Losing Control. Robyn Grady
cursed under his breath.
“Cole, what’s the plan? You’ll put some safety measures in place, right? Get a P.I. on board?”
Dex’s deep laugh rumbled down the line. “As if Cole could stop himself from taking charge.”
Cole huffed. “I don’t hear either of you offering to fly back and help man the fort.”
“As a matter of fact—” Wynn started at the same time Dex said, “I’ll be right out—”
But Cole cut them both off. “Stay where you are.” Wynn couldn’t spare time away from his seat in New York and Dex’s smugness would only drive his older brother nuts. “I can handle whatever has to be done.”
Dex said, “Well, if you need anything …”
Flicking a glance toward the house, Cole thought of his stepmother. “Maybe a leash,” he muttered.
Wynn asked, “What was that?”
“Nothing.” Cole opened the car door. “I’ll keep you guys in the loop.” He hung up, and a moment later rang the bell. A woman he’d never seen before fanned open the tall timber door. His expression must have looked as confused as hers. Drab, overweight. Was that a mustache? Shrinking back, he thrust his hands into his pockets.
“Who the devil are you?”
“I work for the Hunters.”
Cole examined the woman’s garb: a dreary gray old-fashioned uniform. “What happened to Silvia?” And her vibrant colors and big friendly smile.
The woman shrugged a pair of round shoulders. “Think the madam said she’d been here too long.”
He grunted. Obviously Silvia had become an annoyance for dear Eloise. He’d seen the calculating look in the younger woman’s eye whenever the Hunters’ much-loved housekeeper had entered a room or dared to have a laugh with Guthrie. Silvia knew this house, the history and its characters inside and out. And like the Hunter boys, Silvia hadn’t approved of the master’s new bride one scrap. Seemed it’d taken Eloise five years to weed their old friend out. So, who was next on the ambitious second Mrs. Hunter’s hit list?
The new help wiped a worn hand down her starched apron and asked, “Who shall I say is calling?”
Dull hazel eyes rounded. “Mr. Hunter’s eldest?”
As she studied the wine drying on his shirt, he wove around her. “Where can I find him?”
In the cavernous double-story foyer, another voice joined in. One Cole recognized—and loathed.
“Cole, honey, come on through.”
Decked out in a full-length silk robe the color of ripe strawberries, Eloise beckoned him from beneath the decorative arch that led into the front sitting room. He wondered if she were vain enough to wear all that makeup to bed. So different from his naturally beautiful mother. He wouldn’t start on the difference between poise and class.
Dismissing the stirring in the pit of his gut, Cole strode forward. “I wanted to check in and see how he was doing.”
“After that terrible business this morning, you mean.”
Cole was already inside and glancing around that sitting room. An empty room. He ran a hand through his hair. He really didn’t have time for hide-and-seek.
“Where is he?”
He spun around. Eloise was standing so close behind, he almost knocked her over. Theatrical, as usual, she emitted a small cry of surprise and swayed, no doubt hoping he’d physically prevent her fall.
Cole only stepped well back then asked, “Is he in the study?”
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