Authors: Carla Krae
Tags: #my once and future love, #contemporary romance, #jacob and beth
Except you weren’t supposed to want to shag
your sister. Good thing she hadn’t occupied that space in his mind
for a long time. Spring break of senior year killed that
Now, well…he understood how love had inspired
millions of works since the dawn of time.
“Ah, Jacob, there you are.” An older lady
approached him, her hair mostly white.
“Evenin’, Mrs. Haversham. Have you seen my
She was a longtime friend of the family.
“That’s what I was going to tell you, dear. Your mother went home
with a headache, but she said not to be concerned and to have fun
as long as you like.”
“Oh. Thanks, then. Goodnight, Mrs.
She smiled. “Nice to see you again, Jacob.”
Message delivered, she wandered off.
Well, with his mother gone home, all they had
to do was wait for the car to return, if it hadn’t already. He went
to the nearest restroom to find Beth. A short line of ladies stood
“Looking for me?”
He turned around. “There you are. Mum went
home, so it’s just you and me.”
“Is she okay? How are we going to get
He steered her toward the front door. “She’s
fine, love. Just a little headache. As for the car, he’d come right
“Oh. How long ago did she leave?”
“While we were outside. Might have to wait a
She sat on a chair in the foyer. “Why didn’t
she say goodbye?” Her shoulders slumped. “I’m a rotten guest. She
asked me to come to keep her company.”
He crouched down in front of her and took her
hands. “Hey, you are not. You didn’t ignore her through dinner, did
“I guarantee she wasn’t offended by you
dancing with me.”
A smile tugged at one corner of her mouth.
He pulled her up. “Let’s check on the car.
It’s stuffy in here.”
Luck on their side, the chauffeur showed up
just as they came down the entry steps. Jacob opened the door for
“Where to, sir?”
He glanced at Beth. “My flat.”
“Yes, sir.” The car pulled out of the
“Your place?” she asked.
“Unless you want to go home. Are you
“No. I can’t ride the bike in this dress,
though. Wait, did you ride to the house?”
Blast. “Uh…” He tapped on the glass partition
separating them from the driver. A panel slid open. “Second
thought, take us to my mother’s house, please.”
“As you wish, sir.”
She tried hiding her smile in her hand.
didn’t forget where
left a vehicle.”
He slid her closer on the leather seat and
poised his index finger to dig under her ribs. “Persons who are
extremely ticklish should be nice.”
She looked up at him with wide eyes. “I am
nice.” Her hand slid up to his neck, her thumb stroking the soft
skin behind his ear. “I can be very nice.”
His eyelids drooped, her touch relaxing him
into jelly. If he was a kitten, he’d purr.
“Stop threatening to tickle me,” she
“How ‘bout I kiss you instead?” He leaned in,
the tips of their noses brushing before he made contact with her
She exhaled into his mouth, wrapping her arm
around his neck. This was fast becoming one of his favorite things
to do in life. His girl was lovely to kiss, her lips having just
the right fullness, her responses always equaling his. They
He pulled away before they got too hot, not
wanting to give the driver a show.
“I’m glad you came.”
“Me, too.” She laced her right hand with his
left. “Tonight, or…”
“To England. Hopefully for more than a
“I’m meeting your friend, aren’t I?”
“Yep!” The thought of having Beth here for a
month put a wide grin on his face.
She rolled her eyes, then leaned her head on
his shoulder. “I’ll admit, I’m not ready to go home, yet. Don’t
think I should leave until I see Stonehenge.”
“Ohhh, so a circle of rocks is really what’s
keepin’ you here?”
“It’s a factor.”
“Such an ego you have…”
He couldn’t see much of her face from this
angle, but he knew the expression that went with her teasing by
heart. She’d always been expressive, for a shy girl. Well, formerly
“You handled yourself pretty well
She sat up to look at him. “You think
He nodded. “Very nice first impression and
those people are big on those.”
“I was taught a little social grace.”
“Hey, I wasn’t implying anything. I meant you
didn’t look nervous, love.”
“Oh.” She pulled her bag onto her lap and
took out a small bottle of water. “Want a sip?”
She unscrewed the cap and took a swallow.
“Can I ask you something and not get my head
She eyed him warily. “What?”
“Why do you get defensive with me?”
She sighed and put the bottle back in her
purse. “Not just you.”
“Good to know. And?”
“You might have noticed I wasn’t one of the
popular people? From the time I hit school, I wasn’t comfortable
around a single person except my parents. My brother left when I
was eight, so I barely knew him. To other kids, I was born with
giant ‘kick me’ signs front and back. It wasn’t fun.”
“We’ve always gotten along.”
“And I didn’t expect that to last.” Her gaze
dropped to her shoes. “You keep surprising me.”
He reached for her hand again. “I’d never
hurt you on purpose, Beth. Hope you know that.”
She lifted her head and met his eyes. “Yeah.
The car stopped. They glanced out the window
and saw the house. He slid to the door and opened it, then held his
hand out to her. The house was dark. He bid the driver goodnight
and walked to the front door.
A small lamp had been left on in the
“Hungry? I know a few places open late,”
“Sure. I should probably change first.”
“Need any help?” He added a wink, just in
case she thought he was serious.
She swatted his arm. “No! Perv.”
Despite the protest, there might have been
some added sway to her hips as she ascended the staircase.
Seriously fine ass…
He loosened his tie, took it off, and slipped
it into his pocket. Hated anything snug on his neck.
“Jacob?” She appeared at the top of the
stairs, still in her dress.
“I really do need help. The zipper’s
He started up the stairs. “You’re
“I think a bit of fabric got caught in the
teeth, so it doesn’t want to slide.”
She walked back into her room where there was
Her back to him, she said, “Be careful.”
“I won’t rip it.” He tried sliding the
zipper. “Bend forward a little.”
That was better—he could see detail in the
light now. Yep, a bit of fabric was stuck between the teeth at the
“Uhh, I’m not sure how to get this
.” She turned around. “It’s too
snug to slide off.”
“What about lifting it over your head?”
She shrugged. “I’ll give it a shot.”
She walked into the bathroom.
He sat on the bed to wait, and heard a few
muffled curses a minute later.
The door opened a crack. “Not so much.”
“Do you want help?”
She hesitated long enough; he thought she
wasn’t going to reply. Then, “Yeah…”
No big deal, mate…just innocently help your
girl out of a jam.
She walked out. “I can’t lift it all the way
off without tweaking my shoulders.” She turned her back to him.
He took a breath, then bent to grab the hem
and started lifting. Keeping his eyes on the floor didn’t stop him
from seeing thigh-high stockings, so he directed them skyward,
instead. She lifted her arms once he’d reached her shoulders. When
the dress was past her head, she took it from him and tossed it on
He kept his eyes on her face. “You’re
“I-I’ll be right back.” She backed into the
Just shut the damn door, Beth
Once she was out of sight, he rubbed his face
with both hands and let out a long breath. If she stood there a
moment longer, he’d have looked, and after looking, he’d have
He left her bedroom and jogged downstairs.
Saw enough, though.
Black bra with matching satin knickers, and
those stockings…long, slender legs in sheer black…an image of those
legs wrapped around his hips popped into his head and he headed for
the kitchen and a drink. Couldn’t hop in a cold shower, but he
could down some ice water.
Get a grip, man.
I leaned against the closed door, feeling
flushed all over. Not even a week since I first kissed him and the
man had seen me in my underwear. Logically, I didn’t have many
options. Cut myself out of the dress—ah, no. Wake Vivian to help
me—rude when she wasn’t feeling well. That left him, and for a
second, I almost succumbed to the tension between us and kissed
Could I keep resisting the entire month he
wanted me to stay?
I dressed in jeans and a tee, put away my
finery, and sat down to send Mom an e-mail about the party.
Describing the house and dinner and the music helped calm me down,
and I felt cool and normal by the time I carried the envelope of
“In the kitchen, pet.”
He stood at the window to the backyard with a
glass of something clear. Probably water.
“Here are the photos I was going to show
He took the envelope. “Thanks. I should be
goin’. It’s late. I’ll come get you for the meeting tomorrow.”
He was leaving?
“I thought we were going to grab a bite.”
Great, Beth, you scared him off.
He sighed. “Food isn’t really on my mind
“What do you mean?”
“You’re a bloody siren, Beth. More alone time
isn’t the best idea at the moment.”
, Jacob, not a cozy
cabin for two.”
He turned from the window and set the glass
on the island. “And then?”
“And then, what?”
“Where do we go from there? My flat?
I threw my hands up. “Fine. Leave. Run away.”
I stomped out of the kitchen and opened the front door.
He slowly followed, looking pained. He
glanced at my face, set in a hard mask, shook his head, and walked
out. I slammed the door, locked it, and ran upstairs to flop on my
Dammit. Why couldn’t we date without all this
I hoped no one heard the door. It was stupid
to slam it at this hour, but that was a Lawson trait. Doors got
slammed when we were pissed off. My mom’s version was slamming the
cabinet doors in the kitchen while she cleaned. Always knew Dad was
in trouble if I heard that.
If I went to bed now, I could wake up early
enough to call Mom. I washed my face, brushed my teeth, pulled the
pins out of my hair, and turned off the lights.
I woke a little before seven. Since I’d
washed my hair the afternoon before, I knotted it out of my way for
a quick shower. No one else was up, yet, so I found the laundry
machines and washed the clothes I’d worn so far.
Vivian came downstairs at eight-thirty.
“You’re up early for a Saturday.”
“Got my eight hours. Tea? Kettle’s gonna
whistle any minute.”
“Certainly. Thank you.” She opened a cupboard
and took out a tin of loose-leaf and a small teapot. “Did you have
fun last night?”
Except at the end of it
“Yeah. Not my
normal scene, but it was nice enough. I never went to a formal at
school, so getting dressed up was neat.”
The kettle sang. She poured hot water into
the little teapot. “I’m sorry I had to leave early, but I need to
take medication right away if I feel that kind of headache coming
“Something like that, yes. The pill knocks me
out within an hour. Most inconvenient.” While her tea brewed, she
retrieved a mug. “So, do you have plans for today?”
“Well, I’m meeting a photographer friend of
Jacob’s to pick her brain. Other than that, nope.” I poured the
leftover water in the kettle into a bowl of oatmeal.
She dropped one lump of sugar in the mug,
then poured the tea. After stirring it three times, she sipped from
“I thought Jacob had a concert tonight,” she
said, green eyes looking over the rim.
“He mentioned it.”
“You’re not going?”
I shrugged. “He didn’t invite me.”
“Ah.” There was a lot of weight in that
…just two facts: I know
about the concert and I’m not going.”
A tricksy woman, but I was
to spill details. I shook my head and picked up my oatmeal to sit
at the table.
Failing at getting any dirt from me, she
picked up her teacup and a saucer. “Well, I think I’ll take my tea
and get dressed.” She’d come down in her robe and pajamas. “Have
“Yep. I’m sure I’ll see you later.”
Once she was gone, I checked the dryer to see
if the first load was done. I folded the clean clothes and tossed
the wet ones in the machine. Picking up the small stack, I carried
it to my room and put it on my bed so no one would stumble upon my
socks and undies. That made me think of home and Daddy going “uh…”
because he found women’s stuff in the laundry room again. Mom
always offered to do his stuff with hers, but he insisted on doing
it his way. Even used a different soap just to avoid it “smelling