Home > Shelter (Heroes of Big Sky #2)

Shelter (Heroes of Big Sky #2)
Author: Kristen Proby








“If the kid wasn’t in the car, I’d give you the best blowjob of your life right now,” my mom says to her boyfriend and then scowls at me as I sit in the back seat. We’ve driven all the way from Texas to Montana in this horrible car with the smell of his cigarettes, and they don’t stop when I tell them I have to go to the bathroom.

“He’ll be gone soon,” he says and grabs her boob.

My stomach feels queasy. I don’t like it when she lets men touch her like that in front of me.

At least, it’s not as bad as what she lets them do to me. As long as they get to touch her, they leave me alone.

I hope she leaves me and never comes back.

The road to the ranch is bumpy, and I have to pee so bad, I’m afraid I’ll go in my pants. But I don’t say anything because we’re almost there, and then I won’t have to be with my mom anymore.

I hope. I hope that Gram and Gramps let me stay. What if they don’t?

My stomach is even queasier when I think about that, so I just push it away. They were always nice to me before. They let me help with the animals and gave me all the food I could eat. And, sometimes, Grandma even made pie for dessert.

“Thank God, we’re here.” Mom opens her car door. “Get out of the car, Seth.”

I climb out and eye my grandparents warily. They’re both standing on the porch. Uncle Josh is here, too, but he doesn’t look happy.

Will they send me away?

Mom tosses my bag onto the ground next to me. I don’t have much in there. She didn’t let me take very much because she said they didn’t have room in the car.

“What’s this about?” Uncle Josh asks.

“Seth’s your problem now,” Mom replies. Her voice is hard. It’s been that way for a long, long time.

I don’t look up at any of them. I just stare at the ground and make circles in the gravel with my shoes.

What if they don’t want me?

“Seth isn’t a problem,” Grandma says and rushes down the porch steps, pulling me against her. I instinctively stiffen.

No one ever touches me in a nice way. It’s usually just to push me aside or give me a whoopin’.

“He is for me,” Mom says. She and Uncle Josh talk about how she doesn’t want me anymore because she has Cole now, and she doesn’t like being a mom.

She’s not good at it, anyway.

But then she starts talking about my dad, and I want to yell at her to shut her mouth. To stop talking about him.

All he ever does is leave. He doesn’t even want to talk to me when he calls.

I hate him.

But I don’t say anything. I just stand with Grandma and hope with all my might that I get to stay here with the animals, where it’s safe. Where I can eat until my belly is full, and no one will put their hands on me if I don’t want them to.

I don’t even care when Mom starts screaming, throwing a fit in front of Uncle Josh and the others.

She does this all the time.

“Seth is always welcome here,” Uncle Josh says, and for the first time since I can remember, I take a deep breath.

They’re going to let me stay!

He walks over to my mom and stands over her. He’s big. Really tall. And I can tell by the way her eyes get wide that she’s scared of him.

Good. I want her to be scared. Like she made me feel for so long.

“But you are not. Seth will stay with us until Zack is back in the States in a few months. You are never to come back here.” He gets even closer to her. “If you ever show your face here again, I’ll have you arrested for trespassing, and I will ruin your pathetic life.”

Mom sputters, steps back, and then gets her mad face back on again.

“Why would I ever come back here? There’s nothing here I want.” She doesn’t even look at me before getting back into the car. They zoom away, headed for the highway.

“Oh, honey,” Grandma whispers and kisses my head.

I just shrug and pull away.

I don’t like being touched.

“Can I stay here, Uncle Josh?” I ask, just to make sure. Magic, my favorite horse, makes a noise, and I let my gaze flick her way.

“Of course, buddy. You always have a place here.”

I want to smile. I want to jump and dance with relief. But I’m just so tired. And sore. And hungry.

So, I only nod and look down at the ground until they tell me what to do.

“Come on, Seth,” my grandfather says. “Grandpa will show you to your room. You can have your dad’s old room.”

Anger boils up in my throat, and I shake my head, my hands balling into fists. “I don’t want anything of his. I’d rather sleep in the barn.”

“Okay, the spare room it is, then.”

“Come on, honey, let’s get you settled, and I’ll fix you some lunch,” Grandma says with a smile. She wraps her arm around me, and I don’t pull away. It’s kind of nice. And she’s going to make me something to eat! My stomach growls. “We’ve missed you so much. There are some fish out in the creek that need to be caught, you know.”

Fishing is what I like the best. Well, next to the horses. When I was here a few years ago, Uncle Josh and Dad took me fishing every day. Maybe we’ll go again.

Maybe today.

Grandma takes me upstairs to my new bedroom. It has a nightlight so I won’t be in the dark all the time.

I don’t like the dark.

“Would you like a sandwich?” Grandma asks.

“Sure.” I shrug and secretly hope I can have chips, too. I don’t want to ask for them, though. Whenever I ask, Mom takes everything away.

“Let’s go down to the kitchen, and you can hang out with me while I make lunch. We have potato salad and chips if you want them. And I even made a chocolate cake yesterday, if you want some dessert.”

My mouth waters at the thought of all that food.

I love it here.

I hope I can stay forever.



Chapter 1






“Got one!” I smile in triumph and show the trout off to my uncle and dad, who are just about twenty yards away.

We’re at the creek behind the house on the King ranch, enjoying a rare, late-summer day off with a little fishing.

It’ll be good as long as they’re biting.

“That’s a tiny one,” Uncle Josh says with a smirk, and I scowl down at the wiggling fish in my hand.

“It’s not that tiny.” Still, I unhook it and drop it back into the water. “Have you heard from the fish and wildlife people about the wolf problem?”

“They’ll be here tomorrow morning,” Josh says with a grim sigh. “This happens about every five years or so, and we end up losing a lot of calves. It pisses me off.”

“I hope they can get it figured out. I’ll help if I can,” I offer.

I have a degree in wildlife biology, and I’ve been working with Glacier National Park for the last several years. I have experience. And, frankly, I have a personal stake in this.

This is King land. And I’m a King.

I plan to be here for the rest of my life.

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