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Bad For Me(7)

By:Codi Gary



The question was, had she felt it too?





Chapter Two

“SO HOW ARE the wedding plans coming?” Callie asked Fred as they walked through Twin Falls’s Old Town with Ratchet lumbering beside them. Since Fred had chosen her for his sponsor six months ago, they had taken to getting coffee after the meetings and talking about the stress of their lives. And although they tried to keep the specifics out, it had been inevitable that Fred would tell her his last name.

Silverton.

It had seemed like an incredibly small world when they’d realized they were from the same community, but it hadn’t bothered either of them. There was an understanding that what they said during group and coffee stayed between them; neither wanted personal struggles broadcast back in Rock Canyon.

Callie had to admit, she enjoyed the older man’s company. He reminded her a lot of her grandfather before he’d died, a roughneck cowboy who had given freely of his time and his bear hugs.

“Well, my son’s bride has informed me that they’re going to have a dry wedding.” Fred’s sun-weathered face broke into a smile. “Partly because of her pregnancy and to support my recovery, but also because my future daughter-in-law doesn’t want a bunch of drunk assholes raising hell and causing chaos.”

Callie smiled at Fred’s description. Having met Valerie Willis, she imagined the words were spot on. She knew this wedding was very important to Fred, partially because he felt responsible for some of Justin and Val’s past relationship troubles but ultimately because he just wanted his youngest son to be happy.

Of course, the fact that he was going to be a grandfather had Fred over the moon too.

“I can understand that,” Callie said, taking a sip of her coffee. “I wouldn’t want to be around a bunch of drunk people when I’m stone-cold sober.”

Even when she went out with Gemma or Caroline, she usually was the only truly sober one. Caroline never got drunk—she had one or two drinks, maybe—but since bar consulting was her business, she tried to be never less than professional.

Still, watching everyone else relax and cut loose was sometimes hard on Callie. Especially following a letter from Tristan. She never opened them, but just seeing his name on the envelope sent her longing to dive head first into a bottle of Jack Daniel’s.

She hadn’t, though, not in over five years. Even though drinking may have made her problems go away for a while, they always came back with the hangover the next day. It was something her first sponsor had told her, and it had stuck with her over the years, especially when she was feeling weak.

Suddenly thinking of hangovers, Callie remembered Everett Silverton and his Scottish-whisky bender. He was not what she’d been expecting from the gossip she’d heard. She’d pictured a brooding, mountain of a man who could lift cars and stop trains with his finger. The exaggerated praise was proof enough of how much the people of Rock Canyon thought of him and his heroism.

But what had really surprised her was the fluttering she’d felt in her stomach when she’d looked up and met his gaze. His hands had burned a hole through her shirt sleeves, the heat of his touch sending goose bumps down her arms. She had barely noticed his scars, not with the way his light brown eyes had stared down at her, reminding her of her past obsession with a certain vampire hero from her favorite book series.

Of course, that had been before, when the thought of a dangerous vampire loving her forever had been romantic. But after the night of Tristan’s attack, that fantasy—along with every other hope and dream she’d held onto—had been shattered.

“It’s going to be beautiful though,” Fred said, patting her hand and startling her.

“What?”

“The wedding,” Fred said. “It’s going to be beautiful.”

“I bet.”

Callie could imagine. Well, she could imagine what her dream wedding would have looked like. It had been documented in the wedding scrapbook she’d started after Tristan had first proposed—and tossed into the fireplace after she returned from the hospital. Even so, she still remembered the joy she’d felt as she’d filled it with pictures and clippings of everything she’d wanted to make her special day perfect. Callie had even signed up for an online service that had made them their own wedding web page, complete with registry links and engagement photos—photos her mother had paid to have done in Forest Hill, one of the most beautiful spots in the northern California foothills. The memory of standing atop the Forest Hill Bridge, holding nervously onto Tristan’s arms, held a bittersweet place in her heart, one that belonged to another girl in another time.

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