Razed (Barnes Brothers #2)(7)

Written By: Shiloh Walker

“You okay there, Z?” Travis asked mildly.

Zane snorted and in the next moment, he sounded like his normal self, cool, almost remote. “Just pointing out the obvious, Travis. You still like playing doctor with the pretty girls, little brother?”

“Who doesn’t?” Travis gave Keelie an easy grin. “You were able to put weight on it earlier, right?”

“Yeah. It just hurt like a mother—” She clamped her mouth shut, glancing over. Trey, Travis’s twin, had his little boy here, but Clayton was out on the dance floor. With the flower girl. As soon as she noticed it, Zane did as well, and he was already moving in to take pictures. She gave Travis a brilliant smile. “Yes. It just hurts.”

He grunted and bent his head back to what he was doing.

She bit back a yelp when he pressed down, but he noticed anyway. He gave her a grim look. “You need to get this looked at.”

“I’ll be fine.” She shrugged and tried to pull her foot away.

“That’s what you’re thinking now.” He rose and moved back to the seat he’d claimed a few minutes earlier. “What are you going to do when you can’t stand on your feet in three or four days? You’re covering for Zach for the next couple of weeks, remember? Get it looked at before it gets worse.”

She glared at him. “You’re an accountant, not a doctor.”

“True.” He smiled at her. “But I’m an accountant who has an interest in many things.”

“That’s just how he excuses being a nosy bastard,” Trey said. He tipped a water glass at her. “I’m more honest than he is. I’m just a nosy bastard, period.”

“Honey, you do need to get that looked at,” Aida said, peering at Keelie’s ankle. “That has to be killing you.”

“It kinda hurts.” She managed a tight smile. “But I’m okay.”

“No, you’re not. And don’t worry, Travis. I’ll make sure she sees a doctor.” Javi scowled at her when she would have argued. Then he kissed Aida’s temple. “Come on, baby. Let’s get our stuff and get her home.”

“No—” Keelie started to protest, but they were already up and moving, the two of them a united front she couldn’t possibly argue with. Sighing, she contemplated the issue of getting herself from here to the car.

“I’ll bring her out,” a soft, steady voice said from behind.

Her heart dropped out.

Oh. Hell.

Her skin started to burn.

Her mouth went dry.

Slowly, she turned her head as Zane knelt at her side.

His gaze locked with hers.

“You ready?”

Her composure threatened to shatter.


Forcing a smile, she said, “Sure. Doesn’t look like anybody is listening to me anyway.”

Chapter Two

Three months later

“I am not taking dating advice from you two.”

She honestly couldn’t believe she was going out on this stupid blind date as it was. Part of her kind of wished she was still in the stupid airboot she’d just been able to take off a few weeks ago. She hadn’t planned to take Travis’s advice, but the next morning, her ankle had hurt even worse, so she’d given in, afraid she’d broken something.

If only.

Instead of a broken bone, she’d messed up the ligaments in her lower leg. The technical term was a high ankle sprain. She called it hell on earth. Instead of six weeks to heal a broken bone, she’d spent six weeks in an airboot everywhere she went, and another month in it if she was going to be on her feet for any more than a few minutes—which was most of the day for her.

On the other hand, though, that boot had been a great excuse to get out of things she didn’t want to do anyway. No, Javi . . . I don’t really want to go to the barbecue so Aida can try to fix me up with her brother. I can’t, see . . . it’s too annoying to hobble around and you know I hate to have people waiting on me. No, Ani, I don’t want to hang out at the club with you and hook up with some guy. Besides, I’d spend most of my time at the bar anyway, watching you dance, me and my stupid ankle. You go, okay?

Anais, one of the newer employees at Steel Ink, had caught Keelie in a moment of weakness. They’d gotten to be good friends and somehow, the cute, quirky blonde had known just when to strike.

Now Keelie just wished she could find a way out of this. She hadn’t had a date in over a year and she’d be just fine to keep it that way, too. Okay, so maybe she was a little lonely and maybe she did wake up thinking about—

Stop it. She’d spent the past twelve weeks trying to forget that night existed. That was, in part, why she’d agreed to this stupid blind date. But that didn’t mean she’d take dating advice from Javi and Anais. She’d listen to them on some things, sure. She went over tattoo design ideas with Javi all the time. And she’d let Anais talk her into the hoop she currently had piercing her left nostril.

But she’d said hell to the no when Anais suggested other piercings and in no way was she listening to dating advice.

She paused to shoot the two of them a dirty look before turning to study her reflection in the mirror affixed to the wall in her work area. A date. What in the hell had she been thinking?

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