Home > Escape (Getaway #3)(4)

Escape (Getaway #3)(4)
Author: Jay Crownover


Cy’s voice wavered, and his hands weren’t steady when he pulled his woman into his arms. “He’s gone, Leo. He got in his truck and told me he didn’t know when he was coming back. Said he didn’t know if he could ever come back.”

The ranch was in their blood. Cy had never wanted it, Sutton had resented the hell out of it, but Lane . . . Lane loved it. He was his father’s son. When Sutton decided his happiness was somewhere other than the sprawling property in Wyoming, no one had been surprised. To hear Lane say he might never be back was unfathomable. He was the heart and soul of the Warner Ranch. If he abandoned ship—the place he’d always called home, his legacy, and a dream—it would be nothing more than soil and responsibility. There would be no love without Lane. There would be no light, no songs, and laughter. There would be no music. Everything would be quiet and dull.

Leo rested her head on Cy’s heart. She ran her hands down the taut muscles of his arms and locked their fingers together. “He’ll be back.” There was no doubt in her tone.

Cy heaved a sigh and leaned forward so he could rest his chin on the top of her head. Her curly strawberry blond hair tickled his face the way it always did when they were this close. “How do you know, Sunshine? How do you know he’ll be back?”

Leo kissed the hollow of his throat and whispered with certainty, “Because he belongs here, and he would never let you down. Besides, Brynn is here, and we both know that no matter how far he runs he won’t ever be able to get away from the way he feels about her. It’s followed him around for over ten years. It’s time he turns around and faces it.”

Cy heaved another sigh and wrapped his arms around the woman who brought the light back into his life. Everyone knew that if Cy had his way, he would never let her go. He knew better than anyone there were a lot of emotions you could ignore and overlook, but love wasn’t one of them. No, there was no escape from love once it got its claws into you. Sometimes the more you struggle, the more you hurt yourself when those talons dug into all your tender, soft places. All Cyrus Warner could hope for was that his youngest brother didn’t bleed out by the time he was done fighting the fate that he’d been running from for far too long.

 

 

Want or Need

Lane

When I climbed into my truck with nothing more than my wallet, my boots and my car keys it didn’t occur to me that I was going to need much more than that to get to wherever it was I was going.

I had to stop somewhere in Idaho to buy clean socks and underwear, and I needed to make a pit stop in Washington somewhere to pick up a couple of clean shirts and another pair of jeans. I hated shopping for that shit. I was the type who was still wearing crap that was lying around from my high school days. My ass hadn’t changed much over the years even if my thighs and entire upper body had bulked up and broadened. I was good with denim and cotton, with some flannel thrown in to keep things interesting. Everything I owned was variations of the same thing, so I hated having to work in new shit I didn’t know what to do with. I was very much an if it ain't broke, don’t fix it kind of guy, but that scene back at the ranch had been beyond broken, and there was no way in hell that I was going to be the guy who stepped in to try and fix it. I’d done that once before when Brynn Fox was in trouble, and it didn’t end well for me.

When I tore out of the ranch like my ass was on fire and the devil was chasing me I had no real destination in mind. All I knew for certain was that I needed to put as much distance between me and Brynn—and her new fiancé—as I could. I felt like I was suffocating in that room. I was watching another man, who wasn’t me, jump in to save the day, and it killed me. Brynn was supposed to be mine to protect, mine to guard and shelter from all the terrible shit her mom landed her in. She was meant to be mine to cherish and defend, but I never got the chance because someone else was always there waiting to rescue the damsel in distress. Last time it had been my dad. Brynn was in big trouble; the kind silly kids couldn’t get her out of, and my old man stepped in with a solution that changed the one constant in my life that I’d come to rely on. She didn’t need me, and she didn’t want me. I wasn’t sure which of those daggers did the best job slicing my heart open repeatedly.

Before she could say yes, promising herself to the hired hand, I bolted like the coward I was. I couldn’t hear it. Not again. I couldn’t stand to see the happiness on her face that was put there by a man who wasn’t me. She had always been unattainable and just out of my reach, but if Brynn married Jack, she would no longer be a Warner. She wouldn’t be my family, and I would go back to being the odd brother out. The one who wasn’t as ambitious or as focused as Cyrus. The one who never had any drive or ambition. I would go back to being the brother who followed Sutton around to keep him out of trouble when he got into one of his moods, the one who was always there for comic relief and to keep the other two from killing each other. Without Brynn in the family, there would be no one there who recognized I was a man who worked his ass off to make his family proud.

Sure, I loved the ranch and everything dad left us—buckets more than either of my brothers—but that didn’t mean making a go of the business wasn’t backbreaking labor. Both the ranching side and the luxury retreat side were grueling. I wanted to do my dad proud and be the kind of man he was. One who gave everything to his family and put his neck and reputation on the line to help out a young girl just because his son cared about her. Nobody saw that I worked day and night to make the ranch a place my mother would regret walking away from. No one noticed that every move I made was to ensure that the Warner Ranch was going to live and thrive long after the original Warner blood no longer called it home.

Nobody noticed how much of myself I gave to my family and our home except for Brynn.

I was going to fade into the shadows, disappear in the small print on the bottom of the brochure, and become nothing more than a caricature of the perfect cowboy when she was gone. I was going to be a hollow shell filled with nothing more than the dust of my failures and disappointments when she left.

Mindlessly, I headed west once I got out of Wyoming. At the time, I didn’t realize I was going to California. It didn’t hit me until after I spent a couple of days in Seattle and a couple more in Portland that I was making my way down the coast toward Sutton. Both of my brothers always had my back and would be there to offer me a stiff drink and some no-bullshit advice. Cy was too close in proximity to the newly engaged couple, so Sutton it was. I needed him, even if he was halfway across the country.

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