Will her secret come out?

October 18, 2009 at 4:10 pm (Uncategorized)

Hi Everyone,

Wow! It has been a busy October! Last week I was at the Southern Women’s Show. Thanks to everyone who stopped by 🙂

Also, November 7th I will be at the Altamonte Mall doing a booksigning for the Adult Literacy League. Make sure to stop by and say hi if you are in the area and remember the first 100 people to buy a book receive a goody bag full of free books and promotional materials!

Excerpt 5

She had to be insane. 

It was the only thing that explained being here today.  All night she tossed and turned over her decision to let her son spend the day with Jackson.  The “if’s” of what could happen were not good.  Even as she drove down the dirt road that led to the cabin, she told herself she was a fool.  Handing her son over to a lion whose claws were out was not a good idea, especially when those claws were out for her blood. 

            What if Jacob unwittingly led Jackson straight to the truth? 

            She wasn’t sure she could face him if he knew what she’d done, what she had kept from him.  And Jacob!  Would he ever forgive her for lying to him all these years?  She could stand against one, but both would be a fight she wouldn’t win.  Father and son were too stubborn to ignore even the slightest hint of deception.  Of that, she was sure.  To back out now would only generate questions she didn’t have answers to.

            She pulled her car to a stop beside the jeep.  Jacob bounded out of the backseat, before she could move the gearshift into park.  Sighing heavily, she climbed out of the car to watch Jackson step out onto the deck letting the screen door slam behind him.  His black hair was tousled and his Aerosmith t-shirt had several noticeable wrinkles.  After a quick greeting, he led Jacob around to the shed on the side of the house. 

A feeling of dread swept through her. 

            Was she really about to turn her son over to Jackson Hart?

            When they reappeared, their arms were wrapped around several cans of paint.  Jacob ran up the steps to begin spreading out a drop cloth as Jackson put the cans on the steps.  His gaze strayed to where she waited and he crossed the distance to join her. 

“We should be done by two,” he casually informed, running a hand through his hair. 

            Mallory stared past him to where her son was already beginning to work.  Never once did he glance up.  “Jacob, I’ll pick you up at two, then,” she called over Jackson’s shoulder.

            He cast an irritated look her way.  “Whatever, Mom,” he yelled with a scowl of frustration.

            She tried to maintain her wobbly smile at his curt dismissal.  Her gaze returned to Jackson, who was still looking at Jacob a frown marring his features.  To save herself from any further embarrassment, she muttered a quick, “Well, I better get going.”

            She fumbled for her keys as she raced to the car trying to hold back the tears she knew were on the way.  Just as she reached for the door handle, Jackson caught up with her grabbing her arm to spin her around.  “You actually let him get away with talking to you like that?” he asked incredulously.

            “He’s been through a lot,” she defended, unable to return his gaze for fear of breaking down in front of him.

            “He shouldn’t be talking to you that way.  You’re his mother,” he observed in a harsh tone.

            His ready defense shocked her.  “That’s why I get the brunt of it.  He knows I’m not going to leave,” she explained solemnly.

 

            Jackson stared down at the woman who had stolen his sleep for the past few nights.  The bags under her eyes confirmed that he was not alone.  He wasn’t sure why the scene with Jacob disturbed him so much, but it did.  Her lack of reaction to Jacob’s callousness was unsettling. 

“And you just take it?”

            “I’ll be back at two,” she informed curtly, pulling her arm out of his grasp.  She turned back to look at Jacob for a moment, her indecision clear. 

             “He’ll be fine, Mal.”  Her eyes met his and held for a fleeting moment.  “Unless you want to stay?”

            He wasn’t sure why he made the offer, but before he could stop it it was out there.        “I have some errands in town.”  Her fingers fumbled as she unlocked the door and slid behind the wheel. 

            Jackson watched her drive away.  She was running again, but she couldn’t run forever.  Before he left, he would have the answers he needed, the answers he had been denied.  In truth, he wasn’t sure that hearing her admit what she had done would fill the hole she created years ago, but it was worth a try.  When he left Princeton this time, she would not be able to close her eyes to the pain she caused.  For the first time in her life, she was going to own who she was.  He just hoped that she did it soon, or the town was going to have a hell of a lot more to gossip about.

 

Fifteen years ago

            “Come on, Mallory,” Derrick pleaded.

            “Derrick, I told you no,” she repeated, she hoped for the last time. 

He had been pestering her all week to attend the Buchmans’ barbeque with him.  Despite her countless refusals, he would not let it go.  After what happened at the dance a couple of weeks ago, she didn’t think she could stand to spend another minute with him, let alone an entire evening.  Between Derrick and her father, they were making her life miserable.  They were determined to make everyone in town think that she and Derrick were dating. 

            He grabbed her arm to prevent her from walking away again.  “Mallory, everyone will be expecting us to go together, including your father,” he reasoned with a wounded look.

            “Well, I guess they will all be disappointed then!  Now, let go of my arm!”

            Suddenly, his grip tightened painfully.  His eyes narrowed and the vein on his neck began to pound furiously.  “No!  It’s time you stopped playing games with me!” 

She looked up at his face.  Fear made her heart beat faster.  His eyes were almost black.  In all the time she spent with him, she had never seen him like this. 

            “I suggest you let her go,” a harsh voice instructed from behind.

            Derrick glanced over her head.  “This isn’t your business.”

            “If you don’t let her go, it will be,” Jackson retorted, his deep voice booming.

            Mallory held her breath, every nerve in her body on edge.  Derrick’s eyes pinned her with a look of disgust, before shifting to look at Jackson.  “What are you going to do about it?  You gonna make me?” he challenged.

             “You’re about to find out,” Jackson assured.

            Before she knew what was happening, Derrick released her, shoving her toward Jackson.  His arms came up quickly to catch her. 

“Take her.  She was never good for much anyway,” Derrick spat, before stalking off into the distance. 

            A shiver raced up her spine at the feel of Jackson’s hands on her body.  His worried look made her move away quickly to avoid further embarrassment. 

“Are you okay?”

            “I’m fine.  He just surprised me, that’s all.  I never expected him to act that way,” she confessed.

            He glanced in the distance, his expression unreadable.  “People aren’t always what they seem.”
            She turned to face him trying to muster her best smile.  “So, I guess this makes two times you’ve saved me.”

            Shaking his head, his gaze traveled over the length of her body in a way that left her breathless.  “I’m nobody’s hero,” he admitted with a lazy grin.

            “You were for me today.  I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to thank you,” she offered softly.

 

            Jackson stared down at her slim figure.  He could think of more than one way she could thank him.  His hands curled into fists in the pockets of his jeans as he stamped down the thoughts that raced through his mind.  It wouldn’t do any good to think about things like that with a girl like this.  She was off-limits, and had been ever since they were both born.  Still, despite the internal pep talk, he felt his erection thicken.

            “Actually, there’s a barbeque at the Buchman’s, and I don’t have a date,” she hinted shamelessly with a precocious smile.

            He walked over to the stack of books he had left forgotten on the steps behind him.  “That’s too bad,” he agreed over his shoulder, ignoring her obvious attempt to rope him in.

            To his dismay, she followed behind him. 

“Well, it wouldn’t be if you take me,” she observed, all of her subtlety gone.

            His notebook lay open, his pen cradled in the center.  He quickly scooped it up.

“What are you writing?” she asked curiously, peaking around his shoulder as he slammed the book shut.

            “It’s nothing,” Jackson dismissed a little too quickly.

            “You write?”

            He grimaced at her obvious interest.  “Sometimes,” he replied.

            “What do you write?  Can I read some?”

            His grip on the book became painful.  He didn’t let other people read what he wrote.  It was too personal, like they would be able to see into his soul.  Even his mother, who had begged on occasion, had yet to read a single line.  His writing was private.  It wasn’t something he was ready to share with the world. 

“No.”

            His curt refusal brought an embarrassed blush to her cheeks.  “Sorry,” she apologized.  “So, will you take me?” 

            He turned to face her.  The smile on her face, he was afraid, would damn them both.  She batted her eyelashes playfully causing an unwelcome stir in his lower region.  He knew he shouldn’t go.  She was obviously baiting someone with his presence at the event.  Still, the thought of seeing the faces of all those stuck-up snobs when he came in did have its perks. 

            Even as he told himself he shouldn’t, his hand came up to trail along the side of her cheek causing her mouth to fall open.  

She was playing a game with him. 

A game she obviously thought she was going to win. 

What would happen if he began to play a little game of his own?

Stay Tuned for more of Choices…

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