Home > Crank (The Gibson Boys #1)(12)

Crank (The Gibson Boys #1)(12)
Author: Adriana Locke

“I know that. But Mom could’ve rocked her own political career. Probably better than Dad. Think about what she could’ve done had she not stepped back and fallen into this other role. She could’ve ruled the damn world.”

“I think she does,” Cam says sweetly. “Her world is Dad and us.”

What Cam is saying is true. I know that. But it doesn’t negate what I’m saying. “Isn’t that kind of sad? That her world shrank to the size of the Landry Estate just so she could fill some stupid role?”

Cam sighs. “I get what you mean.”

“No, you don’t,” I scoff. “You’ve wanted to be our mother since we were little girls.”

“That’s true. I’ve always thought our mother was the most amazing woman I’ve ever met.”

“So do I,” I insist.

“But here’s where we differ,” Cam says gently. “I don’t think she gave anything up. I think she chose a role that could give her heart more than she ever could’ve gotten out of politics or business or whatever else. Look at what Dad accomplished. Look at Landry Holdings. But he never got to do the fun stuff with us, Sienna. He gave up a lot of things to create his legacy for them, for us, while Mom got to do other things. Important things, just in a different way.”

“Maybe . . .”

I see her point, but I still don’t agree. I watched her for years sit back with the answers to my father’s quandaries and only offer them up in the solitude of their bedroom after we’d all gone to sleep. I watched her friends jet off to Europe on vacations and go to see Broadway shows and she stayed behind, raising us. I don’t want that life.

I want ripped jeans, nights with whiskey slurring, and laughing with no regard to who is taking a picture. I want to experience Yosemite on a whim. To live my life without the constraints of someone else’s.

“I need to go, Cam,” I say, taking the towel off my head. My hair falls to the small of my back as I run my free hand through it. “Keep me posted on Dad, okay?”

“Okay. And, hey—don’t call out there tonight. He’s pissy that anyone knows at all. Lincoln showed up when I was leaving and I think the only reason Dad tolerated that was because he brought the baby. Mom has her hands full, you know?”

“Okay. I won’t call tonight.”

“Thanks. Talk to you soon.”

“Goodnight.”

“I CAN’T BELIEVE I let you talk me into this,” I hiss as Delaney leads me down the sidewalk towards Crave.

“You put up little to no fight, my friend. Stop acting like you’re shocked you’re here.”

“You said you wanted to go out. That it would be one of the last times we got to hang out for a while.”

“And, here we are. Mission Hang Out is commencing.” She tugs open the door before I can say no. “After you.”

Sounds of the bar spill onto the sidewalk, as does the multi-colored glow of beer advertisements and signage. The air smells of salt and I’m turning on my heel when I hear a familiar voice inside calling my name.

“It’s the blond,” she whispers. “What’s his name?”

“Sienna! Get in here,” Peck lures me in from somewhere in the depths of the building.

With a deep breath and an eye roll, my nerves on high alert knowing that if Peck is here, there’s a decent chance Walker is too, I step inside.

It’s brighter than I imagine and not as busy as I would’ve thought. Delaney stands beside me as we get acclimated to the venue.

“Hey,” a bartender says. He has short, dark hair and wide, broad shoulders. A goatee dusts his chin, and with the five o’clock stubble spattering his face, he’s right up Delaney’s alley. “I’m Machlan. You must be Sienna.”

“This really is a small town,” I sigh.

“It is, but that one,” he says, nodding towards Peck, “is my cousin. Being that you are working with my brother, you can bet I’ve heard about you a time or two . . . dozen.” His lips part into a smile as his gaze settles on Delaney. “I haven’t heard about you yet, love. Wanna fill me in?”

“I’d love to.” She bats her lashes, taking a seat at the end of the bar. I nudge her in the back, in shock she’s leaving me alone, when she waves me off. “Go on. Go have fun.”

“I hate you,” I whisper. She fails to respond, too enchanted with Machlan’s smirk.

Peck, a beer in one hand, sidles up to me. “What brings you by tonight?”

“Her.” I nudge Delaney again. “I didn’t imagine I’d see you here.”

“No, right? So totally crazy and random. Why would we be here, the place we met you?”

I force a swallow past the lump in my throat. “You say ‘we’ . . .”

“Walker’s sitting back there by the pool table. Wanna come say hi?”

“No.”

Laughing, he motions for me to follow with his head. “Let’s go.”

“But Peck,” I whine.

“What else you gonna do, Slugger? And let’s be honest, you came here to see him.” He stops. “Unless you came to see me?”

“Peck . . .”

“That’s what I thought,” he sighs. “It’s never for me. Come on.”

Against my better judgement, but totally in line with my libido, I follow Peck through the small groupings of people. As we near the end of the bar and the billiards area comes into view, I see Walker. And he sees me.

There’s no indication of whether this makes him happy or pissy and all I can do is try not to let the spiraling anxiety swirling in my belly take over.

“Look what I found,” Peck tells him. “Just standing up there by the bar, waiting on Tommy to find her.”

“Who’s Tommy?” I ask as a flash of something fierce flickers through Walker’s features.

“You just get here?” Walker asks, ignoring my question.

“Yeah. Peck thought I should say hi, and in case you saw me, I didn’t want to be rude.”

He roughs a hand down his face. When he puts it back on his lap, rocking his chair on the back two legs, he averts his gaze to his cousin. “Get her a drink, will ya?”

“It’s fine,” I say. “I’ll go up there and get one in a minute.”

“What’ll it be, lady?” Peck grins.

“Um, an amaretto sour?”

“Typical chick drink. Be right back.”

Peck dashes away. A couple plays pool on one side and another half-dances, half-copulates on the other beneath the dick-shaped duck lights, but we’re alone otherwise. Tucking a strand of hair out of my face, I wait until I can’t take the awkwardness anymore.

“I’ll go get the drink. It was nice to see you,” I say.

“Wanna sit?” he gruffs out.

“What? No, I’m fine.”

“Sit down,” he sighs, sitting on all four legs again. “I won’t bite.”

“I’m not totally convinced of that,” I mutter.

He leans forward, gripping a bottle in front of him with both hands. “If I did,” he whispers, “you’d like it.”

His tone dances across my skin, the words pooling in between my thighs. It takes every bit of self-control I can muster to remain unaffected—at least on the surface.

Walker’s attention rests with me, every blink, twitch, and gasp duly noted. The power, although never completely mine, is slipping away quickly and I have to get some of it back.

Sitting across from him, I let him wonder what my response will be before I finally give it to him. “If I didn’t,” I say, “that would be embarrassing for you, wouldn’t it?”

A slow smile plays on his lips before he lifts the bottle and drains whatever is left in it. It sets with a thud. “What brought you to Linton, anyway?”

“Tonight or in general?”

He shrugs.

“My friend wanted to come in tonight, so that’s why we’re here. She’s also why I’m in Linton at all, really. What about you?”

“Born and raised here.”

“I was born and raised in Georgia,” I tell him. “Went to school in Los Angeles. Ended up here for the time being.”

“How the hell did you go from LA to Linton?” He leans forward, his brows pulled together.

“Delaney had a business idea and I thought, ‘Why not?’” I say, lifting my shoulders and dropping them back down.

“What is it you do?”

“Design things. Clothes, merchandise, marketing material—whatever someone needs, really.”

He looks beyond me with a slight shake of his head. “Can you design Peck a brain?”

“Why?”

I turn around in just enough time to witness Peck bent on one knee in front of a brunette, a beer extended in the same way a person would a ring. “Who’s that he’s . . . proposing to?” I giggle.

“A girl who doesn’t deserve him.”

Lifting a brow, I can’t help but smile. He flinches.

“I didn’t mean it like that,” he insists. “Peck is just way too good for Molly and he doesn’t even realize it.”

“I take it we aren’t big Molly fans?”

“She’d fuck a dog with two dicks, if you catch my drift.”

Not sure whether to laugh or vomit at that imagery, I just squeeze my eyes shut. “That is so disgusting.”

“Then you catch my drift.”

The rhythm between us slides into motion, calming my nerves and settling me down. His body relaxes too as we watch each other across the empty field of bottles on the table.

“Did you drink all of these?” I ask, motioning towards the maybe ten bottles lined up.

“Nope. I think I’ve had two.”

“I can’t drink beer. I don’t drink a lot at all, actually.”

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