Razed (Barnes Brothers #2)

Written By: Shiloh Walker

Razed (Barnes Brothers #2)

Shiloh Walker



Chapter One




Stop worrying so much about the future

Call Roger and tell him off

Flip off the next photographer you see

Get a tattoo

Have a torrid affair with a hot guy

Ask that hot guy if he’d maybe like to marry me . . . up in Alaska



Keelie Jessup ran her finger over the warped pages of the journal and couldn’t help but smile.

The battered copy of Wreck This Journal lay in a place of honor on a table near where the wedding cake sat, waiting. That wedding cake looked more like a work of art than anything edible. But if she knew anything about Abigale Applegate—no—Abigale Barnes, then that cake would be as delicious as it was beautiful. A caterer now, Abigale knew all about finding the absolute best and yummiest of creations—or making them herself.

The newlywed Abigale Barnes was on the edge of the dance floor with Zach. Keelie assumed what they were doing might be called dancing, but it was more like swaying as they stared at each other. They might as well be off on their honeymoon—completely alone in the world, lost in each other.

Neither of them looked like they had eyes for anybody else.

A tug of envy twisted at her.

Not because Abby had Zach, really.

One thing had become painfully clear over the past few weeks. Keelie felt a lot of things for Zach, but she didn’t have the kind of feelings for him that Abby did. She’d thought she did. She’d wanted to, had hoped he’d realize he felt the same.

Then she kissed him.

She’d got as much wow out of that kiss as she did when her buddy Javi gave her a hug. Those rare, infrequent hugs. Physical contact wasn’t really up her alley and Javier, more than most, seemed to pick up on it.

No. She wasn’t in love with Zach, but who could look at those two and not envy the magic they obviously had? The insanity was that it had taken Abby this long to see it.

Shrugging off that tug of envy, she grabbed a pen and flipped through the journal. There was a space where other people were invited to draw in the journal. It had sat in Steel Ink for a while, the tattoo studio she co-owned in Tucson with Zach, but she hadn’t felt right doodling in it then.

Now, though, she had something in her head.

She bent over, braced one elbow on the table as she sketched.

The cartoon images were clearly Zach and Abby and she had fun making them look a little more gah-gah than they already were.

“You’re good.”

She jumped a little, looking up to see Zane Barnes towering over her. Zane, the oldest of the Barnes brothers, stood there watching her, his eyes unreadable behind a pair of glasses she secretly found terribly sexy. Okay, secretly she found him terribly sexy. All five of them were beautiful, really, from Zane down to the youngest sibling, Sebastian.

Forcing a smile, she looked back at the sketch, gave a few final touches, and then straightened. “Thanks. It’s just for fun.”

She glanced down at it and then gave the newlyweds a smirking smile. “You gotta admit, it’s pretty dead-on, though.”

Zane laughed. “Pretty much.” Then he held out a hand. “Dance?”

Her heart froze. Dance. With him.

For some reason, he always made her a little nervous. Those blue green eyes of his—beautiful eyes—made her feel like she had no shields, nothing between her and him and he could see all the flaws and holes and mistakes she’d made. And man, were there mistakes.

She hesitated, probably too long, because he started to lower his hand.

Impulsively, she caught it. “Yeah. Sure. I . . . ah. Look, I haven’t danced in . . .” She stopped to think. Shit. That long. “I think the last time I danced with anybody was in high school.”

“Well, I’m not going to be a great partner for your first dance.” He led her out on the dance floor and tugged her in close. “My brothers used to taunt me for how clumsy I was.”

She let him catch her hand in his, her breath trying to hitch in her chest as he slid his free arm around her back. He moved with a little too much ease for her to buy the clumsy bit, though. She tipped her head back, had to appreciate the fact that she actually could. She’d worn heels with her dress and with those heels, she stood six feet. Zane still had a good five inches on her.

His gaze rested on hers. Normally, silence didn’t bother her at all, but normally, she wasn’t moving on a dance floor with a guy. She didn’t know if normal could really fit in here. She was in a dress. She was in heels. And she was dancing with Zane.

Since thinking about it made her even more nervous, she had to break the silence. “So what happened to them getting married in Alaska?”

“I think Abby decided it was easier to have a wedding—especially a fast one—for two hundred people if she actually had the wedding here.” A faint smile curled his lips. “Never let it be said that she doesn’t have her share of common sense. They decided to have the honeymoon there instead.”

Keelie shuddered. “I don’t get it. A honeymoon in Alaska. Sounds cold.”

“Nah.” He shrugged. The muscles under her left hand glided and shifted and she realized her mouth had gone a little dry. Nice muscles, she realized. Really nice. “It’s early fall. It will be getting cooler, but it won’t be bad. Besides, they’ve both always wanted to go. It’s beautiful up there.”

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