He watched her, noticing how she sat ramrod straight. It was obvious she was uncomfortable and doing all she could to hide the fact. Money once again managed to accomplish a great deal. Not only did it buy a judge, but it also paid off anyone who'd been willing to legitimately bid on the Triple J.
No way was he going to let the place slip from his grasp. The taste of revenge was sweet and it was finally his.
Mica Blackfeather loved Texas. He and his mother may have been forced off Triple J land but they'd never left the state. And now, after all those years, he'd found his way back to the one place where the land spoke to him. The one place where he'd felt closest to his ancestors. He was finally home.
When the judge finished, no one spoke a word. It was good to see that money had its place in even the smallest of towns. A wicked smile crossed Mica's lips, and although he longed to draw out the whole nasty ordeal for the benefit of Callie Jones and revenge, he also wanted it to end quickly. There were other, more important things to take place, and in order to get to those things, he needed to close the auction. The judge wished the new owner well and asked for his name, as if they'd never met. The man was a very good actor, he'd have to give him that.
"Don't be shy, son. Introduce yourself," the judge commanded from behind the podium.
With his eyes trained on Callie he answered. "Mica, Mica Blackfeather."
Callie lowered her head. Mica imagined she was steeling herself against the impact of his announcement. Her shoulders squared and with her chin lifted, she turned and looked him in the eye.
It was a good thing he had the ability to hide what he was thinking, because seeing her again sent his senses reeling. No longer was Callie the soft young woman he'd loved so tenderly their first time.
No, now she looked hard and cynical. The green of her eyes had lost their sparkle. Instead they told of pain and confusion before quickly masking over, revealing nothing. She rose on sturdy, well-shaped legs and strode across the expanse of the yard to where he stood.
He was immediately engulfed by her scent. Leather and something more feminine tickled his nose. He could tell by the look on her face that she was having a heck of a time keeping her composure.
One tiny, but definitely not dainty, hand was thrust forward. "Glad to see you're back, Mr. Blackfeather. Hope you enjoy the Triple J."
He wanted to snarl in response. Her nonchalance struck a chord in him. An overwhelming need to rattle her made him smile. It wasn't a happy smile, but one of triumph because the best was yet to come.
"Not sure if I'll enjoy the Triple J or not. That is entirely up to you."
Her confused look returned. Her brows furrowed deeply between her green cat eyes. "What do you mean?"
"I mean it is up to you whether or not the Triple J is allowed to remain as is, or whether I call in a demolition crew and flatten the whole dilapidated thing."
He watched as her face drained of color, her widened eyes seemed to shoot green lasers in their attempt to annihilate. "What in the hell are you talking about?"
"Come with me," he said, grasping her upper arm firmly. Mica tugged her behind him. He needed to change the look on her pale face from one of utter desolation to boiling anger. He could handle her anger, even longed for it so he could then vent his in return, but there was just something about the look of sadness and loss in her eyes that bothered him.
He could tell she wanted to pull away, to struggle against his hold, but she did neither. Mica kept walking until he was away from the crowd, away from the stares and knowing looks. Then he kept walking just a bit further until they were within a copse of trees, surrounded and out of sight.
She was a petite woman and had to practically run to keep up with his long-legged stride, and yet she wasn't even out of breath. That, combined with the sleek muscle he felt under his hand, told of a woman who was used to hard work.
He wished she weren't wearing a long sleeved shirt. That he could feel her skin beneath his palm. Would her skin still be smooth and warm just the way he remembered it?
Get a grip, he chided himself. Patience. Soon enough you'll have everything you want.
When he stopped, she wrenched her arm free of his grasp then crossed them in front of her. The material of her shirt stretched tightly across her chest, causing the fabric to gape at the pearl snap lying between her full breasts, showing just a hint of white.
Once again his mind began to wander to a time long past. A time when he'd held Callie against his body, skin to skin, as they loved throughout the night. A time when all hell had broken loose and he'd not only lost his first love, but also his home.
The fact that she could take away his concentration without even trying brought a scowl to his face. Her nude body wasn't something he would have to think about for long. By the time the night was over, he would know her intimately once again.