Expect Me (Rivers Edge Book 3)

By: Lacey Black

Rivers Edge - Book 3



Prologue


Travis




I can’t seem to fight the desire to find her, watch her. I know this is going to sound semi-stalkerish, but I’m drawn to her. The way she moves, the way she smiles, the way she studies the room. I continue to watch her from a distance, taking everything in. It doesn’t matter where I’m at - sitting at the table, standing up at the bar, talking to one of my brothers in the back of the small reception hall - my eyes are seeking her out as if they have a mind of their own.

“Earth to Travis! Where the hell did you just go there?” Will asks as he takes another drink of his beer.

“Nowhere. Sorry. What were you saying?”

Will sighs dramatically and rolls his eyes under his wire rimmed glasses. “I’ve said the exact same thing three times now.”

My brother, Will, is the middle child. I am the second to youngest of the five Stevens kids born to Michael and Elizabeth. Jake is the oldest and hasn’t left the dance floor in the past half hour. I heard my mom telling my dad that Jake is moving in with his girlfriend, Erin. They haven’t been dating very long, but that doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Jake is a cop here in Rivers Edge and best friends with the groom, Maddox. Both guys swore off relationships years ago, but today was a day of epic proportions. Today, we saw Confirmed Bachelor Number Two, Maddox, marry my little sister, Avery, and Confirmed Bachelor Number One, Jake, ask his girlfriend to move in with him.

Next comes Nate who is a year younger than Jake. At thirty-one, he’s fighting relationships just as hard as Jake always has. Nate is a volunteer fire fighter in our small hometown of Rivers Edge, Missouri, nestled along the Missouri River, where everyone knows everything about everyone – even if it’s not true. His full time job is a fireman in St. Charles, about thirty minutes away.

Will comes next - middle child like I mentioned. He’s two years younger than Nate and two years older than me, and a paramedic at Rivers Edge Health Center, our local small town hospital.

I come next. I was the fourth Stevens boy in five years which made for a rowdy childhood, to say the least. I work with my dad at our family construction business, Stevens Construction. Ever since I was a child, I knew what I was going to do with my life. The smell of the wood. The sound of the saw. The hard work and dedication to turn a pile of wood into a beautiful house. It’s in my blood, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Avery is the baby of the family. She was born five years after me and wasn’t exactly planned. But, we love her just the same and decided not too long ago that we’d go ahead and keep her.

Today Avery is marrying the man she’s loved for years. My three year old niece, Brooklyn, isn’t Maddox’s daughter, though. No, that honor belongs to her douche bag ex, Drake Connor. What an asshole that guy is. I can’t believe one of my two oldest brothers hasn’t killed him yet. He basically dumped her the moment she told him she was pregnant just out of high school. And to top it off, he had been cheating on her pretty much the entire time they were together. Today, though, she receives her happily ever after as they become the Jackson family of three.

“Seriously, Trav. What the hell is wrong with you? I’ve been trying to talk to you for ten minutes now, and I’ll bet you haven’t heard a word I’ve said.”

“Sorry. I guess I’m just distracted.”

“Would it happen to have anything to do with a certain brunette walking around that you haven’t taken your eyes off of all night?”

My cheeks flush pink. “What are you talking about?” I ask nonchalantly and without making eye contact.

“Seriously? You think you’ve been doing a good job at hiding it? You’ve been watching that girl all night. Everyone’s noticed. Why don’t you just go talk to her?”

“She’s working, Will. What am I supposed to do, walk up to her and say ‘You’re hot. Let’s go out?’” I ask and take another drink of my beer.

“Why not? It’s better than just standing around and watching her all night like a scared pussy. Invite her to coffee after the reception or something.”

“Maybe,” I reply knowing full well that it won’t happen. Besides, there isn’t exactly a coffee shop open this late in our small town. My eyes find her, again, as she busses empty glasses and bottles off of the round tables on the other side of the reception hall. Her long brown hair is pulled back in a tight, neat pony tail at the nape of her head. She has beautiful hazel eyes that look green when the lights are on like earlier during the reception and brown when the lights are low like now.

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