by CM Foss
Release Date: February 2015
I was never your typical girl. I didn’t grow up with the warm and fuzzies and I didn’t need them. Love wasn’t something I could wrap my mind around, and so I didn’t. I knew what I was good at. I was a great friend, had a passion for healing others, and a way with horses. I could be all those things at the same time without ever discussing my own feelings.
I’ve been told I have a way with words, able to talk myself into or out of just about anything, and anyone. It’s one reason I managed the family racehorse business so well. I could wine and dine with the best of them, selling bloodlines and high-priced stallion services over a five-course dinner. Talk was not cheap in my world.
Young and carefree, living worlds apart, they indulged in what seemed like the perfect fling.
Until Lawrence decided he wanted more.
Until Steph’s careful world fell apart.
Until they had to decide if love was worth the fight.
I tried to be discreet but all sound, including his laugh, faded away as I met Lawrence’s eyes from across the room. Both of us were frozen, stricken, and drawing the attention of our tables. A stunning girl seated next to him had her mouth set in a grim line, irritation evident on her features. I broke away from his gaze and pushed my chair back suddenly, excusing myself to use the restroom. Justin was staring daggers at me but I needed some air. My heart was racing and it hadn’t been used in several months, so it wasn’t used to the exertion.
I saw Lawrence stand out of the corner of my eye and knew he was going to follow me. I was pretty sure everyone else noticed too.
I hurried out onto the front porch, sucking in a breath of cold air as I leaned back against the door, until it nudged me forward. Without looking, I stepped carefully in my heels across the wooden boards and leaned against a post at the front steps, listening to Lawrence’s slow footfalls as he approached.
He didn’t say anything. I simply felt his fingers pick the hair up off my back, smoothing through the ends and letting it fall. My heart was still racing, my breathing erratic. He stood close. I could feel his heat at my back. But he didn’t touch me anymore.
“How long did that take you?” he asked.
I felt a small bubble of laughter rise in my chest at his first question.
“Hours,” I responded.
“I didn’t recognize you at first. I noticed you, as I walked in from behind. I saw a beautiful, bored girl, but I never imagined it was you.”
Tears pricked my eyes at his words and I tried to hide my sniffle by taking long, deep breaths.
“Why are you crying?” he asked.
“I don’t know!” I cried out, covering my mouth with my hands when I realized how loud I’d been.
Lawrence took my arm and gently turned me to face him. Even in the dimness of the porch light I could see his blue eyes studying me. I couldn’t tell if he liked what he saw.
He shook his head. “I don’t like it.”
Well, that answered my question.
He brought a hand back up to my hair and ran his fingers through it again, his brows furrowed.
“It’s just hair.” I shrugged. “It’ll go right back to curly.”
He dropped his hand to my hip and I shouldn’t have been able to feel the heat from his palm, but I did. And I shouldn’t have liked it. But I did.
I had no idea what to say. So many things had happened, so much time had passed. And yet, suddenly it didn’t seem like it had been that long.
Our moment was broken by the front door swinging open and Justin leaning out, clearing his throat.
“Excuse me,” he said, his voice laced with restrained irritation. “If you two are finished, I need Stephanie back at my table.”
I stared at Lawrence a moment longer before stepping away. As I turned to walk back to Justin, Lawrence let his hand sweep from my hip, across my abdomen to the other side, leaving a trail of heat in its wake. I watched Justin’s eyes narrow at the move and my step faltered long enough for Lawrence to whisper in my ear.
“I don’t think we’re quite finished.”
I live in beautiful Northern Virginia with my incredible husband, two awesome kids, three dogs, and two budgies. My husband and I both grew up riding and competing horses and have our own equestrian operation that we run together. In my spare time, I read through the hundreds of stories awaiting me on my e-reader.
My love of books started early, and my mom used to ration my reading time so I didn’t go through them too quickly. I love all things romantic, whether it’s dark or light or silly or dirty, but I really love a happy ending!
In my small moments of quiet time, you’ll find me sipping on wine and reading while any movie where people randomly burst into song or dance plays in the background.