Evanne Lorraine
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Teaser Tuesday

December 16, 2008 | Teaser Tuesday

All I Want For Christmas part three. If you missed the previous installments you can find the the first one here and the second part here. I hope you enjoy the story. Comments are always welcome.

Rich asked for the Gravy. Peter uncorked another bottle of wine. Conversation hummed from several sections.

A half hour later, Peter pushed away from the table, everyone else followed suit, many groaning and swearing that they’d never eat again. By unspoken agreement, Rich, Spencer, Apeman and Connors cleared the table. The older men, women, and children, all left them to their work. Collin joined the cleaning crew.

The bigger kids sprawled on the floor, gathering around a game of Clue. Jenny got out a book and gathered the younger kids for a story. The women monopolized two couches. One woman produced a bag of knitting, another brought out a quilting project. A soft buzz of feminine chatter accompanied the handiwork. The older men headed for the family room to watch another football game with the sound low enough to enjoy their own color commentary.

The guys made quick work of clearing the table. The brothers drifted off to join the football fans, leaving he and Connors to scrape plates.

“Reminds me of KP duty.” Collin offered his contribution to civilized conversation.

“I was never in the service,” the controlling jerk said stiffly.

Collin tried again. “How long have you known the Andersons?”

“All of my life.”

So much for friendly chitchat. He wasn’t in the market for a new pal anyway. And, even if he had been, Connors would’ve tied with an Arab terrorist for last place on a long list.

They worked in silence. As the dishwasher chugged through the first load, it added a muffled whoosh of hot water to the rise and fall of voices that filtered into the kitchen from the rest of the house.

“Go ahead and catch the rest of game. I’ve got this handled.” Collin kept his voice even.

Connors nodded and removed the dishtowel he’d used as a makeshift apron.

Collin let out a sigh of pleasure. He wasn’t used to lots of civilians, except the kind that needed crowd control. Alone, his contentment settled–a tangible thing. The smells of the delicious dinner still hung in the air making his mouth water, even though he was chock-full.

Underneath the good food aromas, the clean smells of Clorox and lemony furniture wax transported him to his Grandmother’s house and into a world of bittersweet memories.

Collin envied his partner’s ease with his big rowdy family and for growing up in this warm home. But, all that warmth and friendliness only emphasized his own inability to fit in.

The only family he remembered was Granny. His mother was only a vague image. When he was a kid, he used to wish for brothers and sisters. As a teenager he’d adopted a gang of other kids, all as lost and lonely as him, in a childish attempt to make a family of his own, that disaster had taught him not to get too close.

Lost in thought, Collin stared out the kitchen window without seeing the spectacular winter sunset, or the Christmas cactus, heavy with shocking pink blooms, that filtered the view. He didn’t notice when Jenny came into the kitchen.

“Time for coffee.”

Her voice, low and soft, still made Collin jump. He turned toward her, for a second he’d been unguarded. Now, he was terrified she’d seen his vulnerability. He’d learned never show his soft side to anyone.

Luckily, she hadn’t looked at him. His cop face slipped into place. He watched as she stretched to get a coffee filter from a high cupboard.

If he’d been a gentleman, he would’ve offered to get it for her. But, he was no gentleman, and he enjoyed the show as the short yellow dress rode higher on those world-class legs.

“Just finishing up the pans,” he muttered his voice rough.

“Did the guys stick you with the dirty work?” Jenny laughed.

Her laughter was sunshine made audible. She didn’t seem offended by his gruff manner. Against all good sense, he warmed towards her.

“Nah, it wasn’t like that.” He found his sense of humor and grinned back, more at ease with each breath. “I volunteered. I’m not all that much of a TV sports fan. I’d rather play football than watch it.”

She smiled and nodded, while she continued to pour coffee beans into a large stainless steel contraption with enough valves and buttons to qualify for an engineering inspection.

He watched her out the corner of his eye. He’d never seen anybody with skin like hers. So perfect it was like creamy rose petals. Did it feel as soft as it looked? He jerked back from that dangerous line of thinking.

Trouble was his middle name, a farewell present from his spaced out Mother. But, he was way too smart to mess around with Apeman’s little sister.

Definitely a temptation though, he gave her that. She looked like a stiff wind would blow her away. He had an urge to anchor her, to touch her, and to prove to himself that she was real.

But, he already knew what happened when they touched. They’d shaken hands when they’d been introduced. Before she’d offered him her hand, he’d thought he’d seen hunger in her eyes. It had vanished so fast he’d probably dreamed it. Whatever, she’d first felt, was quickly replaced with a wariness that stung. He remembered how she’d hesitated before shaking hands, obviously reluctant to touch him.

When they’d finally touched, he’d gotten a weird spark. Static, still he had an almost irresistible urge to find out if that spark would happen again. He wondered how much she knew about his history. If he reached out to her, would she feel sorry for the poor orphan kid? The idea of her pity was unacceptable, so he held himself stiff against the pull of her attraction.

Jenny crossed to the refrigerator, apparently done with the coffee for now. She got out desserts, unconscious of the effect she had on him.

Some tough guy, knocked for a loop by a home cooked meal and a cool little blonde.

He needed to get more sleep and to get laid. And not in that order. And certainly not with his partner’s baby sister, no matter how long her legs were. He ran a rough hand through his hair to dislodge the dangerous images.

Pretty, yeah. But, there were lots of pretty girls and he preferred the low maintenance kind. No matter how hard he stared, Jenny didn’t look like the kind of girl who’d go in for no-strings-attached hot juicy sex.

A picture of her long, elegant, legs wrapped around him flooded his mind. He felt the connection spark between them, and he hadn’t even touched her. A blush warmed his cheekbones. A hard-on raised the front of his slacks. He couldn’t remember the last time that had happened without his informed consent. His loss of control shook his confidence and shortened his temper.

“You should come for Sunday dinner sometime. The guys play football out in the backyard all fall. George would love it, he thinks the world of you,” Jenny said politely.

“Does Connors play?”

“No, Mark’s not the football type. He doesn’t even like watching it on TV, but he’s being a good sport, trying to fit in with my brothers.” Jenny’s tone was tolerant, like Connors was doing something admirable.

Collin couldn’t believe she’d defended the bully. He spoke without considering his words. “That’s a waste of time, he’ll never fit in. The old woman was right, he’s all wrong for you.”

Jenny straighten her back and her chin took on a stubborn angle. “You’re way over the line Trouble. That’s what they call you isn’t it? I can see why.”

Her words were designed to hurt. Collin wanted to retaliate, but she was right. He was over the line. So, he kept eyes glued to the sink and his hands in the rapidly cooling dishwater. He worked over the roasting pan with painstaking thoroughness. By the time he’d cooled off enough to risk saying anything, she’d gone.

Just as well. He’d have opened his mouth and shoved his foot further into it anyway. He should be thanking his lucky stars that he hadn’t made more of a fool of himself. Except, he didn’t have any lucky stars. Hers must’ve been working overtime.

After the dessert plates had been cleared, Mark beckoned. Jenny followed.

“Come on, I promised Mother we’d stop by,” he said, shoving his arms into his camel hair coat and began buttoning.

Jenny glanced toward the living room. “I should help Mom.”

“Your mother will understand. Which one is yours?” Mark snagged her hand and tugged her toward the closet.

She stiffened involuntarily at his touch. He said nothing. He never had. Was he incredibly patient or just indifferent?

The hairs on the back of her neck stirred. Before she turned, she knew Collin, no not Collin–Trouble, she corrected herself, glowered from the archway.

When she did look, his mesmerizing gaze caught hers and held her for too long. Obviously, he’d overheard her conversation with Mark.

And it was just obvious that he disapproved.

Temper spots flared hot over her cheekbones. How dare he watch and judge?

Trouble, she was calling him that from now on, stood there, filling the passage from the living room to the front hall. His arms crossed in front of his chest and his legs widened in an arrogant stance.

Everything about him made Jenny as cross as a wet cat.
What gave him the right to disapprove of Mark? And why did she care what he thought anyway? She didn’t. Not one tiny bit.

Posted by Evanne Lorraine @ 6:00 am  

3 Responses to “Teaser Tuesday”

  1. elle Says:

    The site looks sooooo good! Who did the design? I see “Karen” at the botom, but no link.

  2. Evanne Says:

    My screen has a Catapult Web Development link, which is weird because the designer was Karen Rani. I found her http://swankwebstyle.com.

    I’ve been meaning to tell you I love your new blog look. And I’m so sorry you don’t have the time and energy to write the good stuff.

    Someday…

  3. elle Says:

    Let’s hope!


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