Chumming with a Great White - Charlie Richards
“Come live with me.”
Arching his left eyebrow, Graham Canton barely managed to bite back his scathing, knee-jerk reaction of responding, “No way I want my baby brother takin’ care of me.”
The words would have revealed exactly how bitter Graham was about lying there in a hospital bed with his body beat to hell and half his right leg missing. He knew he should feel grateful to be alive. Except, with the loss of his limb, he could no longer work as a SEAL.
What the hell am I supposed to do with myself now?
Graham had joined up with the military the day after he’d turned eighteen. He’d worked damn hard to become part of the elite. His entire life had revolved around the missions that dropped him behind enemy lines, only relying on the faith in his brothers-in-arms, their skills, and their Intel.
Too bad the information on our last op was so faulty. Fucking pencil-pusher messing up—
“I mean it, Graham.”
Grisham speaking again returned Graham’s attention to his brother.
“Come live with me. I have room,” Grisham urged again, concern gleaming in his hazel eyes. “There’s a gym to do your physical therapy in the building, and—”
“Wait a minute,” Graham cut in, holding up his right hand. At least it was no longer in a sling. “Since when does your building have a gym?” Then he forced his lips to curve into a wry smile. “And room? In your one-bedroom apartment? I have no desire to sleep on your sofa, and I won’t put you out of your bed.”
To Graham’s surprise, Grisham’s cheeks took on a pinkish hue.
“Uhhhh... I guess I forgot to tell you,” Grisham muttered, rubbing the back of his neck in clear discomfort. “I moved.”
“Moved?” Graham cocked his head. “When? Where?”
Grisham heaved a sigh as he settled in the chair beside the bed. “Eight months ago,” he revealed. “And I never told you because first you were deployed, then you were in a coma, and then recovering.” Grisham waved at Graham’s prone form. “So, yeah. Been a little pre-occupied with makin’ certain my only family survived.”
Graham scoffed, unable to help himself. “How is this surviving?” he grumbled, anger causing his gut to churn. “I’m a fuckin’ cripple.”
“You’re alive, damn it,” Grisham shot back. “Stop bein’ such a pussy.” He narrowed his eyes as he leaned toward Graham. “So you lost your leg below the knee. You know there are people who run marathons on prosthetics?” The green in his hazel eyes began to dominate his irises, betraying his anger better than the harshness of his tone. “Where the fuck is the fire that used to drive you?”
“Overseas with the rest of my leg,” Graham snapped back.
Grisham reached over and smacked Graham upside the head. “Snap out of it, bro.” Without waiting for a response, he rose to his feet. “You’re comin’ home with me. I’ll let the doc know so he can sign your discharge papers.”
Gaping, Graham watched Grisham head toward the door. The back of his head stung a little, but it was the disbelief at his brother’s actions that really kept him silent. As Grisham disappeared out the door, Graham realized he still didn’t know where his brother lived.
“Bloody World of Aquatica,” Graham grumbled as he eased his prosthesis onto the fabric-covered stump below his right leg. “And with a partner, no less. When the fuck was he going to tell me?”
Graham straightened on his bed before reaching for his cane. In truth, he understood how the news could have been missed. His brother was living with the same man who’d had him tied up in knots when they’d met briefly for coffee.
The day I nearly died from arsenic poisoning because some bigoted asshole police officer paid someone to off my brother.
With Graham ending up in the hospital for a couple of days, then returning to base for mandatory training before being shipped out on his last mission, a lot had fallen through the cracks. It wasn’t as if he could call Grisham any time he wanted. Graham’s mission had been a covert operation, so no outside communication.
“Enough,” Graham grumbled. “Stop thinking about it.”
The soft tap of someone knocking on his bedroom door caught Graham’s attention. Even as he called, “Come in,” he instinctively knew who it was. He’d only been living with his brother a week and a half, and he knew Cuzco—Grisham’s partner—remained timid around him.
Of course, that could be because I snapped at him about not needing help the second day I was here.