In Love and Rescue: When love is the perfect rescue... (36 page)

BOOK: In Love and Rescue: When love is the perfect rescue...
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Sommer silently continued to listen.

“You were pretty much my only crush, Sommer,” he admitted. “I wasn’t lying to you when I said that I’d adored you from elementary school up until I left for college. You’re strong and selfless, especially when it comes to your family, and I admire that about you. I always have. And to be honest, I thought that I’d shaken those feelings for you years ago, but when I saw you the other day at the Farmer’s Market, I realized that they were still there, and still as strong as though ten years hadn’t passed since we’d last seen each other.”

Sommer’s eyes went to the water’s edge. “Sure didn’t look like it when you were with Jessica Costa.”

Even though she’d murmured it, he’d heard, and realization hit him when he heard the hint of jealousy in her tone.

“Every man falls for beauty at some point and time in his life,” he explained. “You’re lucky that you’ve got substance to along with yours. It’s like having two beautiful red roses in your yard. The first few times you walk past them, they’re stunning, but after a while, they
end up looking just ordinary. That is, until you learn that one of the roses has magical healing powers in its petals. That there’s more to it that meets the eye. That extra layer is what makes it more special than all the others. That’s you.”

Austin had no idea what he was talking about, but he hoped that the words spewing from his lips made some sort of sense.

“You’re slipping into poetry now?” She asked with a closed-mouth smile.

Austin exaggeratedly threw up his hands. “I just can’t stop myself.”

She laughed and at that moment, it was most comforting sound in the world.

“You’re not out of the woods yet though,” he went on. “Now, be honest. Were you jealous just a minute ago?”

Sommer felt her face flush. “What? No, I wasn’t—”


Be honest.”

Her eyes fell to the sand. “A little.”

It was the first time Austin noticed that his pulse was racing. “Tell me why.”

Sommer inhaled a large gulp of salty air and expelled it loudly from her lungs. “I might have been lying about my ‘hatred’ towards you back then. I might have hated you to hide how I truly felt.”

“Which was?”

She took another deep breath. “I liked you.”

Austin took a step forward. “Now, who’s lying?”

“Oh, I did,” she came back. “I mean, writing
Sommer Hayes-Riley
all over my diary liked you.”

“I wouldn’t let you hyphenate,” He
teased.

She laughed again and he pulled her closer to him.

“I wanted to ask you to prom,” he revealed.

“I died a little inside when y
ou walked in with Tammie Carter,” she came back.

They paused.

“I had a dream once that we got married and had three curly haired little kids,” he continued.

“In Spanish class, when we were learning about Spain weddings, I daydreamed about us having one.”

Austin tugged her again until her body was inches from his, then one of his hands went to the side of her face. As he thought about her comparing herself to Jessica, it made him wonder if she knew just how beautiful she was.

“When your Mom threw the Christmas party at the café our senior year, I tried all night to get you underneath the mistletoe. I
still don’t know what I would have done if I’d actually gotten you under there, though. All I knew was that I just really, really wanted to kiss you.”

Sommer boldly stepped towards him. “Really?”

“Really.”

“Do you still feel that way?”

She prayed that the hopefulness in her voice didn’t sound too much like desperation.

To answer her question, Austin bent towards her and Sommer held her breath until she felt the soft graze of his lips against hers. His tongue played gently against her mouth, coaxing it to open, and when her lips parted for him, he dipped his tongue inside and ladled t
he sweet nectar from her mouth.

Finally, he was kissing Sommer Hayes.

His hands went to the side of her face as he deepened the kiss. Her sweet scent mixed intoxicatingly with the salty, ocean air and as it filled his nostrils, it only increased his thirst. He tasted and drank from the caverns of her mouth until he was sure that she had nothing left to give, but even then he couldn’t stop. Whatever he’d been previously trying to deny now surged forth from his body and all of his composure dissipated when he heard the breathy moan slip from the back of her throat. In one motion, he picked her up and she wrapped her legs around his waist.

“Austin, I—”

“Yeah, me too,” he answered, placing quick kisses against her lips, neck, and jaw.

“Where?”

“Anywhere, baby.”

“But your place, my place, we can’t—”

“I can get us a suite. Anything you want. Just tell me what you want.”

Sommer felt as though she was going to explode. “Okay…okay.”

Austin paused when he picked up on the uncertainty in her voice. When he looked at her, it was clearly written all over her face.

“Sommer, are you sure?”
He asked.

She glanced away for a brief second before looking back at him, which told him that anything she said afterwards was going to be a lie.

“I’m sure.”

He returned her to her feet and cradled her face in his palm. “Something’s wrong.”

“Nothing’s wrong,” she denied. “I want to do this.”

He pressed a soft kiss against her lips and resisted the urge to succumb to the overpowering hunger that was building up inside of him again. He searched her eyes again only to find the uncertainty replaced by fear, then he recalled what she’d said before about being used up and then tossed aside like trash. She’d been talking about herself.

The thought of any man doing that to her filled him with anger.

“Sommer, I want to spend as much time as possible with you while I’m back home. All of your free time. So, go out with me tomorrow.”

She closed her eyes against the feeling of his finger stroking her cheek. “I can’t. I’m going to church with Mom.”

“After that.”

“What do you want to do?”

He shook his head. “It doesn’t matter.”

She opened her eyes. “I take it that we’re not making love tonight?”

“Not tonight,” he reassured her, secretly vowing to get to the bottom of what had caused that fear and if possible, who.

“Another night, then?”

He leaned in and pressed another kiss against her lips. “Another night.”

She smiled and he returned the gesture.

They stood together for a few more moments before returning for their shoes and food,
then made their way back to the car. As he drove her home, Austin kept his hands twined with Sommer’s and kissed her fingers intermittently, still in disbelief that all this time, he and Sommer had shared the same feelings.

He took a quick glance over at her and wondered what life would have been like if he’d known that before. Maybe Sommer would have come with him down to Tallahassee and then move with him to Texas after he was drafted. If Sommer
had been in his life back then, there certainly would have never been a Jessica Costa.

All along, he’d been searching for a replacement for Sommer, but now that he’d had her, he was going to make sure that nothing would ever put distance between them again.

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK: In Love and Rescue: When love is the perfect rescue...
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