I didn’t want to talk about certain things with him and didn’t need to. “We need to talk,” Lee said.

I shook my head before I rubbed the small of my back. Only small twinges, and they weren’t that bad. PT had helped, and I’d recover fully any day now, but it was still a reminder that I’d rather not have. “No, we really don’t.”

Lee’s brows shot up, and he sighed, pushing his dark hair out of his face. “You know we do. We need to talk about it.”

“You weren’t even there, Lee. We don’t need to talk about it.”

“I miss him, too,” Lee whispered.

My chest ached, and I shook my head. “I’m fine.”

“If you were fine, your family would know about it. Fuck, Brenna would know about it. You may call me your best friend, but we both know that you and Brenna are even closer than we are, and yet you’re not telling her about this. You’re not telling your fucking twin about it. You need to. They need to know what happened.”

I swallowed hard. “No, I can’t. I can’t.” I rubbed my back again as if doing so would make the memories go away.

Lee’s gaze went straight to the movement. “You at least doing PT?”

“Yes. I’m fine.”

“A whole shit-ton of shelving fell on top of you, Beckett. And your family doesn’t know about it. They don’t know about anything.”

“They would only worry about me, and we have enough to worry about. Fuck, Annabelle’s pregnant. I don’t want to hurt the baby by stressing her out.”

Lee pinched the bridge of his nose. “Fine, I’ll keep your secret. Like I always do. Jesus Christ, you need to talk to your family about it.”

“And I just need you to go. I need to get some sleep.”

Not that I would actually get much sleep because of the nightmares, but I let that go.

He scowled at me and then leaned forward, giving me a hard hug. I tapped his shoulder, hugging him back, and he leaned away.

“See? Not awkward with you all half-naked and sweaty.”

I barked out a laugh. “Well, thanks for that image. Not that you aren’t sweet, but I don’t see you that way.”

“I am a catch,” Lee said. I knew he was trying to lower the tension. “All are welcome and in need of exactly what I can give them.”

I rolled my eyes. “Get out of here. Maybe go find yourself a woman.”

“That would require actually talking to someone, and all I want to do is go to sleep.”

“Same here. So, why don’t you let me do that?”

“Fine, but don’t fuck things up, okay? Your family loves you. Brenna loves you. I love you, but not that way. Okay, I’m out. Honestly, you can talk to anyone. No one’s going to judge you.”

That was the problem; they wouldn’t. I would judge myself. I walked Lee out and then locked the door, double and triple-checked the lock like every night these days, and went to bed.


The nightmares came as hard as they usually did, shocking me awake. I heard the screams, the shouts, that final piercing pop that had nothing to do with someone’s voice. I shook my head and glared down at my sweat-covered body.

“Well, fuck,” I whispered. I had the day off, it was Sunday, after all, but I still needed to work on a few things. I wanted to work out, do some stuff around the house and get some paperwork done.

I was a construction project manager, the lead of Montgomery Builders. All of my siblings and I worked together, Annabelle was the architect, Benjamin our landscape architect, Paige our office manager, and Archer our lead plumber. We had a rotating set of electricians and others to help us since our company was getting larger by the day, but we did well for ourselves. I was in charge most days, so I had a lot of fucking paperwork to do. And I didn’t want to bother Clay, my assistant project manager, on the weekend. He was raising three kids on his own, which meant he had more than enough on his plate. I’d work out, get some paperwork done, and maybe work on my yard—anything to keep my hands busy.

I quickly showered, rinsing off the sweat and doing my best not to think about anything too serious. I thought briefly about jerking off, just to do something, but I wasn’t in the mood. It was probably a good thing I hadn’t brought Sally home last night, considering the only person I thought about doing anything with was the one person I shouldn’t.

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