Shot to Hell
“Ashton Calhoun,” Steele whispered.
He couldn’t believe it. He hadn’t seen her since Abe’s funeral. Abe Calhoun’s younger twin sister. Abe had been born three minutes earlier, so he’d taken on the role of big brother.
“I ain’t seen you in a month of Sundays.” Steele stood and dragged her along with him.
He examined her more closely in the hazy light. He’d know Ash anywhere, even if she’d changed over the years. She stood about five and a half feet tall with brown hair pinned tight to her head and the same vivid green eyes. Most noticeably, she now had a long jagged scar on the right side from her hairline to chin. While the skin must’ve knit together long ago, it’d left a deep groove in her pretty face.
Ash stared right back at him, studying him. “As I live and breathe, Jack Steele. I thought you looked familiar, but I wondered if my mind was playin’ tricks on me.”
Or maybe she’d wanted to fuck with him. He certainly deserved it.
Ash didn’t look angry, exactly—more like stunned, a bit wary. The last time he’d seen her, she’d been empty, hollowed out by grief at her brother’s funeral. He’d tried to approach her afterward, wanting to say something—anything—to ease her pain, but she’d walked away from him and right out of his life. They hadn’t spoken since.
Damn, but the military agreed with her.
She was hotter than he remembered—sleek and sexy. She was leaner, meaner, and practically dripping bad-assery with her big gun and tight fatigues. She’d dropped a couple pounds and replaced it with whip-corded muscle. After he had a few minutes to get used to the scar, he might get into it—it gave her a dangerous air.
Justice still brandished his weapon. “You two know each other?”
“Yeah. You can stand down. She’s cool, man.”
“Chilly, you might say.” Then came her familiar sub-zero expression—colder than a cast-iron commode in the winter.
“Uh…Steele?” Justice piped up. “She don’t look so friendly.”
Yeah, he could read it in the curl of her lip, the indifference in her gaze. Ash hated his ass, and she had every right to, but at least she wasn’t empty. Pissed off was better than grief-stricken.
Steele smiled at her, giving her a taste of his charm, hoping he’d thaw her out some. “Naw. Don’t worry. Me and Ash go way back. Trust me, she’s not a threat.”
She socked him in the nose, snapping his head back.