Siren in Waiting
Texas Sirens, Book 5
Print Book: Amazon
About the book
Re-released in a second edition with new scenes.
Bethany “Mouse” Hobbes spent her entire life waiting, especially for the love of Bo O’Malley. But for the first time in her life, she is ready to start living, with or without him. She has found her dream, restoring a rustic farmhouse on the outskirts of town.
Trev McNamara left Deer Run a high school hero and has returned, his football career in ruins. When Trev meets Mouse, he discovers a passion strong enough to overcome his past. But can she accept his need for control?
Bo O’Malley has lived his whole life in the shadow of his brother, never committing to anything or anyone. When the woman he secretly loved all his life begins an affair with the man who betrayed his trust, Bo will do anything to claim her as his own.
Transformed by their love, will Mouse be enough woman for both of them?
Mouse Hobbes stared at the house in front of her, excitement growing. The key in her hands felt a bit unreal, but this was happening. She was doing this. Her house. The old Bellows place was hers as of noon today. Every board, every piece of furniture, everything in the house was hers. All of the land along with a detached garage and a barn that looked like it might house a serial killer was hers.
It seemed like a mighty big adventure.
“Are you sure about this?” Bo stood at her side, his handsome face staring at the house like it might jump out and bite him.
It wouldn’t bite him. But pieces of it might fall on him. Even now, one of the shutters banged against the side of the house in rhythmic time to the wind. She was definitely going to have to fix that.
She’d bought all the house’s problems at auction, too.
“Totally sure.” She’d been dreaming about buying a place and fixing it up for years.
She didn’t buy the rumors that the place was haunted. It was simply a little run-down. Like all things in this old world, it needed a bit of love and attention. She had both of those, and no one left to spend them on. She relished the idea of taking the big farmhouse and turning it into a place for a family to live in.
And the money she would make by fixing it up and reselling it wouldn’t hurt, either.
“It looks like it might fall down around you.” Bo kicked at the porch step. She was happy when it held up. His eyes glanced over the yard. Along with the house had come two acres of property. “I wouldn’t be shocked if old lady Bellows didn’t leave you a couple of surprises, if you know what I mean.”
“Those are rumors.” Surely Maudine Bellows hadn’t really laid bear traps around the grounds of her house in order to keep children from coming onto her lawn. “You don’t happen to have a metal detector, do you?”
That smile of his lit up her world. “You want me to do a perimeter sweep? I bet you can find about a hundred baseballs and footballs. Kids in this county have been terrified of Maudine for years. I know she scared the hell out of me the one time I was brave enough to try to sell her popcorn when my Boy Scout troop was raising money. She opened the door with a shotgun in her hand and told me popcorn killed her last cat.”
She walked up the steps. Despite the decrepit look of the stairs, they were solid under her feet, like the house itself. The huge wraparound porch likely needed nothing more than a coat of weatherproof paint. The cornices were in superb shape. She was going to have to work to save the stained glass, but it was worth it.
The porch overlooked the huge yard. In her mind’s eye she could see a couple of rockers sitting on the porch. They would be there when she watched the sunset with her husband. Who always looked like Bo.
Stop. You are not keeping this house. This house is your key to the future. You sank everything you had into this house.
And Bo won’t ever be more than a friend.
She often thought her inner voice was far too practical. Her inner voice was always angelic. She wondered if she’d been born without the devil others seemed to have. A little devilish voice might be fun from time to time.
“What the hell are you planning on doing with all these rooms?” Bo stood, scratching his head and looking up at the second story. “I heard there are five bedrooms in this place. You planning on getting a couple of cats or something?”
She wrinkled her nose at him. She wasn’t ready to become an old woman with too many cats. She was only twenty-five. And she had a million ideas on what to do with the rooms. “I’m going to fix them up.”
Bo tried to open the screen door. The handle came off in his hands. “I don’t know about this. I think an apartment might have been a better idea. I heard the complex on Oak Street has a vacancy. I don’t know if I like the thought of you living here all by yourself.”
The building was called the Oak Street Manors. There was nothing manorial about the place. It was gray and boring. Every unit was exactly like the next. She wanted something beautiful in her life. After two years of hospitals and sick rooms, she needed to build something lovely and amazing. She’d watched her father die. It was time to bring something to life.
“Forget I said that.” He set the screen door handle aside. Bo stood, looking at her with his hands on his hips. “I can’t imagine you in one of those tiny things. You wouldn’t have any place to put your books. When am I supposed to move all those boxes, by the way? Please say Saturday. I played poker with Lucas last night, and he lost. I made him promise to help me move you.”
She smiled at the thought. She liked the idea of Lucas O’Malley helping her move. Oh sure, he was her part-time boss’s husband, but he looked awfully nice without his shirt on. Maybe there was a little devil in her, after all. “Saturday it is, then. I don’t have to be out of Dad’s place until next week.”
Her father’s place. She had lived there for almost twenty-six years. She had never known another home. All of her memories were wrapped up in that little two-bedroom house. She’d shared a room with her sister for years. She’d grown up in that house.
She’d watched both of her parents die in that house.
The small, ranch-style house on Pine Street held her whole childhood, but it was past time for Mouse Hobbes to become a woman.
“Did I ever thank you for helping me with the funeral?” It had only been a month since she’d buried her father. Tears pricked at her eyes. Her dad. She missed him with every fiber of her being. Her sister, Bonnie, had stood beside her, but Bonnie had a husband and a strong circle of friends. Bonnie was the golden girl. She’d left home as soon as she was able to. Mouse had stayed behind. Mouse had nursed her mother and then her father as cancer ravaged them both.
It hadn’t been Bonnie who sat beside her in the funeral home making arrangements. It had been Bo O’Malley.
“You know I’d do anything to help you, girl.”
Anything but sleep with her. Oh, she had to put that out of her head. “I know. I wanted to say thanks though.”
“Well, you’re welcome. It’s the least I can do.” His cell phone rang. He looked down at the number, and a little smirk took over his face. She knew what that smile meant. She felt her whole soul sag as he answered the call. “Hey. I wasn’t sure you were going to call me, pretty thing.”
Bo winked at her and held out a hand that let her know he’d be back. He walked off, talking to some girl. He would have met her at a bar or a party. Places where Mouse never went.
He was never serious about those women, but one day Bo O’Malley was going to fall in love, and it wouldn’t be with her. He considered her a friend, a sister. They had an odd relationship, and there was no way it would last. When he found a serious girlfriend, she would be out.
She looked up at the house she’d bought. This house was her future. When she had enough money, maybe she would leave and find some new place.
Or maybe she would stay because she could change locations, but things would always be the same if she herself never changed.
“Hey, I gotta go, Mouse. Clarissa is waiting for me,” Bo said, walking out to his truck. “You want me to take you back home?”
Clarissa Gates. Perfect hair, perfect nails. Daddy’s little princess. At twenty-seven, she had never had to leave her prom queen crown in the closet. Since Karen Wilcox had imploded a couple of years back, Clarissa had taken over as the town’s queen bee. And now she was after Bo, and Bo seemed perfectly happy to get caught.
She shook her head. She had some work to do. The boxes held the contents to make the master bedroom livable. She could spend the night here if she wanted. The bedroom and the master bath were the only parts of the house that weren’t falling apart. “No. I think I want to stay here for a while.”
Bo frowned. “Come on. Let me take you home.”
When he pushed her, she always caved. The impulse was right there. She wanted to get in the truck and let him take her home because he would worry. He would worry about her, but that wouldn’t stop him from chasing after Clarissa. She was damn tired of being everyone’s friend. She thought about the plan she’d come up with the night before. Bo wouldn’t like it, but she wasn’t Bo’s responsibility.
It was time to stand on her own. “No. This is home.”
“Fine. But I’ll pick you up for dinner. I’ll be back here at seven o’clock.” Bo shook his head as he walked away.
Mouse fit that key into the lock, turning it and opening the door with pure satisfaction. It might fall down around her, but this was home for now.
* * * *
Trev stopped the truck in front of the big, rambling ranch house. It was no longer attached to a ranch. The land had been sold long ago, but the house still stood. There was still a tire swing hanging from the branches of the giant oak tree. How many times had he pushed his sister in that swing? Looking at it now, he could still see her pigtails hanging down as she threw her body back. She had been the worst giggle bunny. She would laugh and laugh as he got that old tire to go higher. They would run and play until Momma finally called them in for dinner, her head shaking at how dirty they were.
How had he gotten so lost?
His hands trembled slightly around the steering wheel. Too much caffeine. He always had too damn much of something. He put the truck in park and slid out.
Who lived here now? Shelley had put the house up for sale after Momma had passed. His mother had died while he was in the hospital detoxing. He’d had to come to her funeral with a “handler” and a bunch of security guards to keep the press out. That had been his contribution to the passing of his beloved mother. Leo Meyer had been quiet, helpful, and unobtrusive, but the fact that Trev hadn’t been able to help his sister out had just about killed him.
What was he doing here? He’d been offered a job in Dallas, but the call of home had been too much. When his mentor had mentioned he could get Trev work on a ranch, he’d jumped at the chance. He’d only ever been good at two things in his life—football and handling cattle. He could never walk on the football field again. He knew that now. The pressure was too much. Fame had proven to be far too much for him to handle.
When he’d left this place, he’d been a hero. He’d been the first boy from Deer Run to get a full-ride scholarship to the University of Texas. After leading the Longhorns to a conference championship, they’d given him a parade.
No one had even talked to him at his mother’s funeral. After ten years away, he was back, and he was utterly unsure of his welcome.
The door to the house opened, and two women walked out. He thought about jumping back into his truck and riding away, but before he could manage to move, he recognized one of them. Straight, dark hair and a wide smile. She didn’t wear pigtails anymore, but damn, he loved his sister.
“I thought you might stop here.” His sister waved to her friend and started walking down the path toward him.
She’d lost weight. Mourning seemed to have aged her a bit, but he could see the girl in her face when she smiled at him. She was a year younger and worlds smarter than he was. She had looked up to him once.
“Did you? I wanted to see the old place.” He glanced up, but the woman who owned the house had gone back inside. “I needed to stand here for a minute. Please tell your friend I won’t ask to come inside or anything.”
She frowned. “She’s the head of the church social league. I’m afraid she considers you a bit of a sinner.”
A bit? Hell, he’d been the chief number one sinner for so long it was probably tattooed on his backside. It would take a while to convince these people he wasn’t still going straight to hell in a designer handbasket. “Is she going to give you trouble?”
“No. This town knows sin and gossip, but they also know about family. It’s going to be all right, Trev. Give it time.”
He had plenty of time. Days, hours, weeks, years. They stretched in front of him. A lifetime of penance for the man he was trying to become. “How did you know I was coming in early?”
“I called your friend, Leo. He’s very polite, that one.” Shelley held her arms out for a hug.
He pulled his kid sister into his arms. It felt good to hold her. Tears misted his eyes.
He didn’t mention that Leo was intensely attracted to her. There was no way he could miss the way Leo’s eyes lit up any time he mentioned Shelley. He’d seen it even at his mother’s funeral. Leo would never admit it, but even in Trev’s shaken, detoxifying state, he’d seen the effect his sister had on his mentor. Leo had watched her the whole time. Now Trev understood why. He’d never considered it before, but his sister, for all her fire, was probably submissive. And he wasn’t going to think about that.
His sister was also married. Sure, Bryce Hughes was the biggest asshole in the county, but she’d married him and showed no signs of divorcing. Leo was shit out of luck.
“Leo prides himself on his manners.” He moved his hat back. The early fall heat was making a sweaty mess of his hair. The air conditioner was out on the old Ford. He would need a shower before he met with Bryce. “So, he told you I left early?”
“Yep. He gave you up fast, big brother. Now, can you explain why you’re not staying with me?” She pulled back and put her hands on her hips.
Leo hadn’t been happy about his living arrangements, either. But there was no way Trev was going to upset his sister’s marriage. Bryce had been his biggest fan at one point in time, but he’d fled along with all the rest. Shelley would fight for him, but in this case, he didn’t want her to.
“I have to be on my own at some point.” It scared the hell out of him. He’d spent the last two years of his life under careful scrutiny. He’d stayed on at The Club for a whole year after the initial period because he liked the routine. He hadn’t had a chance to fuck up. Now he was out on his own. The only thing that kept him from a bottle was his willpower.
He wasn’t sure that was enough.
“I know that and I think you’re going to be fine,” she said. “But I thought it would be nice to have you around for a couple of days until you find your footing.”
Yeah. Bryce had made it plain at the funeral that Trev wasn’t welcome. His brother-in-law had called him a loser and an addict who’d failed everyone.
All of that might be true, but he knew his limits. He didn’t need to be around Bryce.
“So you’re going to live out on the O’Malley Ranch? I’ve heard some crazy stuff goes on there.”
Trev stared at his sister. He sincerely hoped she hadn’t given in to small-town small-mindedness. “Lexi O’Malley is a nice lady.”
He’d met her a couple of times along with her husbands. He’d spent a bit of time with Lucas O’Malley. He knew Aidan in passing. He knew Aidan’s brother, Bo, better, but Aidan seemed all right. He was a good Dom. That meant something to Trev.
Sometimes being a good Dom was all he had.
Shelley shook her head. “I know she is. I like that girl. She’s the funniest thing to hit this town in forever, but you should know that not everyone accepts what goes on at that ranch. They tolerate her because everyone knows her stepdad can be one mean son of a bitch when he thinks his family is being mistreated. I don’t know if they’re going to be any nicer to you, brother.”
They wouldn’t. It would be worse for him. He didn’t have a mean son-of-a-bitch stepdad with more money than god backing him up. He could handle it. He’d earned their disdain in a way Lexi hadn’t.
He was used to people turning up their noses at him. He’d found out the only thing people hated more than a fuckup was a fuckup who had it all at one point in time. People gloried in the fact that he had fallen from grace. His screwups had been played out in all the tabloids until Julian Lodge had taken over his life. There hadn’t been a single newspaper story about him since the day he’d walked into The Club. Trev was very aware that he owed his life and his sobriety to two men. Julian Lodge and Leo Meyer had taught him how to control himself. He would never forget that. His sobriety was a gift he worked to earn every damn day of his life.
“Well, I don’t care what everyone else thinks. I’m going to be the foreman of that ranch. They can like it or leave it. It doesn’t much matter. The cattle don’t care what goes on in the ranch house.” And they wouldn’t give a damn that he’d had it all and thrown it away for a momentary high.
Shelley grinned. “You have to get me invited to dinner. I’m so curious I could scream. I hear they spend a lot of time at that club where you worked. I would give a lot to find out what goes on there. Does Leo work there, too?”
He felt his brows draw together. “It’s a BDSM club, Shell. I hardly think your husband is going to show his face there.”
Her whole body seemed to deflate. He wished he hadn’t said it. It was a harmless fantasy for her. Wasn’t she entitled to that? “I guess so. I’m a small-town girl. That’s a bit out of my league.”
“Hey, if you want to go, I’ll get you in. Hell, I’ll have Leo give you a tour.” If his sister wanted to leave the rat bastard she married for Leo Meyer, Trev would facilitate her adultery. It wouldn’t be like she was cheating on a faithful man, from what he’d heard. It was another reason he didn’t want to stay with his sister. He was worried the temptation to kill his brother-in-law might prove too much for him to resist. He wasn’t good at resisting temptation.
She patted his chest. “No. I don’t think Bryce would much like that. I’ll have to live vicariously. Now, do you want to tell me why you came home early but didn’t bother to mention it to your only sibling?”
“I didn’t want you to make a big deal out of it.” If he knew his sister, she would have met him on the outskirts of town with balloons and a cake. “It’s best if I come in quietly, like I intend to live.”
“You can’t let them intimidate you.” Shelley had always been a bit of a rebel. Her good looks and sweet nature had ensured her place in the pecking order, but she tended to push the boundaries.
He intended to make sure she didn’t get in trouble because of him. He’d already caused his family enough heartache. “Don’t worry about me. I don’t intend to leave the ranch much. I’ll have a lot of work to do. From what I hear, O’Malley’s been without a foreman for a year. I’ll have my work cut out for me.”
It was exactly what he needed. A lot of ridiculously physical work. Ranch work would take up all of his time and leave him without the strength to even think about drinking at night. Or during the day. It was always there at the edge of his consciousness, teasing him, taunting him. He longed for the day where he didn’t think about a bottle.
The mischievous imp was back. Shelley’s eyes lit up. “I still wouldn’t mind coming out to that ranch sometime. They say it’s a den of inequity. Did you know that Lexi calls both those men her husbands?”
Oh, it was worse than that. Trev had watched Aidan top his subs at The Club. Aidan and Lucas were lovers, too. A true threesome.
Trev had zero interest in sleeping with another man, but he envied Lucas and Aidan’s camaraderie. He’d liked the way they both worked to love and care for their wife. Maybe if he had someone like Lucas, he wouldn’t be so afraid he would fail a woman. He’d played with subs once he’d been given the go-ahead to work in The Club, but he hadn’t formed any kind of relationship. He wasn’t cut out for that.
Yeah, his BDSM past really would help his standing in the community. Hell, as far as he could tell, no one was going to talk to him, much less be friends with him. And he deserved it. He’d said some hateful things about his hometown when he was less than in control. He imagined he wouldn’t be forgiven for that either.
“I’ll see if I can get you invited out to dinner sometime.” Trev was looking forward to getting to know Aidan O’Malley. At least he had one person in this town he had a lot in common with. They had never said more than a passing hello while at The Club. Though they were from the same town, he’d been a couple of years behind Aidan in school.
He’d been surprised Aidan wanted him to be his foreman. He’d always assumed Aidan didn’t like him. It was nice to be proven wrong for once.
“Stay the night with us tonight.” Shelley practically pleaded with him.
It was a righteously bad idea, but she was his sister, and he’d been planning on spending the evening at a cut-rate motel since his meeting with Aidan wasn’t until tomorrow. “All right.”
Maybe it would be fine. Maybe he and Bryce would get along and he wouldn’t have to worry about causing his sister more trouble.
She hugged him. “I’m glad you’re home.”
He hoped she wasn’t the only one.
Copyright 2018 Lexi Blake