Authors: Mackenzie McKade
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This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.
Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
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Copyright © 2007 by Mackenzie McKade
All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
electronic publication: April 2007
To my wonderful friends on Macsdreamscape’s loop, especially Crystal
Scott who kept me energized and alive with ideas. You gals are the best!
Coming home for some people is a journey down memory lane—for Jana Ryan it was a trip down nightmare alley.
Even the starless night seemed to reflect her sullen mood as she drove closer and closer to the one place she didn’t want to be. But her doctor had said coming home would be therapeutic, a chance to face her demons, a chance to be free.
Yeah, the doctor has no idea what she’s talking about
. Jana jerked the steering wheel, swerving the car just in time to miss a pothole in the street.
Distance—now that’s true medicine. Out of sight out of mind
And she had put Arizona as far out of her mind as she could—until now.
Of course, that was a lie. So here she was returning to a place that held few good memories. At least there were some. She allowed herself a smile when she thought of her best friend, Lisa Calloway, the only person on earth she trusted.
Yet another memory tugged at her. Even after being gone for five years she still thought of him.
. Jana had been a total four-eyed geek when she was in high school and she’d had the worst crush on Nicolas Marchetti, who’d often visited one of his friends a few doors down from where she lived. She thought of him playing one-on-one basketball with his friend. All those muscles. That gorgeous dark hair and those blue eyes.
If she ran into him now that she was back, would he even recognize her? She doubted it. Nicolas had never known Jana existed.
She gave a heavy sigh, flipped the turn signal, and slowed to a stop at an intersection before taking a left that moved her closer to the past.
An oncoming car’s headlights nearly blinded her as she made the turn down a street she remembered all too well. A light film of perspiration dampened her forehead.
The six-hour drive from San Diego to Chandler had put an ache in Jana’s back and a frown on her face. It was nearing midnight and her vision was blurred. She steered her red Nissan into her best friend’s driveway and stopped. Tension caused every muscle in her body to clench. With a quick swipe of her hand she brushed a strand of auburn hair from her face. Tired blue eyes flashed back at her in the rearview mirror. She checked her appearance and then reached for the door.
It made a low
moan as she pushed it open and crawled out of the car.
Purse hanging from her wrist, she slammed the door shut, before moving around to the back of the vehicle to pop the trunk.
Like a magnet her gaze was pulled toward the old house she’d lived in. It stood ominously in the shadows of the dimly lit street.
Nighttime was always the worst behind those cold walls.
Jana gripped her suitcase handle and yanked.
. Another try rendered the same result. The damn oversized bag didn’t appear to be going anywhere. Bracing her feet, she put her shoulder into it and pulled. Nothing. Dragging in a breath of frustration, she released the suitcase and inhaled, catching the slight hint of cow manure coming from a mile or more away.
Another attempt at dislodging the suitcase only made it jam against the spare tire.
. No way was she giving up. With as much strength as she could muster, she pulled. The suitcase suddenly came loose and proceeded to drop firmly on her toes. Pain splintered through her feet.
“For the love of God.” A long sigh pushed from between her thin lips.
She inched her feet free, slammed the trunk closed, and plopped her purse atop the car. “Where is that key?” She crammed her hand into the purse, rummaging through it for the key Lisa had mailed her. Jana had told her friend she’d arrive close to midnight. Lisa had told her to let herself in and Lisa would see her in the morning.
Key found, suitcase in tow, she moved to the front door of the house that had been her sanctuary as a child. Her chest tightened. Night after night, she had pretended Cathy and Joe were her mother and father, Lisa her sister. But it was only a dream. Nothing stays the same. Lisa’s parents had deeded their family home to their daughter before they retired and moved to Florida.
A hollow, empty sound pushed from Jana’s lips.
She had never known her mother and father. When she was two years old, her mother dropped her off at the Child’s Crisis Center and never came back. Hell, she didn’t even know when her real birthday was.
Tears filled Jana’s eyes and she scrubbed them away with the back of one hand. She hadn’t cried since leaving five years ago. God she was tired. She sucked in another breath and pushed away all sentimental thoughts, slipped the key in the lock and opened the door.
The house was dark as she cautiously moved through it. She couldn’t trust that a couch or chair might be in the same place that she remembered. The last thing she wanted to do was wake her friend.
Bumping into a coffee table, pain exploded across her knee. She barely stifled a yelp of pain in an effort to remain quiet.
As she progressed down the hall she saw soft light spilling from the master bedroom onto the hardwood floor. The door was ajar.
A moan coming from the room had Jana’s heart beating and had her walking toward the door in haste. Was something wrong with Lisa?
Oh, God. What if she was hurt?
Jana pushed the door open a couple of feet and looked in, ready to call out to her friend.
The sight froze her feet to the floor and the words in her throat.
Lisa was on her knees, her lips wrapped around the cock of the man Jana had always dreamed of.
Jana started to tremble.
The scene before her looked like it had been ripped from the pages of some erotic fantasy. Lisa was buck naked, wearing only black stiletto heels, and her hands were tied behind her back, Nicolas’s fingers were tangled in Lisa’s short blonde hair. Their eyes were pinned on each other as his erection slipped in and out of her mouth. The expression of rapture on her friend’s face as she took the equally naked man deep crushed Jana’s heart like a fifty-pound boulder.
Another rock of emotion slammed atop her breasts when Nicolas whispered, “That’s it, baby. You know how I like it.”
Well shit! Could the fucking night get any worse?
The answer was yes, since her feet wouldn’t move. It seemed her body wanted her to take in the entire humiliation, grind it into her chest that the one person she loved more than life itself was betraying her.
Nicolas had never belonged to Jana. She had no claim on him for God’s sake. How could she even think that way?
Her body shook.
Lisa had known every one of Jana’s childhood fantasies about Nicolas. Lisa and she had even acted out what Nicolas might do to Jana some day. Their innocent sexual explorations together, touching and experimenting, and the dirty magazines that Jana’s foster father hid away from her foster mother, helped to fill in many of the answers to a young girl’s questions about sex.
The boy and those magazines put some crazy ideas into her head.
A husky moan tore from Nicolas’s throat as he thrust one final time into Lisa’s mouth. His hips jerked against her face. As his grip on Lisa’s head secured, fingers curling deeper in her hair, he stilled. Eyes dark, his facial features tight, a satisfied groan pushed from his full lips sending a series of heat waves rippling through Jana. Her nipples stung, peaking into tight nubs as moisture built between her thighs.
Damn. Damn. Damn.
This was all Jana needed. Talk about conflicting emotions. The three A’s she had come to know were all too familiar: Angry. Aroused. Alone.
Firm, defined muscles rippled down Nicolas’s impressive chest—
larger, sexier than Jana remembered. He had matured into a man—a delicious and sensual man.
She tried to look away, but couldn’t.
Why can’t that be me on my knees? Me making love to Nicolas
Of course, Jana’s breasts weren’t as rounded and firm as Lisa’s implants—a Christmas gift her friend had given herself two years ago.
Jana knew she had a pretty good body, but Lisa’s—her naked form was exquisite. No wonder Nicolas was with her.
His grip on Lisa gentled as he began to stroke her hair almost as if he cherished her. A look of complete admiration heated his eyes. “You were wonderful tonight. I think a reward is in order.” He assisted Lisa to her feet, took her into his arms and captured her lips in a kiss that could only be described as commanding, forceful.
Again warmth radiated through Jana’s body. That was what she wanted—needed—a man to take control, someone to assume responsibility for making her happy if only for a moment, a night.
No, that was wrong.
Jana, you are responsible for your own happiness.
The doctor’s words continued to run through her head.
No one can give you what you can’t
give yourself. What you really need to learn is to trust someone other than
Lisa. Until you do you’ll never be happy
Okay. Maybe that damn doctor was right. Jana couldn’t help thinking it would be wonderful to have someone to share things with, even relinquish control to when things got rough. Yeah. Let someone else worry about the details. Maybe even tell her what she needed, as long as she could take back the reins when she needed to.
Jana finally got her feet to move and it was none too soon as Nicolas and Lisa parted. Without hesitation Jana backed into the hallway, gripped her hand tighter on the handle of her suitcase and tiptoed to the small room at the end of the hall that used to be Lisa’s bedroom.
Heart pounding, she flipped on the light, shut the door, and then threw herself on the bed.
Talk about a hell of a homecoming. Not only was she exhausted, but her body felt as tense as a time bomb. Tick. Tick. Every minute that passed, muscles and tendons drew tighter as if she would explode from the emotions swirling inside her. To complicate things, after the scene with Lisa and Nicolas, Jana felt the need to reach for her trusty vibrator.
“Okay, girl, put the situation in perspective.” She fought back tears that burned behind her weary eyelids. “You’ve had sexual relationships.
Nicolas was never attracted to you. And Lisa wouldn’t do this to deliberately hurt you. You’re an adult. Suck it up.”
But, dammit, Lisa
knew I was coming. The least she could have done was hide it from me for
a while. Like fifty years
Rational thought left Jana and she was twelve again, needing to be hugged, needing to cry on someone’s shoulder. But there was no one to hold her. The house that had once been her sanctuary now felt like a box trapping her inside. She glanced around the bedroom. Had it always been this small?
Little had changed since Lisa moved from this room to her parents’.
She still had the soft pink walls and her queen-size bed seemed to take up what room remained.
The knife in Jana’s heart turned another degree. She and Lisa had slept together in this bed so many times. Lisa would hold Jana as she cried over yet another beating from the hands of her drunken foster father.
A single tear slid down her cheek. She swatted at the drop angrily, refusing to believe that she would cry—could cry. Inside she was as dry as the Sierra Desert. A strong wind could blow her away, because within she was simply an empty shell.
Jana fisted her hands and pummeled the bed.
Dammit! Lisa swore they’d be friends forever. The desperate cry in Jana’s mind sounded childish. No, she wasn’t a child anymore. She was 10