Home > Bounty (Colorado Mountain #7)(9)

Bounty (Colorado Mountain #7)(9)
Kristen Ashley

I knew her kind. I could smell it a mile away. I’d learned that at age six.

However, she was the fifth real estate agent in that area I talked to and the only one where the stench wasn’t overwhelming.

Precisely why I needed that forest oasis away from everything.

“Thank you,” I said politely. “Now, I’ll take a look at the rest of the space and wander the property.”

“At your leisure, Justice,” she mumbled, throwing out a hand.

At my leisure, I did just that.

* * * * *

Two Weeks, Three Days Later

I sat in my beat-up, red Ford pickup that I’d backed into a spot opposite the building and I stared across the space at said building, which was a bar.

Across the top, Bubba’s, in neon.

Parked to my left, eight bikes—seven Harleys, one Indian slightly removed.

Parked to my right, a truck more beat-up than mine, a shiny black Escalade, a shinier red Camaro and black Dyna Glide Harley.

Other vehicles dotted here and there, all pickups and SUVs, except one silver Camry that had seen better days.

It was late day, but still hours before normal work time was over, and the bar had a good crowd.

This was the life of a number of bars.

Especially biker bars, which this one was. I could have sensed that even without the line of bikes sharing that intel and even with practice turned rusty.

It had been years since I’d been to a biker bar. Lacey getting on with her career. Bianca’s journey taking an alarming turn. Me following in Dad’s footsteps only to feel the quicksand of that life slurping at my feet, sucking me under, terrifying me to such an extreme I jumped right off that path and never went back.

Now I was here in a town called Carnal where I’d just bought a house.

I looked down at the seat beside me and saw the bulky, legal-sized, white plastic folder with the real estate agent’s logo on the front.

My paperwork. The ink was barely dry.

As of about an hour ago, I owned a shell of a house in the middle of a forest that had a killer master suite and not much else.

And I was on Holden “Max” Maxwell’s schedule to start up again.

The problem was, that schedule was busy so he couldn’t even start for six weeks, and that was if his other jobs finished on time, something he told me happened, but also didn’t.

In order not to think of this inconvenience, I dug my phone out of my purse as it had been ringing on my way to find somewhere to celebrate the news I just bought a home. My first home that was mine.

My oasis.

Alas, at this current juncture of my life, there weren’t a lot of calls I wanted to take, and as I tugged my phone out of my purse and saw who had called and left a voicemail, I noted this was one of those calls.

But who it was, I had no choice.

I sat in my truck and engaged my phone, going to voicemail, seeing Mr. T listed at the top, the same name also listed under that (and under that), with Dana being under that, then Joni, then Joss, but Mr. T again under my mom’s name.

I sighed, took the new voicemail and put it on speaker.

“Justice. I’ve had another communication from your brother and his mother. It likely won’t surprise you it was another unpleasant one. I think I’ve been thorough in explaining to you the consequences if your brother continues on this path he seems bent on taking. It’s become such a nuisance, the only reason I’m persevering in trying to find some way to get through to him is that I know how deeply distressed your father would be if he knew this was happening. I’m aware you’re also trying to get through to him but I’m strongly suggesting you try harder.”

His voice changed, became less cross and more threatening.

“I’m ready to let this go to court, Justice. Speak to your brother. Get him away from that woman and find some way to get through to him. I don’t have to tell you the consequences will be dire if you and I don’t succeed.”

I pressed my lips together, rolled them and engaged my texts, pulling up Mr. T’s string.

I then tapped in: I received your voicemail and I’m still doing what I can. I closed today, Mr. T, so I’m having a celebration drink. I’ll take a sip for you. More as soon as I can. Peace and love…

I hit send and stared at the “Mr. T” fighting a smile.

My dad’s balding, stooped, seventy-three-year-old sergeant major (literally, he was a former Marine) manager did not look at all like the famous Mr. T. I called him Mr. T for short (and this was adopted by everyone), not as a joke (he wouldn’t get it anyway, he likely had no earthly clue who the famous Mr. T was) but because his name was William Thurston and calling him Mr. Thurston was a mouthful.

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