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#Excerpt Tender Misdemeanors by Alana Lorens
What in the hell was he going to do?
Before Levi could enter full-blown panic mode, his cell phone rang. He grabbed for it on the corner of the desk, praying it was Caryn and she needed something so he had a good excuse to run away from home.
It was his brother Zane. “What in blazes do you think you’re doing there, trying to get the house seized under RICO?”
The angry surprise onslaught stunned Levi, and he had to scramble to respond. “Who’s Rico? What are you talking about? Try, ‘Hi, Levi, what’s going on?’”
“I know what’s going on. I’ve had my eye on the news on that corner of Montana for a while now. Bombs, monkeywrenching, red flags from the Feds? Mom didn’t give you that house just so you can lose it in a forfeiture action…”
As his brother continued, Levi sucked back his ready retort, finally recognizing Zane in lawyer mode. He was a power litigator worthy of the usual comparison to a shark. Zane lashed out at his opponents like a desperate man clutching his way up a drowning friend’s body to get some air. No holds barred, ever. The only way to win was not to play.
He took a long, deep breath as Zane ranted on, accusations dropping like grenades. When Zane paused for effect, Levi said, “Are you finished yet?”
“Don’t you have something to say for yourself?”
“Sure. I’m feeling much better now that I’m home from the hospital. No permanent damage. Thank you for asking.”
A shocked silence. “Haven’t you heard a damned thing I’ve said?”
Irritation threatened to rattle Levi’s intended calm. He tried levity. “Some of it.”
“That spread, the lands, the forests, are worth a lot of money, and I’m not going to let you just throw them away!”
“I’m not ‘throwing them away’. I’m done with the militia. I’m taking care of myself.”
Levi could almost hear the gears in his older brother’s head ticking as he regrouped. “I’m coming back there. Someone’s got to—”
“Someone is. Everything’s under control. Just keep on with the benign neglect, huh? I don’t need your ‘protection’ anymore.”
Levi clicked his phone, hanging up.