Read Amelia Online

Authors: Bernadette Marie

Tags: #new opportunity, #Bernadette Marie, #loss, #5 Prince Publishing, #Contemporary, #romance

Amelia (3 page)

BOOK: Amelia
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“That girl is going to wake up and be ravenous,” she said as she finished her beer, ordered another, and the waiter set the other in front of her.

“I don’t get it. Why do you want to take care of her? You don’t owe her anything.”

“She deserves some respect. I don’t think she’s used to getting any.”

He rested his chin on his hand and his elbow on the table. “You’re a good judge of character, aren’t you?”

“Always thought I was, until Adam.” She filled her fork with a bit of potato and then held it as though she was having second thoughts about the bite. Finally she took the bite and quickly rinsed it down with the beer. Then she pushed her plate away and rested her arms on the table.

“You know, I’m not even going to second guess Adam. He was a fine soldier. One of the best I’ve ever worked with. And damn, he was fine in bed.”

Sam could feel the heat in his cheeks, but he tried to keep composed.

Amelia tapped her fingers on the table. “He was a good man. He just really screwed up when it came to women.”

“You could say that.”

“And hell, if I fell that hard for him, I don’t blame Penelope for doing it too. He was one fine man to look at.”

Hearing her talk about him, Sam was beginning to feel extremely unmasculine altogether.

Amelia sat back in her seat. “Something tells me Penelope needs a friend, and quite frankly I’m in the market for a few myself. We have some common bond. I’ll give her a fair chance.”

Sam smiled. He probably looked awkward and nerdy, but at this moment he just didn’t care. “I like you. You make me look at things differently. I’m supposed to be objective, as a lawyer, but I don’t see things like you do.”

“My life is going to go on and so is hers. Hell, I’d be friends with Vivian too, but I’m sure that ship will sail after Monday.”

He swallowed hard. He was sure it would too. Sometimes is sucked knowing all the secrets.

Amelia leaned in on her arms again and moved closer toward Sam across the table.

“So, lawyer man. Tell me about you. What makes you tick?”

At that very moment the answer was her. He was wrapped up in this woman. She was like no one he’d ever met, nor could he imagine he’d meet someone like her again. Certainly they broke the mold after they made her.

Sam bit down on his lip. “There isn’t much to tell. I draw up wills, help set up trust funds, supervise estates. Every once in a while I handle a divorce.”

“Can you run?”

Sam narrowed his gaze on her. “Run?”

“Yeah. Do you own some running shoes?”

He had to think. They were tucked in his closet, back behind the vacuum cleaner, which he should probably drag out and use too. “Yeah, I have a pair.”

“What do you say you meet me for a run tomorrow? There’s a lake just about twenty minutes from my hotel. My guess is it’s about half way between your place and mine.”

“The lake at Derby Park?”

She grinned. “Yeah, I think that’s the one. Has a dinosaur on the playground?”

“That would be it.”

The waiter set the take out box on the table and the check rested atop the box. She was quick to snatch it up and start fishing her credit card from her small wallet purse.

Sam went for his wallet in his pocket and she waved him off. “I got this. You get breakfast tomorrow.”

He eased back in his seat. “O-kay.”

She handed the card to the waiter and then turned her eyes back on him. “I make you uneasy don’t I?”

“Let’s just say I’ve never met a woman like you.”

“Not the first time I’ve heard that. I won’t bite you. I promise.”

He nodded like an idiot and she smiled wider, leaning in closer over the table.

“I only bite if you ask me to,” she said with a wink and then sat back when the waiter brought the credit card slip and a pen.

Amelia tucked the credit card back into her purse and stood, grabbing the food box off the table. “Seven o’clock. I’ll meet you at the lake.”

Sam just nodded as she walked out of the restaurant. God he was in serious trouble. He couldn’t run.

 

Chapter Three

 

Amelia opened the door to the room quietly, but there had been no need. Penelope was sitting propped up on the bed watching TV.

“I brought you something to eat.”

Penelope crinkled up her nose. “Thank you. I’m not feeling too well right now.”

Amelia nodded. “I’ll tuck it in the mini-fridge and you can eat it later if you want.”

“Thank you.”

She walked over to the small fridge and set the box inside. With a glance at the clock she realized it was only nine o’clock and she was exhausted. Usually she could keep going until eleven or later, but today had drained her. Although, that quirky little lawyer man was quite enjoyable.

Then the thought hit her. He probably thought she was some kind of crazy slut asking him to dinner like that.

When had anyone’s opinion of her ever mattered? She kicked off her shoes and headed toward the small bathroom.

Adam wasn’t her husband. Nope, she couldn’t even consider him that. They’d rolled in the sack and had one hell of a good time. The cheap gold band on her finger was as worthless as the marriage had been. Besides, she’d divorced him. His death signed that paper. It was okay to look at other men. He’d obviously not taken their vows seriously.

But it ached in her chest. Why wasn’t she worthy of a man who would treat her like a woman? Just because she was stronger than most men—that made them fear her or want to take advantage of her?

Screw that. No one was going to get into her head like that. Adam Monroe was the messed up one. Not her. She turned on the water to the shower and let it warm.

There were some very cute qualities to Sam Jackson.

She picked up the brush on the counter and pulled it through her hair. Cute? When did she ever think
cute
was a quality? Dear Lord, she was losing her freaking mind.

Tomorrow she was going to get to the lake an hour earlier than Sam and run until she passed out. And then she’d run him around that lake, if he in fact could run.

Maybe she’d then get it through her thick skull that she was in Parson’s Gulch because her husband wasn’t an upstanding man—and dead. And maybe, just maybe, she’d realize this wasn’t where she wanted to stay and that Sam Jackson had only been a nice distraction on what could have been—should have been—the worst day of her life.

Just as she lifted the hem of her shirt to pull it off, there was a knock at the door.

“Can I come in? I don’t feel good.” Penelope’s voice shook as she spoke.

Amelia quickly opened the door and Penelope rushed through and straight to the toilet where she threw up whatever she might have eaten for breakfast, because Amelia was sure she hadn’t had lunch.

She winced at the sound and walked out into the main room.

Great. Not only was she sharing her room, which she hadn’t planned on, but now her co-wife roommate was sick. This was seriously proving to be the worst week of her life.

Penelope stumbled out of the bathroom, a washcloth pressed to her mouth. Her face was pale and her eyes watered.

“Are you okay?” Amelia thought the question was as dumb as it sounded. No, she wasn’t alright, but she’d had to ask.

“I’ll be fine. Thank you.” Penelope walked back to her bed and lay down. “I’m sorry to be such a problem.”

“It’s fine. We’re all having an off week.”

Penelope didn’t have a retort, she only moaned.

“I’ll leave the door unlocked in case you need in,” Amelia said as she hurried back to the bathroom to partake in what would be, more than likely, just a lukewarm shower.

 

The rest of the night had been fairly quiet. Amelia was sure that Penelope might have gotten up one time during the night to get sick, but she hadn’t awakened her, so Amelia counted it as good.

The Oklahoma sun had already risen by the time she made it to the lake at six o’clock. And it was already hot. The thought crossed her mind that she didn’t really belong anywhere anymore. Oklahoma might have been her home, and Georgia where she’d set down her own roots, but maybe it was time for a change. Did it get blistering hot in Montana? Winters might be brutal, but that’s what long underwear and coats were for. But six in the morning and eighty-nine degrees wasn’t going to cut it much longer. By two in the afternoon the July heat would be well into the hundreds. What fun was that?

Amelia tightened up the hot pink laces on her neon yellow running shoes and started around the lake.

 

Sam rested the two Starbucks cups on the hood of his truck and then leaned up against the vehicle. She’d said seven, right? It was six-fifty in the morning and she was already half way around the lake. Maybe she’d be too tired to run again, or so he hoped. That was some of the thought behind the cups of coffee. He’d never usually spend that kind of money on the drink, but he was desperately trying to persuade her to not make him run.

Yesterday, sure he thought he might get in a lap, but when he was winded after having moved the vacuum to find the shoes, he thought better of it.

Ten minutes later she was headed toward him, her hand cupped around the back of her head as she sucked in the heat of the morning.

Her sunglasses shielded her eyes, but the smile did something to him he wasn’t sure he should admit, even to himself.

The body which was exposed around running shorts and a tank top was pure muscle. There were defining lines each time she took a step. She could crush him with just a well pointed finger to his chest, that he was sure of.

“You look a bit too cozy for a run,” she joked as she neared him.

“Do I? I brought you a coffee.” He handed her the cup. “It’s straight up black. I didn’t know what you might like.”

“You pegged me just right.”

She blew a breath through the small hole in the lid and then took a sip.

Sam picked up his cup and did the same. “You did say seven, right? I’m not late am I?”

She laughed easily and then wiped away a bead of sweat from her brow with the back of her hand. “No. I was restless so I got here at six to run.”

“You must be pretty tired then.”
Please be too tired.

She laughed again. “I’ve got another hour in me. But I’m thinking you brought coffee as a deterrent.”

“I’m transparent, huh?”

“Just a bit.” She walked around him and leaned against the truck next to him. “So you’re not a runner?”

“Had to dust off the shoes.”

“You’re in great shape for not exercising.”

Sam cleared his throat. “Yoga.”

She grinned behind her cup. “Probably eases the mind of a lawyer.”

He lifted his cup, as if in salute. “That it does.”

“Well,” she sipped again, “I guess that just leaves breakfast. Tell me you know a good place to eat.”

“That I can do.”

 

Amelia followed him up the highway to a spot he’d grown very familiar with over time, Chunky Pete’s. When she climbed out of her truck she was already laughing.

“The name makes me want to go back to the lake and run more.”

“If you have a cinnamon roll you’ll have to.”

She lifted her brows high above the rim of her aviator glasses. “I just might have to have one then.”

And she did.

Sam loved watching her eat. Last night it was the steak and this morning she was assaulting a cinnamon roll. Well, she wasn’t like other women. She wasn’t afraid it would land on her hips. She enjoyed it and then would take care of it later. The thought stuck. He knew just enough about her to know she liked men the same.

“So how come you never got married?” she asked as she bit off another piece of her roll.

“Women got on my nerves too quickly.” That didn’t sound right. “I don’t go for men.”

She must have understood his concern. “So you never found the right woman?”

“Yeah.”

“Women get on my nerves too. Whiney. Cry baby. You name it and I just want to throw them to the ground.” She washed down the roll with her coffee. “I guess that’s why I train them to be tough. I can’t stand when they can’t take care of themselves.”

“You seem very efficient in that department.”

She nodded slowly. “That’s how I was raised.”

It was intriguing. Did he dare ask? “Did you have only brothers?”

“Two sisters and we were military brats.”

“Your dad was in the service?”

Her lips curled into a grin. “Mom.”

Again, he hadn’t expected that.

She sat back in her chair. “My mother the drill sergeant. My dad was years ahead of his time. He was a stay-at-home dad.”

“Not so uncommon now, right?”

“He saw us to the bus, made our lunches, and even hemmed our pants. Mom took charge of the house, meaning it was done to her liking. Things were a bit more at ease when she was deployed, but otherwise we all walked the line, even Dad.”

Sam lifted his mug in salute. “Your dad did a fine job.”

“Thank you.”

“What branch?”

“Army.” She looked down at her plate and then pushed it away. “Sniper got her in Desert Storm.”

Sam could feel the blood drain from his face. “You couldn’t have been very old.”

“It was where she’d wanted to be. I can’t be sad. My dad finished raising us. We were trained to be tough and stand on our own two feet. He remarried when I graduated high school and he moved to Florida.”

“You’re the baby.”

“They’d never call me that.”

There was a glimmer in her eye that told him they might have tried and they didn’t get away with it.

“Had you and Adam planned to have a family?”

She shook her head. “No. That never came up. Now I know why.”

“But did you want kids?”

“No. Not my style.” She tapped her fingers on the table. “What about you? Can’t find the right woman, but did you ever want a family?”

Sam thought about it for a moment. “I suppose I did. I came from a good family. No reason not to want one.”

She grinned. “You don’t sound too convincing.”

He laughed. “I think it would be easier to answer if I had the right woman in my life.”

BOOK: Amelia
8.88Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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