(Tangled Web #3)
Jade C. Jamison
Buy Links (as of 11/18/14)
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Heather Morrow has been fighting demons all her life, but the past two years have likely been her darkest. So when her friend Katie invites her to a reunion of sorts, Heather jumps at the chance, because Katie, one of the most down-to-earth people Heather has ever called friend, is the only person she has ever felt like herself around, and Heather realizes that she needs an ally to help her out of the shadows.
Kiefer Steele, vocalist for Shock Treatment, has been battling some demons of his own. He’s been a nothing most of his life, but world-famous J.C. Gibson took him from his beach-combing, weed-smoking ways and helped him make something of himself…except life on the road has taken its toll. The only ray of hope in his life has been his continuing online friendship with Heather. The two met in person once, backstage at a concert, and their friendship has grown stronger.
They haven’t seen each other in three years, though, and both have changed immensely.
When they discover each other’s darkest secrets, will their friendship—and budding romance—survive, or are they destined to spend their lives apart…and alone?
They walked off the deck and Kiefer said, “So what did you want to talk about?”
“Hmm. I’m not even sure where to start.”
“No pressure.” Kiefer looked up toward the mountain across the road. It was covered in evergreen trees and the sky above was a light blue, clean and clear. He could see why Johnny wanted to live here. Regular worries were gone, far and away, and it was like regular shit just didn’t matter.
Heather stopped walking, so Kiefer slowed and turned to face her. “Um...I have a proposal for you.”
He raised his eyebrow. “Yeah?”
“Yeah.” She drew in a deep breath and looked in his eyes, but he could tell it was hard for her. “I, uh...I don’t want or need a relationship. But I’m so glad you’re my friend.”
Kiefer smiled. “Ditto.”
“So...just so we can get it out of our systems...why don’t we, uh, explore our attraction, but...when we leave here, things go back to the way they were.” Kiefer drew in a long, slow breath. Was she saying what he thought she was? “That sound okay?”
Honestly, no, it sounded like a copout. He thought some of telling her that, but he wanted her. He wanted her to continue to be a part of her life and he also wanted to step it up a notch after what they had experienced last night. This might be his only chance to convince her that a more intense relationship could be a good thing. So he nodded. “Yeah.” On impulse, he took her hand in his. He wanted to start now.
Heather had other ideas, though. “Not here.” Kiefer couldn’t help the look of confusion that he knew appeared on his face. She let go of his hand but got a little closer, almost as though she were afraid someone would be able to hear her. “If we’re going to go back to the way things were after this week, then I don’t want to give anybody here any bright ideas, and I don’t want to answer any questions or deal with any looks.”
He nodded, saying nothing. He could live with that. And that also gave him several days to see what he could do to change her mind.
“Kiefer!” She looked at him at first as though she thought he’d been serious, but her features softened when she saw the big smile on his face. God, she was beautiful, and it really was a shame that she couldn’t see what he saw. It wasn’t just her looks; who she was on the inside and the way they connected made her an amazing beauty. He couldn’t resist her charms and leaned over to kiss her.
Heather responded, and he wasn’t sure if it was because of the overwhelming relief she felt, knowing the turkeys weren’t going to chase her back to the cabin trying to devour her or if it was because she felt the same inexplicable desire he did. Well, desire, yes, but love, no. He was certain of that and beginning to wonder if she’d ever be able to reciprocate his feelings.
Until they left Johnny and Katie’s at the end of the week, he was going to try to make that happen.
And one of the ways to do that, he thought, was to play on their physical desires. She had no qualms telling him she felt lust for him, so why not try to use that to his advantage? He reminded himself too of their friendship and continued to hope that it would help her break through her walls and feel more for him too.
She clutched the hair at his neck in two fists with a desperation that told him maybe they could do more than work up their appetites out here. He broke off his kiss and moved his lips to her neck, then her ear, and he whispered, “Since there are no zombies…”—he nibbled her lobe—“…or bears or other creatures ready to tear your clothes off,”—he kissed her neck up to her jawline and then touched her nose with his—“how about I do it instead?”
“What? Tear my clothes off?”
He raised his eyebrows. “Sound fun? Or I could leave them mostly on. I can still take care of you without exposing you to all of nature.”
She giggled, but her eyes told him everything he needed to know.
He moved close to her but didn’t touch her, save not letting go of her hand. “So what have I gotta do to get you to tell me your name?”
She couldn’t help but smile. “I’m not telling.”
“I could do lots to you to make you tell.”
She laughed. “Oh, I’m sure you could.” She lowered her voice. “How about you just call me Angelica?” Angelica?! What the hell was she thinking? What a stupid name. Not really…but stupid for her. Well, she’d never been very good at thinking on the fly. That was Katie’s bag. And Katie would have a cow if she knew what Heather was doing right this second.
He got closer, this time letting go of her hand and placing his on her cheek while he brought his body close to hers. Oh. His hand felt hot against the tender flesh of her face, and she knew now there was no denying the desire buried deep within her. She felt the tempo of her breathing increase as her eyes scanned his. He seemed so sincere. She wasn’t used to that look in a man’s eyes. “Angelica, huh? So you’re like an angel.” Suddenly, her breath stopped. She wasn’t able to pull air any further down her lungs, because this man had her imagination in his grasp. His face got even closer to hers and he said, “God…it feels like I know you.”
If something about him hadn’t been grabbing her by her heart and loins and captivating her attention, the fact that he kept thinking he’d met her before would have started to make her question him. But before she could think anymore, his lips touched hers. And that was it. If--if—she’d been trying at all to resist him before, just the warm brush of his tongue on her lips would have ended that notion.
Jade C. Jamison was born and raised in Colorado, moved from one city/town to the next, and she’s decided she likes it so much she wants to stay…although travel is not out of the question. She lives in a big town in Colorado (not unlike the fictional Winchester she writes so much about) with her husband and four children. She is working on becoming a crazy cat lady. Okay, so maybe not.
Still want more? Jade has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Theater, a master’s degree in English, and a master of fine arts in Creative Writing. Obviously, she loves school and the student loan folks love her. She works in human services by day, teaches English and creative writing at night, and—in between playing soccer mom and community leader—writes like a fiend. Someday soon, she’ll narrow it down to just writing, but let’s get all those kids off to college first.