Aiza Clan Book 3: Unbound TrustBy: Diana Castilleja | Other books by Diana Castilleja
Published By: Tease Publishing LLC
ISBN # 978-1-60767-081-0
| Word Count: 69,000 |
Available in: Adobe AcrobatPrice: $3.99
Brooke Aiza has returned home after staying with her Aunt Jerry for more than a year to learn she's an aunt herself by her brother, and her sister is married! Overwhelmed by the changes taking place with her siblings, she begins to feel more than a familial affection for her new brother-in-law, and sees no escape except to put distance between them until she leaves for her parent's home.
Mitch isn't interested in any woman, content with his life. Mostly. Even his brother senses a restlessness building within him, but for what? Then when Mitch suffers a major accident, he and Brooke are all but confined to the same house, and he is left trying to remember why he didn't want anything to do with women. Because the more he sees of her, the more he needs her kiss.
The resurgance of an amulet into the sibling's lives changes everything, for the amulet can control them all. It will take two to destroy the evil stalking the Aiza family, and if Mitch refuses to face his feelings and Brooke can't overcome her hesitations to form a deeper trust, the opening of the gates of Hell could be the result.
"He's beautiful, Delilah," Brooke said, leaning over the tinted wood crib where her six month-old nephew slept without a care in the world. A disorderly wave of black hair flowed over his head. The baby resembled a sweet cherub in his fluffy white jumper. Brooke's first thought was looks could be deceiving, knowing what kind of child her older brother had been. All four of the brothers and sisters had some story to scare their mother gray. "I'm sorry I wasn't here for the big moment."
"Don't worry about it," Delilah replied. Standing several inches shorter than the new mama, Brooke peered up at her sister-in-law. "Roman kept himself together long enough to get me to the hospital. Then," Delilah said with remembered humor, her eyes twinkling, "he had my permission to fall apart."
Brooke's finger drifted to smooth the rich cap of hair covering Adrian's crown. The sensation reminded her of soft down, silken and delicate. Her brother and his wife were a very lucky and blessed couple. Brooke asked curiously, "There weren't any problems at the hospital, then?"
Delilah shook her head. "The blood samples didn't show anything."
Brooke exhaled in quiet relief. "I've always wondered. We were born at home, and needless to say, we stay away from doctors and needles and avid curiosity."
Sunshine brightened the baby's room from the large windows flanking the outer wall, washing the room in light and warmth. The room was filled with an impossible-to-miss gentle happiness making Brooke's own urges seem to be right in front of her.
"From what I can tell, talking to your Dad and Roman, the changes happen after puberty. Isn't that when you started training for it?"
Brooke stepped back from the crib where she'd been admiring her nephew. Delilah draped a thin blanket over the baby for his nap. "Yeah. It sounds right. I guess we're a little spoiled with Selene in the family. Our own doctor."
"Sure doesn't hurt anything, that's for sure," Delilah remarked with an answering smirk. "Speaking of the dynamic duo, are they back yet?" Delilah asked as they left the baby's room, walking into the living room together.
"No. St. Marten doesn't have a prayer. Something else I missed while I was in Belgium with Aunt Jerry—their wedding," Brooke replied with a regretful sigh. "I swear, if she hadn't needed me so much, I would have been here in a heartbeat. Their wedding and Adrian's wonderful arrival."
"I have pictures. Do you want to see them?" Delilah offered.
"I'd love to."
Brooke was amazed at the woman Roman had found for his wife. Delilah was a gracious, generous woman. She stood inches taller than Brooke and looked fabulous for recently having had a baby. Brooke had noticed her blue eyes first, a shade darker than sky blue. They were beautiful framed by her black hair. What shocked Brooke more was Delilah had taken their family secret and had made it her own.
When Brooke arrived the day before in Oregon, intent on finding her sister, she'd discovered Selene was on her honeymoon. Being out of the country had put Brooke out of contact with the rest of the family, and she'd missed all the good stuff. After calling Morgan and Roman, Brooke came to crash with Roman in Wyoming first. Plus, she got to see her first nephew. Dead asleep, he was a charmer.
"I'm sure once they get back, Selene will be only too happy to tell you about Bram." Delilah turned the photo pages at a slow pace. "He's exactly what that doctor needed," she told Brooke with amusement.
"Is that him?" Brooke asked, examining a picture of a tall man in a tuxedo.
"That's him. Not bad for a doctor," Delilah said smiling in apparent memory of the wedding, her fingers dancing over the various pictures. "Really nice guy too."
"I'm sure he is if Selene found him. She's very gentle," Brooke said.
Delilah's brow flickered in surprise. "Gentle? Her?" She laughed again, but not unkindly. "Your sister will face anything. That doesn't equate to gentle with me."
"Reminds me of someone, but I wonder who?" Roman's teasing bass made the women snap up from the picture album on Delilah's lap. "Hi, Babs." He leaned down and gave Delilah a quick kiss. "Hello, beautiful," Roman purred.
Brooke giggled behind tight lips. It was good seeing her brother so in love. "Hi, Roman. Get everything in town?" Brooke asked as he straightened from kissing Delilah. Married life and fatherhood agreed with him, if his adoring expression was anything to believe.
"Yeah, I'll have Adrian's playground done in no time," he informed them.
Delilah rolled her eyes. "Roman, he can barely roll over."
"That's why I'm starting now. I might have it done by the time he graduates," he said, laughing with a rich, happy sound. He ran a hand over his midnight black hair, disturbing the thickness with his absent gesture. "I'll be around back. Just holler if you need me."
"All right," Delilah replied.
Brooke continued to peruse the photos in the packed album. Selene's wedding had been beautiful. Her dress flowed like a mythical creation of satin, lace and sheer gauze that sparkled as though it were sewn from the stars, glinting in the daylight. She had been a stunning bride.
Brooke struggled with her own fears with both her sister's and brother's happiness so right in front of her. Two down, two to go.
"She was gorgeous, wasn't she?" Brooke managed to say through a raw throat a moment later.
"Yeah." Delilah sighed. "Your parents have the most incredible house. I wouldn't be surprised to see all of you married there."
Brooke shook her head regretfully. "I doubt it. Morgan probably, he's still gorgeous. Especially with those eyes. Me…" she told her wistfully. "I'm an old maid. Thirty-one sucks."
Side by side, Delilah bumped Brooke's shoulder with her own. "Hey, I hit thirty this year."
"Nice try. You're hitched and a new mom," Brooke pointed out. "But it's not a big deal. I'm not trying. Selene found Bram on the trails by chance when she was studying. That was fate with a capital F. The closest I get to a male form is the checkout boy at my grocery store."
Delilah stared at Brooke, a concerned frown cinching her brow. "Brooke, I haven't known you long, but is there something you want to talk about?"
Brooke covered up her lonely misery with a rush of words. "Just the usual. I'm over thirty. I feel that urge. I'm lonely. I'm surrounded by people who've found what I feel I'm missing." Brooke drew a deep, steadying breath. No sense in being maudlin this early in her visit. "Sorry, I've been on a pity party for over a month now. I don't know why," she explained sheepishly.
Delilah leaned toward her. "Would you be offended if I looked? Maybe I could see something on the horizon for you."
Brooke openly studied the guilelessness in the brunette's blue gaze. "A week ago, I'd have jumped at the chance. For some reason, being home messes with me. Thanks, but no. I'll take my lumps like a big girl."
Delilah offered an understanding smile. "I know. It's hard, and you've got a lot to catch up on." Delilah's attention shifted toward the nursery when Adrian began to cry. "Here, look some more. Let me go see what the prince is upset about."
Brooke moved the album over to her lap as Delilah swept from the couch and aimed for her son's room. There were pictures of her parents and the house where Brooke and the others had been raised. In Brooke's mind, there was nothing like Northern Minnesota, beautiful with trees and unbelievable snow falls during the cold winters. Christmas times had been a blast with snowball fights and sledding to die for. There were pictures of Roman and Delilah, with Adrian bundled up like a miniature snowman in a cute powder blue outfit in their arms. Delilah appeared almost normal in height compared to Roman, and Roman's expression was absolutely, gloriously, happy in the picture.
There were more photos of Selene, her blonde hair curled at the ends, standing with people, or standing alone holding a huge bouquet of tiger lilies. Brooke's finger traced the photo. She flipped the page slowly, regretfully. She was really sorry she had missed it.
The next photo she found was of Selene and Bram. He was a very handsome guy. Thick brown hair and an aura of happiness in every picture. They were a perfect match also. Brooke could almost feel the strength of their bond in the picture at her fingertips. The way he held her close, a possessive and protective hand on her slim waist. There were a few photos of when Delilah had captured him unaware, with an adoring gaze, staring down at her sister. The blatant ease of his emotions brought up that poignant ache in her one more time. Alone, it was harder to dismiss the nagging emptiness to the background of her mind.
Where was her mate? When was she going to find the man who would hold her and cherish her? Brooke felt so old.