Authors: Aurora Rose Reynolds
Aurora Rose Reynolds
Copyright © 2014 Crystal Aurora Rose Reynolds Print Edition
Edited by Hot Tree edits Mickey edits, Midian Sosa
Book Cover by Mellissa Gill Designs
Formatted by BB eBooks
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used factiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons or living or dead, events or locals are entirely coincidental.
The author acknowledges the trademark status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/ Use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owner.
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You are an amazing friend, author, and most importantly, mother. Your dedication to your boys is truly inspirational.
I turn around when I hear my name called and come face to face with a beautiful blonde. Her hair is down in waves that reach her shoulders, the top of her head hidden under a bright-pink winter hat. Her creamy, pale skin only causes her bright-blue eyes to look even bigger.
“Mike?” she repeats, searching my face as her cheeks turn pink.
I remember the women I’ve been with, and she doesn’t look familiar. My eyes travel from her face down her body. She’s short, her head reaching my chin. The black, thermal shirt and vest she has on show off her full breasts, which lead to a small waist and wide hips. Even with her short height, her legs appear long and are encased in a pair of blue jeans that flare out, showing off a pair of high-heel boots. If by some chance I didn’t remember that face, I would definitely remember that body.
“Maybe I’m mistaken. Sorry,” she mumbles, ducking her head and walking away.
“I’m Mike,” I tell her back as my eyes automatically drop to her ass. Yes, I would definitely remember her.
She turns to face me, and I watch her chest heave as she takes a breath.
“Oh,” she says, looking around.
“Do I know you?” I ask, watching as her cheeks darken even more as she looks around the hardware store.
I think as I watch her look for an escape.
“Kat. Well, Kathleen Mullings.” She shrugs.
I look her over again, but this time, I focus on her eyes—the same eyes I would look into when I was supposed to be studying. Instead, I was wondering what Kat would do if I ever kissed her. We never hung out with the same crowd, but back when we were in high school, I would look for excuses to hang out with her. After graduation, she went away to school and I stayed in Tennessee.
“You’re all grown up,” I say, watching as a smile spreads across her lips.
“That does tend to happen after thirty-one years.” She laughs.
“True.” I chuckle and shake my head. “So what brings you to town?”
“I needed a good place to raise my son, so I figured what better place than where I grew up.”
“You have a son?” I ask, watching her face light up.
“Yeah. He just turned sixteen.”
“Jesus. You really did grow up, didn’t you?” I say, covering up the slight disappointment I feel when I think about her having a husband.
“Mom, are you coming or what?”
I look over Kat’s shoulder as a tall boy walks down the aisle towards us wearing a hoodie that is pulled up on his head, a pair of baggie jeans, and boots. His eyes come to me and narrow before looking at his mom again.
“Honey, this is Mike. We went to school together. Mike, this is my son, Brandon.”
“Nice to meet you.” I stick out my hand and he looks at it for a second before giving it a shake.
“Are you ready to go?” he repeats as soon as he drops my hand.
Kat pulls her bag off her shoulder and pulls out her wallet before handing him a twenty and a set of keys. “Go pay for the stuff. I’ll meet you at the car,” she tells him.
He looks at me again then shakes his head before walking off.
“Sorry about that. He’s been like that since the two of us moved here,” she says quietly, watching him go. Then her eyes come back to me when I speak.
“No problem.” I smile a real smile then feel like an ass for being happy that his dad’s not in the picture.
“I need to go, but we should get a drink sometime and catch up.”
“Are you asking me out?” I tease.
“No,” she says, and her eyes get big when she realizes what she just said.
“Give me your phone.” I hold out my hand.
She pulls her phone out of her pocket, handing it to me. I quickly plug my number into her phone before pressing call. When I hear my phone ring, I hang up then pull my phone out and save her number.
“I’ll call you.”
“Oh, okay.” She looks adorably stunned, and the urge to pull her to me and press my mouth to hers hits me in the chest so hard that I have to take a step back.
“See you around, sweetheart,” I say, and she blinks then shakes her head. It makes me feel better to know she feels it too.
“Uh…see you around.” She turns around.
I watch her walk away. As she reaches the end of the aisle, she looks over her shoulder at me and smiles, giving a wave before turning away again.
I spin my head quickly and meet Asher’s eyes. “An old friend…” I run my hand over my head then look around, trying to remember what the hell I came in here for to begin with.
“You were giving her the look,” he says.
I look at him again and narrow my eyes. “Why are you here and not at home with my daughter and grandbabies?”
“Your daughter’s hair keeps clogging up the damn drain,” he says, holding up a bottle of Drano. “So me, being the amazing husband I am, told her that I would go to the hardware store then stop off at Annie’s and get doughnuts for her ‘cause they are her favorite. Now, tell me why you were giving that lady the look.”
“There was no look,” I deny, looking around again.
“Oh, there was a look,” he says, and my eyes go back to him and he smiles.
“Do not say anything to November,” I plead immediately.
“Sure.” He shrugs.
“Two months ago, she signed me up for a dating website. I do not need help dating,” I remind him, and he starts to laugh.
“That shit was funny.”
“Funny?” I shake my head and shudder. Some of the replies I received were downright scary.
“She just wants you to be happy.”
“I know,” I say quietly.
find my jeans, and quickly pull them on. I find my tank next and pull that on over my head before taking a seat and pulling on my boots. I hate this part; the whole leaving thing really bothers me. It makes me feel dirty, like I’ve done something wrong. How can something that feels so right be wrong?
Almost a year ago, when I saw Mike for the first time after so many years, I didn’t know what to think. The boy who I used to help study had turned into a gorgeous man. He was always good-looking, but after a few years had been added, everything about him held a story, from the small smile wrinkles around his eyes to the calluses on his hands.
I doubt that anyone who met him would think that he was anywhere near his forty-seven years, but he aged well. His height of six feet on the dot would probably not be tall to most, but at five two, I have to tilt my head back to catch his eyes. His dark hair, which was always unruly, still looks the same—long enough that, if you happen to be standing next to him, your hands itch to run your fingers through it. His naturally tan skin, which turns golden after a long summer, always makes his hazel eyes appear more emerald. The tattoos that now cover his arms and chest are something new, but they also tell their own story and change his classic good looks to something more rugged.
I had a crush on him in high school, and the years didn’t diminish my feelings. If anything, my crush has seems to have turned into lust, and now, love was mixed in there as well.
The crush I could deal with. It was just an innocent emotion I could easily block out. Lust? That is something completely different. My body craves his touch; I want to be around him and I want him to want me. And now that I’ve been feeling the love bug, it is no longer just my body that wants him. I want to hear him laugh or talk. I want to share my day with him. But since our first date, we agreed that we’re never going to be anything more than what we are now, which is basically fuck buddies.
At forty-three years old, I did not want this to be my life. My son is going to be eighteen in a week, and he’s going off to college at the end of the year. I’m not getting any younger, and I want someone to share my life with.
I look at the closed bathroom door, where Mike disappeared to moments ago, and sigh. I know what I need to do, but that doesn’t mean I want to do it.
Once I finish putting on my boots, I stand and run my fingers through my hair, trying to tame it. I look at the bed, and my stomach twists. Sex between us is phenomenal. He knows exactly how to touch me, but I desire more.
No, I deserve more
I hear the bathroom door open and almost back out of what I need to do. The sight of Mike in nothing but a towel doesn’t help at all. I still have no idea how he can have so many muscles at his age, but he does. I close my eyes, take a breath, and open my eyes at the sound of his voice.
“You’re leaving?” His eyes come together in confusion.
I know what he’s thinking—not that I don’t leave after sex, just that we normally spend the entire day together. But after that last round, where the word love was pressed to the roof of my mouth so hard that I wanted to cry, I knew then that I needed to end things between us.
“I can’t do this anymore.” Okay. The words are out. I can breathe again.
“What do you mean you can’t do this anymore?” His eyes narrow further and drop to my hand as I pick up my bag.
“This thing between us… I can’t do it anymore.” I shake my head, lifting my bag up and over my shoulder.
“This thing?” The words are growled and his eyes sweep the room.
I take a second to think about what I need to say before opening my mouth again. “You were honest with me and told me that you weren’t looking for a relationship.” I take a breath, feeling my heart speed up. “Nine months ago, I was okay with that because I felt the same way.” I smile but feel it wobble. “I no longer feel that way. I want more.”
He runs a hand over his hair, and I see pain flash through his eyes. The urge to comfort him hits me hard.
“I told you,” he whispers.
He’s right. He did tell me what his daughter’s mother had done to him, but that was years ago. I don’t want to sound like a heartless bitch, but people get screwed over every day. Sometimes, you have to get over shit. My ex-husband abandoned me, and as horrible as that is, I know that not all men are the same and somewhere out there is a man who will love me the way I need to be loved. Even if the man I wanted to love me didn’t.
“You did tell me, but I can’t be stuck in the past with you, Mike. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life alone.”
“You’re not alone,” he says, his eyebrows pulling together. I want to laugh at how oblivious he is.
“Mike, I see you for a few hours a couple of times a week. We have sex. Then I go home. We don’t have dinner or talk about our lives, so yes, I’m alone, and in five years, Mike, I don’t want to be alone.”
I wait to see if he’s going to say something, anything that will change the way I feel right now. If he will try to convince me to stay. But he just stands there looking at me. I shake my head in disappointment and turn for the door.
“Wait. We can do dinner,” he says.
A laugh so painful that I have to put my hand to my heart bubbles out of my mouth before I can stop it. I don’t even turn around to look at him when I reply.
“Mike, dinner isn’t going to change how I feel.” I’m positive that dinner would just make this whole thing more complicated, and it doesn’t need to be any more complicated.