Read Summer Burns Online

Authors: Candice Gilmer

Tags: #contemporary romance

Summer Burns (20 page)

BOOK: Summer Burns
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"
Okay, kiddo,
"
Matthew said as he let her get back to her pizza. He turned to Summer, and just took her in a bit.

This was completely his idea--he wasn
'
t sure he could watch another Disney Princess movie again--this would be their second Thursday together.

And it felt weird--like he had a family of his own. At least in the moment.

Summer met his gaze and smiled, a warm, glowing one that turned him on--but not like that.

Like, hell, he wasn
'
t sure exactly, other than it made him feel amazing. More balanced than he
'
d felt since he returned.

Though when he glanced at the little girl, he saw Bettes so clearly in her features, he felt horrible about his feelings for Summer.

Because against his will, he was feeling things for her.

A lot of things.

Multiple texts a day, and at least a phone call in the evening after Emma was in bed.

Usually involving all the kinky stuff. He
'
d heard about sexting and phone sex, but hadn
'
t really been that into it. At least not until Summer.

His phone went off.

 

You
'
re pretty good there, soldier -- Summer

 

He smirked and texted her back, meeting her gaze before he did.

 

I
'
m good at lots of things -- Hennessey

 

Summer
'
s cheeks turned red when she read his text.

Good.

"
You should get a pedicure,
"
Emma said suddenly.

He glanced at the little girl.
"
What?
"

"
You said Mommy doesn
'
t like your stinky toes. If you got a pedicure, then your toes wouldn
'
t stink anymore.
"

"
Emma, honey
..."

"
I was just thinking it
..."
she said, and slumped.

Matthew nudged her.
"
Hey, let
'
s go run in the rain.
"

Her eyes lit up and she hopped up from the picnic table.
"
Can I Mom? Can I? Can I?
"

"
Sure,
"
she said.

He turned to Summer.
"
Come on,
"
he gestured for her to join them.

She shook her head.
"
No, you go on, I
'
ll keep an eye on our stuff.
"

He raised his eyebrow.
"
I
'
m sure our stuff will be fine.
"
No one was around anywhere.

She still hesitated.

"
Come on Mommy!
"
Emma cried, running around in the rain. While it wasn
'
t down-pouring, it was coming down hard enough that her hair was already pretty wet and her little blue shirt clung to her.

Summer glanced at the table, then back at Emma.
"
Okay, for just a minute.
"

Emma and Matthew ran in and danced in the rain. Summer kept glancing at their stuff.

He put his hand on her arm.
"
It
'
s okay.
"

She glanced at Emma, probably so she didn
'
t have to look at him when she spoke. He noticed that she did that a lot.
"
My house was robbed once when Jake was overseas. Ever since I
'
ve always been very paranoid.
"

"
I didn
'
t know.
"
He touched her chin, drawing her around to look at him.
"
Don
'
t worry. I got this.
"

He smiled to reassure her, but it seemed to do the opposite.

She snorted and turned away.
"
I
'
m fine.
"

"
I can help.
"

"
Yeah, everyone helps the little widow. Poor pitiful girl. Can
'
t do anything herself.
"

"
I never said that.
"

She brushed wet hair out of her face.
"
But you thought it. Everyone does. Don
'
t worry though, I
'
ve got it handled. Have for years.
"

"
You think that
'
why I
'
m here?
"

"
Isn
'
t it?
"
She crossed her arms.
"
You said you promised him you
'
d check on me.
"

"
Would you have me deny a dying man?
"

She took a couple steps away.

Fuck.

Now he
'
d done it.

"
Summer.
"

"
You were there then?
"

He nodded.

This time, when she met his gaze, her eyes shined with tears.

Thunder clapped.

"
You wouldn
'
t be here if it wasn
'
t for Jake.
"

He was about to respond, but Emma came running over, soaking wet, and muddy from the knees down, and he stopped himself.

He wasn
'
t going to argue with her mother in front of her. Or disagree or whatever this was. He respected Jake too much.

"
Mister Maffew,
"
Emma said, wrapping her arms around him.

"
It
'
s okay, kiddo,
"
he said, but really, he meant the words more for her mother than for her.

Summer leaned into him, and they all stood there in the rain. It was good, though, because it hid the tears that had run down Summer
'
s cheeks.

"
That silly thunder is just the potato wagon falling over,
"
Matthew said.

"
The potato wagon? Really?
"
Emma
'
s eyes got wide.

"
Yep.
"
He began to spin the tale he remembered his own grandparents telling him when he was little when it would storm, about the sounds.

In a moment, Emma was adding her own details to the story. In a moment longer, they all were laughing, and Emma drug them out to the puddles again.

Summer was still reluctant, but she went.

It didn
'
t take long, though, before they all were dancing and laughing in the rain. They jumped and splashed in puddles. Emma even yelled at the thunder when it scared her.

So this is what a family felt like
, he thought to himself.
Damn, Jake, you were a lucky bastard
...

Summer danced around, and stumbled, but he caught her arm, and pulled her against him.

He stared in her eyes--the rain had flattened her hair to her face, and it hung against her skin. She smiled, her hand on his chest, a laugh caught in her eyes, but she paused.

"
What
'
s the matter?
"
She asked.

"
You look so beautiful,
"
he said.

"
Ha,
"
she laughed.
"
Probably more like a drowned rat.
"

"
No.
"
He leaned in, intent on putting a kiss on those lips, to taste them again, something he
'
d been wanting to do for days.

For a second she smiled, but she put the brakes on before he could actually make contact.

Her gaze darted to the side, and he turned to look--there, Emma was staring at them, her jaw wide open.

"
You trying to catch the rain?
"
he asked the little girl.

"
Huh?
"

"
With your mouth open like that, you trying to catch rain drops?
"

Emma grinned, and threw her head back, her mouth open as big as possible to catch the rain.

So Summer and Matthew joined in.

If someone were watching, they would see the three of them and think this was a family.

So why did it disappoint him so much that it wasn
'
t really his?

Chapter Fifteen

Friday

 

"
So why in the Hell didn
'
t you tell me he was coming in here?
"
Autumn yelled at me. My sister looked like she
'
d leaped aboard the crazy train, kicked the driver out and took over. She
'
d hauled me outside after my last haircut left--a guy I
'
d been cutting forever.

"
Who?
"
My only break today, and I have to spend it yelling at my crazy sister? I don
'
t think so.

I started to go back inside--it was hot as hell out here.

Autumn, however, wasn
'
t having it.
"
Louie Castle! You think you
'
d have the common courtesy to let me know he was getting his hair cut in the salon!
"

I stared at my sister.
"
Why the hell would you care?
"
I knew Louie, I
'
ve known him for years--he
'
s had me cut his hair since forever. Okay, since I came home and started working here, but, whatever, same thing. Sure, we both went to the same high school, but he was several years younger than me.

"
Because she dated him in high school,
"
Mom said, joining us out back.

I blinked.
"
You did?
"
I was moved out by the time Autumn started dating. Like I
'
d know who she
'
d been with.

"
Yeah. For like a year.
"
She crossed her arms.

"
That guy? You called him
'
King.
'
I thought that was his name.
"
Well that explained the clipped attitudes today from my last client, Louie, and my sister. I wondered at the time why she was giving him the evil eye, but I figured, since Louie was in his police attire, that it was just Autumn
'
s typical rebellion against authority.

Had no idea he was her ex.

Wow. Living with my sister is a pain in the ass, I can
'
t imagine what she must be like to date.

"
What about you, Mom? I mean, how many times did Louie come over to our house all through senior year, Mom? How many?
"

"
Be calm, Autumn, now you are acting like a petulant child.
"

"
Well, I have a right to be! When my ex-boyfriend walks into the beauty shop, you
'
d think I would need a moment to prepare!
"

"
Why?
"
Mom asked.

"
Yeah, what does it matter, if he
'
s your ex?
"
I added.

"
Because, it does.
"
She paced around the back alley.
"
Because it would be like--like Dad just showing up.
"

BOOK: Summer Burns
6.74Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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