Get Your Copy Today: Amazon: http://mybook.to/WCM1
Hearing Devlin’s voice brings me back to earth with a thump. Almost ten days have gone by since I’ve seen him, and over the last week and a half I’ve changed my mind dozens of times, hoping the whole messed up situation will go away on its own. Of course, I know better than that.
He stands a few feet away, wearing an impeccable dark gray suit, white shirt, and pale gray tie. While I’d been lost in the music, he’d gotten close without my noticing. Discomfort smothers my earlier exhilaration. I stare at his chest, unable to lift my gaze to gauge his expression. I’m in the process of exploring unfamiliar territory. The self-consciousness that had momentarily left me now rushes back. I see myself through his eyes. Gawky. Perspiring. Exposed. The last thing I need right now is for him to criticize me.
Although my breathing is coming a little easier, my heart rate has yet to slow. “What are you doing here?” I sound like a grumpy teenager.
“Sammy invited me to dinner.”
I’m almost able to smile as I say, “You’ll enjoy that. Thom is a terrific cook.”
If I focus, I can almost detect the delicious scent of Thom’s culinary mastery wafting from the large white house. I consider my sparse refrigerator and my mouth waters. Often Sammy and Thom invite me to eat with them, but I try to accept only once a week. I worry that they feel obligated and ask out of concern because of the Louisville Symphony lockout.
“What were you playing?” he asks. “It wasn’t anything I recognize.”
“Nothing. I was just messing around with some dubstep music.”
Interest kindles in his dark eyes. “Dubstep?”
“It’s a little hard to explain.” I’m protective of my eclectic musical interests and don’t want to share them with Devlin. “I should get going.” Before I can take more than a couple steps, his question stops me.
“Is the Bluegrass Jam still held in Smith Park? It’s this Saturday, right?”
“Yes.” I eye him, wondering if this is what passed for small talk in his mind. “And it’s gotten even bigger than when you lived here.”
The event is organized by the Bluegrass Belles and benefits the local food shelf. In addition to three bands, there are games and booths selling food and art. Once the sun sets, the crowds will get to enjoy fireworks synchronized to music. It’s my favorite event of the year, but given the gossip being spread around town thanks to Edward, I’ve decided to stay away.
“I’d like to attend with you.”
I shake my head. “I’m not going.”
“Do you have other plans?” he asks.
“Then what’s the problem?”
“Aren’t you dating Val? I saw you having dinner with her the other night.” It had sparked a memory of them as a couple in high school.
“We’re just friends. She’s already involved with someone.”
When I avoid looking at him, he takes a step in my direction. The memory of our various encounters makes my knees unsteady. His naked skin and glorious muscles. The way he’d looked at me that day at Wolcroft Hall. How he can touch nothing more than my chin and make me want to tear his clothes off.
“Have you been thinking about what we talked about?” He pitches his voice to intimate levels.
I’m still embarrassed that I assumed he was propositioning me. “Yes.”
“Look at me.”
I take my time obeying him, stealing a few precious seconds to compose my features. I’m going to make a fool of myself over him. It’s only a matter of time. I curse. So many things are going wrong in my life right now. I might as well add Devlin Stone to the list.
“What’s it going to be?”
“I can’t.” It’s a ridiculous idea. “Who’s going to believe we’re a couple? I don’t know the first thing about you.”
“So you want to get to know me better?” Dark amusement rumbles in his throat.
The impact of his allure crashes over me like a rogue wave. I flounder, losing the ability to speak. My fingers tighten on my bow as I’m pummeled by the craving to burrow my fingers in his thick, black hair and draw his lips to mine.
“How would you like that to happen?” His question feathers over my skin. “Dinner? Long romantic walks? Maybe we could catch a movie?”
Dreamy summer evenings lit by candlelight and perfumed by honeysuckle flash through my mind. The crisp taste of chardonnay on my tongue. The sweep of Devlin’s lips against mine, sweet with chocolate and smoky with bourbon.
“Is that how Tickwell got you into bed?”
He’d gone too far. I reclaim my voice. “For the hundredth time, I’m not involved with Edward.”
“Are you in love with him?” Obviously he enjoys the sound of his own voice too much to listen to me.
“That’s it. I’m done talking about this.” Tired of defending myself, I turn and head in the direction of the guesthouse.
He catches up to me as I reach the front patio which is furnished with Adirondack chairs and dotted with colorful planters. Moving with the swift elegance of a practiced predator, he cuts me off. “Because you don’t like hearing that I think you’re making a fool of yourself over a married man?”
I huff out an impatient breath. “Because you refuse to believe I’m telling you the truth about Edward.”
“He admitted your affair to his wife.”
I confront Devlin’s inky black gaze and see no concession or compromise. The man’s opinion of me is formed of granite and I am the turbulent sea throwing itself against stone over and over in an attempt to change it. After thousands of years I might make headway.
“He’s using me to throw suspicion off whoever he’s really seeing.”
Devlin’s snort tells me what he thinks of my explanation. “Why did he pick you?”
Explaining my history with Edward isn’t going to improve the way Devlin views me. “Because his wife doesn’t like me, and using me to make her jealous entertains him.”
At long last he nods. “Because you have a past relationship.”
“Briefly, in high school.” I meet his gaze, letting none of my regret show.
How many times in the last decade have I thought about my early friendship with Barbara and wondered how different my life might have turned out if I’d been less interested in music and more interested in boys and fashion. Or if my parents’ divorce hadn’t caused my mother to yank me out of Abbottsville. Or…I could go on forever listing the possible causes that had made returning to Abbottsville my senior year such a bust.
Would Barbara and I have become good friends? Would I have turned out like most of the girls I’d graduated with? Married to an Abbottsville golden boy, jostling for position in the Bluegrass Belles? Attending dinner parties and pretending my life is perfect?
For a long, silent moment Devlin assesses me. When he exhales, some of the tension leaves his body. “I’ll pick you up at six on Saturday.”
About Caitlyn Blue: Voracious reader with an overactive imagination, chocolate addict, lover of fancy cocktails and tasty edibles, sucker for adventure movies and any music with a beat. When not writing, Caitlyn loves to connect with her readers for whom she's extremely grateful. Join her VIP list to stay up to date on giveaways and exclusive offers.
Connect with Caitlyn: Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorcblue Twitter: http://www.facebook.com/authorcblue Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/authorcaitlynblue Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/authorcblue Newsletter: http://bit.ly/CaitVIP Website: http://caitlynblue.com/index.html
Enter Caitlyn’s Giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway