With the release of Rejected next month and Halloween right around the corner I am pretty excited. And I want to pass along that excitement to you guys so I am putting up a chunk of the first chapter. FYI I am still waiting for edits so this might not be the same when you read Rejected on Nov 13. Enjoy!
Grace stopped what she was doing. She couldn’t help it. It was an involuntary response every time she caught his scent in the air. Grace stood still, eyes closed, in the middle of the sidewalk trying to pinpoint what made Jack Taylor smell so damn good.
It could have been his aftershave. No one else in the small town of Black Bird used his aftershave. It could have been the sawdust that was always lingering on his clothes. It could have been that wild smell that permeated under every other smell. Whatever it was, it added up to one thing in Grace’s mind. Mate.
“Hey, crazy, how about you stop daydreaming and help me with these boxes.”
“Sorry, Anne,” Grace ducked her head embarrassed that she had been caught, nose in the air.
Anne Kane, Grace’s best friend, just shook her head and walked into her boutique. Grace was helping Anne part time with her store while Anne looked for more permanent help. The two women were supposed to be bringing in new merchandise but Grace was frozen where she stood, box in hand, looking for the source of the distracting smell.
The bell over the door of Chic Chick rang as Anne walked back onto the sidewalk.
“He walked by while you were in the back. You missed him, Grace.” Anne sighed exasperated. “Now, can we get on with business? I want to get these dresses up before lunch.”
Grace picked up another box from Anne’s car and followed her inside.
Rows of clothes hung on galvanized steel pipes that serpentined through the single room store. The exposed metal, coupled with the antique white hutches, gave the store a rustic feel. Anne’s ability to pair modern and old world styles was what made her main street shop a success. Grace may have helped build the clothing racks and paint the walls but it was Anne who kept selling out of merchandise.
Without a word, the two women started opening boxes and shaking out dresses. They had done this so many times in the last four years that they had it down to an art. Anne pulled out the steamer while Grace started making room to hang the sundresses in the front window.
The weather was warming up. The sunshine peeking through the clouds would turn people’s minds to summer and the bright colors Anne had picked out would give ladies the incentive to buy new dresses. The front window was the perfect way to lure people in during their lunch breaks.
It also gave Grace an excuse to keep an eye out for Jack. In case he walked back this way again.
“I thought you had a sure fire plan to corner Jack yesterday,” Anne said breaking the silence.
Grace barely contained a growl, “I did.”
She had bribed old man Johnson at the lumber yard to call Grace when Jack arrived to pick up his shipment that week. What Grace hadn’t anticipated was that old man Johnson’s loyalty to Jack was greater than his love for butterscotch brownies. The old coot had taken the brownies but never called Grace.
That type of solidarity was typical when it came to Jack Taylor though. Jack had only lived in Black Bird for a year and somehow he had gained more loyalty from the town than Grace ever had. And Grace had lived here her whole life. Grace may be a lifelong citizen of Black Bird but she was a second class citizen. The last twelve months had hammered that point home.
“You would not believe how cunning that man is and how much people like him.” Grace grumbled. “Hell, I’ve only managed to talk to him once and I’m already in love.”
Anne shook her head in disbelief. “How has he been able to avoid you for this long? The town is so small the school is K-12.” She leaned around the dress she was steaming to purse her lips at Grace. “Only you could you get mated to a man who can hide like a chameleon in a town of less than five thousand.” Anne cringed. “To be mated,” she amended.
And that was the problem in a nutshell. Somehow, Jack Taylor had roped the whole town into helping him avoid Grace.
When he had moved to Black Bird last year, Grace had been a part of the welcoming committee. The instant their hands touched it felt like lightning had struck. The hair on the back of her neck stood up and Grace’s wolf howled. Grace had seen Jack’s eyes widen in surprise. She had been sure he felt it too, but he had dropped her hand like it was a snake and had gone out of his way to avoid her since.
For a while, Grace let him do his own thing. She assumed it could be stressful moving to a new place. Not that Grace had ever moved but she heard people complain about boxing up their houses often enough. Meeting your fated mate on top of that must be overwhelming. But when she started making an effort to meet with Jack, she couldn’t find him. It was only after the tenth time of “just missed him” that Grace started to suspect he was avoiding her.
“He’s meeting with Ben and the other enforcers to talk about a group of rogues that are making their way here.” Anne finally said.
The dress in Grace’s hand slipped from her fingers as she whipped her head around to see Anne’s expression. Anne was pointedly focused on steaming the wrinkles out of a white sundress but Grace could see the tension around her friend’s eyes. Anne was worried.
“Are they here for us?” The question dropped to a whisper on the last word.
In the last few years the American Packs had become volatile. There was no central leadership to police interactions between Packs and some groups were taking advantage of that. There were territory wars going on all along the West Coast. There were rumors of roaming groups of rogue wolves who swept into small towns and decimated the population.
None of the surrounding Packs had said anything about escalating violence or strange wolves. The pockets of wars weren’t far away from Black Bird though. No one outright said it but the town was nervous.
“No,” Anne’s voice was clear, definitive, “they’re just a group of rogue that a few Alphas have seen passing through. They haven’t approached anyone and they haven’t been violent. Ben’s just,” Anne let out a breath, “being cautious. You can’t be too cautious.”
Grace nodded. No argument there.
Attempting to lighten the mood Grace bumped Anne’s shoulder as she went to grab the next stack of pressed dresses. “How would our illustrious Alpha feel if he knew you were giving out his schedule to strangers?” Grace teased. “Word might get around that you have loose lips.”
Anne snorted. “I would rather have the town calling me loose lips than a loose woman. Also, considering you were planning on hunting Ben down to ask him if he knew where Jack was, I am sure he will thank me later.” Anne cocked her eyebrows tempting Grace to deny it.
Grace huffed at being found out but to be fair she had pulled that move often enough that it wasn’t as subtle as it used to be. And Anne had reason to get upset about it. Grace had crashed a few dinner dates between Anne and Ben trying to find Jack. Grace couldn’t be too upset at the bite in Anne’s tone.
“You just have trouble sharing Ben’s time.” Not that Grace could blame her. Ben was a hunk. He was tall and built with thick black hair. And having known him her entire life, Grace could safely say that he was one of the best men on the planet.
Grace punched a price tag into a dress with too much force and the gun jammed. Throwing it down in frustration Grace snarled, “I’m so pathetic, Anne.”
“I know, honey.” Anne stopped steaming clothes and gave Grace a sad look,” but if you can’t be pathetic about your mate, what’s the point?”
Grace knew she was being pathetic but it hurt that Anne was agreeing with her so quickly. She sank down into a chair.
“Being pathetic is one thing but I’m turning into a creep. That man doesn’t want anything to do with me and I’m stalking him all around town.” Grace sniffed.
It was time to throw in the towel. If the man had wanted to get to know Grace, he would have by now. He had had ample opportunity. Jack acted like he didn’t even want to be around Grace. If Grace walked into the diner, Jack walked out the back. If Grace turned down the same grocery aisle, he would drop his basket and hightail it out of the store.
She didn’t even know why he was doing it. Which is what had started her militaristic campaign to corner him and call him out. In the last few weeks, she had started gathering intelligence and planning her ambushes. Here Grace was going crazy just trying to get a minute of her mate’s time and he was doing his best to deny her.
She sniffled louder.
“Oh sweetheart,” Anne walked over. “Don’t even go there. It’s not you.” Anne wrapped an arm around Grace’s shoulder. “The man probably has some rare brain tumor. He’s trying to save you the grief of having to be mated to an invalid. Or more plausible is that his penis is tiny.” Anne wiped a tear off Grace’s cheek. “He’s a hero for not subjecting you to his tiny dick. We should throw him a parade.” Anne jumped back throwing her arms wide. “We could put banners in every storefront and we could make a float depicting his miniscule package. Mrs. Henderson’s Pomeranian could pull it through Main Street.” Anne winked.
Grace laughed weakly. “Based on what I overheard Becky Jameson say at the bar last night, we might need Clydesdales to pull a parade float of that man’s junk.”
Anne pulled her lips back in disgust. Anne hated Becky Jameson. It all began when they had worn the same dress to junior prom.
“Well that girl dated Cory Tate for years. I’m sure in comparison Jack’s mini weenie looked like the Rock of Gibraltar.”
Cory Tate had landed himself on Anne’s bad side after he “accidentally” mistook Becky for Anne at the junior prom and had gone home with her. Anne couldn’t take a breath to insult Becky Jameson without throwing a barb at Cory Tate too. It was as sure as an Amen after a prayer.
“I don’t know why he doesn’t want to be my mate. That’s the problem. The man is involved in everyone’s life in this town. He helps with Pack security, he visits the old folk’s home, he found Mark Boone a job but I can’t even have a single conversation with him.” Grace threw her hands up. “I can’t even make a good excuse for the man because I haven’t ever talked to him!” A tear fell down Grace’s cheeks. “Why doesn’t he want me?”
This was the final blow to Grace’s self-esteem. Growing up in Black Bird was hard for a wolf with a human parent. Grace’s mom loved her dad so much that she had broken up with her high school sweetheart, who also happened to be her mate, and married Grace’s dad. They had been madly in love. Grace’s mom called her dad, “My heart’s mate.” And after her dad passed away suddenly a few years ago, her mom had passed on quietly only a month later. They just couldn’t live without each other.
While Grace loved her parents, the town felt otherwise. They could not forgive June Harding for not mating with Richard Pierce and they certainly could not forget that she had done it all for a human. The prejudice lot of them were barely tolerate of the humans who didn’t steal their sons’ mates. There was no mercy for a human who lured their town’s daughters away.
Grace wasn't known for being melancholy. She tried to be upbeat about life but her wolf was confused why they weren't mated and Grace couldn’t stop thinking that it was her fault. It was the recipe for a very emotional reaction.
“Let’s go,” Anne declared getting up from the chair.
Grace wiped the tear stains off her face and put her shirt in order. Without saying a word, Grace followed Anne out the front door. Anne didn’t bother locking up, so Grace knew where they were headed.
Dale Markman’s bakery was only busy two times a day: before dawn and before school. The sun was already up and the kids were in school, so the bakery was empty. Dale was bent behind the glass display counter restocking from the early morning rush.
Dale was a thin man, thinner than would be expected from a person who made donuts all day. He was just starting to show his age too. There were crow’s feet appearing at the corners of each eye and a smattering of grey in his hair.
Hearing the bell overhead ring, Dale arched back trying to work out a knot.
“Morning ladies, getting some work in before the day starts?” Dale smiled, his eyes wrinkling even more at the corners. Grace liked Dale. He was kind and he worked hard. Everyone else in Black Bird might obsess over gossip but Dale didn’t pay any mind to it. He hadn’t shown favorites when Grace’s mom had married her dad instead of her high school sweetheart and he hadn’t gotten involved in the Jack Taylor fiasco.
“We sure are and I don’t know about Grace, but I could use a pick me up.” Anne rubbed her hands together excitedly. Anne didn’t even like donuts. She was here purely to drag Grace out of the dumps.
“I just put out some huckleberry filled ones.” Dale pointed to a line of fat fried dough leaking purple jam. Anne ordered two.
Grace was looking over the display, waiting for Anne to finish paying, when she heard the door open. Glancing over her shoulder, she barely bit back a groan. If Dale Markman was a saint then Pearl Pierce was the devil. She was in her eighties and always up in arms about something.
Last year, she had tried to get the community center shut down when they threw a Halloween carnival. Everyone rolled their eyes at the irony of a werewolf thinking Halloween was going to corrupt the children but it had put a damper on the town’s celebration. If Pearl liked a person, she was vocal about it but nowhere near as vocal as if she didn’t like a person. Grace just happened to be a person Pearl didn’t like.
Pearl was also the mother of Richard Pierce. Her mom’s almost mate. From the moment Grace was born, she had been on Pearl’s shit list. And that meant that Pearl Pierce worshipped the ground that Jack Taylor walked on.
“Oh dear, they are letting all kinds of folks in here,” Pearl gasp, theatrically sniffing her nose.
Anne looked back and rolled her eyes. It wasn’t a surprise that Anne was someone Pearl disliked. Ever since Anne and Ben had started dating, Pearl had been going on and on about the sanctity of mates and how only loose women kept company with men who weren’t fated for them. Grace had the speech memorized since it was the same one Pearl howled at the Copeland family whenever the opportunity presented itself.
“Yeah, Dale, aren’t you worried about having bags of bones around the food?” Anne said deadpan.
Dale covered a laugh with a cough. Grace smiled but kept her head down not wanting to draw the old woman’s wrath.
“A home wrecker with bad manners, what a surprise,” Pearl cooed. “It’s to be expected from the town’s mutts.” Pearl smiled, obviously proud of her insult.
Grace didn’t react to the bait but she could see Anne’s hackles rise. Anne wasn’t the calmest wolf in the best situation but throw her into a closed room with Pearl and things could get out of hand. Grace stepped forward to pull Anne outside before things escalated.
“Oh my goodness,” Pearl exclaimed, clutching her hand to her heart. “I only smelled two wolves when I walked in here. I thought we were alone.”
Grace nodded politely but didn’t say anything as she ushered Anne towards the door. Pearl stepped aside to let them pass. They were almost outside when Pearl threw back her final spear.
“The town is doing Mr. Taylor a favor by keeping you away from him.”
“Pearl,” Dale warned.
Grace felt Anne tense under her hand.
“She says things to cause problems. No one pays attention. Let’s just go.” Grace whispered, trying to push Anne out the door.
“Listen to what she’s telling you, Ms. Kane. Grace is the town expert when it comes to no one paying attention.” Pearl cackled.
Grace’s heart froze and she felt her cheeks get hot. She tugged Anne harder knowing it was only a matter of time before she started crying and she wanted to be out of sight when it happened.
Anne jerked free, fire blazing in her eyes. For a second, they shifted yellow. She took a menacing step towards Pearl. The woman had the smarts to hurry back.
“This town is full of fools too old or too dumb to do anything but ruffle feathers.” Anne pointed a clawed finger at Pearl. “Watch your mouth you old bitch because I’m gunning for you.” With a snap of teeth, Anne turned to walk away.
Grace hurried to catch up to Anne. There was practically steam coming out of Anne’s ears. When they walked past Chic Chick Grace asked Anne where she was going.
“This has gone on long enough. We are confronting that son of a bitch right now and settling this once and for all.” Anne’s voice dropped an octave while she raged.
“What are you doing?” The shock of Anne’s anger dried Grace’s tears. Anne had a short fuse but she rarely acted on it.
“Ben asked me not to interfere. ‘This is between mates.’” Anne imitated Ben’s voice. “But this is bullshit. We can’t have cowards in this Pack. It’s time for that man to face the music and talk to you.”
Anne’s hand shot out forcing Grace to keep up with her march down Main Street towards the diner. It was just after the breakfast rush but as they got closer, Grace could see a few people still sitting at the booths. One group in particular drew Grace’s eye.
Ben had commandeered the entire back portion of the diner. He was surrounded by his enforcers. Grace could see him pointing at something on the table. But it was the dusty blonde hair of the man across from him that got Grace’s heart beating.
His back was to her but she could see the collar of his plaid shirt under his shoulder length hair. He must be planning on going straight to his woodshop after the meeting. He only wore his thick plaid shirts if he was going to be working. Just seeing the back of his head filled Grace with a nauseating combination of dread and excitement.
“Anne, he is going to sprint out the backdoor the second he smells me,” Grace wheezed. Her heart was beating so hard, she could barely breathe.
“I know.” Anne’s eyes narrowed. “And that’s how we are going to catch him.”
“South Creek’s Alpha said they were skating his territory when they passed by last week.” Jack looked where Ben was pointing on the map. It was a good fifty miles away from Black Bird land but that was still too close to have a group of rogues sniffing around.
Ben had called this meeting late last night after getting information from the Pack to the south. All of Black Bird’s enforcers were there: Dave Pierce, Derek Johnson, Mark Warner, Evan and Eric Tate, Paul Carlson and Jack. It was early enough in the morning that most of the town’s inhabitants were either busy getting ready for the day or still asleep. That meant they had the diner nearly to themselves. Which was good since none of the men present wanted to cause mass hysteria with the news Ben was sharing with them.
“Did he say how many there were?” Paul Carlson asked around the waffle he was eating.
Paul was Ben’s right hand man. Jack originally thought that the man was incompetent after speaking to him the first time. Paul was obnoxiously playful. He joked with everyone, flirted with everything and it was impossible to take the man seriously. Until it was too late. Late one night the first month Jack moved to Black Bird he had watched as Paul handed three drunk enforcers from the Pack south their asses. The whole exchange lasted fifteen seconds and Jack had never questioned Paul’s place as second since.
“Ethan said his security team picked up eight but that there could be closer to fifteen.” Ben shook his head.
“Does that man not know how to count? That’s a big difference.” Dave shook his head in disgust. “Eight males blowing through a town could be bad but fifteen spelled chaos. And South Creek said they steered clear of the town?”
Dave Pierce was born and bred to be Pack security. He was meticulous and expected everyone else to be just as vigilant as he was. There was no room for inaccurate reports in Dave’s world.
“He didn’t hear a peep from them. They didn’t ask permission to pass through but they didn’t raise hell.” Ben looked off in thought chewing slowly. “They seemed to be just making tracks but having that many unannounced wolves roaming through my territory makes my hackles rise.”
Jack nodded in agreement. Black Bird might be bigger than the other towns rogues were targeting but they were also isolated. South Creek was the only Alpha along their borders who seemed willing to get off his ass to help. And he was a shitty ally at that. The others would probably wait until the smoke cleared and snatch up what land they could. Vultures. Black Bird was on its own if anything happened.
“Did South Creek say anything else about them? Any noticeable traits? Did they smell anything when they passed through?” Jack asked speaking up for the first time this morning.
Ben sighed shaking his head. “He didn’t mention anything. The man is nearly seventy and his wolves are either too old to be efficient or too young to be properly trained. I doubt they were looking too hard.”
All eight men around the table shook their heads. That level of incompetence was inexcusable and there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Black Bird would end up paying for it.
Jack barely kept his mouth shut. If the West Coast was controlled by Alphas like Ethan Summerland, then it was no wonder that things were going to shit. With no strong leadership, everyone disregarded the laws. People either became lazy or they got greedy.
Ben lifted his hand, agreeing. “You all know as well as I do that the entire area is ripe for the taking. The Alphas in this part of the country won’t give up their holdings, the young wolves are leaving for more secure locations and we’ve been abandoned to our own devices. If it wasn’t rogue now, it would have been someone more organized later.”
“Large groups of young, angry wolves are a horrible thing to contend with,” Jack murmured into his coffee mug.
“Until they pass by us, I suggest that we double our patrols. For now.” Ben took a long sip of coffee. “Long term, we need to start recruiting more enforcers. We need more people out there now that things are escalating in the west.”
“I’ll set up a schedule with everyone for the next few weeks.” Dave looked around at everyone for their agreement.
Jack caught Dave’s eye. “I’ll take this weekend.” He had just finished making a dining room set for a client and a few days in the woods, even if he was patrolling, sounded like vacation to him. He would finally be able to relax without having to look over his shoulder for Grace Copeland.
Jack groaned at the thought of her.
The woman was never far from his mind. She haunted him. Thankfully, she no longer showed up at his workshop. Jack was sure that after he had gone off the handle when she had scared him while he was using a table saw, she had realized that Jack’s workshop was off limits. Nothing else seemed off limits to her though.
She had taken to following him while he ran errands in town. Jack had gotten to know Black Bird like the back of his hand after having to duck into every alleyway to escape Grace. He chuckled quietly to himself while he picture Grace knocking on the door of his empty house this week.
“You only laugh like that when you think you’ve thwarted Grace. What are you planning now?” Mark wagged his eyebrows.
Jack threw down his fork.
“We were having a perfectly good meal and you had to ruin it by bringing her up.” Jack wiped his mouth. He didn’t want to admit that he had been thinking about Grace. “It’s bad enough that everyone in town dogs me about Grace, don’t you start too.”
Mark just shrugged.
Without another word, the Tate twins got up and left. The meeting was officially over now that Mark had brought up Grace and the twins were not the type of people who sat around and shot the breeze. They were the textbook definition of lone wolves. They never stuck around longer than necessary.
“You can’t avoid her forever. If you really want to stop the gossiping then you should just tell her she is wrong, that you’re not her mate.” Ben’s eyes narrowed. “That is the case isn’t it?”
Jack growled quietly to himself.
“Grace is a good woman. She’s a little eccentric and she gets excited about things but she’s kept the town functioning with all of that energy. It also gets her in trouble. I could see her mistaking intense feelings for a mate bond.” Derek shrugged. “I love the woman like family but I will be the first to admit she comes on strong.”
Jack stared at the table. His wolf growled. He did not like anyone speaking negatively about Grace. It didn’t matter that Derek had gone to kindergarten with her. But Jack got irrationally angry when people brought up Grace because she wasn’t wrong. She was his mate. The only problem was that Jack didn’t want a mate.
Grace hadn’t mistaken the mate bond, Jack couldn’t figure anyone could mistake the electric bolt that shot up his arm the first time he had touched Grace. It was just that mating wasn’t for Jack. His parents had ruined each other’s lives because they refused to give up on the idea that they were fated mates.
Just because Jack never wanted to be mated didn’t mean he took kindly to hearing Derek speak about Grace like that. She was a good person, from what Jack knew of her. She just wasn’t for him.
“You know me. Can you see a man like me being with a woman like Grace?” Jack asked Ben.
Ben was intelligent. He was also strong enough to kick Jack’s ass if needed. He also knew Jack inside and out.
“I think you won’t know how you’ll be together until you actually get together.”
Jack narrowed his eyes at Ben’s answer. He leaned back in his chair trying to get a sense of what Ben was up to. “Why the sudden change? You’ve never said anything before.”
“I haven’t gotten involved because the second I do, the whole town will want me to get involved in their love lives.” Ben shuddered. “I have enough problems sorting myself out; I don’t want to deal with everyone else’s shit.” Ben sighed putting his coffee cup down. “But I have been getting chewed out by Anne and it is driving me crazy.”
The bell over the diner’s door chimed. Awareness pricked along Jack’s spine. He turned around just as Anne stomped towards them. She radiated pure rage as she made her way across the diner. People eating paused as she passed by them, stopping to watch what was promising to be a classic Anne Blow Up.
Jack turned to Ben and smirked. “Looks like you’re about to get chewed out again.”
“Jack Taylor, you son of a bitch,” Anne roared. Ben smiled at Jack obviously delighted that he wasn’t on the receiving end of this tantrum. “Grace is in my store crying her eyes out!” Anne stood, hands on hips, yelling at him. Her face was flushed red, her anger making the air smell like ozone. Jack leaned away from her.
The pure rage coming off of the woman in front of him had the hairs on the back of Jack’s neck stood up. He’d never been on the receiving end of an Anne Blow Up. Her eyes were flashing yellow and elongated nails were clawing the air as if she couldn’t wait to tear into Jack. It made him want to tuck tail and hide. He squared his shoulders self-consciously.
“Come on Anne,” Ben reached for her, “you promised you wouldn’t get involved. I already brought it up.”
Anne slapped Ben’s hand away. Jack’s eyes went wide. The entire diner went silent. Anne must really be pissed if she hadn’t registered that she just hit the Alpha. Even if she was Ben’s girlfriend, that was out of line. Jack shot a look to Ben but he just shook his head telling him to let it go.
Paul’s face split into a huge grin. He started shaking his head and laughing quietly. If Jack wasn’t entirely focused on Anne he would have asked Paul what was so funny.
“The whole town is involved and it is exhausting.” She threw her hands up. “They are just going to have to talk things over so that the rest of us can move on with our lives. Grace is heading here right now to get this over with.”
Suddenly, the diner felt like a bear trap about to snap shut. His eyes darted down Main Street looking for Grace. He started to stand up from the booth.
“Oh, no you don’t.” Anne went to push Jack back into his seat but Ben quickly pulled her into his lap.
“Leave them alone, Anne,” Ben reprimanded, “it’s no one’s business but their own.” Ben looked around the room making eye contact with everyone there to get his point across.
Jack stood up and said thank you to Ben while he made his way to the kitchen. Carol Johnson had gotten so use to Jack slipping out the back door over the last year that she didn’t even look up from the grill. She just raised her hand in acknowledgement. Jack glanced behind him to make sure that Grace wasn’t following as he stepped outside. And ran right into someone.
Out of reflex, Jack’s arm shot out to steady whoever he had bumped into. Lightening zinged up his hand whipping his head around.
Standing there, blue eyes wide, was Grace. Jack felt her fingers flex against his biceps anchoring him to her. They both stood in shock for a moment.
It had been a long time since he had felt that initial mate bond. There were nights that Jack almost convinced himself that Grace had made it up. But the flush of heat Jack felt just looking into her eyes reminded him of how his mother had described the mate bond “all consuming”. It could catch hold of your soul and burn you up. Jack’s mother had been right. It felt like Jack’s whole being was being burned up with need. It terrified him.
Pushing Grace back, Jack broke her hold on him. She stumbled back a step. Jack took the opening and rushed towards the sidewalk.
The airy word made Jack’s whole body tremble. Unwanted, he turned to face her.
Grace’s hand was outstretched, reaching towards him. Her eyes were still wide with shock, her face pale. Jack could see her body shaking with tension.