She let the gun fall to her side. “It’s just a deer.”

He exhaled and stood slowly. She could tell he was rattled by the frantic look in his eyes. 

She returned the gun to the holster under the coffee table and made her way over to him. He’d wandered over near the stairs by the time she got back to him. “I-I think I’m going to bed.” He said, rubbing the back of his neck.

She rested a hand over his arm. “It’ll be over soon. All this will be done, and you’ll be safe. You and your little ones.”

He looked over his shoulder at her emotion pulling his eyebrows together. “You think?” He looked away. “Most days I wonder how I could ever be normal or feel safe, ever again. I-I-I mean what d-does normal even mean?! How could I have even considered myself that?”

She wasn’t sure what possessed her, other than the urge to reassure him, but she wrapped her arms around his middle from behind and rested her head on his back.

She felt him exhale and lean back into her. He covered her hand with his own and they stood there like that for a long moment. 

Her friends always said she was lucky that Kyle was her brother’s best friend, that was mostly because he didn’t give them the time of day. When they were younger their interactions were always just a constant temptation. A constant reminded of what she would never have as she was always just his best friend's red-haired nerd baby sister.

Kyle turned and maneuvered Kate in front of him where he held her to his chest. 

Oh, how she’d dreamed. It was embarrassing to admit that even as an adult she’d think about being this close to him. Feeling his heat, smelling him, listening to his heart pound against her ear. She knew it was pathetic by every definition of the word, but she was quickly learning that something just never go away.

The creeping warmth snaking around her insides filling her with liquid fire, was foreign, terrifying and exciting. She hadn’t felt like that since she saw him last so many years before. 

She adjusted her hold to get as close to him as she could wrapped in his heat. She pulled away when she felt tears fall down her cheek. He grabbed her hand before she could get far.

He held her face and she met concerned eyes from under her lashes. He brushed her cheek with his thumb. All of this was overwhelming for her. It’d been too long since she was able to feel, able to care, able to show any emotion. She had to shut all this down when she joined the military, when she had to fight sometimes just for the privilege to be alive. That must be how he felt for the last few years on the run. She couldn’t imagine how that would be amplified with the responsibility of children to look after.

“Why are you crying?”

She pulled away and sniffled, rubbing her nose with her sleeve. “I don’t like that this is happening to you.” That was only partially true, but she wasn’t ready to admit the other reasons why her tear ducts were leaking. She took a deep breath and clenched her jaw before turning to meet him straight on. “I will bring up a heavy blanket. It gets cold at ni--”

She gasped when he yanked her to him by the small of her back and pressed his mouth over hers. She was resistant at first, her hands immediately went to push his chest away, but when his tongue grazed along her bottom lip, she moaned and melted into his. That persistent teasing heat filled her from her bell up to her face and down to the growing moisture between her legs.

His kiss was deep, and sensual, nothing like during their tutoring session way back in high school.

When they finally pulled away her world was unsteady. She hoped he didn’t let her go, because she was certain she would fall over if he did, or at a minimum stumble. There was a long moment they held and gazed, gazed and held. He pushed her hair away from her face, stroked down her cheek with the back of his hand. His head angled to the size while he assessed her. Her mind, for some odd reason, raced back to high school. Back to that one absurdly obnoxious memory that seared the moment into her mind. The one and only other time the man kissed her. It was a similar spur the moment reactive thing that had her confused for years to follow. Would this be the same way?



She cleared her throat. “Why did you kiss me in high school?”

He laughed at the memory and hung his head, but he didn’t make moves to release her; in fact, he steadily stroked her spine while keeping her pressed to him. The sensation was making chills stay running through her body and pooling between her legs

“Tutoring.” He mused, looking at the ceiling. “I’m surprised you remember that. Gosh, I’d recently broke up with--uh--uh” He frowned his memory failing him.

“Sarah Stays.”

He looked down at her with a slight smile. “Yeah. You remember her?”

“It’d be hard to forget Sarah.” She was the pretty girl next door type and she was actually a nice girl which made her haters hate harder. Despite her good girl, nice girl thing she had going she left quite the trail of hearts back in the day.

He grumbled. “Yeah, well. Your brother tried to warn me, I, of course, didn’t do too much listening to anyone back then.”

“Is that why Coach Brayes benched you for two games straight?”

He let out an uncomfortable laugh letting her go, then leaned on the stair banister rubbing the back of his neck. “Maybe.” In that moment, she saw in his roguish smirk, a bit of the boy that she loved so much. “The dumb shit I did to get on Coach’s bad side, dating Sarah, and kissing you, then, was a regrettable lapse in judgement.”

Kate masked the discomfort in her middle. For some annoying reason, all these years later, it bothered to hear him say that about their kiss. She took a step back, leaned on the wall opposite and crossed her arms. “And now,” she looked down at her feet. “Another lapse in judgement, I take it?”

She gasped when he tilted her chin so she was forced to find his eyes , churning with emotion, warmth, age, pain, loss. Her arms fell to her side and he coaxed her toward him. “No,” he whispered, his mouth so close she could feel his breath across her lips. Hers parted. “I’m not sure what it is, but I feel something for the first time in a long while. I feel, hopeful.” He rested his forehead on hers. “Kate?”

“Hmm?” She said, her mind churning with questions, doubts, confusion, warmth, longing. It seemed even after so much time and life, she still clung to him. Fell into his arms, into his smile so easily. She tried to be distant, to not care for him, to leave such nonsense in the past, but she was failing.

“I like when you lean against me.”

She hadn’t even realized she was until he said something about it. He held her lower back so she couldn’t pull away. Before he touched their mouths together in a gentle time stilling way, he said, “For the first time in five years, I feel needed.”   

She pushed up on her tip toes, and linked her arms around his neck to deepen the kiss. He flexed his hips into her pelvis sending waves of anticipatory heat through her body. His wandering hands slid into the front of her pants, and panties with expert efficiency. 

“Ahh,” her head fell back and she moaned into the silent chill of night. She felt his lips press against her throat, then move to the side of neck while his fingers maneuvered to her most sensitive spot. She propped her leg on the stair to grant him a better angle. 

She’d mastered the art of pleasing herself, for years she was all she had. It felt foreign and blissful to have someone else taking the reigns of her pleasure. She yipped when his mouth wrapped around one, then the other exposed nipple. Her black button up was near all the way undone. How the hell did the man do that with one hand! 

Practice. Her mind told her.

She grabbed the bulge pressing against his pants.

“Oh, god.” She did not mean to whisper that, but was rewarded with his soft laughter before he pulled her ear between his teeth. She giggled a silly noise that she honestly can’t say she ever heard come from her own mouth before. “I--I don’t understand how you can want--” She moaned when his cleaver fingers found the perfect rotation around her clit. “With everything going on--”

He smashed his lips on hers silencing her.

“Just let me feel you.” He whispered over her damp lips.

She wrapped her arms around his neck and rolled her hips against his busy fingers. 

She sighed and let her head fall back against the wall behind her. 

She kept envisioning a damn. The water built up against the wall of her body, splashing, pushing, straining against the confines of her flesh, of her her mind. Sturdy, and true these parts that belonged to her. They would never break, could never be breached. 

However, in that moment they were no match for the liquid avalanche that was building that was applying unfathomably amounts of pressure against her until it freed itself with violent, fury bursting her from the inside out.



 Click To Read Part 5



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****This is an unedited draft which means there will be mistakes in grammar, punctuation, spelling, word usage ETC. I post these drafts for feed back and to gauge interest in the story line and characters. ****Ye've been warned!****


Copyright © 2020 by Alexandria Ashcroft

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at the email below.


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