Unexpected fate, p.2
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       Unexpected Fate, p.2
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         Part #1 of Hope Town series by Harper Sloan

  “Whatever,” I grouse with a small smile and allow myself to fall back asleep, knowing that he will take care of me.

  A few hours later, I’m back in bed with a scowling father standing over me and holding my medication. Scowling because he knows that, if he hadn’t pushed the issue, I would have laid my ass in bed all weekend and gotten worse.

  The plus side, though, was the promise from the doctor that the cough medicine would have some pain relievers in it and I would be feeling better shortly.

  I swallow the pills and then reach out to take my cough syrup from him. His frown deepens when I start coughing instantly. Come on though. You try to take that crap like a champ. It’s disgusting.

  “Sleep,” he shoots out roughly. He sets the empty medicine cup down on my nightstand and proceeds to tuck me in like I’m five again. Every inch of my body up to my neck is covered, and the blanket is pulled tight as he tucks it around me.

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  “Is this really necessary? I swear I have to move out. Pretty soon, you’re going to try to feed me from a spoon again. ”

  His bright-green eyes shoot up from where he’s tucking the blanket in around my feet. “Do not tempt me, little girl,” he says with all seriousness.

  I have to get out of here. Lyn and Lila said that their lease is almost up. We’ve been toying with the idea of getting a big, old house together. Their dad, Greg Cage, is almost as bad as mine, but he still let them leave the house. They think it’s sweet that mine is so protective, but when the role is reversed and it’s their dad pulling something crazy, or their brothers—all three of them—they don’t find any humor.

  “Not moving out, Danielle. ”

  “You can’t stop me, you know,” I remind him around my yawn, hunkering down into my warm bed.

  “Sleep,” he demands before he slips out of the room.

  So. Annoying.

  But do I even give moving out a second thought? Nope. I smile, cough, smile again, and then fall into one hell of a deep sleep.


  I smile.

  “There’s that beautiful smile,” the voice says, and my smile deepens.

  “Jesus Christ. What the hell did they give her? Izzy!” another voice booms. “The fuck did that bottle say? She’s out like she’s in a goddamn coma!”

  I frown when my father’s voice enters my heavenly dream.

  Good lord, what is he doing in my dream? Daddy shouldn’t be here. Not when I finally have Cohen Cage in my bed. Well, besides the fact that that would be sick, he would kill Cohen if he caught him putting a hand on me. Literally. Cohen would be dead.

  “I’m sure it’s fine, Axel,” Cohen says softly. “Mom sent me over with some soup and some show that the girls have been going nuts over. I don’t mind sitting with her. ”

  Ha! Yeah right. Sitting with her would mean that Daddy would trust something with a dick near his daughter. Regardless of who it is, that would never happen. Yup—definitely dreaming.

  “Yeah, sure, son,” he stutters.

  I can just picture him rubbing the back of his neck with a helpless look.

  “Let me go call that stupid kid doctor and see what the hell he did to my little princess. I knew he didn’t look old enough to be out of med school. ”

  “You got it,” I hear him mumble, and the bed dips.

  I listen as my father’s footsteps stomp out of the room and the door shuts softly behind him. Ah. Finally. My dreams of him never last long enough, and there is no way I want to share good dream time with my father in the picture.

  I have a feeling that, even in my dreams, he would be like a giant shield against any man who even breathed in my direction.

  “Dani-girl,” he whispers in my ear. “I have your favorite soup from my mom here. Why don’t you open those beautiful green eyes and take a bite? If you do, I promise I’ll even sit here and watch a few episodes of Game of Thrones with you. ”

  “You furrr real?” I slur and open my eyes slightly before quickly closing them when the bright light from the sun hits my tired eyes. “You can’t be real. You’re in my dream bed, Cohen!” I reach out and pat his stubbled cheek a few times, trying to get my eyes open and focused on his face. “You can’t be here. What if Daddy catches you? Wait. Why are you dressed? You’re not usually dressed when you’re in my dream bed. ” My hand drops from where I was rubbing all over his face and starts to roam over his cotton-covered chest. “You can take it off. I won’t bite. ” I giggle and start to trail my hand lower to get this stupid shirt off him.

  God, he feels like heaven.

  A surprised noise somewhere between a choking gasp and a shocked stutter comes from his mouth, which is followed by a groan that rumbles against the palm I have resting against his chest.

  I bite my lip, thinking that I can at least try to do something seductive. They’re always doing it in the books I love to read. Even if I never understood what’s hot about lip nibbling, I might as well give it a go.

  “You’re so hard,” I whisper in awe as my hand continues to palm his pecs, his abs, and everything between. “And warm,” I add, nuzzling in close. My head moves to his shoulder, my hand still rubbing his hard stomach, and I pull one leg up to wrap around his hips.

  “Jesus Christ,” he moans when my leg hits his crotch.

  “Are you hard . . . everywhere? My dream is going to stop soon. It always does. You should just tell me now. Then, when I wake up, I won’t be disappointed because I once again missed all the good stuff. ” I sigh deeply. “I bet you’re huge,” I giggle.

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  “Fuck. Me,” he whispers on a prayer.

  “That would be nice too. ”

  “Dani-girl, what in the hell has gotten in to you?” He lifts his body and moves out from under me, lightly swatting my hands when I start to grab after him. “I’m just . . . uh . . . I’m just going to go to the bathroom. ” He stands from the bed.

  I drop back with a pout. “But we were going to fuggle,” I complain.

  He turns sharply to ask, “The hell is a fuggle?”

  “Duh. It’s a cuddle fuck,” I giggle and reach for him again only to stop when he walks away and starts to pace.

  “Jesus fucking Christ. ”

  I was having the most beautiful dream. Well, every dream that involves Cohen Cage is beautiful—overwhelmingly beautiful. And trust me. There have been a lot of dreams over the years with him as the sole star. Each and every one of them ends in disappointment, though, when they stop before he can get to the good stuff.

  This one, even though it lacked the erotic content that usually partners with a Cohen sex dream, was different—it felt so real. God, what I would give to have him in my arms that way for real.

  “You coming back to the land of the living now, Dani-girl?”

  I still instantly.

  Holy shit.

  “Uh . . . ” I stammer.

  “Yeah. There’s my girl,” he laughs. “Let me go call your dad and let him know you’re awake. I thought he was going to lock himself in your room earlier when your mom said they had to go. She tried to tell him you would be fine, but you know how your dad is. ”

  Why can’t I clear the cobwebs in my head?

  “Anyway,” he continues, “they had that charity function for local Wounded Warriors that Maddox runs to go to. If it would have been anything else, I don’t think she would have been able to get him out the door. You should have seen it, Dani. I’ve never seen your dad deflate so quickly. ” He laughs to himself, and I feel him shift before the bed lets up when his weight is removed.

  Oh. My. Gosh!

  Cohen’s in my bed. Like, really in my bed. I don’t think my panic level could get any higher than it is right now. I frantically search the murky depths of my memories to see if I can piece the last few hours together.

  All I remember is Nate and his disgusting wake-up call, Daddy dra
gging me to the doctor, and my Cohen dream. Holy crap. That was a dream, right?

  Opening my eyes, I look over to where he’s standing with his phone against his ear. He looks up and gives me that panty-melting smile, and I feel myself flush instantly. Blush like an innocent schoolgirl. How. Embarrassing.

  He shakes his head a few times and moves his attention to my dresser full of pictures while waiting for the call to connect. I use this time to study his handsome face.

  He’s always been an attractive person. When he was a kid, he had that youthful perfection. His skin always looked flawless and he carried a good tan all year long. His brown hair, until he enlisted in the Marines, carried that sexy shaggy look any female worth her salt would get an itchy palm that just begged her to run her fingers through. Now, he keeps it slightly longer than regulation with a buzz on the sides. It brings out the sharp angles of his jaw and cheekbones. Not to sound like a freak—hey, maybe I am—but I’ve been studying this man for so long that I could probably draw him to exactness from memory alone.

  What all his good looks really do is make him look like one deliciously sexy man who puts me in a state of constant arousal when he’s around. His dark-brown eyes look over at me again, and he raises a brow when he sees that I’m still looking at him, but he quickly glances away when I’m assuming my dad picks up.

  “Axel,” he starts only to pause and roll his eyes. “She’s fine. Awake, tired, and I’m sure getting more annoyed by the second that I’m reporting to her father . . . Yes, sir . . . I’m positive I’ll get an earful as well . . . No, sir . . . I’ll get her to eat something as soon as I get off the phone . . . No, she hasn’t taken her meds yet. She just woke up, uh . . . She just woke up. ” He looks over at me almost uncomfortably before looking away.


  I start to cough, and he rolls his eyes.

  “It was just a cough, Axel. She’s already back to scowling at me. Yeah, I’ll get the soup and her meds and demand she doesn’t move a muscle indefinitely. No, sir, I’m not making fun of you. ”

  When I laugh, Cohen shoots me another look. This time, he’s warning me to hush before my daddy goes nuts.

  “Yes, sir. She’s fine. I’m sure she going to listen because she knows that’s best too. Okay. Yes, sir. Bye. ” He shoves his phone back in his pocket and shakes his head. “Your dad. I swear that man still thinks you’re six and riding a bike for the first time. Remember when he wouldn’t even let you attempt to ride it without training wheels before he had a fully stocked first aid kit attached to his back?”

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  We both laugh at the memory of just one of his over-the-top parenting moments.

  “What are you doing here?” I ask, waving my hand around the general area of my bedroom.

  “Nate. Well, Nate indirectly. He called me earlier. ” He raises one shoulder in a shrug like that should be enough.

  “Yeah? And that explains what, exactly?”

  “Oh shut up, brat,” he teases. “He mentioned, in between his bouts of hilarity over the morning craziness at the Reid house, that you were sick, and I figured I would come bring you Mom’s soup and keep you company. You know, like old times. ”

  “Old times?” I question, confused.

  “You know. I used to always sit with you when you were sick. ”

  “Cohen, the last time I was sick, I was, like, ten and you had no choice since we were the only two with the flu and our parents didn’t want us spreading it to our siblings. ”

  What in the hell is going on here? For a couple of years, he’s treated me with a friendly indifference. Not rude, but never . . . this.

  “Still, it helped,” he smirks.

  “Yeah, it did. ”

  Of course, he probably thinks it helps for an entirely different reason than it actually did. I was beside myself the whole week we were basically quarantined together. Not because I was sicker than shit and miserable. I was sick as hell, but I was in heaven. Absolute euphoria because I was alone with Cohen—just him and me—for a whole week.

  There is seriously something wrong with me. Besides the obvious. In case you haven’t guessed it, I’ve been madly in love with Cohen Cage since I was a little girl—I think I was six when I realized just how much I loved him and he was ten. That childhood crush has grown over the years into something that is so big—so soul consuming—that even I feel like it will crush me at times.

  And the worst part is that he’s completely blind to it.

  I’M DEFINITELY IN WAY OVER my head here.

  I look over at Dani, who is now peacefully—thank God—sleeping again, and drop my head back on the pillows stacked up behind my back. What the hell was I thinking rushing over here? As soon as Nate called, laughing his ass off over how he woke his sister up, and let me know just how sick she was, I couldn’t seem to stop myself from getting here as quickly as possible. Mom didn’t even bat an eye when I asked her how to make her soup—the same soup she’s made for each of my siblings and me every time we were sick. She did ask why I needed it and left it alone when all I said was, “Dani. ” I didn’t miss the look in her eye though.

  Curious but hopeful.

  It really should have been a concern. How could she possibly be okay with me rushing over to Dani? Someone who is almost five years younger and has never made it a secret, even though she thinks she has, about how she feels about me.

  Sure, there was that one time. I think the twins, Lyn and Lila, had just turned sixteen—Dani was around fifteen—when she whispered her feelings towards me with a intensity that no teenager just coming into herself should ever understand.

  I’ll never forget it. Never. Of course that was a defining moment for our relationship—not that she knows that.

  “I’m going to miss you, Cohen. I know you don’t look at me like I look at you, but one day, you’re going to come back and I’ll still be waiting for you. Waiting for you to see me like I see you. Mark my words, Cohen Cage. One of these days, you’re going to be mine. And until you’re ready . . . I’ll be here. I’ll be waiting. ”

  Her husky whisper replays in my mind like it just happened moments ago. I haven’t forgotten a single word. Not a single one. Over the years, they would come back to me at the worst-possible times. When I would be out on a date—boom, there they were. Instantly, that chick would morph into a vision of Dani so clear that I struggled not to reach out and run my fingertips down her cheek. When I was in the middle of one of the biggest games in my football career, there they were—a hushed whisper that carried over the roaring crowds. And it would never fail—I would look up from a huddle and there she would be standing with my family, screaming louder than any other person in the stadium.

  And most recently, when I was in the middle of a warzone, gunfire flying all around us, bombs exploding, and the dust burning our eyes and lungs. Right in the middle of that Hell-on-earth chaos, I would hear her words trail through my thoughts right when I needed an extra push of strength or, God forbid, hope.

  I think that was the moment that I realized the enormity of it and that confession whispered all those years ago. Right or wrong, whatever it is between us would always be bigger than I understand. It’s something that was so unexpected—that feeling, craving, desire, to make her mine. It’s something I’ve almost felt guilty about over the years. Not only because of how close our families are, but because, until the last few years, it’s something that was very inappropriate to feel towards someone that young.

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  When she woke up earlier—or at least I think she was awake—and started rubbing her body against mine, I thought I was going to come in my pants. That hasn’t happened to me since I was a teenager just learning how to control my random pop-up erections.

  I have no doubt that it was the pain meds in her cough syrup making her act like that. She’s always gotten weird on narcotic pain meds. But when her warm body crushed against my side, I had a har
d time telling myself that she wasn’t in her right mind. Trying to convince myself not to react was impossibly hard. Then her small but firm tits pressed against my side and it was almost game over.

  Her tits had been straining the confines of her small, white tank top since I’d walked in the door. Her nipples were pebbled to firm tips just begging for me to wrap my lips around them. Did she have small nipples that matched her size or would they be large? Are they light pink in color or more tan? Would she taste as good as the promise of her has hinted at when I finally pull them deep into my mouth and tease her with my tongue and teeth?

  Yeah. Ever since that moment, I’ve been as hard as steel and ready to pound into her small body.

  Yup. I’m in way over my head here—so far over that I’m shocked I haven’t drowned yet.

  “Fuck me,” I groan, pressing my palm against my cock, willing it to calm the fuck down.

  If her brother—or, worse, her father—were to come in here right now, I have no doubt that I would be put in the hospital with the force of their beatdown.

  She shifts, and I look away from Game of Thrones, where the little dude—or “imp,” as she and the girls call him—she is always raving about, is playing with his whore.

  Jesus, is everyone getting some action?

  After making sure she got her meds, I heated up Mom’s soup and called her brother to see if he would be home soon. Of course he said that he was too busy on his date with the Carver twins to come home and take care of his sick sister. One thing about Nate—he loved his sister, but he loved pussy more.

  Axel and Izzy had left for their night for the charity event, the same one my parents and all the other parents from our group would be at. Axel had already planned on being out all night with Izzy, something about a bed and breakfast, so I told him that I would stay here with Dani and make sure she was okay. There is no telling Axel Reid that his adult daughter can take care of herself.

  If he had any idea about the thoughts I’ve had about his daughter, there is no fucking way he would have left me alone with her. No. Way.

  “Coh,” she moans and moves in her sleep. Her legs shift, and she moans again.

  Fuck! How the hell am I supposed to not get messed up over this? I jump off the bed and pace around her room. Looking around, I try to find something to focus on that will help me move past the fact that she is clearly having some heated dream.

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