Flames of Desire(4)

By: Leah Brooke

“We live in Dallas, honey. That’s our home.” Zach finished his beer and stood. “We just come here to visit you.” Running a hand over her hair, he started past her, but Hope stepped in front of him.

“Don’t give me that. You come here because you know neither one of you will be happy unless you share a woman, and ménage relationships aren’t just accepted here. They’re welcome. You want the woman you fall in love with to feel comfortable. That’s why you’re building a house here, and why you always leave after just a few days.”

Law stiffened, understanding how Hope kept his brother sharp. He and Zach had decided they wouldn’t be happy unless they shared a woman years ago, but once Hope started matchmaking, they’d done everything they could think of to stop her.

Hope, though, was a strong-willed woman, a woman gutsy enough to go after Ace with the kind of determination and single-mindedness that scared the hell out of them.

They’d tried to convince her that they’d decided to build a house in Desire to give her and Ace privacy, and that they were very happy in Dallas, but his sister-in-law wasn’t buying it.

Glancing at Zach, Law sighed. “We run an oil company, Hope. We’re—”

“Don’t tell me you’re too busy.” Smiling, she moved closer and dropped onto his lap, a habit she’d recently developed that delighted him. “This is your home. Stop trying to pretend that you’re happier in Dallas. You belong here.” She waved a hand when Zach started to speak. “I know you have a business to run in Dallas, but you can do a lot of business from here. You’re building a house here because you want to share a woman of your own, and it’s obvious that you’re not looking hard enough. If I help you—”

“No!” Law and Zach shook her heads simultaneously.

Zach laughed and rose to his feet. “We know what we want, honey. We’ll know the right woman when we meet her. Please. I’m begging you. Don’t try to find a wife for us.”

Hope jumped from Law’s lap and plopped back into her seat, pouting adorably. “No one around here ever lets me have any fun.”

Straightening, she turned, frowning as she got to her feet. “Now, who could that be? Someone just pulled into the driveway of the house next door—the house you’re trying to buy.”

Law surged to his feet, stunned to see a woman get out of an older model compact car, carrying a suitcase.

Zach came up behind him. “Do you think that’s the owner?”

Gripping the railing, Law leaned forward, trying to get a better look at her, but she turned her head away from him. He got a glimpse of long, dark chestnut hair, gleaming with red highlights, hair that looked like silk.

She had a body made for sin—curves that his hands itched to explore.

She moved as if resigned—defeated. Exhausted.

Intrigued and irrationally irritated, he frowned and leaned over the railing to watch her, but she disappeared into the house before he got a chance to really see her.

Hope sighed. “Either she’s the owner or the owner’s renting it to her.”

Turning, he glanced at his sister-in-law, his eyes narrowing. “The owner’s an elderly lady. She wouldn’t even talk to us on the phone. She insisted on letters.”

Zach straightened, crossing his arms over his chest, his eyes narrowed as he studied Hope’s features. “Is this one of your ploys?”

Hope giggled. “I guess the only way you’re going to find out is to go meet her.”

Law had already started from the porch, determined to do just that.

Chapter Two

Courtney dropped her suitcase just inside the door, blinking to adjust to the house’s dark interior. With a sigh, she dropped her purse on the floor next to her suitcase and looked around, frowning when she saw the heavy, dark drapes covering the front window.

Leaving the door open for light and air, she moved around the sheet-covered chair, cursing when she hit her leg on the corner of the coffee table. “Damn it.”

Limping, she made her way to the window and tugged the edges of the heavy drapes apart, blinking against the late afternoon sun. Deciding that the first thing on her list was to get new curtains, she yanked the sheets off everything in sight, grimacing at the state of the furniture.