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WRAPPED IN YOU
The Monroe's #1
Released March 29th, 2016
Zach Monroe has made mistakes—big ones. The worst left the girl he loved injured, and his own brother barely speaking to him. It was a night Zach won’t let himself forget, even when the girl in question—perfect, polished Sophie Allen—walks back into his life. A realtor, Sophie’s brought an offer for their sister’s dilapidated Civil War era property. But Zach’s determined to renovate the rambling old place himself—though he longs to rebuild Sophie’s trust in him…
A business deal isn’t how Sophie wanted to approach Zach after all this time, but he won’t let anyone get personal. She can’t deny that the accident changed her life in irreparable ways. But watching gruff, quiet Zach beat himself up year after year hurts too. The wounded boy she once adored needed love, and the man is no different. Now Sophie will need every bit of her resolve to convince Zach to let love heal them both…
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The pre–Civil War home had housed slaves in the underground tunnels that led from the main house to two other homes on the estate that overlooked a lake. No boring museum would be going in there. He’d find a way to . . . hell, he didn’t know, but he knew he wasn’t selling to the assholes in suits.
“You have to pay the taxes somehow,” Sophie argued. “This is the best way to pay off the debt and not have to worry about what to do with such a large, empty estate.”
Still sitting forward in his seat to look at the paper, Braxton glanced over his shoulder at Zach. He merely stared back, waiting for Braxton’s thoughts. Hurt settled in Braxton’s eyes, but there was an overlying mask of anger.
Braxton shifted back around and faced Sophie. “We need to discuss this. We can’t decide right here.”
“And we’ll get the damn taxes paid,” Zach muttered just as Sophie opened her mouth. “Let us worry about Chelsea’s property. You can tell your boyfriend and the mayor we don’t want the offer.”
Sophie’s shoulders stiffened, her eyes narrowing in his direction. “I’m only trying to help everyone here. You don’t have to be a jerk.”
Yeah, well, he felt like a jerk, so how else was he supposed to act?
“What do you want to do with the property?” Liam asked, turning in his seat just enough to see Zach.
“Pay the taxes and figure it out from there.”
“I don’t have time to invest in that place,” Liam countered. “I understand why Braxton would hesitate, but you have to think about what a liability that property is going to be. I don’t want to sink money into something that will have no benefit to me.”
Zach uncrossed his arms and stood straight up. “Well, I’m not ready to get rid of that land. Chelsea loved that old house and she had a vision. She used every bit of her savings and her portion of the inheritance from Mom and Dad to buy the place, and you’re ready to just give it away for some museum? Or if that’s not enough, perhaps you’ve forgotten about—”
“Enough.” Braxton glared from one brother to another. “We’ll discuss this once we’ve all had a chance to think. Bringing up Anna won’t solve the problems.”
Anna. The woman Braxton had been engaged to until she’d shown her true colors and left Braxton days before the wedding. She’d run straight into Rand Stevens’s waiting arms. The two were both shallow, and Zach hoped they were miserable together for many, many years.
“I’ve thought of Braxton, but we can’t let that situation stop us from using common sense here.” Liam came to his feet, hands on his hips and blue eyes blazing. “I’m getting that headache off our hands. We’ve already paid the mortgage on it this month and still have the taxes due. I’m done.”
“Fine. Then be done with it. I’ll cover your part.” Good thing he had a chunk in savings, but even that would run out if he didn’t come up with a plan. “Consider yourself dismissed.”
Braxton rose, holding up his hands. “This is a record. You two went five whole minutes without griping at each other. We’ll give Sophie a definite answer in a week. Can we all stop and think about what Chelsea would want us to do? Leave my past out of the decision making.”
“Chelsea wouldn’t want you guys fighting,” Sophie muttered.
Zach’s eyes cut to her. Her face had paled, showcasing the dark circles beneath her eyes. Damn it. Why did her silent vulnerability always make him feel like a bastard?
“I’ll take a week.” Zach agreed with Braxton. “But I’m not changing my mind. Selling is a bad idea right now.”
He turned to go, when Sophie called his name. Glancing over his shoulder, two sets of eyes were on him. Liam kept his back turned.
Zach raised a brow, waiting for Sophie to say something. Was that moisture in her eyes? She blinked twice, as if willing unshed tears away. Pushing away from her desk, she came to her feet and straightened her shoulders.
“Don’t be stubborn about this,” she told him, her voice calm and controlled. “I know Chelsea wanted this house, and I know Braxton has issues with the mayor. The past can’t be changed, and Chelsea would understand that you guys have no use for the property.”
Zach said nothing as he turned and walked out of her office. He’d barely cleared the door before he heard Braxton say, “That went well.”
Exiting the building, Zach actually agreed. He and Liam hadn’t thrown punches, as they’d been known to do on the rare occasions they’d been together. And Zach had managed to avoid the giant elephant in the room.
Sliding behind the wheel of his work truck, Zach brought the engine to life. Gripping the steering wheel, he looked down at his hands. The scars crisscrossing his knuckles always reminded him how he’d fought to save those he loved and how he’d severed any bond they’d once shared.
Yeah, that went well in there, considering they were all broken people with very different views of absolutely everything.
Zach was not looking forward to more chitchats with his brothers over this, and he sure as hell wasn’t wanting another encounter with Sophie. He couldn’t handle being that close, not when he still wanted her despite their past.
National bestselling author Jules Bennett is a former salon owner turned full time author. Considering she met her husband at the age of fourteen and they’ve been together since, Jules knows a thing or two about romance and happily ever after. She and her husband live in the Midwest with their two young children. When Jules isn’t creating emotional, witty stories, she’s spending time with her family, working out or procrastinating on social media. She loves to hear from readers. You can connect with her through Facebook, Twitter, or her Website.