Read Online DebtofHonor by N.J. Walter - Free Book Online

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Authors: N.J. Walter
Chapter One
    Kaitlyn Jacobs stared at the ripped check sitting in the
middle of the large desktop and then back at the man who’d torn the darn thing
in half. She clutched the pen in her hand so tightly she was half afraid it was
going to crack. It took all her concentration to make herself relax. But then,
Derek Montague always had that effect on her.
    He leaned back in his massive leather chair, a big man in
control of his world. He owned one of the largest ranches in West Texas and his
family had made their money from oil, cattle and horses. His empire was diverse
and it took a strong man to handle it all. But Derek did it with ease.
    Kaitlyn had been forced to sell most of her family’s land
years ago when her parents had been killed in a car accident. At eighteen,
she’d been ill-equipped to run the place on her own and Daniel had only been
eight, a bewildered, angry child who’d needed her attention. Derek had been
twenty-five then, a man in every sense of the word. He’d bought her land at
fair market value and offered to help her in any way he could. His dark eyes
had pierced her skin and her heart when he’d made the offer. She’d taken the
money for the land but she’d never asked him for anything, not until today.
    “Why?” she asked, her voice flat.
    “Because your brother is eighteen. He’s a man now, not a
child. It’s time for you to stop bailing him out of the trouble he gets himself
into.” Derek rested his hands on his flat stomach. “Hell, Kaitlyn, you’ve been
pulling him out of scrapes since he was a kid. It’s time to cut the apron
strings and let him grow up before he gets himself into some real trouble.”
    “You don’t consider joyriding over your fields and leaving
the gate open so a dozen of your cattle got loose real trouble?”
    One corner of Derek’s mouth kicked up. “I did as bad at his
age, but I paid the price and I learned there are consequences for my actions.
He needs to do the same.”
    She hated anyone telling her what her brother needed,
especially when she knew they were right. Still, she needed to pay for the
damage to the field and the gate. Thankfully, none of the cattle had been hurt
and had been rounded up easily and returned to their rightful home or the hit
to her checkbook could have been worse.
    She knew Daniel was getting out of control. This past year,
the quiet, cooperative brother she’d known had totally disappeared. She was
just glad he was still in school and only had a few weeks until graduation.
That was one hurdle they had to get over before she started trying to prompt
him toward a career of some kind.
    “Take the check, Derek.” She started to write another one.
    “I don’t want your money.”
    She stopped writing and glared at him. “Then what do you
    Something hot and primal flared in his eyes and his face
hardened. “Something you’re not willing to give me.”
    “How do you know?” It was foolish to taunt him. Like waving
a red flag at a bull, but she was beyond caution. She’d been cautious her
entire life, or at least since she’d become sole caregiver for an
eight-year-old. For ten years, she’d worked at the local bank, kept her head
down and stayed out of trouble, pushing aside her own dreams to take care of
the only family she had left.
    She’d never had regrets until these past few months. Daniel
was slipping away from her and she didn’t know how to stop that from happening.
    Anger and frustration pushed her as she shoved her checkbook
and pen back into her purse. “Well, what will it take to cover the debt?”
    “One night in my bed.”
    Derek stared at the woman facing off against him. She was
full of fire and determination and he wanted her. Hell, he’d wanted her for the
past decade, but she stayed away from him as though he had the plague. The only
thing that made it anywhere near bearable was the fact she treated all men the
same. Oh, she’d had a couple of relationships over the years, but

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