This week’s topic is emotion. That pretty much covers every book, but I thought I’d go ahead and give another early peek of March release, NO TURNING BACK. I have the cover but I haven’t gotten the okay to share it yet, so that will have to wait…but soon.
“Do you really not understand?” Leah closed her eyes and tried to find the right words to convince him. “There are people in this town who will make it impossible for you to stay.”
“I get the whole angry mob thing, but I don’t think it’s as big as you think it is. Unless you mean your father.”
“For one, but your dad screwed a lot of people here. He was the favored hometown boy who promised them a financial wonderland and then ripped them all off. He broke their trust in the most fundamental way.”
Declan blew out a long, exaggerated breath. “I’m aware of his sins.”
“Charlie came up with a scheme, got people to invest, got my father to invest town funds. Then Charlie took off.” She held up a finger as the words kept rolling out of her. “But not before cleaning up the tracks behind him. He destroyed people and some families lost everything.”
Declan’s expression stayed blank. “Noted.”
“The police chief is itching to get his hands on you. I wouldn’t go even one mile per hour over the speed limit, if I were you.”
Lounging against the bar with his ankles crossed and his lips flat, Declan appeared immune to reason. “My driving is fine.”
No matter what argument she used, he discounted it and her fury spewed. Damn it, here she was struggling not to like him and he wasn’t doing anything to help her protect him. “Wake up. You can’t be this nonchalant about all of this.”
“You know what I am, Leah?” His voice was so soft, so deadly flat as he pushed off from the bar and came to stand beside her. His hand rested next to hers on the back of the chair. “Tired to being judged by Charlie’s actions.”
The brakes slammed somewhere in the back of her head. Declan was furious. She could see it in the flat line of his mouth and boiling fire in his eyes.
She backed up until the curtains brushed against her hair. “I didn’t-”
“You did.” A nerve ticked in is cheek. “The man abandoned my mom. After the first few years, Charlie didn’t even bother to come around for visits and he never sent money. He left a legacy of shit and I’ve been shoveling it ever since. So, when you crawl up on your high horse and look down on me, I don’t exactly get worried about it because, you see, I’ve lived with that kind of condescending bullshit my whole life.”
Declan’s voice shook as he spoke, low and subtle, but she heard it. When he stopped talking, his anger continued to rock the room. Tension rolled off his stiff shoulders and slammed into her, stealing her breath with its force.
“You want me to feel guilty.” She whispered the phrase because he was right there, just inches away, hovering over her and closing in without moving.
“I want you to understand you aren’t the only one who’s lived with Charlie’s mess.”
“You’re a victim, too. I get that.” One of the hundred, possibly thousands, Charlie left in his wake.
Declan shook his head. “Wrong. I refuse the label and all the dysfunction that goes with it.”
Maybe survivor was the right word. This could be the greatest, most convincing con of his life of course, and part of Leah wanted to believe that so she wouldn’t care, but she couldn’t muster the skepticism. A piece of the wall she’d erected against Declan slipped and shattered.
“Why are you really here? Tonight, in my house.” She could smell the soap in his skin, something with a hint of lime, and see the way his dark hair curled at the ends. His mouth was so close. His body next to hers until it blocked her view of the kitchen beyond.
His gaze traveled over her face. “I don’t know.”
“At least that’s honest.” Her voice sounded breathy. She tried to inhale deeply through her nose to keep from gulping for air.
“You didn’t think I could be honest?” There was no anger in his voice but there was something else. The slightest shift until his breath blew across her cheek.
The air crackled and whatever was jumping back and forth between them had her head pounding. She had to move.
“Okay, stop. Let’s back up a second.” She slipped around the chair and kept walking around the table. The man had her literally running around in circles in her own dining room.
NO TURNING BACK
Copyright 2013, HelenKay Dimon
All Rights Reserved, The Berkley Publishing Group
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