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Chance
Author:Deborah Bladon

"He lunged at someone, Rowan." His voice is steady as he pushes the words out in a low tone. "He attacked one of the junior buyers who ran into the room. I had to step in."

"Were they hurt?" I cover my eyes with my hands. "Please tell me he didn't hurt anyone."

I feel his large hand race over my knee. "He wasn’t hurt. Asher pushed him onto the floor. I stepped in and wrestled him to the ground."

"That's when the police were called?"

"I needed help to control him." I sense the resignation in his tone. "We had to call them. I didn't want him to hurt anyone else or himself. It was obvious he had taken something or shot himself up before he came in. Christ, I had no choice. I did what needed to be done."





Chapter 3


"Where is he now?" I move forward hoping that Caleb takes the hint and retreats so I have the room I need to stand. "I should go see him."

"He'll be arraigned later today or tomorrow." He shifts back moving his body slightly. "You shouldn't go see him."

Caleb has never fully understood my friendship with his brother. When we were children our parents were next door neighbors. I can't remember a time when Gabriel, Caleb and Asher weren't a part of my life. My connection to each of the brothers is different but the common thread is the bond that we forged when we were children. We each went our own way as we journeyed into our teenage years, but my friendship with Asher has never wavered. Some might say he's like a brother to me but it's never felt that way to either of us. He's one of the people I value most on this earth. I'm protective of him. I feel that even more now knowing he's likely sitting at a police station somewhere in the city.

"Arraigned? Someone is pressing charges?" I pull myself to my feet before I skim my hands over my skirt, trying to smooth out the wrinkled fabric. "Did you get him a lawyer?"

"No." He's on his feet now too. "He'll figure it out."

I look up into his face. I want to see a brief flash of compassion or concern, but those things aren't a part of the landscape of his features. He's stoic and calm. It's unnerving to know that when I walked into this apartment earlier that he was talking to a woman casually about sex, or perhaps it's more appropriate to label it as what it is, casual sex. That shouldn’t surprise me. I know the number of intimate partners I've had is only a fraction of the number of women Caleb's been with. He's never propositioned me and at moments like this, I'm glad. I don't doubt that he'd be incredible in bed but what he may make up for there, he's definitely lacking within his heart.

"He'll figure it out on his own?" I rub my hand against his arm wanting him to clear a path so I can finally leave. "You can't be serious."

"I can't keep fixing his mistakes," he spits back at me. "I thought you of all people would understand that."

The words pull me back to the stairwell when he told me that I'd be the only person who would understand what he'd done. He's delusional if he thinks I'm going to pat him on the back for having his brother arrested. I doubt that he recognizes the consequences of what he's done and the lasting impact it will have on Asher's life.

"Why would I understand?" I turn towards him, tapping the toe of my shoe against the floor. "How the hell am I supposed to understand any of this?"

"You're the one who told Asher that life only gives him so many chances." His finger darts into the narrow space between us. "He doesn’t get another chance this time, Rowan."

I push my hair back over my shoulder. "I didn't mean having him thrown in jail, Caleb. You know that's not what I meant."

"You meant exactly that." His finger wavers precariously close to my nose. "Rehab obviously didn't work. Talking to him does nothing. Maybe getting arrested will give him the dose of reality he needs."

"Or maybe," I begin before I push my way past him. "Just maybe this will send him back into a tailspin."

"He was already in a tailspin." He reaches for my shoulder. "He'll work out a deal that will require that he goes back to rehab. This is actually a good thing, Rowan."

"It's not a good thing." I turn on my heel to walk away. "You know how scared I am that he'll overdose. You know why that terrifies me and yet you have him arrested."

He throws his head back with a heavy sigh. "He's not going to overdose. You're not seeing this clearly. I thought you wanted what was best for him."

I doubt that anything I say will push Caleb off the righteous throne he's built for himself in his mind. "I need to go. I have to take care of things."

"What things?" He steps in front of me, blocking my path. "Don't go down there and fix this for him."

Wincing at his words, I look up into his face. "He needs someone right now and Gabriel isn't here. If you're not going to help him, I will."

"Don't call Gabriel into this." He rakes his hand through his short, dark hair. "He needs to be focused in Milan right now. We'll lose valuable contacts if he rushes back here."