Read Reasons to Leave (Reasons #1) Online

Authors: Lisa J. Hobman

Tags: #Highlands, #Scotland, #Love and loss, #contemporary romance, #second chance

Reasons to Leave (Reasons #1) (6 page)

BOOK: Reasons to Leave (Reasons #1)
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Suddenly, a masculine scent penetrated her nostrils and heat seeped into her skin. “I think we need to talk.” Jason leaned in so close that his breath caressed her ear as he spoke just above a whisper.

She shuddered.

Damn him.

Spinning around to face him, her anger rose once again. “I have
nothing
to say to you.” She stormed out of the room letting the door slam shut behind her.

 

Chapter Three

The door to the large cabin creaked open behind her as she walked away. She didn’t turn around but she heard him jogging toward her, and so she picked up her pace. He grabbed her elbow and spun her around to face him.

He growled. “You can’t avoid me forever.”

The smile she plastered on her face was by no means friendly. “Oh yes, I can. I’m taking my cue from the master of avoidance tactics,” she spat.

His face took on that pained expression again. “You don’t think that maybe
I
have things to say? To explain?” His sexy, Scottish-tinged accent intrigued her, almost sucking her under his spell yet again.

Setting her jaw, she looked directly into his eyes, hoping to portray inner strength even though she felt anything
but
strong. “I’m afraid it’s a little late for that, Jason. Ten years ago would’ve been the appropriate time for you to explain. There is nothing…let me repeat that…
nothing
that you could say to me that would make what you did acceptable or forgiveable.”

Jason’s nostrils flared. “I beg to differ. Look, I had my reasons for leaving, okay?”

“No, it’s not okay. Like I’ve already said, it’s
too late
to explain them now.” Her heart was pounding against her ribs again, and her eyes stung with unshed tears. “Do you have
any
idea how scared I was? Do you know how many hours I cried? How many days? Do you know how long I waited for
one word
from you so that I knew you were safe?” Jason let go of her arm. His gaze dropped to the floor and she could see his jaw working under his skin. “No, I thought not. You never thought about
anyone
but yourself. For all I knew you were dead.” Tears escaped her eyes and cascaded down her face and she pointed her finger into his hard chest. “You
broke
me Jason. I can’t
love
anyone. I can’t
trust
anyone. So yes, that’s what you did…you
broke
me.” A sob escaped her throat and she turned to walk away.

Much to her relief he didn’t follow this time, and so she made a detour to the toilet block, where she dabbed at her eyes and splashed her face with cold water. Glancing up into the mirror, her reflection was startling. Her face was pale but her eyes were red.
Great, now everyone will know I’ve been bloody crying.
She splashed more cold water on her face and took a deep steadying breath. She knew that she had a million and one questions buzzing around her head, but
here
was not the place and
now
was not the time to address them.

Perhaps there never would be a good time.

 

****

 

I was broken too, Stevie.

Without speaking, Jason watched her walk away. This was not going well. The fact that she’d turned up
here
out of the blue was shocking enough, but the fact that she looked just as beautiful as he remembered, no forget that…
even more
beautiful, was just damned painful. Although, it wouldn’t matter what she looked like. She was beautiful in every single way. He knew what they’d had was special and intense, but he’d hoped to forget her. How the hell could he do that now she was here? He gritted his teeth.
Who the fuck am I trying to kid? I’ve never forgotten her. How the hell could I do that? I was in love with her.

The way she used to look at him returned in flashbacks when he closed his eyes, like images being played on a screen. Her big blue eyes would gaze into his, filled with love. Her hair would flutter across her face in the breeze, and she’d tuck it behind her ear with a warm smile that made his heart skip. Why the fuck was she here? How the hell had she found him?
Had
she found him or had this whole thing been some unhappy coincidence?

He had to know.

After walking quickly over to his office, he rifled through the pile of papers on his desk. When he eventually came across the booking forms for Wilmersden High School, he scanned the section for chaperones, and the names of the teaching staff didn’t include Stevie’s.
Mollie Sumner and David Harris. Not Stevie Watts. Shit…is she even still called Stevie Watts? Maybe
she’s married now
. That was an unwelcomed thought.

Guilt washed over him. She’d
genuinely
had no clue. When he’d confronted her about looking for him, she
had
told him the truth. His accusations had made her out to be some lying stalker.

He pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes. She didn’t deserve the arrogant reception at all, the poor woman. He had no one to blame but himself for her low opinion of him. How the hell could he make amends for speaking to her like that? For handling her so roughly. If he had witnessed a woman being treated in such a way he’d have kicked the culprits arse from here to next year.

He blew out a long breath and resolved to try and make up for his transgressions in some way. If he could just get her to agree to listen to him, he could explain his disappearance. She had a warm heart. Surely when she knew the truth, she’d understand, wouldn’t she? Armed with the knowledge that this was all as big a shock to her as it was to him, he made his way over to the barbecue.

There was no sign of her.

Shit
. He glanced around, panicking. Maybe she’d somehow gone home.
But how could she? She’s here for the kids. Good, that means she’s a captive audience…of sorts
. He needed to talk to her. There were so many things she had to know. She had to know that he couldn’t have stayed in London, but that it
wasn’t
because of her. But he couldn’t lose focus. He couldn’t fall for her.

Not again.

 

****

 

When Stevie arrived at the barbecue area, everyone seemed to be chatting merrily whilst they ate their burgers and enjoyed the warm summer’s evening.

David made a beeline for her. “Hey, hi. Oh no…tree pollen?” He cringed sympathetically.

She was puzzled by his bizarre remark and pulled her brow into a frown. “Sorry?”

He gestured to her eyes. “Tree pollen getting to you? Your eyes are all red. It’s a common thing to suffer with in these parts.”

Realising what he meant, she nodded. “Oh…yes…tree pollen. Forgot my medication,” she lied.

“You should ask Jason. He’s probably got a stock of antihistamine. Or he can point you in the direction of the pharmacy. Or the doctor maybe.” He just went on and on…

“Yes…yes…I’ll ask later. I’m fine at the moment,” she answered dismissively.

David nodded, but his face told her he wasn’t buying it. “Um…okay. Shall I get you a burger?”

“No thanks, David. If I want one I’ll get one,” she snapped.
God he’s relentless!
“I’m not that hungry. I brought some snacks, so I can eat later if I feel like it.”

He smiled and nodded again. “Okay…well I’ll go and do the rounds…make sure everyone’s all right and that the boys aren’t bothering Dorcas too much.” He hesitated but then walked away, leaving her to stand alone.

“Come and sit with us, Mrs. Norton. There’s a space,” Jess, one of the pupils, called over.


Mrs.
?” came a husky voice from over her shoulder, making her jump. “So you got married, then?”

She turned to face Jason as he stood close behind her. There was something in his eyes that told her he was disappointed about his discovery. “You need to stop sneaking up on me.”

“Miiiss?” Jess called again in a whiny voice.

“Thanks Jess, but I’m okay standing. I can keep a better watch over you all this way.” She smiled. Jess rolled her eyes and turned back to her friends, who were all making eyes at Jason. He was oblivious to the hormonal teenagers.

“Come to my cabin after lights out. We can talk.” He insisted in an almost whisper.

“I’ve already told you I have
nothing
to say to you.”

He smirked. “Forgive me if I don’t believe you.”

She gave an exasperated sigh. “Please, Jason. Just leave me alone. It’s bad enough that I can’t leave, so please can we just stay out of each other’s way?”

“No, we can’t. Look, just give me an hour of your time. That’s all I ask. I just want to explain. After that, if you choose to ignore me then…well…there’s nothing I can do about that, but I’m sure I’ll survive.”

Why did he have to sound so concerned in one breath, and then jab her heart in the next? “Sorry, it’s not going to happen, okay?” She plastered a smile on her face to keep up appearances. The last thing she needed was to raise the suspicions of the pupils that there was more to her relationship with their host.

His mouth formed a hard line, and he breathed out noisily through his nose. “My cabin is adjacent to the place we had our little…
brief encounter
when you arrived earlier. If you walk along a little further than the gap in the trees, you’ll find a walkway. I usually stay up late. If you decide to come, that’s where you’ll find me. If not…well…maybe another time, eh? But know this…what I did was for a very good reason. It wasn’t a decision I made lightly. I loved you.” And with that he walked away over to where the camp’s chef was preparing the food and slapped the man on the back in a friendly manner. He glanced at her one last time, boring into her, pleading with her with his pained, dark eyes. A shiver traversed her spine, and she broke eye contact.

 

****

 

Later that evening, back in his cabin again, Jason changed in to his tatty, old, long board shorts but didn’t bother with a shirt. There didn’t seem to be any point. After all, it was a warm night, and whilst he’d hoped that Stevie would turn up, he wasn’t holding his breath. She seemed determined to avoid the issues that
he
knew needed addressing. She had him pegged as some cruel, selfish bastard. It just wasn’t true. Okay, so it
appeared
to be true and that didn’t help matters. But once she knew the truth…

Why did she have to turn up and spoil things? He was doing just fucking fine without her. Well, he’d managed for ten years to not think about her beautiful face. Not
every
day anyway. And those eyes. So blue you could just fall right in and drown. Not that he wanted to of course. He wanted to explain why he left. He owed her that much. Then he wanted her to go back down to the hell that was London and fucking stay there. Let him get back to life as it
should
be. As it had been up until today.

He couldn’t allow himself to get close to her again. That would be a
huge
mistake. He had made a life for himself here, and he didn’t want that to change in
any
way. Maybe the arrogance thing was a good idea after all. At least she seemed to be put off by his attitude. And that
was
a good thing, right? Okay, so she liked how he’d filled out. That much was obvious from her expression and the way her pupils dilated when they made eye contact.

He couldn’t deny that s
he
looked incredible. Those curves, dammit. She was almost straight up and down when he saw her last, but now… He wondered what her skin would feel like under his fingertips. Would she be all soft and yielding? He’d noted the way her breasts were fuller and wondered what they would feel like in his hands. God he’d love to find out. Her hips were wider too—her smaller waist had been accentuated by that fact. And her sexy rounded arse. God he’d love to squeeze it whilst she straddled him. Her hair was still as beautiful as ever, and he longed to nuzzle and smell it. She was definitely
all
woman.

Gone was the awkward eighteen-year-old he’d left behind. His manhood awakened and twitched at his train of thought. But lust and love were two completely different things and as long as it stayed that way everything would be fine. This was going to be a temporary situation. She would be gone in a week.

BOOK: Reasons to Leave (Reasons #1)
13.23Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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