Lost and Found Sisters Read online

  His eyes were deep, fathomless really, and full of easy affection, but also a good amount of trouble.

  Run or stay? she asked herself, desperately unsure.

  Stay, said her brain . . .

  Run, said her feet.

  Stay, said Beth.

  Run, said Quinn’s own good sense.

  Mick lifted his beer and touched it to her glass. “To a better week this time around then, yeah?”

  She looked into his mesmerizing eyes and nodded. “Yeah,” she whispered, and just like that, her brain and Beth won the round.

  Chapter 9

  I wish everything was as easy as getting fat.

  —from “The Mixed-Up Files of Tilly Adams’s Journal”

  Quinn looked down at her drink—which would be her third—and gently pushed it aside. It had been a long time since she’d indulged in more than a glass of wine. Long enough to forget how alcohol tended to make her tongue run away with her good sense. “I should go. I’m hoping to sleep through the ghost of Christmas Past tonight.”

  Mick looked amused. “You read the brochure, didn’t you. It’s just hype.”

  “Well, I was pretty sure,” she said. “Until my sister showed up.”

  “Your sister came to Wildstone too?” he asked. “Where is she now?”

  “Well, she’s dead, so I’m thinking she’s back in the haunted wardrobe.”

  Mick looked at her for a beat and then slid a big, warm hand over hers. “I’m sorry, Quinn.”

  A lot of people had said those two words to her. The words had never meant much but there was something about Mick’s husky, low voice that reached her. Which in itself was so unsettling that she closed her eyes. “About my room being haunted?” she asked, trying to joke it away. “Or that I’ve clearly gone over the edge?”

  She felt him shift closer and give her hand a gentle squeeze. Reluctantly she opened her eyes.

  “About your sister being gone,” he said quietly. “How long?”

  “Two years.” She looked away. “She was sort of my everything, so it’s been a little rough.”

  “I can only imagine. And you’ve been seeing her?”

  She blew out a breath and faced him again. “Yesterday afternoon she sat on top of the TV in a sweater she stole from me four years ago and told me it was time to get back to the land of the living, that I needed to stop not feeling.” She snorted. “And that was when I was one hundred percent alcohol free.”

  “What did she mean, stop not feeling?”

  He was holding eye contact so she did her best to do the same, but it was difficult. “I go through the motions but I haven’t felt anything since losing her. Just . . . numbness. It makes the people in my life uncomfortable and unhappy, but I don’t seem to care about that either. My parents try to understand, but most of my friends don’t, except for Skye.” She shook her head. “And Brock.”

  “Your . . . boyfriend?” Mick asked.

  “Not since I made him give up on me. Am I rambling? It feels like I’m rambling.”

  “No,” he said. “So about this Brock guy.”

  “We’ve been friends since kindergarten, but the truth is that I’m . . . broken,” she admitted.

  “You sure?”

  When she slid him a dark look, he squeezed her hand again. “I ask because the woman I’m looking at, the one who drove two hundred miles to learn more about herself, doesn’t seem broken to me. The woman I’m looking at seems like someone who feels so deeply maybe she’s just a little scarred. And scared. But not broken.”

  She inhaled a shuddery breath and held it. “You don’t understand.”

  “No, you’re right,” he said. “I’ve never experienced anything as unfair and soul destroying as losing a sibling. But, Quinn, you could’ve taken Tilly’s rejection today and left. You didn’t. That suggests you’re feeling more than a little.”

  “She lost her mom.”

  He nodded. “And you understand that loss.”

  “Okay,” she said, admitting he might be right. “So I can feel empathy. Sympathy. I’m talking about other feelings and emotions, things required to maintain any sort of a . . .” She paused and waved her hand to help her find the word. “Connection.”

  “For the record,” he said, “are we talking about a sexual connection?”

  She squirmed but couldn’t look away. “Among other things.”

  “So you’re saying you don’t feel excited or aroused. Ever.”

  Well, she hadn’t. Until yesterday when she’d reacted to his leanly muscled build like she’d never seen a man before. And at the thought, she squirmed again.

  “Quinn.” He ran a work-roughened finger along the palm of her hand and she got a full-body shiver. “Do you feel that?”

  “Um,” she said eloquently.

  His eyes held her prisoner while her pulse raced and butterflies danced in her belly and at that realization, her palms went sweaty. She thought about lying but knew she couldn’t sell it, not with how closely he was watching her, seeing her. “Okay, so I feel something,” she managed. “I think maybe you just switched me back on.”

  He smiled and good lord, she nearly slid off her chair into a puddle of goo. She closed her eyes. “I’m really not much of a drinker.”

  She heard his soft chuckle and opened her eyes. He was looking at her mouth, so she felt it only fair game to look at his too. It was a good mouth, as far as they went. Nice lips. Sexy stubble. She imagined what it would feel like beneath her fingers and she realized her body was tensed, like anticipation tensed, and she shook her head with a little laugh and sat back, eyeing the last piece of pizza.

  “It’s got your name on it,” he said.

  “You sure?”

  “Absolutely,” he said. “Especially if you’re going to moan again as you eat it.”

  “I didn’t moan!”

  “Like it was the last piece of pizza on earth,” he said.

  She rolled her eyes and took a bite and . . . crap. It took everything she had not to moan. “Show-off,” she said around a full bite.

  He just smiled.

  Damn. Damn, she was feeling all sorts of things right now. She’d always assumed when that happened again, it would be with Brock. But Brock was out sowing his wild oats, something she’d never done.


  Not that it mattered. This wasn’t about guilt or revenge, or anything like that. This was about her. About something she’d been missing without even realizing it.

  MICK WATCHED QUINN eat that piece of pizza like it was the best thing she’d ever tasted. Everything he’d seen of her, from watching her have a panic attack on the beach, to dropping to her knees to love up on his dog, to freaking out about a bug in the tub, to watching the grief in her gaze when she talked about her sister . . . it all suggested that she was a woman who lived life to its fullest and felt to her very core.

  And she had no idea.

  She’d been through hell and still wasn’t fully back from the trip. He got that. But she was wrong about herself.

  Her wild brunette waves were uncontained and her haunting blue eyes fully on the prize—that being the last of the pizza—and he couldn’t tear his gaze away. It was crazy how much he was drawn to her, in a way he couldn’t explain even to himself. Normally that alone would have him running for the door. But he didn’t move.

  When she caught him watching her, her smile warmed and she shifted in her seat, like maybe it was hard to hold the eye contact, but she still did.

  And that’s when he knew just how much trouble he was in. When it came to women, he typically didn’t have a type. What tended to draw him in was an easy confidence and a sense of independence that said she wouldn’t be looking for any sort of permanence from him.

  With his life as insane as it had become, his business exploding in San Francisco, his dad passing, his mom needing him as much as she did, he had zero interest in another thing that tied him down.

  Less than zero interest.