Missing (The Brannock Siblings Book 3) (6 page)

 I waited for another few minutes when I saw a flash of red
outside the window next to me.

Aiden was scurrying down the sidewalk in the dark green
dress I saw her carrying the day before. And just like I had thought it would
the day before, it looked really good on her. It stopped just above her knees,
showing off the creamy skin of her toned legs, and the shoes she was wearing…
those heels made her legs look miles long. Her curled hair draped down her
back, the perfect shade of red to go with the dress. I still hadn't seen her
face, but there was no mistaking that hair.

I was right. She didn't need much time to look good.

My perusal of her was cut off when she turned into the door
to the restaurant and strode up to the hostess.

"Lucky day," I said to myself, curious to see who
her date was and if he was the smart sophisticated doctor-like gentleman I
could picture her with.

The hostess started to lead her through the same maze of
tables I had walked through and as they got closer, I wondered at the
coincidence that her date was in the same restaurant and, from the looks of it,
possibly at the table next to mine. I tore my eyes away from Aiden who was
concentrating on not running into anything and my heart stuttered to a halt, my
hands starting to sweat when the hostess met my gaze then smiled as she came to
a stop next to me.


"Here we are, Miss."

The look on Aiden's face when she finally saw me had to be
the exact visual replica of the way I was feeling sitting there like an idiot,
staring at what I had come to realize was my MysteryGirl.

"What the fuck?" The hostess flinched at my
outburst, but I didn't give a shit. This had to be some kind of joke.

"You're Dreamy?" Aiden gasped.

"You're MysteryGirl?"

The now frowning hostess hurried away as Aiden's face began
to turn bright red, almost as red as her hair and I felt like a complete dick.
I should have seen the signs. Artist, hot date, funny as hell. Of course
Mystery Girl is Aiden.

She's fucking perfect for me. In. Every. Way.

Realizing that made me wish I would have seen it sooner
before I was a complete asshole to her all those times. Whatever she was about
to do, I deserved one hundred and fifty percent.

Before I could say
, even process anything
beyond the fact that she was the woman I had been communicating with this whole
time, she turned on her sexy as hell heels and took off through the obstacle course
of linen covered tables, knocking over a centerpiece or two, and all but
running out the front door.

My jaw was still flat on the table, but now I was drooling.
Curves I had never noticed before were moving quickly away from me.

Yes, I deserved it.

No, I wasn't going to accept it.

It only took me another two seconds to make my decision.

I had waited too long for her. Too long trying to convince
her to meet me in person. Too long lying awake at night wondering what she
looked like. Too long imagining her body wrapped around mine while we talked
for hours on end.

MysteryGirl was
. MysteryGirl was Aiden.
Therefore, Aiden… yeah, she was going to be mine, too.

I was watching her hurry down the sidewalk while I attempted
to scoot out of the booth without taking my eyes off of her.

"Excuse me, sir. Will your date be returning?"

I quickly glanced at the now more hopeful hostess and
grinned, "No. We are both leaving. Thank you for the table and I apologize
that we won't be using it."

I didn't wait another second. I flew by her and my eyes
found Aiden once more as I reached the glass front door. She was folding that
body into a cab and my heart thumped wildly against my chest.

"You can run, Red. But you can't hide."

Another one bites the dust.



Chapter 3


"This can't be happening."

"What was that, ma'am?"

Aiden looked up at the cab driver and gave him a shaky
smile, "Nothing."

He turned back to the road and drove like a ninety year old
man who had absolutely nowhere to be. She was ready to knock him out and take
over just so she could get back to her apartment before the end of the year.

"Can we please hurry? It's very important."

He grunted and glanced at her in the rearview mirror, then
pressed only slightly harder on the accelerator. She looked behind her and
realized they were already a few blocks away from the restaurant and her out of
control pulse finally began to slow.

This was the last thing she expected when she walked into
that restaurant. She had already been anxious about telling the hostess the
name on the reservation.


She had giggled like a little school girl when he told her
what name to use and wondered how long it would take him to get her laughing
like a hyena. Every conversation had been better than the last and she was only
nervous about what he looked like. The rest was a no brainer. They were made
for each other. Period.

She should have noticed where they were heading as she
followed the hostess, but she was too busy trying to walk straight in those
damn heels Lily had insisted she wear.

When they stopped and she saw Gus… well, let's just say she
almost broke out in a fit of laughter at the obvious joke it was.

Then she realized it wasn't a joke and she prayed the floor
would swallow her up.

He was so damn handsome in his dark blue dress shirt that
made his grey blue eyes look like thunderclouds. His hair was perfectly messy
and her fingers had almost reached out to run through it and tug.

Her already shallow breaths accelerated and she knew she was
about to lose it.


She needed her sister.

She ripped open her clutch and madly ripped her phone out,
finding her sister's name and praying she would answer fast. The cab came to a
slow stop at a red light two blocks from her apartment. An apartment she really
didn't want to go back to for fear of seeing Gus, but she really needed to get
out of this dress.

"Aren't you on a hot date? Why the hell are you calling

"Oh, God, Lily. You will not believe who Dreamy

"Fergus Brannock?"

Aiden's heart thudded to a halt and anger gathered in her
chest until her fingers constricted and the plastic on her phone started to
creak. "What?" her voice barely came out as a whisper.

"Is it? I've been hoping it is and I have been seeing
the signs, but I wasn't sure."

"What?" she said a little louder, a little more

"Oh, come on, Aid. You had to have noticed the
similarities. I mean, I wasn't sure until I saw him leaving the apartment. Call
it a good assumption."

Now that it was pointed out to her, yes, she should have
noticed the similarities.

Dreamy worked a government job, a lot of nights.
Technically, so did Fergus. Dreamy was witty, and clever, and funny, and smart,
and so damn sexy it made her hurt all over when she spoke to him. Same with
Fergus, only she had been holding onto the fact that he had been a jerk to her
for so long, she didn't see it until it was too late. Like the
right now
kind of too late.

"Oh my God."

Lily started laughing and Aiden had never actually wanted to
strangle her sister more until right that moment. "Wow! So it
him. I knew it! This is so awesome, I feel like I am going to pass out from the

"Exciting? You think this is exciting? I can't stand
the man, Lil. He is an asshole. Yes, a very sexy, funny asshole, but still an
asshole." She took a deep breath, trying to calm herself, but it didn't
help. "And a cop, Lil."

The driver glanced at her in the rear view mirror and raised
his eyebrows, Aiden just rolled her eyes.

"You think he is an asshole only because you refuse to
see the humor in all that's happened over the last few months," Lily said,
exasperation evident in her voice. "And I've told you a hundred times,
life. Not ours. Don't use my stupid mistakes as a guide on how
to live."

"Whatever. I thought maybe my sister would rescue me
from this horribly embarrassing event, but I was wrong. She's only going to
laugh and say I told you so."

"Aid, wait-"

She pressed END before she could get sucked into feeling
guilty about what she just said. She knew it was harsh, but she was panicking.

The cab pulled up to the curb in front of her building and
she all but tossed the bills at the driver and burst out of the car. She
stumbled only three times on her way to the front door and wasn't listening to
whoever was calling her name across the street. They could shove it for all she
cared at the moment. She plowed through the door and took the stairs two at a
time, her legs burning and screaming at her to slow the hell down, but she
couldn't. She needed to get to her apartment and fall apart there. Not where
others could see her.

For so long, she had been waiting for the right man. The man
who could understand her love for her art and for her family. The man that
would never make her choose between him and Lily and Aidy. Not the way Brandon
had made Lily choose. A man that would bring safety and laughter into her home.
Dreamy had been that man. She knew it in her heart even if she never really
talked about it with him. She didn't have time to go looking for someone on a
whim and risk getting her heart torn to shreds. She had been so ready to have
that with Dreamy.

Now, it was like the world had come to a stop and started
rotating the opposite way.

She finally reached her floor and ignored the pounding on
the stairs below her. Someone was seriously in a hurry and she knew their pain.
She already had her keys in hand and unlocked her door more gracefully than
ever before and stepped inside. Before she could slam it shut, a hand shot out
and long fingers wrapped around the tattered wood.

She let out a high pitched squeak, sure that she was about
to be attacked by some lunatic, but her fight or flight response shorted out
when the rest of the body stepped into view.


"Aiden, wait. God damn it! Did you not hear me yelling
for you outside?"

Seriously? Now he was calling her by her name? So
frustrating, but damn it if that didn't make the embarrassment she had been
running on turn into a bunch of mutant butterflies flying in chaos through her
stomach. She shook her head and felt her skin heat. She knew she wasn't paying
attention, but to miss
man shouting for her. Wow, she had really
checked out.

He stepped inside her door and his big body took up quite a
bit of room. He slowly shut the door behind him and stood in her space. It took
all of her will power to not step back, but she needed to stand her ground.

"Listen, I know this is a crazy situation we've found
ourselves in, but I'm not one to throw something away just because it wasn't
what I expected."

"What?" she asked, her brow furrowing in confusion.

Gus sighed and raked a hand through his hair.

Fucking distraction
. She couldn't rip her eyes away
if she tried and to be honest, she didn't really try all that hard. She wanted
hand to tunnel through all that soft hair. The man was even more beautiful than
she had originally thought, looking all vulnerable and unsure of himself for
the first time ever.

Her eyes found his once more and she gasped. Those blue and
grey orbs had always looked at her with amusement or frustration, but right at
that moment, she felt the hunger in them. Knew he wanted her as much as she
suddenly wanted him, but she couldn't let that happen.

"You're supposed to be a total asshat!" she
blurted out and the amusement she had become so familiar with returned to those
eyes with a flicker.

"Yeah, and I still am. I…" another hand rake
through that hair and Aiden was sure her knees would give out. Which would be
unfortunate seeing how her dress would probably end up ripping somehow and she
would for sure bust an ankle in these ridiculous heels.

His eyes slowly moved down her body and back up, lingering
around her legs, hips, and then her breasts before stopping completely on her

"God, you're beautiful."

She blinked up at him and her mouth opened to make some kind
of sarcastic remark, but nothing came to her. His gaze moved back and forth
from her mouth to her eyes, waiting.

"I- I don't know… how the hell did this happen?"
she breathed, her heart pounding so hard she felt like her ribs would break.

"Not sure, but I don't care how, I just care that it


He looked so sincere when he spoke, but she was still
waiting for the punch line. Surely he would say something that would snap her
out of this daze, but he didn't. He just stared at her, almost breathing as
hard as she was.

"I'm sorry," he said, his voice raspy and warm,
making those butterflies burst into flames as they continued to soar around her
stomach. "I'm sorry for the way I've acted, the way I've treated you. I
never felt like what I was doing was right, I just… you're so damn exquisite
when you're mad and I couldn't stop myself."

I'm dreaming. This is some kind of nightmare that I need
to wake up from
, Aiden thought to herself. No way this would be happening
in her reality.

"I know that doesn't make up for anything, but I've
been talking to the woman of my dreams for a while now and there is no way in
hell I'm giving her up because I was too dense to figure out that she was my
arch enemy and right in front of me all along."

"Arch enemy? You really think that makes me feel
better?" Aiden bit out, purposely ignoring the whole 'woman of my dreams'
part. Acknowledging it would make her crumble and she refused to crumble. At
least until he left.

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