Liam's Lily:Heroes for Hire, Book 14(9)By: Dale Mayer
The two men stared in the direction Brianna had gone.
“How does a reaction like that affect the elephants?” Liam asked.
Startled at the question, she shrugged. “Like any household, strife ripples outward. The elephants are much better away from all of it. However, Brianna does share in their care, depending on Daniel’s schedule. I would normally, but she wanted to handle the business side and to stay here all the time, so I’m now doing the fund-raising and need to travel a lot.”
“You’re the one who knows Gunner?”
She nodded. “And Logan.”
The men smiled.
She grinned at them. “And, yes, I can see you guys are the same as he is. The thing is? My sister doesn’t have any use for Logan either.” She gave a half grin. “He turned her down. She doesn’t take rejection easily.”
A curious light came into Liam’s gaze as he studied her. “And you? Do you take rejection easily?”
She laughed a real laugh. “I’m used to it. I take rejection just fine,” she said, her voice dry. “But then I’m always the one in the background. I don’t expect very much. So, when I get rejected, it’s just the norm.” With the men staring at her as if waiting for an explanation, she raised both hands in mock surrender and said, “I’m always the worker. I’m not the face on the brochures. Even though you probably look at them and see me, it’s her. Some history is in there. We also had an older brother, but he passed away a couple years back in a fire.” She had a sad smile now. “And I think Brianna felt like she had to step in to take care of what would normally have been his role.”
“Was he as passionate about this job as your father?”
She nodded. “He was indeed. I am too. I love to be around the animals. But the family situation isn’t the best, and I’d rather not leave my sister here to run this. I’m here as much as I can be though.” She ended that on a laugh. “Other than that, I’m always traveling around, trying to drum up money.”
“That can’t be easy.”
She shook her head. “No, it’s not. I’m also the one who updates the website.”
“Not the webmaster?” North asked, his tone hard.
She shook her head. “No, the webmaster is there if I need help. But you got to pay them by the hour, so I do as much as I can by myself.”
“And let me guess? Your sister blames you because of the website issues?”
She winced. “How did you know?”
Liam didn’t say anything as his gaze searched the surrounding area. “Are there any other houses on the property?”
“I have a small cabin in the back,” Lilianna said. “My sister has the family home with her husband.”
They studied her carefully.
She shrugged. “It’s not like I can turn around and build a second house on the sanctuary.”
“Would you want to?”
“If I were to do that, I’d bring my father back out here,” she said softly.
“Where is your father now?”
“In town.” She refused to elaborate. There was only so much personal stuff she wanted to deal with in the first thirty minutes of meeting these men.
“What does the husband do?”
“Carlos? He’s some kind of an investment advisor,” she said airily, waving her hand toward the house. “I’m not exactly sure.”
“How long have they been married?”
“About eighteen months.” She stared at the house. “But they’ve been together for a couple years.”
She spun and looked at Liam with a sharp gaze, but neither man said anything else. “I did promise Levi that I had a place to put you up, but it’s not fancy.”
The men stared at her blandly.
“Originally I thought you could stay in the big house, but Brianna said no.”
“I hope you have a little more than a hay loft,” Liam said with a grin. “It’s not that I’m against sleeping with the animals. But …”
“It depends whether you’re okay to stay with me or not,” she said abruptly. She studied the two of them. “Levi said I could trust you, which is the only reason I make that offer …” Her voice trailed off as she realized for the first time that a problem could arise from something completely different than feeling unsafe.