Love Never Leaves-Chapter 4

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Jake entered Helena’s home it was beautiful and comfortable as he knew it would be she had photos and art all over the walls they told of her culture and travels. He was intrigued, she seemed very worldly to him and he liked that his wife Connie had also traveled the world. He found that it made her more interesting and Helena seemed to be that kind of woman.

“Jake would you like something to drink?” She asked as they entered the living room.

Helena looked at him curiously; he looked deep in thought as he perused her walls looking at the art and photos. He seemed not to be aware that she even asked him a question.

“Jake!”

He looked up startled for a moment. She was standing there looking at him oddly.

“Yes.”

“I was just asking if you’d like something to drink.”

“Oh I’m sorry, I was just really intrigued by your artwork and photos they’re really beautiful.”

“Thank you. I’ve traveled all over the world and collected art from many places. I love those photos, they remind me how wonderful my life has been and all the love I received from it.”

“Wow, that’s really special. You’re very lucky.”

“I don’t think I’m lucky, I know I’m blessed.”

He looked at her and smiled a bit but she noticed it didn’t seem happy there was something about him that was sad something in his eyes. She couldn’t shake the feeling that something terrible had happened to this man but she wasn’t sure he was ready to share it.

“Well Jake I’m headed to the kitchen to pour myself a glass of wine. I’d be more than happy to pour you a glass while I’m there.”

He did smile then, a big genuine smile, “sure. I’d love a glass of wine.”

He walked behind her into the kitchen. There was light from the porch outside streaming through the windows, it gave the place a romantic glow. He liked her kitchen it seemed lived in and used. He’d only been in his house a week or so but he barely touched anything regarding the kitchen. He thought that may have been because his wife loved being in the kitchen, it was her domain when she was alive. It seemed so sacred to him now as if he had no right to touch it or make it his own. He’d been eating out of to-go boxes and the microwave for the last couple of days he just couldn’t seem to bring himself to use the stove and cook a meal.

Helena opened the fridge and took out a bottle of Pinot Grigio she had in there, she went into the cupboard and pulled out to wine glasses and filled them. She handed him a glass and he smiled and raised it to her in a toast.

“Here’s to our new friendship.”

She raised her own glass in acknowledgment and took a sip; it was cold and tasted delicious.

“Why don’t we go back into the living room and sit and chat for moment. I’d really like to get to know more about you Jake.”

He nodded in agreement and they walked back into the living room together. Her living room seemed to invite comfort the pillows on her couch were plump and soft, at least they looked that way. She fell into the couch and seemed to relax immediately.  Jake sat on the other end and turned to look at her. She was really beautiful and he wasn’t really sure he should be there on her couch drinking wine. Maybe this was a dangerous place for him at this moment. She picked up a remote, pushed a button, and music begin to flow from speakers near them it was the soothing sound of jazz. She sighed and kicked off her shoes as she put her feet under her to get cozy in the downy softness of her sofa.

“Now I can ask you more questions,” she said to him with the sneaky grin on her face.

“I’m not sure I’ll answer them all if you do ask.”

“You mean if I ask questions you’ll dodge them?”

“I didn’t say that, I may answer and I may not. I get to make that choice.”

“Oh, are you telling me you’re enigmatic?”

“I’m just saying I may or may not answer the question. It doesn’t mean I’m mysterious just that I’m private about some things.”

“I can respect that but I’m not going to delve too deep this early.”

“I’m thankful for that, you seem like a nice lady and I think I’d like to get to know you better too but I don’t want to invade your space.”

“You’re not. I’m an open book for the most part, but I can understand that others are not like me. I mean your reception when I first came to your front door told me a lot about you. One of the things it told me was that you’d like your privacy.”

Jake had a look of deep regret on his face, he knew he’d been really rude to her when they first met and he wasn’t sure how he’d make that up to her.

“I’m still very sorry about that incident. You and your friend didn’t deserve my scorn.”

“I told you it was no big deal we lived; we’re not scarred from it. I don’t expect you to apologize again and again about it we’re supposed to be moving forward in this relationship. I only mentioned it because you said you were so private and that incident really let me know how private you were. So now that that’s over with tell me a little more about being the famous author, Earl Gall, I find it interesting that you’re a famous writer. Does it seem sublime to you that you walk around all day and no one knows you’re Earl Gall?”

Jake looked at her and furrowed his brow, “no, not really, since I like my privacy it’s nice that people don’t know. That’s one of the reasons I made sure not to have my picture taken too frequently when I’m on book tours. Some people do know but surprisingly people aren’t that pushy. Particularly here in the Pacific Northwest they seem to love to give you your space. Although I sometimes notice that people are staring and they may recognize me but they won’t come up and say anything. Some people do ask if I’m Earl Gall and I always answer honestly but they’re very nice.”

“Do you enjoy writing?”

“That’s a funny question, of course I do. I’ve been writing all my life. I have lots of drafts of stories I wrote in my teens and 20s but I never thought I had the talent to do it full-time.”

She laughed. Jake enjoyed watching her laugh it gave him joy. He felt like he should be ashamed of his feelings toward her but he wasn’t, he was happy. It confused him he’d been depressed for so long about his wife and son’s death he didn’t understand this woman who was practically a stranger making him happy. He’d met people before and they didn’t do this to him. He’d spent time with family and that didn’t make him feel happy either at this point in his life. But sitting there with Helena was just such a delight she was contagious, her happiness was contagious.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” she asked. Helena had noticed that he seemed more relaxed and the look he gave her was full on erotic.

“Helena, you’ve made me feel something I’d thought was lost.”

“What’s that?”

“I feel delight with you, it’s strange since we’ve known each other such a short time. But with you I feel at ease and I’m not really sure how to take this. I want to tell you all my secrets but I’m not sure if you can handle them. But sitting on this couch with you more than anything I want to touch you, I want to kiss you, I want to hold you.”

Helena just looked at him she was shocked he’d told her this he’d been a tad closed off the whole evening. Now here he was telling her she was bringing him delight and he wanted to kiss her. She thought, well she wanted him to kiss her too. There was something in him that she felt needed the human bond. Helena knew that she needed that bond also but in her mind she felt they were moving too quickly. But there was something about him sitting on her sofa now appearing so relaxed and so at ease it didn’t matter how quickly they moved.

Suddenly she felt herself move forward as she saw Jake moving toward her his eyes softening and filling with need. She wanted to kiss him and it looked like he was going to reciprocate that feeling. She felt herself being cradled suddenly in his strong arms as his mouth moved towards her, his lips were on hers before she could think about what was happening. It was soft at first then she felt the urgency in him his mouth crushing against hers, his tongue seeking out her own. It felt good as she wrapped her arms around him and held him tight and close. He was holding her against him as if his very body wanted to merge with her own. Their mouths separated for brief moment to catch a breath while in her ear, he whispered to her, “Helena I need you so badly. I don’t know what’s come over me but I need you.”

They looked into each other’s eyes as he moved in again to kiss her it was a heady feeling for both of them. Helena felt the stir of passion while she tried her best to keep her emotions under control. She smiled as his lips pressed against hers and felt a joyful giggle come to her lips this was the best kiss she’d ever had even better than kissing Scott. Then suddenly Jake’s body jerked away from her his arms went to his side and he had a look of complete horror on his face.

“Oh my God what have I done,” he said more to himself than to her, “I’ve betrayed you, I’ve betrayed you!” He was talking to someone but not her.

He rose from the couch swiftly and suddenly left Helena there sitting, wondering what the hell had just happened. She got up and moved to the door that he’d run out of and opened it and stared as he ran to his house. He looked back only briefly with the same look of anger and despair she’d seen the first night she met him. He opened his door slammed it hard and locked it.

She wasn’t really sure what had just happened they were sitting there enjoying a passionate kiss and suddenly he breaks away in horror. She picked up her cell phone and called him she wanted to know what happened. She was confused and angry. His phone rang and rang but she got the voicemail. She called again and got his voicemail again. She was tempted to go across the street and bang on his door like a maniac but she didn’t feel like she needed to chase him. She wasn’t sure what she’d done to make him so upset but she knew the things she’d felt from the first time she saw him were true, this man was hurting and maybe he just needed time. Maybe he just needed time.

 

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The Handy Guy-Chapter 2

imageGrace sat in Craig’s truck on a plastic tarp covered in oil wood stain. While she was stooping down in the hardware store someone’s precocious youngster had poured a can of oil stain down her back. It was in her underwear, her hair, and completely ruined her thong Birkenstocks. Craig had been mortified, he’d met this woman, and brings her on a shopping trip to get supplies only to have this happen.

‘I’m so sorry Ms. Underwood, I really am. I’ve never had an incident like this occur on a trip to the hardware store with a customer.’

She looked over at him with her eyes squinting, she was angry but not really with him but the kid well the parents more so. The parents had just let their child run wild and it seemed he’d been wreaking havoc all over the store.

‘It’s okay Mr. Bellows but I’m not sure how I’m going to wash this stuff off. You know…I have no shower. I think Mrs. Chen is gone with her kids today.’

‘I realize that you don’t have a shower. I was wondering would you like to come to my place? It’s not far and I swear I’m not going to kill you.’

Grace looked over at him suspiciously for a moment, ‘well could try but Mrs. Chen but I’m pretty sure her son came to get her today. I’m wondering would I rather be covered in wood stain or take my chances with you possibly murdering me for a shower. Although Mrs. Chen did know you were coming today so if something happens you’d be a suspect.’

He laughed a little and he saw her smile, although she smelled of wood stain she actually had a beautiful lilting laugh and she just lit up when she did. For a moment Craig found himself enchanted and wondered if this had actually been a good idea. But he needed to help her he’d gotten her into this, well sort of. He started to head for his place, he lived in a beautiful old home he’d done most of the refurbishing on himself. After he’d divorced Wendy he bought the house and went to work, it as great way to relieve the stress and anger he had towards her as she continually dragged him in and out of court. Next weekend was his time with his daughter, he had Chelsea two weekends a month, all summer, Christmas break, and they rotated holidays. He suspected that Wendy was getting ready to drag him back into court regarding parental visitation, she seemed to be getting antsy and snippy with him lately. He always knew when a battle was brewing with her. He pulled into the driveway of his house.

Grace was impressed, it was huge, two stories, a farm house of all things. She wondered if he had a girlfriend or children because one person couldn’t live in something this large. He parked she watched as he got out, she was going to make a move but thought better she was still rather oily and she didn’t want to get anything on his truck. He appeared at her door and opened it and helped her out of the cab. He was a gentlemen something she hadn’t seen in awhile, in a long while. This city was so liberal, many times she thought men forgot she was a woman. But she must say Mr. Bellows made her feel like a lady, even when she was covered in wood stain.

‘Ms. Underwood, why don’t we go around the back. That way you can use the laundry room to undress. I can bring you a robe and tell you where the bathroom is and then throw your things in the washer. How does that sound?’

‘It sounds like a good plan.’

‘Well…I always have a plan,’ he told her with a twinkle in his eye.

Grace was trying her best not to get drawn in by his charm and incredible looks and mouth watering physique but it was not easy. He lead her to the back, he had beautiful yard with a deck and stone patio. It had been well kept, she wondered did he do all this himself. He opened the door and she stepped into a mud room, it was large with black and white tiles, it was painted white and a soothing shade of blue. She was amazed if the rest of his house looked like this, it must be dazzling. She looked through another door with a glass pane into a spectacular kitchen. She was awestruck it was beautiful.

‘Ms. Underwood?’ she heard him mutter politely. She’d been scoping out his kitchen so hard, she didn’t notice him open the laundry room door for her to enter.

‘Oh I’m sorry. I’ll step in. And you’ll be back with a robe?’

‘And towel if you’d like? I know that oil is just probably driving you nuts.’

‘Yes, thank you.’

He walked through the door into the kitchen then turned and disappeared. Grace stepped into the laundry room, which was also incredible. Who did this man’s decorating, Martha Stewart? The same calming blue and white that were in the mud room were in the laundry room. He had a front load washer and dryer, Kenmore no less. He looked liked the Made in America type. She stripped down, her clothes were stained. Thank goodness these were just some casual clothes, it wouldn’t be a big loss but she had always liked that Wu-tang t-shirt. Oh well, she thought. Maybe the oil would come out, she hoped it would. Her underwear was another story, this bra and panty set were from Victoria’s Secret and were not a cheap buy. It was turquoise green so she was hoping for the best, they weren’t too stained with oil but oil stains could be hard to get out.

‘Ms. Underwood?’ She heard him outside the door, she opened the washer and dropped her clothing in. She wasn’t looking forward to a strange man handling her skivvies.

‘Yes.’ She hoped he didn’t turn out to be a pervert because she was standing their in absolutely nothing.

‘I’ve got the robe for you.’

‘I’ll stick my hand out and you can pass it to me.’

‘Okay.’

Grace cracked the door and made sure she stayed pressed close to it so he couldn’t even get an accidental peep of anything but her arm. She stuck her arm out and he handed her the robe which she grabbed swiftly and closed the door.

Craig was shocked, he hadn’t even given her the towel so she wipe out some of the oil from her hair. Even more shocking was what he saw as she stood behind that door. There was a mirror on the opposite wall, he kept it there because sometimes he liked to shave or check himself out after a long day of hard work. It was easier to do it in there when he was grimy but he figured she hadn’t noticed it. He wasn’t trying to look just happened his eyes caught sight of her backside before he knew it was her backside. Goodness, what a nice backside it was. He felt his cock jump but he had to get that under control. This was a client, maybe this was a bad idea after all. She’d had him hot and bothered the moment she opened that door this afternoon. Now her she was at his house with nothing on but his robe about to take a shower in his bathroom.

She opened the door, there she stood, all 5’5″ of her. She looked so tiny in his big robe but goodness she was incredibly sexy.

‘I forgot to give you this, I’m sorry.’

She took the towel gladly and begin to wipe her hair down. It was the most erotic thing Craig had seen in such a long time. It had a been awhile since he’d been with anyone, almost a year. There was this cinnamon goddess standing in his mud room with nothing but a robe on wiping her hair down.

She looked up at him puzzled, ‘Mr. Bellows, you can lead me to your bathroom.’

Craig came out his erotic fantasy, ‘oh, oh yes. Come this way. It’s just down the hallway.’

She followed him, it was an incredible house, the kitchen was marvelous, his decorating was simple and understated, very masculine and it was very beautiful. She noticed on the hallway walls pictures of him in different exotic locales, fishing, hunting, racing, biking, skiing, lots of outdoor stuff. Then pictures of him and his family which consisted of what looked to be his mom and some other men, she figured they were brothers but no dad. Then there were pictures of beautiful blonde little girl. She was very cute, he had pictures with her lots of them and a couple featuring another woman, she was blonde also, who didn’t look happy in any of them. But he looked absolutely joyous and in love with that child. She wanted to ask but figured it wasn’t her place, she was just his customer, they were not friends.

They reached the bathroom it was white, green with silver accents. It had large gray and white block tiles on the floor. It had a glass enclosed shower stall along with a large white clawfoot tub.

‘Here you go, in the cabinet there are more towels. In the shower there’s shampoo, it’s Sauve if that’s okay with you.’

‘That’s fine.’

‘Also in the cabinet there’s a hair dryer. The water is warm so check it before you dive in.’

Grace smiled at him as he closed the door and left her. Craig stood on the other side and just sighed. He thought maybe he had made a fatal mistake he was not in the mood for these types of problems right now.

The shower felt wonderful, it had been awhile since Grace had been in anything so luxurious. The water temperature was fantastic, it didn’t go suddenly cold like her shower at home. She needed to replace that crappy water heater. The shampoo worked well, it took a few washing to rid her hair of wood stain and the pungent smell had finally been washed out of it and off her body. She stepped out onto the plush rug and stepped onto the floor which was heated, my goodness this was a man of extraordinary talents. Too bad she couldn’t hire him for other work or maybe she could coax him into…oh goodness she needed to stop that line of thought. He was definitely fine but what did some redneck want with her and what did she want with a redneck. Grace dried her body and was drying her hair when she heard the knock. The immediately wrapped the towel around herself thinking he might enter but he didn’t, he spoke through the door.

‘Ms. Underwood, are you okay?’

‘I’m fine, everything is fine. The shower was fantastic,’ she hated to sound so eager but it was good.

He smiled to himself on the other side of the door. He wasn’t sure why it pleased him so much that she liked the shower but it did.

‘Good, it’s getting late and I was wondering if you’d like some dinner? I have some leftover pot roast, red potatoes, and salad I could give you.’

Grace wasn’t sure she should accept, but her stomach started to grumble. She hadn’t really eaten all day and it was getting late. This day was not turning out how she imagined but he’d been nice enough to ask, she hoped he didn’t drug her food. But so far he’d been a complete gentlemen not creepy or weird at all, in fact she was feeling more at ease with him every moment.

‘Sure, I’ll take a plate. How about my clothes, are they ready?’

‘Oh I’m sorry, I just put them in the dryer. They should be dry in about 30 or 40 minutes.’

‘Okay, I’ll be right out.’

‘Well when you come out you can find me in the kitchen.’

Craig turned to walk toward the kitchen and get her a plate fixed up. He’d put her clothes in the dryer without thinking it wasn’t until he pulled out those sexy lace underwear that he realized that him drying her clothes may have been a bad idea. He really hoped she didn’t think he was a sex fiend.

He was cutting slices off of last night’s roast when he saw her enter, she looked so fragile. There was something about her petite figure in his large robe that made him want to protect her. Her hair was still partially wet and sticking to her face it had come out of its stick straight form and was more wavy and curly. She had pinned it back in that same messy ponytail thing she had when he’d first met her this afternoon. He didn’t know what was happening, he felt this compelling urge to push her against a wall and kiss her senseless.

Grace was blushing at his look, she looked down at her feet as they made circles on his wood floor. She had on the robe but the way he looked she felt naked, but the truth was the look didn’t bother her as much as it turned her on. He had the look of man who had just spotted the last biscuit on the plate, open lust and hunger swam in his eyes. Grace was slightly shaken at her own primal response to it.

Craig turned to pile some potatoes on her plate and put it into his microwave to warm up.

‘I can get you something to drink Ms. Underwood.’

‘You know, enough with the formality. I’m just a Grace, please call me Grace.’

‘Okay, that’s fine and please call me Craig.’

‘I will.’

‘Now. Something to drink?’

‘Umm yes, what do you have?’

He opened that huge refrigerator it was incredible stocked shelves full of food and he did have everything. Wine, beer, Coors of course, iced tea, juice boxes, orange juice, milk, Coke, Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper, goodness he had supplies for the winter. That had Grace thinking maybe he was a doomsday prepper like she saw on TV but it couldn’t be true he seemed really…normal.

‘A diet Coke would be great.’

‘Okay, please have a seat. The plate should be warm in a minute.’

The whole lay out was open, she sat down in a breakfast room next to the kitchen. There was a place setting there with beautiful white stone ware and flatware that was to die for, Grace was more impressed by the minute. This man had impeccable taste.

‘Here you go,’ he set a plate that smelled delicious in front of her or maybe she was just really hungry. He set his plate down along with a bowl with a really appetizing salad in it. ‘We should pray before we eat.’

Grace looked up, she hadn’t prayed over a meal since, well since her mom died. ‘Okay.’ She wanted to be respectful of his home. They bowed he said a quick prayer and then she looked up. He was smiling again and she was trying not to feel uncomfortable and weird sitting at his table in nothing but a robe. She had wrapped and tied so tightly it was cutting off her circulation.

She dug into the plate and he put salad in a bowl for her. She was just overwhelmed at how much of a gentlemen he was, it had been so long since she’d met a man that was this considerate of women. She didn’t think they existed anymore.

‘Thank you so much for dinner. Who cooked this for you? A girlfriend?’ She knew it was sneaky but she was fishing for information.

He chuckled a bit before answering, ‘no, I cooked it.’

‘Really.’

‘You act like you don’t quite believe me but I do cook. I can’t go out everyday so I know how to cook.’

‘Well, this pot roast is melt in your mouth and these potatoes are seasoned to perfection. It’s a little hard to believe that a man such as yourself can cook.’

‘Such as myself? What does that mean?’

‘Well…you seem kind of, how do I say it…’

He sat looking at her intently hanging on her every syllable. Now Grace was sorry she’d brought it up.

‘…you seem kind of macho. Not exactly like the domestic type.’

‘Is there a domestic type? Boy, you sure do have a lot of nice neat boxes you like to put people in.’

Grace was indignant about his tone, ‘excuse me? I’m not putting anyone in a box, you’re the ‘Handy Guy’ I just assumed.’

Craig put his hand up in surrender the last thing he needed was a huffy half naked woman at his table. He was barely keeping it together as it was if she gotten any madder he would have jumped over that little breakfast table and tried his darnedest to seduce her.

‘I’m sorry,’ he said. He figured it was best to just apologize first and avoid the drama.

‘I’m sorry too. I shouldn’t be that rude to you in your home.’

‘It’s okay, I sometimes get pissed when people try to pigeonhole me.’

‘I know the feeling,’ and she certainly did as a black woman it was easy for people to make lots of assumptions about who she was. ‘Why don’t you tell me something about yourself so I don’t make that mistake again. Okay, Craig.’

‘I’d be happy for you to get to know me better.’ There was something in his tone that had Grace thinking he meant more than she bargained for and she didn’t mind at all.

They’d had a nice dinner, he’d even given her a scoop of chocolate ice cream for dessert. She’d learned a lot about him. He was the oldest of five boys, who’d been raised by their mom and grandparents on their farm in Eastern Washington, around Yakima to be exact. His brothers Earl, Lane, Theodore, and Marshall all lived in the Seattle/Tacoma area and none of them were married. That was surprising because if they looked anything like him she wondered what was wrong with them. He also told her that the cutie pie in the pictures was his daughter and he had been married but had been divorced about 4 years. She found out about his business and all the work he’d put into it over the last 7 years. It seemed it was his baby, the way he talked about just enthralled Grace. He came to life when he talked about his daughter and his business both of which he seemed to love more than anything. He surprised her with his knowledge and he was a college graduate, he’d gone to school for architecture. His grandfather had taught him and his brothers about construction and how to landscape. His mom was a music teacher so he knew how to play the piano. She was the one that had taught him to cook. His brother, Lane, was a chef. Grace couldn’t believe it, this man was pure renaissance. He hunted, fished, and camped which wasn’t as surprising but he was much more than what she’d made him out to be. They’d been sitting for awhile talking and laughing as he told her more about him and his life and childhood. She found herself being drawn in, not what she wanted but she couldn’t help it.

‘I better get your clothes out of the dryer.’

Grace had almost forgotten she was sitting there in his robe. ‘Oh yea, that would be great.’ Her hair he reverted to it’s natural wavy curly state and she probably looked a hot mess but he didn’t seem to notice.

Craig was in the laundry room getting Grace’s clothes out, she was so gorgeous and also seemed so interested in what he had to say. Wendy never had that kind of rapt attention when he talked about his business, which had always been a lifelong dream. At the age of 35 he was a successful businessman but she never saw that, she wanted a suit and tie guy and he was never going to be that guy. It was nice having Grace here it had been a long time since he’d enjoyed the company of any woman. He tried dating a few years ago but the business needed his attention and most women weren’t keen on that but now that things had fallen into place with The Handy Guy, maybe it was time for him to think about dating again. Maybe it was Grace Underwood he should think about doing that with. He’d never dated a black woman not that he figured they were any different than any other woman but his taste leaned more toward leggy blondes with too much boobs and not enough brains. Maybe he needed to go against his typical fare, she was definitely cute as a button and he was attracted to her. But she was a customer so he hated to mix business and pleasure but then again with an ass like that maybe it was worth it.

Craig was taking Grace home, her clothes had dried and they’d chatted a little more on their way back to her house. By the time they pulled up it was almost 8:30 pm neither realized how time had flown. He really hated for her to go, he hadn’t allowed himself to think how lonely he’d become. How he longed for exhilarating female company and she was it. She was funny and smart, they hadn’t started debating politics but he figured she could hold her own. He was really taken by her and wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do next. She sat in the seat next to him in the cab of his truck getting ready to open the door.

‘No wait,’ he said as he jumped out and rushed around to help her out. It could be tricky because his truck was tall and she was not.

‘Thank you.’ She seemed so demure but he also caught glimpses of a firebrand under there and he was intrigued by that.

‘I’ll walk you up.’

‘You don’t have to Craig, I’m okay.’

‘No it was my fault this all happened.’

‘Well that would be fine. Do you still have tools in the house you to need to get?’

‘No, I packed up most of it up. I hate to leave things lying around people’s homes even if I’m coming back.’

They stood on her porch under the light, Grace fumbled with her keys till she got the lock opened. She was feeling skittish for some reason. Well, she knew the reason, Mr. Craig Bellows was wreaking pure havoc on her senses. She felt at any moment she was about pop out of her skin. He was so close right behind her with his warm breath tickling her neck.

Craig stood there behind her feeling the warmth of her body, she smelled like that Suave lavender shampoo and it was heady. As she opened the door she turned and looked at him.

‘Thank you so much for the use of your shower and dinner. I really appreciate it.’

‘Well I’m trying to be of service. I’ll be back tomorrow and I won’t charge you for today.’

‘Really? You know you did work, I’d be happy to pay.’

‘No, no I won’t be billing you. That’d be bad customer service.’

imageShe looked at his lips as he spoke, his words seemed more of a seduction than conversation regarding charges for today’s work. He had beautiful lips, they looked strong and were full and as he spoke his tongue would peek out every so often to lick them.

Craig saw her eyes drift to his mouth, he really wanted this woman. She had just endeared herself to him today. He had to do something, say something.

‘What would be good customer service, Mr. Bellows?,’ she said jokingly.

‘This would…’ And he went for it, he kissed her as she stood there looking as if she needed a good kiss so he gave it to her. He gathered her into his arms and she didn’t fight she just melted, he kissed her hard and deep he wasn’t just going for lips he wanted all access. Grace gave it willingly, she opened her mouth and they explored each other. Her hands wrapped around his muscular shoulders as he held her against his solid chest. His hands around her soft waist as his fingers probed under the hem of that t-shirt to caress that supple newly cleaned skin. Craig couldn’t believe it she was intoxicating and his cock had sprung to life immediately. Grace’s head was spinning she hadn’t ever felt like this kissing someone. Then there was the sound of a car alarm, it startled them both back to what they were doing on her front porch, having a full blown make out session..

Craig pulled back and let her go he was shocked at his loss of control, this was a customer dammit.

‘I’m sorry, Grace. I’m so sorry.’

Grace tried to compose herself but she was flush she could feel the heat on her cheeks, in fact, all over her body.

‘Umm that’s okay, it’s not your fault. I have to go, I’ll see you tomorrow,’ she said hurriedly as she scrambled inside.

As he was telling her goodbye the door slammed shut in his face. Craig walked back to his truck trying to calm his raging hormones, he hadn’t gotten that hard that fast since he was seventeen in the back of grandpa’s truck with Heather Mooney. He wasn’t sure how he was going to be able to work anywhere near her now.

Grace was on the other side of the door cursing herself for letting it go that far but also reveling in how alive she felt because it did. This was going to be a long week with him here everyday.

Remembering Your Heart-Chapter 6

Mona had taken the day to drive out her Aunt Julie’s in Astoria, she was still living in the same home she’d lived in all her life. Mona had many fond memories of playing in the yard and family dinners and just plain love. She’d been feeling really down since her run in with Luke and his lunch date. She thought she might be ready to think about hearing him out but now she figured it was over. She pulled into the driveway of her Aunt’s house, it never seemed this little when she was a child but she remembered sharing a room with Georgie and Pauly as a kid. She smiled as she turned off the engine. Aunt Julie appeared on the porch and Mona jumped out to run into her arms. She loved her Aunt so much and she knew she loved her. They had a bond that even Georgie and Pauly didn’t share with their own mother.

‘Oh I’m so glad to see you, child,’ her Aunt said as she squeezed her tight and kissed her cheek.

‘I’m so glad I could come out.’ Mona leaned back from the embrace to look her Aunt. This woman was still strong and beautiful. She always had a regal appearance to Mona. Now she was little older and stiffer it seemed, but she was still gorgeous with gray hair she kept in a bun and as usual, she was the sharpest dresser ever. Every outfit for Aunt Julie was coordinated at all times, Mona figured that’s where Georgie got it from.

‘Come on in, I made lasagna for lunch.’

‘That sounds delicious,’ but as she said it Mona thought about Mr. Serrano’s lasagna which lead to thoughts of Luke and tears began to fall.

Her Aunt was shocked, ‘what’s wrong Mona? You never cry. You were the strongest little girl I ever saw. Okay, come on in and sit down, I need to know what’s going on.’

Mona trudged inside with tears still streaming down her face. She couldn’t believe that the mention of lasagna had in her in full blown tears.

‘Sit on down Mona. Darling, you have to tell me what’s going on.’

Mona set on her Aunt’s leather couch it was worn but still comfortable. Her Aunt sat down in her wing back chair that she’d had reupholstered a few years ago. Mona was trying to get her breathing together and stop the flow of tears but it was difficult.

‘Does this have something to do with that boy?’

Mona had told her Aunt a little about the romance between her and Luke but she hadn’t spoken about what had happened recently.

‘Yes, Aunt Julie, it is.’

‘Well, I spoke with your cousin and she told me you two had broken up awhile ago. Why are still upset? And why are you this upset?’ her Aunt’s face was a mask of worry.

‘Aunt Julie, it’s such a long story.’

‘Look here child I got all day, so you can tell it.’

Mona settled back into the couch and started to spill the whole sorted tale.

‘I couldn’t believe it Aunt Julie, I just couldn’t. I’d fallen in love with the man who had participated in the murder of my parents. How could I have been such a damn fool?’

‘Now okay Mona, I know you’re upset but no foul language in my house.’

‘I’m sorry but this entire situation has me in complete knots. I’m so hurt and torn up. I don’t know if I ever want to love anyone again.’

Aunt Julie was sitting there watching her niece. She had things she needed to tell Mona. Now looked like the opportunity she had been waiting on.

‘Mona, I need to share something with you about your friend, Mr. Serrano.’

‘What?’ Mona was confused what could her Aunt know about Luke.

‘I know him. I know you’re confused but I do know him. When your parents were killed, we tried our best to shield you from the whole situation. Now, I don’t know if that was a good thing for me and Uncle James Stanley to do, but we did the best we could. We went to the court for the trial, we met with the prosecutor. The whole thing was sad and I was angry, thank the Lord for your Uncle because I wanted kill some folks. Somebody had taken away my sister, my Emily.’

This was the first time she’d ever heard this from her Aunt. She has no idea how this had affected her too. Mona was just a child so her pain was the only important thing to her at the time, but she’d forgotten Aunt Julie had lost her beloved baby sister.

‘They weren’t sure they could find and convict that monster who did this, but then someone came forward. A witness. We were surprised and so was the prosecuting attorney but everyone was thrilled. Someone would testify to what they’d seen that night and what happened. This person knew who the person was that had set fire to your daddy’s restaurant. I was so thankful because if they hadn’t come forward, we would probably never had known who did that evil thing. You know who that person was?’

Mona just stared at her Aunt blankly.

‘It was your Mr. Serrano, I remember him. I wasn’t sure when you told me his name that this was the same man but it is. My Lord, what a small world we live in. He was brave and, yes I was mad he took part in that, but I knew he was kid and fear made him run. He didn’t help or even stay as those boys set fire to your daddy’s place and he did the right thing, he came forward. You know I think God brings people into our lives for a reason. We may not always know right then but it reveals it itself.’

Tears came to Mona’s eyes again, not tears of pain but tears of joy. He hadn’t actually been there, he hadn’t actually participated, and he’d testified against what she figured were his friends at the time. He’d done the right thing then, but she knew he’d done the wrong thing now by not telling her sooner. She wondered why. He could have easily explained this whole thing, why had he chose to keep it a secret? She’d told him about her parents, why didn’t he just say something.

‘Aunt Julie, thank you for this information. I remember when I was little my mama always telling me ‘remember baby, remember your heart, there’s a reason you have one’. I was never sure why she said that until now, my heart is forgiving. All these years I didn’t even realize I’d been keeping all this unforgiveness, all that hate in until right now. All my pain and anguish at the death of my mama and daddy. It was so unfair, it was so unfair.’

Her Aunt got up and went to sit beside Mona and put her arms around her and just held her as she cried.

‘It’s okay darling, it’s okay. You know God can give you double for your trouble. From what I’ve heard this man loves you, he treats you well. Yes, he wasn’t right for keeping that secret but I think he kept it because he didn’t want to hurt you.’

‘Hurt me? Hurt me? I’m in so much pain now.’

‘Listen Mona, we all do things that at the time we think are a good idea. I think me and your Uncle thought it was a good idea not to speak about your mama and daddy. We thought it would hurt you if we did so we just tried our best to make sure your life went back to normal. But really how is anyone ever going to be the same again when their parents die? Especially since you were so young. It was dumb of us, but we tried.’

Mona took her head off her Aunt’s shoulder and looked at her, ‘no, no Aunt Julie it wasn’t dumb. I knew you and Uncle James Stanley did the best you could in a tragic situation.’

‘Then why don’t you extend Mr. Serrano that same understanding.’

Mona had to sit back for a minute, her Aunt was right. But with all that had occurred between her and Luke she didn’t know if it could ever be the same between them.

‘I don’t know Aunt Julie. How do I overcome this?’

Her Aunt Julie looked at her with love and took her arthritic finger and poked her in the chest and said, ‘remember your heart.’

Through the tears Mona smiled for the first time in a long time. There was hope and she felt free.

‘Okay darling, come on back here and get some of this good lasagna.’

Mona realized then too that for the first time in a long time she was starving. They got up and headed for the kitchen with the smell of delicious lasagna. Mona was relieved, things would be alright.

shadow-man-woman<<<<<*****<<<<<>>>>>*****>>>>>

Luke was coming into his condo with take out, he’d been hold up there since his run in with Mona and had no idea how to mend this tragic situation. He’d been thinking about just showing up at her house with roses and the ring he’d been hiding in his sock drawer for the last 2 months. Yes, he wanted to marry her but just hadn’t mustered up the courage to ask before this debacle occurred and now it seemed it too late. He’d looked high and low for a ring to fit her and finally decided she was more unique than any diamond could express. He’d found a beautiful ruby ring with yellow diamonds surrounding it. It set him back a few thousand bucks but nothing was too good for Mona, nothing except the truth. Now it set his drawer, taunting him every time he saw it with his own stupidity. What the hell was he supposed to do now?

As he walked through the door, he saw Brady and Amber cuddled up on his couch laughing watching a movie. He really liked that those two were together and he tried his best not to put them in the middle of his drama. He’d explained to Amber exactly what happened the day they saw him at lunch with Sheila Webster, but he asked her not to tell her Aunt. He didn’t want to seem like a slithery snake running around having these kids do his dirty work. They deserved to enjoy each other. They’d both be heading back to school in the next week. He’d actually miss them both. Brady had been great to have here at the house and Amber was just delightful. He couldn’t have made a better girl for Brady. He hoped his son knew how lucky he was to have a great girl like her. It was something he knew now, he thought regretfully.

‘Hey guys.’

Brady looked up to see his dad and tried to shift so he and Amber didn’t look too intimate.

‘Hi Luke!’

‘Hey dad, what’s up?’

‘Nothing. How about you two?’

‘Nothing much just hanging out watching movies. What you got?’

‘Oh it’s Thai, do either of you want any? There’s plenty.’

‘We’re cool dad, we ordered pizza.’

Luke went into the kitchen and set down his bag and began to pull out containers. It smelled delicious but he wasn’t sure he was hungry.

Suddenly Brady and Amber appeared in the kitchen staring at him.

‘Dad, you okay?’

‘Yes, I’m fine. You guys go back and finish your movie.’

‘Luke, we’re just asking. We both worry about you and Aunt Mo.’

‘I know and you two have been fantastic but don’t concern yourself with what we old folks are doing. You two have college starting up soon, worry about that. Let me worry about what’s happening with me and Mona.’

‘Luke, I don’t know what’s up but I did want to tell you that my Aunt Mo went out to see my grandmother last week. And when she came back she was different.’

Luke furrowed his brow at Amber, ‘different? Different how?’

Amber looked over at Brady who just shook his head encouraging her to continue.

‘She seemed peaceful, not really happy but at ease. I don’t know. I asked her about it and she just kind of…I don’t know hemmed me off.’

‘Has she been like this the whole week, do you know?’

‘Yea, ever since she came back from seeing my grandmother in Astoria. It’s weird but she just seems better. I don’t know what that means for you Luke.’

‘Thanks for telling me that, sweetheart. Right now it doesn’t matter what it means. I’m just happy she’s better. You guys finish watching your movie.’

Amber smiled at Luke as she and Brady left and he returned it. He was thrilled to hear that Mona was okay, but he wondered what happened between her and her Aunt that she’d have this change of heart. He left his dinner and went into the bedroom and closed the door. He opened his sock drawer and extracted the ring box. It was beautiful box, black leather with silver stitching around it. He opened it to peer at the ring he wanted to give to the love of his life as he asked her to marry him. He looked and wondered what the news Amber had just given him meant for their chances or did they still even have a chance.

<<<<<*****<<<<<>>>>>*****>>>>>

It was 7:15 p.m. on a rainy Thursday evening. It has been getting colder as Autumn approached. Mona was sitting in the TV room with Vince Torino and Sergeant Chuck Riley at the table laughing and talking. She had a shift till 5 p.m. tomorrow then she’d be off a day then back on for a 14 hour shift. She’d been feeling better more like her old self again but she still hadn’t spoken to Luke. She knew she needed to but there was just something in her that was holding back. The odd part was after the visit with her Aunt Julie and letting her grief regarding the death of her parents flow, she’d forgiven Luke for his deceit. But there was still something that couldn’t let her face him just now. She’d been working on that but at the moment she still needed time alone to figure out where or if they’d be moving forward in life together.

The guys that were there tonight were either washing clothing or eating. Kimura and Powell were sitting on the couch watching something mindless on television, it was relatively quiet. Hopefully tonight would stay quiet, Mona hadn’t been getting as much sleep as she needed lately although but the nightmares about her parents had stopped. She wasn’t looking as haggard as she had but even she knew her glow had not returned. She kept wondering was that due to the fact Luke was still out of her life. She looked from Torino to Sgt. Riley both with happy and laughing at some joke Chuck had just told. They had loves of their own. Torino was dating a nice guy, Chuck’s family was great as ever, he and his wife were getting ready to celebrate their anniversary. That’s what Mona wanted, deep in her heart that’s what she knew she deserved. She decided right then that within the next couple of days she’d get in touch with Luke. She wanted this ache to be gone, she wanted to know what would happen between them. If the love was still there.

‘Mona, you okay?’ Torino asked.

‘Yea, Vince I’m fine. I’m just a little tired, maybe I need to turn in…’

The sound of the fire alarm cut off Mona’s reply. Time to go. She and the rest of the guys jumped up and headed for the poles, they made quick work of everything. Getting on their gear in a few quick minutes and onto the trucks. There was shouting of instructions as dispatch started giving details on the incident, a house fire, she disliked those. They could easily get out of control and spark fires in nearby homes, these houses were packed on top of each other in this neighborhood. It was a constant source of annoyance for the firefighters at the firehouse.

Mona set in the front cab of the truck, listening and taking notes as dispatch spoke. Kimura was sitting across from her, relaying information regarding the incident site. There were so many things going on all Mona could do is concentrate and pray. It never got any easier when they went out on a call, her adrenaline was always rushing, she was scared but that served her well. Frightened was good, it meant she avoided making stupid decisions at the incident site.

They pulled up and it was worse than they imagined, the fire was raging out of control. It was two story home and it looked like the fire’s origin was on the first floor. That would make it easier to try and get under control but there were so many things to watch. She was out in a flash, helping Kimura get the hoses unfurled and hooked up to the hydrant. She and Kimura worked well together he knew his role and she knew hers which made things easy. There was a couple with three kids standing near the street sobbing, the woman kept putting her head in the man’s shoulder.

She heard Chuck shout, ‘there’s one missing. There’s a kid missing,’ over to Torino and Powell.

She knew that meant, there was a person who may not have gotten out.

‘Powell. Anderson. Start searching. Torino get over here and get on the hose.’

Torino came running and Mona took off in one direction as Powell took off in the other around the perimeter searching for the other kid. She was 14 years old and named Phoebe Weiss. Mona had searched for missing people before at incident sites, she was sure that’s why Chuck sent her. She had a knack for knowing where people maybe hiding and that’s what she was praying for that this child was just hiding because there was no way anyone was going into the fire, not tonight. She heard Powell’s voice calling out to the side of her.

‘Hey, is anybody here? Phoebe?’

Then suddenly in her peripheral vision she saw him go toward the house. There was complete commotion everywhere. The last thing she needed was Powell doing something stupid.

‘Powell, what the hell are you doing?’

‘I’m going in. I hear her so I’m going in.’

‘Powell! Have you cleared that?’ she shouted running towards him. Sometimes the hissing of fire could sound like a human being, they all knew that. Why was this jackass going into that house? Even if it was the child’s voice it was too risky, especially alone. She saw him enter the burning house and thought, you idiot, this was going turn into a disaster. As she looked in she could see him, he was turning in circles as if he was disoriented, which wasn’t hard to do when inhaling smoke even with the mask on. Suddenly she saw him stagger and fall, it all happened so fast. Mona couldn’t wait, she had to get in there. She couldn’t leave a fellow firefighter to die even if she hated his guts. She was on her radio in a flash reporting to Sgt. Riley.

‘Powell is down. I’m going in after him.’

Mona didn’t wait for a reply she just charged ahead. It was foolish thing to do she knew but she no choice.

She heard a crackle and then Sgt. Riley say, ‘Anderson get the hell out of there! I’m ordering you to abort that rescue.’

Mona couldn’t hear much more as the fire crackled and sizzled around her. Items in the home were bursting from the flames and heat, the whole place was combustible. Then suddenly she heard it, the ceiling caving in and then she saw as it fell on top of Powell’s limp body which was now buried under a pile of burned wood and sheetrock. She turned to see Torino standing at the side door and suddenly Mona felt a hot swoosh as something landed on her hard. She went down as everything began to go black and the last thing she heard was, ‘Mona! Mona!’ as Torino screamed her name.

Surviving In Dateland-Chapter 9

348474-adminThe Ferry was finally pulling into the terminal at Port Townsend, it was small quaint town and Sophie was nervous about this visit. As they drove off the Ferry, she looked over at Brock and he smiled at her. She’d been quiet most of the drive and he’d been filling her in on who would be out at this gathering.

‘My mother and father, of course, Gerta and Thomas Giles, my youngest sister, my younger brother, Bailey, my older sister Brooke and her husband, Dick, oh I mean Dirk.’

She laughed when he said that, ‘why did you get his name wrong?’

‘I don’t like Dirk and he doesn’t care for me. He’s a complete snob as is my sister sometimes but she has a good heart. He has no heart. They have two little girls, cute as buttons but spoiled rotten.’

‘Oh Brock! That’s what you do with children, you spoil them. Where do they live?’

‘In Sammamish in the highlands. Dirk’s family is wealthy and in politics in Georgia but not as wealthy as ours. He seems to think I’m some kind of ne’er do well because I worry about people less fortunate than me and I’m not trying to abuse my power. Which is weird because I actually haven’t got any.’

‘That bad, hmmm.’

‘Oh yea, please don’t worry if he says anything racist or stupid I’ll set him straight. He’s not that smart it will be easy to do.’

‘Okay,’ Sophie was not in the mood to battle idiots so she was happy Brock seemed to have no issue doing so.

‘Brock. Can I ask you a question?’

‘Sure, why not. I’m an open book for you, baby.’

‘Have you ever brought a black woman home to your family?’

He started to laugh heartily, ‘what an odd question. Are you concerned?’

‘Well…yes and no, but can I get an answer to my question.’

‘Well, no I haven’t, but don’t let that concern you. I haven’t brought a black woman home to meet my family but then again, I haven’t brought many women home to met them. My family isn’t perfect and although their name is attached to a corporation and I love them. They’re my family and I only bring really serious girlfriends around. That way it keeps down trouble for me.’

Sophie turned to smirk at him, Brock caught her look. Now she was really freaking out.

As they drove Sophie couldn’t help but notice the beautiful trees, it had been awhile since she’d been out to the Peninsula and it was gorgeous. She’d tried to pack conservative clothing she didn’t want to be too provocative. From what Brock had told her his family was mildly conservative. She’d also brought evening wear. He said it was a requirement that they dress up for dinner Saturday evening. She didn’t have an evening dress so she’d gone to Macy’s to buy one. She almost went to Lindstrom’s but she thought it was would be over doing it if she stepped into their household with one of their evening dresses on. Sophie had never even heard of dressing for dinner, she’d only done that as a child when they went to her grandparents house after church on Sunday. Leann had helped her pick out something for the dinner but as usual with Leann it was low cut and sexy. She wasn’t sure she wanted to do it but Leann had reassured it was in good taste and that Brock would love it. Leann had picked out a white one shouldered mini sheath with embellishment at the shoulder and a pair of strappy silver sandals with crystals on them. Sophie remembered the last outfit Leann picked for her on the date with the narcissistic lawyer, she hoped this whole thing went over well.

They were winding down a road with not much more than fir trees to catch their eye. It was Friday and summer so it was a cool night. The moon roof on Brock’s Prius was open and Sophie could feel the breeze she heard the crickets singing in the evening and although it was almost 8 pm, it was still light outside. She loved these northern summers. They came to a road that just looked deserted and Brock turned in although it was paved it wasn’t paved well. It seemed that if another car came toward them it would be a pretty decent game of chicken going on for who got the right of way.

‘Ahh the old homestead,’ Brock chimed in and he took her hand and squeezed it.

She figured he was trying to reassure her but at this moment nothing was going to make her feel better. As they drove along the road started to wind, Brock didn’t have any issues as they made their way further in. As they went along, Sophie could see something through the trees, just peeks but it was a very large clearing and a house, well not exactly a house, a mansion and suddenly he took another sharp turn and it appeared. Sophie was blown away it was huge, it was the biggest homes she’d ever seen.

‘Wow!’

She saw Brock turn to her and grin, ‘impressed? You ought to see the Italian villa.’

She looked at him, ‘you have an villa?’

‘Well, I don’t per se but the family does. This house is just a place to relax here in Washington. This is Vatten Stuga, the Water Lodge.’

‘Do you speak Swedish?’

‘A little, I had to learn on my own. My great grandfather forbade his children from speaking Swedish he wanted them to be real Americans,’ he says with sarcasm. He didn’t seem really proud of that part of his family story. But then he suddenly cheered up and patted her knee, ‘I’m so glad you’re here Sophie, I’m so glad.’

Sophie felt like he meant those words. She was glad to be here too because suddenly the cool and collected Brock she knew seemed nervous and stiff. She wondered what that was all about.

<<<<<*****>>>>>*****<<<<<

As Brock pulled up he parked by a Porsche SUV, there were a few other luxury vehicles parked in spaces as well.

‘I see Brooke is here with Dirk, this is his Porsche. God, he’s such a douchebag I really think he’s cheating on my sister but I can’t prove it.’

Sophie exited the car quietly she didn’t know what to say to that news but the easygoing man that had driven them here was gone and this tense one had taken his place.

As they opened the hatchback Sophie noticed three people headed their way. An older woman and gentlemen and a younger man about Brock’s age but shorter and he looked like he’d been working hard.

‘Hello Mr. Giles,’ the man spoke first as they approached.

‘Hello Mr. Rundquist and Mrs. Rundquist, how are you two doing.’

‘Fine. And yourself?’

‘I’m fine Mr. Rundquist. Let me introduce you. This is my girlfriend, Sophie Robeson. Sophie this is Mr. and Mrs. Rundquist, they’re the caretakers here.’

‘Hello,’ Sophie was cordial Mr. Rundquist greeted her, the woman however just nodded her head and looked suspicious. This was not how she wanted to start this trip but whatever.

‘Felix, how are you?’

‘Good, very good Mr. Giles.’

The man spoke with a slight accent. He was Filipino and seemed very nice.

‘Can I take those for you ma’am?’ he asked Sophie and started to take her bags and put them on a dolly. He took Brock’s after wards and headed back up to the house.

As Sophie got a good look at it, she really noticed how beautiful it was. It was a giant wooden mansion with intricate detail and carvings all over it. They looked to be Swedish traditional carvings, Sophie couldn’t believe how beautiful it appeared. The place was huge with a large porch that looked as if it went all the way around. She felt Brock’s hand on her arm.

‘Hey, Mr. Rundquist is everyone around the back at the pool?’ Mr. Rundquist told him yes and Brock started to lead Sophie toward to back of the house.

‘Pool? This place is by a lake, what’s the pool for?’

‘The kids. Come on, I’ll take you back there and introduce you to everyone. I think my Uncle Peter is here and it’s been awhile since I’ve seen him.’

‘Are your parents here?’

‘Umm yea, my mom was driven out and my dad’s Mercedes is back up there parked in the garage.’

Sophie just walked silently as they strolled along a rock path toward the back of the large home. It was a long walk but she noticed the lake as they walked, it was beautiful and serene. She could see other homes across its span with docks and large boats pulled up to them. She guessed this was the time for folks to be out on Discovery Bay. Summer here had to be spectacular. Brock took her hand as they approached the back of the home. She felt much better because as they walked the yard she was overwhelmed. It had guest houses and another large two story home she saw coming onto the grounds. There was large playground, tennis courts and a basketball court and lots of land. Sophie suddenly started to hear voices, a loud discussion about politics but not like anything she’d ever heard. It wasn’t not loud with laughter, it was a stern discussion of money. There were some people not agreeing about the economic future of our country.

‘Oh goodness, not already. I knew it was coming but not this soon. Sophie, please don’t break up with me because of my family.’

Before they entered the fray he turned to hug her, he kissed her tenderly then more passionately it was a kiss she’d never felt before. Sophie was swept away, they’d kissed many times but something about this kiss was desperate and hungry he squeezed her tight and clung to her. Sophie wasn’t sure what this was about but she liked it.

‘Uh-unh.’ Sophie heard the interruption to the side of her. Brock let his grip go slightly limp but still had her in his arms. They both looked to the person who’d interrupted their little intimate moment.

She was blonde, slim with blue eyes and a tall frame and she looked rather pissed.

‘Sorry sis,’ Brock told her looking contrite.

So this was the sister she’d heard so much about. She was lovely although not as beautiful as Sophie thought she would be but she’d keep that to herself. At her feet were two adorable little girls one was blonde and the other had brunette hair.

‘And there are my favorite nieces, come give me a hug.’

The two little squeaking delights ran toward him as he stooped. Sophie smiled it was such an adorable image, she could imagine him with their kids one day. Whoa! That thought was out of nowhere, they’re kids. Sophie pushed it aside.

Brock turned and stretched his hand out to Sophie, ‘Sophie, I want you to meet my two favorite girls. This is Tate and Morgan.’

The girls twisted in their little matching outfits and played coy, they were cute. Just as adorable as Brock had told her.

‘Hello, Tate. Hello, Morgan.’ They smiled shyly at her.

‘Also, this is my sister, Brooke. Sis, this my girlfriend, Sophie Roberson.’

Brock’s sister smiled toward her and extended her hand, Sophie shook it. It was rather formal but everyone’s family wasn’t hers.

‘Come on back, Brock, everyone has been expecting you. I know they’ll be happy to see you.’ She grabbed Brock by the arm and started to drag him toward the crowd. The girls went running in front of them. Sophie came in behind them, it seemed as if his sister was happy to see him but not thrilled to see the new girlfriend.

It had been a whirlwind, there were a lot of people in the back on a large stone patio and wood deck with a huge fire pit in the middle. Brock’s family seemed happy to see him. Sophie had been introduced all around, it was a large family and they weren’t even all there. Sophie had met his Aunts and Uncles and some cousins and lots of kids. His Uncle Peter would be there tomorrow on a plane from Puerto Rico, seems he was the black sheep in the family kind of like Brock and also his favorite Uncle.

‘Mom and Dad this is Sophie, my new girlfriend. Sophie, these are my parents Thomas and Gerta Giles.’

‘Hello Sophie, so glad you could join us. Brock doesn’t bring many of his female companions here so we’re honored.’

‘Thank you Mr. Giles.’ Brock’s dad was tall about as tall as he was. He had dark hair like Brock with gray at his temples with those chocolate brown eyes like Brock and was in great shape. He also had a slight British accent. Sophie was really happy he seemed really welcoming and friendly.

‘It’s so nice to meet you Sophie. Brock has spoken about you to me, it’s just wonderful to finally meet,’ his mother spoke to her smiling ear to ear.

‘It’s nice to meet you too, Mrs. Giles.’

‘Oh no, please call me Gerta.’

‘Yes, we’re not that formal here despite what Brock may have told you,’ Mr. Giles looked over at Brock and smiled.

Sophie noticed Brock’s mother was staring at her, it wasn’t oddly, she just kept smiling. She was tall but so were most of the women in Brock’s family it seemed. She had brown hair in a blunt haircut very stylish and was slim with a athletic physique. She was a very pretty woman and looked as if she’d been a real beauty in her day.

‘Well, I’m so happy to meet everyone,’ Sophie hadn’t been this nervous meeting a guy’s family ever but she had so many feelings invested in her relationship with Brock. She didn’t want this to go badly.

‘Where is Grammy?’

Sophie giggled a bit at Brock’s use of ‘Grammy’ it was so cute coming from this strong and capable man. He looked over at her a bit embarrassed.

‘Your grandmother went to bed at 7pm. You know how she is Brock,’ his mother responded.

‘I know. Sophie, my grandmother has a regimen that is strict, up at 5am to bed by 7pm. She’s kept it all her life and the woman is healthy as a horse. Where’s Bailey?’

His dad looked at his mom, ‘Bailey is on a business trip.’ He made the air quotes as he said it.

Sophie wasn’t sure but she was sure that something was amiss about his brother not being here.

A young woman came up and hugged him tight. She looked familiar like Brock’s mother.

‘Hey there, my little Bianca.’

‘I am not little Brock. Stop calling me that.’

‘You’re still little to me,’ and put her in a headlock which had her screaming to the top of her lungs.

‘Brock, let your sister go,’ she looked over at Sophie in exasperation, ‘I swear these two have been like this forever but he loves his sister. You two stop it!’

Sophie could see that. She finally got introduced to his little sister who was actually not little, she played basketball at Gonzaga and like his mother and older sister was a beauty with blue eyes and long brunette hair. She was a lot like Brock, fun and very social. She talked a lot and had brought her roommate, Vicky, to this family gathering. A pretty petite blond who seemed to have an eye for Brock.

Everyone had been really nice and friendly, everyone except his brother in law, Dirk. He’d been quite cold and although he treated her with disdain there was something in his eyes that kept watching her with disgust and sexual longing. It creeped Sophie completely out, he just seemed like a perverted ass who was totally about image while living a hidden freaky life. She was going to try her best to avoid him the remainder of the weekend.

Later that evening most everyone had settled in for the night. She, Brock and a few of his cousins along with his sister, Bianca and her friend were still up hanging outside drinking and chatting.

‘I like your family.’

‘They’re not bad. It’s sometimes like an out of this world experience coming here.’

‘Why?’

‘Well, look around Sophie. Who lives like this? Most of the time I’m in the real world and when I come here, it just seems artificial somehow.’

‘Well, I love it.’

‘Yea a lot of people do.’

Sophie looked over at him, he was staring at the sky as if he’d just checked out of the entire conversation. She decided to settle into his embrace as they both stared out to the beautiful clear night sky.

Sophie had finally gotten sleepy. Brock was leading her upstairs toward their room. If it looked big on the outside, the house was ginormous on the inside. The were staying in the East Wing while his parents, Aunts, and Uncles stayed in the West Wing of the mansion the part occupied by his grandmother. They’d come to the room on the second floor, yes the home did have three floors.

‘This is goodnight,’ he told her as he opened the door and escorted her in.

‘Goodnight? Where are you staying?’

‘I have a room down the hall. My grandmother does not allow unmarried people to share bedrooms in her home. She’s Catholic. So no hanky panky.’

Sophie stepped into the room, it was large with a large wooden canopy bed against the wall. It was beautifully decorated in hues of rose, a deep ruby color, and gold accents. She couldn’t imagine sleeping in here the entire night alone.

‘This room is too big, Brock.’

‘What do you mean, it’s the size of your apartment,’ he said sarcastically and grinned.

‘I’m not joking. It’s a little intimidating and kind of scary.’

‘Well, I’m sorry this is it. The majority of the rooms here are now taken. Don’t be frightened you’re safe as kittens here. Come on in and relax. This is part of my grandmother’s addition to the house and see, at least you have your own bathroom. I don’t even have that and I’m a favorite grandchild.’

Great, she thought.

‘You’ll be fine.’

‘I don’t think so. Where are you at?’

‘Two doors down, left side.’

‘Okay and by the way where’s your brother? Bailey.’

‘Huh? What kind of question is that?’

‘Well your mother seemed annoyed when you asked and your father and his air quotes and eyebrow told a me something was wrong.’

‘Are you trying to get me to stay?’

‘Well, yes and no. Brock, please, just stay till I go to sleep.’

‘Okay but if you get me in trouble with my Grammy…well young lady, this relationship could be on the rocks.’

Sophie laughed at him and ushered him in. She got ready for bed and got under the covers, she had to say the bed felt like cotton. This probably would be an easy rest tonight. He was still fully dressed just his shoes were off. She got under the covers and he sat on them and held her close. It was comfortable in the house, not too cold, not too warm. Sophie figured when she got to sleep she’d sleep well.

‘Well, are you going to answer my question.’

‘Bailey is with a mystery woman.’

‘What?’

‘For the last couple of months Bailey has been M.I.A. when it comes to family gatherings. My dad said when he ask where he was, Bailey just shoos him off. My mother is upset she thinks the woman is a bad influence on him if she won’t even let him come to spend time with his family.’

‘Do you know anything about it? Who she is?’

‘No. Bailey works for the family corporation. My dad is CFO, Bailey is Assistant Chief of operations. My brother is 27 years old, he’s his own man. I don’t get why mom and dad are so worried. He doesn’t shirk any of his duties at work, he just doesn’t come to family stuff all the time. My dad told me while I was down there that Bailey took the private jet to Italy this weekend. My mom doesn’t know.’

Private jet? Sophie was so overwhelmed by the wealth of these people she didn’t know how to cope barely but she didn’t want Brock to know that. She kept thinking about tomorrow’s dinner and that dress she bought from Macy’s these women probably had their dresses made by the best designers in Europe and here she comes with off the rack.

‘Oh,’ was the only response she could think of for what Brock just told her.

‘I don’t know. Bailey is very private. He’s always been that way, we’re not close because he’s more reserved than me. He went to military school for God’s sake. But we do have one thing in common.’

‘What’s that.’

‘We both love beautiful women.’ He peered down at her and Sophie could feel him coming in for the kiss. It was intense, he was going deep and gathering her up into his solid arms. They started to caress each other and then his hands reached under her nightgown. Sophie was all in now and suddenly he pulled away.

‘What’s wrong Brock?’ she was bereft and confused at his sudden change of heart.

‘This,’ he pointed down at the hardness in his shorts, ‘I want to make love with you so badly but right now I’m so horned up I’d make way too much noise. I better get to bed, so should you.’

Sophie knew he was right. She didn’t want to disrespect his grandmother’s wishes but she was just hoping she could get a little something, it probably would have put her to sleep. He got up and got himself in working order. Sophie walked him to her door, they kissed briefly before he left and before they ended up naked on that very big bed in the throes of passion.

She closed the door as he said goodnight and left. Sophie was feeling strangely about this entire trip not just about her awkwardness at being in the midst of the super rich but also wondering why Brock had brought her. He clearly wasn’t extremely close to his family, although they seemed very loving, and wasn’t part of the family business. She wondered what the hell was she doing here.

Time For Love-Chapter 1

936full-jake-gyllenhaal

Okay I’m a glutton for punishment. Why would I ever start a story while I have about five of them that I’m in a middle of writing right now. Because I’m a glutton for punishment but this story was just on my mind and these two folks were on it as a good combination for hero and heroine. Don’t expect an update for this too soon. I still got two stories I’m finishing Remember Your Heart and Surviving in Dateland. But for some reason I thought Forks, Washington would be a good setting. Because I know Forks and the areas around Forks and someone needs a tell a story about that beautiful part of the country without including werewolves and sparkly vampires. So why not me.  I hope you like this story and like I said it may be awhile before you see a Chapter 2 but I’m going to complete it, definitely.

Chapter 1

‘There he is over there, Lill.’

‘Who’s over there?’ Casey peeked her nosy head in on Lill and Roberta’s conversation.

‘I’m not talking to you Casey. Get outta our business,’ Roberta admonished the young woman.

Lill still hadn’t turned toward whatever Roberta was talking about, she didn’t have time. There were other customers in The Rain Drop Diner that needed help. The breakfast rush was winding down but there were still people at her tables and the counter which Roberta was handling today.

Lillian turned toward her exasperated with her chatter, ‘What Roberta! What are you talking about?’

‘Over in the corner. He’s been here every Thursday morning for a month and the whole time he’s here he’s eyeing you.’

At that statement, Lillian thought maybe she needed to check ‘him’ out. She turned from the prep counter to the corner and there he was. She hadn’t noticed him until Roberta said something today, but she wasn’t sure how she’d missed him. He was beautiful. He had chestnut brown hair and the sweetest blue eyes she’d ever seen and Roberta was right he was looking at her. He was trying to do it slyly but he was almost gawking. She knew he wasn’t staring at Roberta she was a 56 year old rotund grandmother. Casey was out of the question it wasn’t because she was bad looking or older she wasn’t. She was 22 years old, kind of mousy but cute but she was married with 2 children. So by process of elimination it had to be her.  She looked away from his stare it was making her uncomfortable.

Lillian had never really been into white guys even as one of the few black women in a small town by the coast of Washington. She’d always dated black men, she always felt that they knew her struggle a lot better. She’d lived in Seattle for many years with two ex-boyfriends after she’d dropped out of college the first year, a decision she regretted. She struggled on her own there for a few years living with her cousin and her husband but she just felt like a burden. About 3 years ago after her dad had a stroke she’d come back to Forks to be near her parents. They needed her. She lived in a tiny house behind their place and it suited her. She helped them and it gave her chance to attend college via online. She had a few more months until graduation and then hopefully she’d be starting a career away from this diner. She’d always been grateful Ben Holloway had given her a job when she showed back up in town, she’d worked her as a teenager. Now all she hoped was that this accounting degree would get her some work. She didn’t want to look around in 4 years and be 35 still waiting on tables.

Jose was ringing for her to pick up another order but before she did she caught one more quick glance at the gorgeous man in the corner. She didn’t have time for this kind of distraction but he was certainly nice to look at.

Jonas just sat there sipping his coffee with a half eaten muffin on the plate. This certainly was not the best place in town for breakfast, there was diner up the road that had way better food, but she was here. He’d come in once to ask directions and saw her. She was the most beautiful thing he’d ever beheld. Beautiful skin the color of fresh honey, she was an exotic flower in a sea of weeds in this town.

Jonas had moved to Forks from Olympia he’d just been here about two months, he’d come for an opportunity to buy a veterinary clinic from one his old professors. Dr. Parsons had always believed in him so when he decided to retire to the Bahamas he called Jonas and gave him first opportunity to buy out his established clinic. So he’d moved out here it was small but quaint and it was the setting for that book and movie ‘Twilight’. He wasn’t concerned about that he was concerned about the fine beauty that was waiting tables. He’d purposefully not set at her tables when he showed up on Thursday morning. He didn’t think he was ready to talk to her, he had seen from her name tag her name was Lillian. She was definitely a Lilly, beautiful, soft, delicate and exquisite. When he was there on Thursday mornings she never seemed to pay him much attention, he breezed in and out unnoticed until today. Today she’d looked directly at him when the older woman spoke to her. He wondered if they were talking about him. It didn’t matter. He’d have to make a move soon or he’d be accused of stalking. He just wasn’t sure he had time for love or even if he should bother.

His last relationship had ended a year ago when his fiancé, Heather had left him for a yoga instructor in California. This would be a fresh start.

Lillian was getting weary of Roberta following her around talking about the strange guy at the corner table staring at her.

‘I’ve heard a couple of people call him, Dr. Stewart. I wonder what kind of doctor he is?’ Casey said. Roberta looked over at him again, ‘with those kind of clothes child he couldn’t be a rich one.’

‘Roberta,’ she was finally fed up, ‘I’ve got customers to help and so do you. I’ve got a cup a coffee and a glass of juice to get over to Ethel and Rev. Bell, not now please.’

Roberta threw her hands in the air and backed away she knew when Lill was in a bad mood it was not the time to gossip or chitchat.

Lillian was coming from behind the counter when someone at it tried to get her attention she turned suddenly and didn’t even notice the gorgeous hunk of man who walked in front of her.

‘Whoa!’ She said as she bumped directly into his side, coffee and juice went flying everywhere. Most of it hit Lill’s t-shirt, jeans, apron, and the floor.

‘I’m so sorry,’ the good looking stranger from the corner table told her.

Lillian sighed then plastered on a smile, ‘it’s okay it was totally my fault. This will happen when you don’t watch where you’re going.’

Casey and Roberta both rushed over to make sure she was okay and to bring her a towel.

‘Are you okay Mister? I didn’t burn you with that coffee?’ Lillian asked as she tried to clean his jacket.

‘Oh no, I’m okay I got some on my pants but this jacket is water proof. Looks like that was a good purchase,’ he smiled at Lillian.

For a moment she was at a complete loss for words, he was beautiful, friendly, sensuous, and sexy all at once. His whole face lit up when he smiled, he had the naughty schoolboy thing going on full blast. She blinked and shook her head slightly to come out of the dream of her and him and more ways to make him smile.

‘Oh. Good.’ She looked over toward the Bells, ‘Reverend and Mrs. Bell, I’ll get you new glasses of coffee and juice in a moment. And well since you’re okay I better get picked up and back to work.’

Lillian hurried away from him like lightning, she couldn’t take much more of that smile. It had her weak in the knees and she’d never felt that way about anyone particularly some white guy. As she refilling coffee cups and pouring more juice she kept looking over at him. He was paying Roberta and was about to leave, but just before he did he looked back to catch Lillian smiling at him and waved. She almost dropped that dang juice glass again. She was headed back to give Rev. Bell and Mrs. Bell their drinks and peered out of the window to see him in the parking lot. He had a sure gait, very manly, she’d only noticed his face in the restaurant but his body wasn’t to go unnoticed he looked to be in good shape. He got into a silver Volvo SUV and headed out.

‘You okay child?’

Lillian looked down at Rev. Bell, ‘oh yes sir, I sure am. I made a bit of a mess but I’ve recovered.’

‘That’s good, looked a little messy for a second, Sister Danvers,’ then he chuckled.

Lillian thought, he didn’t know how right he was now that they’d acknowledged each other this thing could get messy.

Jonas had just stepped into his clinic for the day he an appointment at 9:30 a woman by the name of Ms. Killeen who had a tabby by the name of Buttons that was listless and not eating. Jonas enjoyed being a veterinarian, he preferred animals to people many times and living in such a rural area it kept him busy and the work was much more varied. He saw domesticated animals small as gerbils and wild animals as big as cougars.

‘Hey Dr. Stewart!’

‘Hey there, Thad how are you today?’

‘Doing great Dr. Stewart. Had an awesome night, my girlfriend accepted my marriage proposal.’

‘Really, that’s great. Congratulations.’

‘I guess finally getting this great job with you as veterinary assistant sealed it for her.’

Jonas laughed, yes he knew how some women were impressed by money. He hoped Thad had chosen wisely it could be tragic to figure out you hadn’t too late.

‘I see you’re getting things prepped for today.’

‘Yes, we’ll be ready Dr. Stewart. I looked at the schedule looks like we’re busy today.’

‘We have lots of precious creatures to take care of. Is Chelsea here yet?’

‘No, but it’s almost 9 she should be showing up any minute.’

‘Okay we’ve got our first patient at 9:30 am. I’ve got some notes to complete before they come in. I’ll be in my office.’

‘Okay, Dr. Stewart, I’ll let you know when our first patient arrives.’

Jonas walked toward his office, he stepped in and took off his coat and put it on the coat rack. This place wasn’t fancy or lavish, it was functional. The walls were paneled, he’d taken down all the photos Fred Parsons had up. He hadn’t replaced it with much, just various accolades, certifications and degrees he’d earned. He had a few photos of his family but not many, his parents lived in Gig Harbor still and his brother and two sisters still lived here in the Pacific Northwest. Jonas was the youngest at 35 years old, then his sister, Mary Ann was 38, married with two kids, then his brother Donovan was 43, married with one child, then his oldest sister, Vivian was 46 had married her long time girlfriend this year, they had five kids together. Jonas’ parents continually looked at him and wondered why he wasn’t married and giving them grandkids. Then again after today he thought he might make them grandparents some time soon.

He’d been enchanted when he first saw her almost a month ago when he walked into the diner to ask directions and get a cup of coffee to go. She was like a dream come to life, she was wearing braids that day and he couldn’t take his eyes off her. She was so busy she didn’t notice him and hadn’t noticed him until today. The luck of her running into him was kismet, finally a chance to speak to her not exactly in the way he imagined but it was better than nothing.

He’d found out that day her name was Lillian because that’s what the customers called her. She was friendly and engaging and sexy as everything. Her sex appeal caught his eye but over the last few weeks of coming in for breakfast he’d noticed more. She was funny and smart, she was kind but was very direct with some of the over eager menfolk in this small town. It couldn’t be easy to so gorgeous with a body that just screamed sin and not have some of these old horn dogs and the young ones too getting all grab ass. He liked she was a little tough but sweet and stood up for herself. He’d had enough of push overs with Heather, he liked that she would probably give him a challenge.

As he sat there with images of her pretty smile and smooth, soft caramel skin he could feel his manhood stirring. Jonas couldn’t believe it, it had been many years and many women since he’d felt such longing just imagining someone. This Lillian had bewitched him and he was eager to see what would come of this infatuation. There was sharp rap at the door, Jonas looked up and tried to calm his active hormones.

‘Come in.’

‘Dr. Stewart, first patient is in.’

‘Alright Thad get the feline prepped. I’ll be in a minute.’

Meagan-Good-Mens-Health-23He needed a moment and a plan on how to make a chance encounter with the woman of his dreams into time for love.

Love Never Leaves-Chapter 3

The night had gone well, Helena had found Jake to be funny and engaging and really charming. She was just so shocked because the person she’d first met didn’t seen to match at all the person who set across from her in this neighborhood bar. They’d had a delicious meal and had decided to go a place called The Spot Lounge. It was quiet and romantic with a great Jazz quartet playing to set the mood. They were on their 2nd drink Jake enjoying a rum and coke while Helena sipped on a glass of Malbec.

‘Helena, I’m glad you decided to go out with me.’

‘Well, I think I deserved the apology dinner. I’m not going to press the issue but you weren’t the friendliest person I had ever met in my life.’

Jake lowered his head in shame, he couldn’t really tell her why he’d been so unfriendly but he wanted to make it up to her, she was nice and insanely beautiful. He kept feeling as if maybe he liked her, maybe too much.

‘I’m sorry there really is no excuse for my behavior. My grandmother would tan my hide if she were alive.’

At those words Helena thought she’d definitely be down for seeing his tanned hide. He was so sexy she’d been trying to appear more reserved but this red wine was getting to her.

‘It’s okay, sometimes days are bad,’ and she should know she had many bad days after Scott’s death. She shook her head to come out of the memory and there he still was sitting in front of her, looking better than any man she’d seen in a long time.

‘I can’t believe you’re an author and a famous one. Just wow! I’ve read your books but it’s been awhile since I’ve seen any new ones. What you been up to?’

Jake didn’t want to tell her the reason he hadn’t been writing was because he’d been depressed and mourning. She asked what he did and he almost lied but decided to just to be truthful. He didn’t want to start off on the wrong foot with this woman. So he told her that he wrote books, that he actually wrote mysteries and found that she loved his mysteries. And then he told her that he was Earl Gall. She almost didn’t believe him but he proved he was, he had some photos from a trade show he’d recently gone to. She was impressed and happy and he felt like for the first time in a long while he’d opened up to a woman. He’d been vulnerable. It felt great. For many years no one knew who he was but Connie had encouraged him to come out from under the pseudonym. He was a best-selling author so he was afraid he’d be inundated but it wasn’t that bad some people recognized him out and about but most times no one knew who he was. That suited Jake just fine.

‘How did you come up with that name? Just pick it out of a phone book or something?’

He laughed, Helena loved the way his green eyes twinkled when he laughed. He had this naughty mischievous little boy face even with his full beard.

‘No. Earl is my middle name, Gall is just shortened from Galanos. When I started writing, I was still working as an attorney I wasn’t supposed to be moonlighting. But I had to get it out. I got turned down by everyone and I do mean everyone till finally I got a call from Banner Books.’

‘Well what’s the rest of your story Mr. Gall? I’d like to know it.’

Jake wasn’t ready to tell it, ‘not much to tell. I was born in San Diego, lived there all my life until I moved here. I have one older sister, a mom and dad who live in Palm Springs, and I used to be a patent attorney. I’m 42 years old and that’s about it.’

‘I’m sure there’s more to that story but I won’t press you.’

Jake smiled and put his hands up waving no, ‘nope, there’s not much else. I’m not that interesting.’

‘Jake, please from what I can tell you’re very interesting.’

Jake saw the look in her eyes, it was smoldering. He just felt so drawn to her, he couldn’t help it he leaned over and pulled her closer.

‘Helena, can I ask you something?’

Helena was surprised she thought for sure he was was going in for the kiss.

‘Sure,’ she was embarrassed that she thought something was going to occur and it didn’t.

‘I want to kiss you but it’s been awhile since I’ve kissed anyone. I don’t want to mess this up because I like you. Is it okay if I kiss you?’

Helena looked a little taken aback she hadn’t had someone ask her for a kiss not even Scott did that. She just found it so sweet and endearing and she wanted the kiss.

‘Of course.’

The each leaned in and his nice firm lips hit hers. It felt great, his lips were soft and at first he was hesitant, he tasted of spicy rum and sweet cola. She could kiss him all night, he didn’t rush anything then suddenly it seemed they each sought more. Jake’s tongue slipped easily into the seam of her lips and Helena opened willingly to allow him access. Jake wanted to grab her and place her on his lap so she could feel how turned on he was. He was surprised by his reaction to her, his hands were on her arms and he held on to her gently. It was more than he could take, he pulled away suddenly.

Helena was left a little bereft that he’d just pulled back. She didn’t want it to stop but then again they were in public maybe what was happening between them was a little hot and heavy.

Helena was blushing although her cocoa skin wasn’t giving it away, ‘Jake we better settle down.’

Jake leaned back on the bar stool and sighed he had to get his raging hormones under control. He was like a 16 year old and it was a tad embarrassing. He also felt a small surge of guilt but he tried to put it out of his mind.

‘I’m sorry, I just wanted to kiss you. You’re so beautiful and I just wanted to feel those gorgeous lips on mine.’

‘I wanted you to kiss me. What’s going on here, Jake? I mean a few days ago, you were shooing me away from your door and now we’re making out.’

He put his head back and laughed loudly, it was wonderful and deep. He noticed this was the best he’d felt since…well since their death. He didn’t know how to feel about that, he wanted to feel this good being with someone but was it really right?

‘Helena, I’m not sure but I know I want to get to know you better. You’ve sparked something in me I haven’t felt in awhile and I want to explore that.’

‘I just find your honesty very refreshing.’

‘You’re easy to be honest with. I really am drawn to you.’

‘I am to you also but you’ve got to know something, Jake.’

He looked at her quizzically, he was nervous it might be bad news.

‘I’m a widow, my husband died in Iraq a few years ago. He was my first and only love and I’ve been alone ever since. I’m excited about you but frightened. I mean you’ve set off feelings I didn’t remember I had.’

Jake was shocked, she was a widow too. Should he tell her about Connie and Dylan? She’d told him about her husband, was he ready for this? He looked at her beautiful face, she was so sweet and soft, he didn’t think he was ready to tell her his tragic story. But then he wondered when would he be?

‘I understand what you’re talking about, Helena. I don’t want to hurt you or lead you on but we can move slowly if you’d like.’

‘That may be the right thing to do,’ she replied.

They’d walked back to Helena’s and Jake thought he’d just say good night and let her go inside. She was stepping into the door and had turned to him. He thought he’d give her a hug and maybe a small kiss then go back to his place and try to overcome the guilt of feeling this horny.

‘I had wonderful evening, Helena.’

‘I did too.’

He was moving in for the hug but there was something about the look in her eye. She moved aside from the door.

‘Jake, why don’t you come in for a nightcap?’

Jake’s mind was telling him not to enter but his body had other ideas.

‘Okay,’ he stepped through with feelings of excitement warring with his guilt. He didn’t want this night to end, he didn’t want his time with this beautiful Goddess to ever be over. He walked in knowing these next moments could change everything and he wasn’t sure if that was good or bad.

 black-woman-white-man

The Handy Guy-Chapter 1

Yes, I’m churning them out. I love a little opposites attract in romance so I’ll see how I do at it. Enjoy. 

leaking_pipe‘I know a handy guy.’

‘You know a what Mrs. Chen?’

‘Handy guy,’ she said in her broken English. They had been neighbors for 6 years and she was sweet. Her husband had died about 2 years ago and she was a able-bodied woman for 72 years old. Between her children and Grace she was taken care of, that was what Grace was doing now giving her some of the tomatoes she’d grown.

‘Oh handy man, you mean.’

‘Yes, handy guy. Isn’t that what I say?’ Mrs. Chen looked at her incredulous.

Grace looked over her shoulder from the ground and smiled. She’d been looking for someone to some work to her bathroom. A leak had caused a huge hole in her in shower wall. Tiles and dry wall had been everywhere. She’d been using Mrs. Chen’s shower while she got estimates. The estimates were not good, she wasn’t sure where she’d get a couple of thousand bucks. She could always ask her sister but with the asking came the lecture. She figured it was easier to live with the hole in the wall.

‘Yes that’s what you said. Who is this?’

‘I don’t remember his name but I got card.’

‘Oh good, I’ll take these over and you can give me the card.’

‘I want card. You just take number and name. I will keep card.’

‘Okay,’ Grace rose from her knees and showed Mrs. Chen the basket of beautiful red ripe tomatoes. ‘What do you think Mrs. Chen?’

‘Look good.’

‘I know it takes hard work to get them this good looking. I’m really proud of myself.’

Grace stood there admiring her hard work, she’d decided a couple of years ago to start a garden and it had grown. Half her backyard was now a garden and she had a hothouse. She liked this much better than trying to buy overpriced, under-flavored veggies and fruit at the grocery store.

‘Okay, Mrs. Chen, let me take these over for you and you can give me the number for the handy guy.’

The handy man was supposed to be there at 11am. Grace was doing laundry, that’s what her Sundays were normally for, laundry and house cleaning. The neighborhood she lived in wasn’t fancy but it was safe. She loved living in Seattle, had moved her after college. She was originally from Spokane, she’d been an Army brat and had been there most of her life. Her parents were both dead now but she lived here because her sister, who lived here with her husband, had encouraged her. Her sister Faith and she weren’t particularly close because Faith was wealthy and loved to rub it in Grace’s face in the most subtle ways. But they were still sisters. Faith had tried many times to set Grace up with some eligible bachelor her husband and she knew. Grace had been on a date or two, even had a short fling with one of the guys, but nothing ever came of it. Her sister usually blamed her for the dismal failures but Grace didn’t have much time for overly macho bullshit and guys who needed their egos stroked because they thought they were important since they were ex or current athletes.

Right now she just needed a handy guy to fix this bathroom. She was wearing shorts and an old Wu Tang t-shirt from her days of being a rebellious youth. At 32 years old those days were gone but she sure did have fun over at Washington State University.

She was throwing her dark clothes into the dryer when the doorbell rang. Dang, she thought. She dried her hands from handling the damp clothes and ran to the front door.

‘Who is it?’

She heard the most beautiful voice pipe up from the other side, ‘Hi! I’m Craig from The Handy Guy.’

She’d come to find out that Mrs. Chen wasn’t mispronouncing the name, the name of the business just happened to be The Handy Guy.

‘Oh yes,’ she started unlocking locks and unbolting bolts and chains to let him in. As she opened the door he appeared with the most amazing smile and gorgeous face she’d ever seen on a man.

‘Hi, I’m Craig Bellows from The Handy Guy,’ he did a little flourish to show her his t-shirt with the company name emblazoned on it. But all she saw were those rippling muscles trying their best to break free of the constraints of cotton. She had a sudden intake of breath at the physical pain she was feeling because he was incredibly fine. Grace was a bit awestruck, she heard him talking but wasn’t exactly listening.

‘Huh? What?’ she said embarrassed that he’d caught her gawking. She looked up to find him smiling at her again, even his teeth were gorgeous. Crest would be happy to have him as a spokesman.

‘I’m sorry maybe I was speaking too low.’

But Grace knew that he knew better, his knowing smile gave him away. She straightened up and tried to play calm, cool and collected.

‘Oh no, you are fine…I mean you sound fine.’ There was just no way not have those words produce a double entendre, she wanted to crawl into a hole.

He smiled really big again, then his eyes got a twinkle in them. ‘You are Grace Underwood?’

‘Yea, yes I’m her. Come on in.’ She moved out of his path and he entered as she shut the door she noticed her image in the hallway mirror. Oh lord, she looked a hot mess. Since this was Sunday she had made no effort to fix herself up, so her hair was in a haphazard pile on her head, no make up, no jewelry, and her skin needed lotion badly. It was looking gray in pallor.

She turned to find him staring at her as she stared at the mirror. She couldn’t read anything in his face but friendly patience. But she was sure this hunk with muscles rippling like waves and the gorgeous golden blonde hair and blue eyes thought she looked like death warmed over.

Gosh, he thought, I wish I could rip those clothes from her body and take her where she stands. When she opened the door he wasn’t expecting to find this glowing umber skin, those beautiful sienna eyes, and well…that body. He figured she thought was hiding something but those shorts were just showing long shapely legs and a round firm bottom and that t-shirt just struggled to hold those bountiful breasts in. He was keeping under control but just barely. The last thing he needed was to be accused of being inappropriate with a client his hold business would go up in flames so he’d keep his roaming thoughts and eyes to himself or at least try.

‘Well, it’s my bathroom. I’ve got a leak.’

‘Yes, you described it a little over the phone. Why don’t you take me to the bathroom and I’ll check it out.’

She lead him to the bathroom down the hall. Her walk wasn’t lost on Craig, she moved and he watched entranced by that firm bottom motioning from side to side. He wondered if she was taken, oh there was no need to wonder. Men couldn’t be that stupid as to let something so breathtaking not be claimed, he chuckled under his breath.

She turned and there he was smiling again but for a moment the smile looked slightly lusty. Couldn’t have been, just her mind wishing for something she knew she had no right to.

She entered the bathroom with him behind her. ‘Well, here it is.’

He moved the shower curtain and there it was, it looked the way she described.

‘Have you been using this?’ he looked back her in concern.

‘Oh no, I’ve been using my neighbor’s shower. Mrs. Chen has been letting me use hers. She’s the one who recommended you.’

As she said that, Craig had a picture of a naked black beauty wet and lathered pop into his mind. He couldn’t help it but he wish he had, her closeness was wreaking havoc on his body. He needed to get to work and get her out of here.

‘Do you have another bathroom you can use while I work?’

‘Sure, downstairs, I’m down there anyway doing laundry.’ She smiled at him and Craig sighed audibly. She was stunning but he needed her to leave this space.

Grace saw his brow furrow as a sound came from his lips that sounded as if he deflated.

‘Will you be able to fix this?’

‘Yes,’ he replied but he wanted to add and anything else you need fixing.

‘How much?’

‘It’s not hard fix just some dry walling but I’ll have to come back a couple of times. Including parts and labor about $600.’

‘Come back,’ Grace was not pleased to hear that. That was all she needed some hot handy man at her house for the next few days.

‘Yes, dry walling takes a few days to complete, to make sure it’s done correctly,’ he was already on his knees hammer out and picking at the walls.

He looked over his shoulders at her, she was lost in thought ogling him. He enjoyed that she appreciated what she saw he most certainly appreciated all she had to offer.

‘So Ms. Underwood does that sound good to you?’

Grace tried to look like she was giving the prospect careful thought but she wasn’t, she was wondering how she’d be able to make it with him in her house.

‘Well, I’ve got work so I’m not home till about 4 or so. Are you available then?’

Craig thought for a moment, he had some day time work to do and a business meeting. Oh what was thinking about he’d come here to fix her shower if she wanted him here at midnight,

‘Yes. May I ask what you do?’

‘I guess. It’s nothing fancy, I work as a court clerk.’

‘Ahh, filing cases making sure we’re all dragged in by the scruff of the neck.’

His tone kind of pissed Grace off, he seemed dismissive of what she did. She liked her job and thought she did great work.

‘Well, Mr. Bellows I think I need to finish my laundry. You’re hired but I ask you be here by 4:30 pm to do any additional work this week and please don’t leave a mess on my floor.’

She turned briskly and stomped out of the room. Craig looked after her, she seemed sort of upset he wondered if his comment had come out wrong. Well that was bound to happen, courts and litigation were not his favorite thing. He’d been dragged in a few times by customers who had more mental issues than issues with his work. He’d also fought a long battle with his ex-wife, Wendy, she’d walked away with half his stuff, alimony, and shared custody of their daughter. He thanked the Lord that someone had married her and she was off his hands but he still had to deal with her when it came to their 7 year old daughter, Chelsea. It had been bitter long battle with her and he had the scars to prove it.

Grace was downstairs throwing laundry into the washer. What an ass, she thought. When she opened the door she’d been swept away by his hunkiness but when he opened his mouth she’d decided that his looks weren’t enough to mask his ignorance. She was always proud of her work, she helped people figure out the complicated legal system, get their filings in on time, and filed correctly. She wasn’t trying to screw anyone, the courts were part of everyone’s lives and although justice wasn’t always served she knew many times it was. It was just an insult to her and what she did, she figured that would be the last time she would converse with him at any length.

She could hear him banging upstairs most of the afternoon, it had been ridiculous. She decided to just stay downstairs to try and read or watch TV but to no avail he was just too dang loud. Then it stopped, thank goodness she thought it was about time.

‘Hello, Ms. Underwood,’ he was calling from upstairs to her.

She got up and stood at the bottom of the steps. He appeared at the top and she couldn’t help herself she had to tighten her legs. She was so pissed at herself, this guy was a jerk this was not the time to be thinking she wanted to get her freak on.

She was mad at herself so when she spoke it inadvertently came out kind of bitchy. ‘Yes,’ she said with a long sigh.

He noticed she was annoyed at him still. Now, all he wanted to do was get this job over with maybe he’d send one of his other guys here for the remainder. He did not need this kind of drama in his life.

‘There are some parts I need for this job that I don’t have available to me.’

‘Umm hmm.’

He looked at her a little exasperated, ‘well, I’m going to head to hardware store to pick them up.’

‘Okay that’s fine,’ she was turning to go back her sofa when she heard that deep voice speak again.

‘Well I’ll need money for that.’

She stepped back into his view, ‘money?’

‘Yes Ms. Underwood. I charge for parts and labor and if I don’t have parts, I need the person who hired me to pay for them.’

She put her hand on her hip and pursed her lips. Goddamn it, he thought to himself, he should fling himself down those stairs and make love to her she looked as if she needed it.

‘Why don’t you have the parts? Shouldn’t you have everything you need?’

‘Well, Ms. Underwood usually I do but your house is an older one with older plumbing sometimes homes like yours need special parts. That’s what I’ve just discovered.’

She sighed and rolled her eyes.

‘You can come with me if you like, I don’t mind. I don’t want you think I’m trying to take advantage.’

If only, she thought. She shook her head, now was not the time to be lusting after the handyman, especially one that seemed so not her intellectual type.

‘Okay, I’ll be right up.’

Craig stepped away from the door and just stood against her fridge trying to will his cock down. He didn’t know when all that occurred but suddenly he got a raging hard on, this was really not like him especially with clients. He had to keep it professional.

Grace trudged up the steps the last thing she wanted to do was go to the hardware store. She looked down at herself and she looked an absolute mess but this was about as good as it was going to get on a Sunday afternoon.

‘Is it okay if I come in this?’ she asked.

Craig looked at her as she stood there looking like a complete sex kitten and nodded his head. He dare not speak because so many nasty thoughts were rolling through his mind he was sure they would come out.

They headed out the back door as Grace grabbed her purse from a coat hanger and they headed for Craig’s truck parked in her driveway. He had huge twincab red Ford F-150 a real man’s man truck. Great, she thought, he’s a male chauvinist pig to boot. He opened the door of the passenger’s side and helped her in. She looked at him as he took her arm, she was not trying to feel anything for this man but his touch made her tingly.

Craig saw her shiver a bit as he touched her to help her into the truck. He didn’t want her to fall so he thought the gentlemanly thing to do would be to help her. That was at least how he was trying to explain it to himself.  He actually just wanted to touch that soft skin, he’d been willing himself all day not to just reach out and grab her she looked so soft and she smelled fantastic. Any excuse to touch her he felt needed to be seized upon.

As they rode to get the plumbing parts, it was silent. He was listening to country music. Grace almost started rolling her eyes, he was hick too. He was everything she never wanted in a man, probably from some of these small towns outside of Seattle or worse, some of the small towns in Eastern Washington. Although she was from Spokane in Eastern Washington, she liked her hometown it was diverse and cool unlike most towns on that side of the mountains. She tried to sit close to the door, she figured she didn’t know him very well and if she needed to she could always jump out.

Craig kept looking at her out of the corner of his eye, she looked uncomfortable she kept squirming as if she was about to fly out of the window. She was hostile one moment and jittery the next. He wasn’t sure if he should talk to her, his comments about court didn’t go over so well and they were probably very different people. From what he saw in her home she seemed quite liberal and he was conservative, although not to the Tea Party extent, but that would probably not be the best conversation. She didn’t seem to like his music while he was tapping his fingers to Miranda Lambert, she sat there, still. Well she was wearing a Wu Tang shirt he wasn’t that into rap but some of it he liked. Oh why was he having this conversation in his head. He was physically attracted to her, he was sure of that but anything beyond that would be an absolute disaster. The last time he went by what his dick said he ended up with an ex-wife and child support. Well right then and there, Craig Bellows decided he was keeping his hands and his cock to himself even if it killed him. As he stared at those smooth, beautiful legs he was thinking maybe he was going to die today.