Colters' Woman

By: Maya Banks
Chapter One


Adam Colter drew his coat tighter around him and tugged his Stetson lower as he stepped out into the snow. He started down the winding driveway to collect the mail, his face numb from the biting wind.

Winter had set in, and already he was restless. The cabin was quiet, housing just him and his two brothers until next hunting season when clients would fill the lodge. For ten years, he had lived for the fall when he could guide hunters into the mountains. But now he felt edgy. Unsatisfied.

He yanked open the mailbox and reached inside for the pile of envelopes. He turned back to the house, thumbing through the junk mail when a flash of color caught his eye. He blinked, bringing the object into focus. There, huddled in the ditch, half covered with snow, was a person.

Dropping the mail, he rushed over to the still form and knelt in the snow. Afraid of what he would find, he grasped a small shoulder and flipped the person over. To his shock, it was a woman. A beautiful woman.

He felt for a pulse, holding his breath until he felt the faint tremor in her neck. He brushed snow from her face and smoothed her blonde hair from her forehead. How had she gotten here?

Swinging her slight form into his arms, he stood up and strode back up the drive. He stared worriedly into her pale face and felt his groin tighten. A sharp tingle snaked up his spine, and he was besieged by unfamiliar emotions. Anger, possessiveness, concern and pure unadulterated lust.

His cock swelled in his jeans, and his grip around her tightened. She could be the one. He’d never reacted this strongly to a woman, and certainly not to one he knew nothing about, but no matter his reaction, his brothers might not be in agreement.

At any rate, he couldn’t leave her to freeze to death. He wouldn’t concern himself with what his brothers thought until he made sure she didn’t die on him.

As he shouldered his way inside, Ethan looked up from the couch where he was reading. He dropped the book when he saw the woman in Adam’s arms.

“What the hell?”

“I found her out in the ditch,” Adam said.

Ethan closed the distance between them and gazed down at the fragile-looking woman. “Is she alive?”

“What’s going on?” Ryan asked as he entered the living room. His expression was guarded, a look that had become second nature since his discharge from the military. For the first time in a long while, Adam felt a surge of hope. He’d give anything to be able to draw Ryan out from the private hell he endured. If she was the one…

Adam turned his attention back to the woman in his arms. “I need to get her warmed up. Go draw a hot bath while I get her out of her wet clothes.”

As Ryan left the living room, Ethan raised a brow. “You going to strip her in here?”

Adam shrugged. “I doubt modesty is an issue when you’re this close to freezing to death.”

Ethan’s eyes darkened, and he moved closer to the woman. He studied her then reached out his hand to touch her cheek.

When he looked back up at Adam, his eyes shone with a multitude of emotions. Desire, tenderness and possessiveness. Adam felt a surge of triumph. Ethan felt it too.

Ryan walked back into the room and stood watching with his hands shoved into his pockets. “Am I missing something here?”

“Is the water drawn?” Adam asked.

Ryan nodded and Adam strode past him. “Ethan will explain.”

Adam walked into his bedroom and gently laid her on his bed. She didn’t even have a coat on. He frowned as he began to peel her wet sweater off. She was soaked through.

He pulled the sweater over her head and sucked in his breath. The skimpy bra she wore didn’t do much to cover her breasts. A large bruise marred the porcelain skin over her ribcage. It covered an area the size of his hand. And he had large hands.

Had she been in some kind of accident? Was that why she was lying in the ditch?

He set to work pulling the damp jeans from her legs. As he rolled the material down her thighs, his eyes were drawn to the dark curls clearly outlined against her underwear. So she wasn’t a natural blonde.

Suffering only a tiny moment of guilt, he peeled the scrap of silk down her legs, then unhooked her bra, leaving her completely naked beneath his gaze. He didn’t think it possible that he could get any harder.

Every nerve ending in his body was on full alert. All it would take was one touch and he’d explode.

He cursed vehemently and worked to keep his raging hormones in balance. She was unconscious and injured, and all he could think about was plunging his cock so deep within her that he’d become a permanent part of her.

With shaking hands, he examined her limbs for breaks. Her skin was cold, but she showed no sign of frostbite. The bath shouldn’t do her any harm.

With great care, he picked her naked body up and walked out of the bedroom and into the huge bathroom he shared with his brothers. It was the size of a bedroom, with two showers and a huge Jacuzzi tub.

The tub was full, and he leaned over to ease her into the warm water. She let out a small moan but didn’t open her eyes. He held her so she wouldn’t slip down further.

He turned when he heard the door open. Ryan stood there, his eyes hooded.

“Ethan says she’s the one.”

Adam nodded, not knowing what else to say. Ryan would have to make up his own mind.

Ryan’s gaze swept over the woman but he didn’t move forward. “I’ll wait until you’re through. I wouldn’t want her to wake up with both of us here. It might scare her.”