Copyright © 2013 Morgan Kearns
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in
any form or by any means without the written consent of the author, except for
brief quotations used in critical articles or reviews.
“Oh! Oh! Y-y-yessss!”
McCallister closed his eyes and dug his heels into the mattress. The muscles in
his thighs tightened. Hearing Kayla Black reach her pleasure sent Ian spiraling
toward his own release.
was one hell of an amazing woman. A mere brush of her fingertips sent jolts of
lightning through his body, scorching him from the inside out.
gripped the sheets in one hand, bunching the four-hundred count between his
fingers, his other smoothing over naked skin.
eyes popped open. His hand jerked away from his lower abdomen. Another curse
hissed passed his lips.
the sheet away from his torso, he shot to his feet, stalked to the window and
slammed it closed—without glancing at the house across the fence.
was a freakin’ voyeur, getting his rocks off while the woman of his dreams made
love to her husband. He plowed his fingers through his hair, grabbing hold of
as much as the short strands allowed. He needed to get a freakin’ grip on his
through his house, down the stairs and into the kitchen, he stubbed his toe. Twice.
Served him right. The second time hurt so bad his eyes watered. At least it
lessened the pain bouncing around in his chest.
blinked into the bright lights of the refrigerator only long enough to register
where the beer was. He yanked one bottle free of the cardboard box and clapped
the door shut. It plunged the room into darkness. His eyes took another minute
or so to focus. It didn’t matter. He saw things clear as day.
really should get a life. Get some little barely legal thing hot enough to burn
the thought of Kayla Black right out of his brain.
sure as hell didn’t want to feel the way he did for the happily-married, mother
of three. And yet, her gentle smile, her kind eyes, her contagious laugh, her
body with curves any sportscar craved called to him like no other woman ever
had. The icing on the totally effed up cake? The most attractive part of her, was
the complete and total adoration she had for—wait for it!—her husband.
day Ian had moved into this house, right next door to the real-life
happily-ever-after, he’d thought she was something. Something really damned
remembered it like yesterday. Whether he wanted to or not. He smiled at the
memory of two little kids, a boy and girl, showing up on his doorstep with a
plate of cookies.
doorbell had rung late in the afternoon. He answered it and grinned down at
then seven-year-old Chase and four-year-old Sadie.
“Hi, neighbor.” Chase held out the
Sadie stepped forward and stuck out
her tiny hand. “I’m Sadie Fern Black and I live next door.”
Ian shook her hand while Chase tried
to muscle his way into the attention. “My mom made these cookies. They’re
really good. You should probably eat them right now. While they’re still warm.”
“Thanks, man, I’ll do that.” Ian took
Chase eyeballed the tin-foil-covered plate,
licking his lips.
Ian kept his chuckle to himself and
made a point to look at the cookies. He frowned hard, pulling his brows into
the mix. “I don’t know, guys, this is a lot for just me. Do you think you could
Chase’s, “Yes,” and Sadie’s squeal
left no room for misinterpretation.
Ian sat down on the porch steps with a
Black on each side and pulled the foil away. Fresh baked chocolate chip. His
when she’d appeared. Ian had nearly choked on his cookie as a woman with dark, shoulder
length hair came out of the house and crossed the gravel separating their
houses. She came right up to where they sat. Her smile captured his attention
better than any tickertape parade. He knew he stared at her—and couldn’t stop
met my munchkins.” She ruffled the blonde hair on Chase’s head. “I’m Kayla.”
he reached out to take her hand, he knew his life would never be the same.
now, three years later, he couldn’t get the woman out of his head.
he really, really, really needed to
get himself a life, preferably one where he was hip to hip with a female
without Kayla showing up in his head.
sat at his kitchen table, cracked the seal on his Bud and took a swig. Maybe if
he got good and numb, he’d be able to forget about the beautiful communion
between man and wife happening right over the block wall.
had tried the prayer thing, tried to plead with a higher power to get her out
of his thoughts. He’d even attempted confession. First and only time he’d ever
been in a Catholic church. And since there’d been no relief, it’d probably be
swig slid its way down his throat. He stared out the bay window into the
darkness of his backyard. A full moon showcased the large Mesquite tree,
manicured Oleander bushes, and a patch of green grass.
grass cost him a fortune in water to maintain. Not that he cared. He liked
green. Coming from Idaho, where the summers were luke warm and the winters
froze a guy’s balls off, Las Vegas, Nevada had taken some getting used to. His
grass reminded him of a home that no longer existed.
he hadn’t thought of the fire, his parents, his…loss in years. Who was he
kidding? He’d thought of nothing else through the classes and the exams and
filling out the freakin’ application to the Academy. And he’d probably think of
little else until the letter came accepting or denying his request.
number three nearly drained the bottle. He lifted it, watching the last bit of liquid
swirl through the dark glass. If he didn’t have to be to work in—he glanced at
the clock on the microwave and cursed—three hours, he might’ve cracked another
bottle. Or three.
he’d never be able to sleep in his bed, he polished off his beer, recycled the
bottle and headed for the couch. He only hoped Kayla stayed out of his dreams.
At least for tonight.
loved her husband, loved being loved by her husband. Tonight, though, there’d
been something urgent, almost desperate in his taking of her. Not that she
minded. She enjoyed when sex was more than a quickie. And sometimes, with three
little people living under their roof, sometimes quick—in the laundry room,
with tiny knuckles knocking on the door—was the only option.
tingling in all the right places, she slipped her nightgown over her head as
Leon finished cleaning himself up in the bathroom. That was his way. Never did
they snuggle after sex, and falling asleep in his arms adrift on post coital
bliss just wasn’t going to happen.
came out of the bathroom, tugging the hem of his t-shirt down to meet the
waistband of his boxers. He didn’t look at her as he rounded the foot of the
bed and crawled between the sheets. She sighed, reaching up to turn off the
she lay down, he cuddled in close. But Leon didn’t cuddle. It wasn’t in his
nature. Their bed was a California King for a reason. He wanted his space.
spooned her, wrapping his arms around her waist and kissing her neck, not in an
erotic way, simply a meeting of lips to flesh.
everything all right?” she whispered, trying not to be alarmed.
was quiet for a long time, only his deep breaths filling the silence. Finally,
he hugged her even closer. “You know Enrique Santiago?”
caused her brows to furrow. “The left fielder for the Rockets?”
felt his nod. “He nearly lost his wife today.”
no.” Her heart jumped. “She’s not going to—”
she’ll be fine.” More of the deep, dark silence. “You know, every time
somebody’s wife is involved, I can’t help but think of you.” He shook his head,
breathed in deep. “I’m not sure I’d survive if something happened to you.”
heartbreakingly honest words had tears pooling in the corners of her eyes. “I’m
not going anywhere.”
it’s not your choice.”
swallowed hard against the lump in her throat. “You’re the one putting your
life on the line every day, Leon. Every day when you walk out the door I face
the fear you won’t come home. If something happened to you—”
be just fine.” He kissed her neck. “You’re the strong one, Kayla. Always have
been. I love you.”
turned her head to meet his lips with her own. “I love you, too.”
arms tightened around her. “Promise me if something does happen to me, you’ll
move on. I want you to love again. I want you to be happy.”
hated the depressing tone of the conversation. “I’ll promise to move on if you
promise that if something happens to me, you’ll live a celibate life. ‘Cause I
want you to be miserable.”
laughed, all gloom and doom fleeing the room. “I love you. G’night, babe.” And
with one more hug he turned over.
minutes his steady breaths became soft snores. She soon followed, drifting into
oblivion, forcing herself not to think of their morbid conversation.
as the sun peeked over the eastern skyline, Kayla stretched and yawned and
began her day. The first rays drifted in through the back window, cheering up
the kitchen. She stood at the stove, moving eggs around the skillet. Toast
popped out of the toaster. Ten-year-old Chase ran around the table, fisted a
knife and jammed it into the butter.
get the orange juice,” Sadie announced, hustling toward the fridge.
small television mounted under the cabinet had been turned on, tuned to the
morning news. “And we’re back with
Phillip Ross and photographer Ian McCallister—”
They said Ian McCallister!” Sadie peeked around the door of the fridge. “Is
that our Ian McCallister?”
Leon came into the room with a smile, a wink, and a three-year-old princess
perched on his arm. “That’s our Ian McCallister.”
it’s Mom’s Ian McCallister. Right,
like that, Sport.” He dropped Penelope into her booster seat at the table,
buckling her in before coming up behind Kayla.
shot him a look over her shoulder. “You really should stop that.”
feigned misunderstanding. “Stop what?”
of the kids is going to say something to him and then what?”
he’ll know I’m on to him.” He winked.
husband loved to tease her about the very sexy, very young, very could-have-any
woman-he-wanted neighbor, who Leon claimed had a crush on her. Ian McCallister
was every woman’s dream. Sweet, smart, and sexy as sin. His late twenties body
had been honed into a thing of beauty. Yes, she’d looked. She might be married,
but she certainly wasn’t dead.
of his chiseled jaw, full-lipped lop-sided grin and flirtatious winks, Kayla
didn’t believe the brown-haired, bronzed hunk had anything but neighborly
intentions toward her. After all, she was just…her, a thirty-seven year old, wife and mother, who considered
herself lucky to sneak a shower into a twenty-four hour period. Forty-eight
tended to be the norm.
I be offended you’re not jealous?” She tried not to smile.
He kissed her cheek, stealing a piece of toast. “It’s the price I pay for
having a MILF for a wife.”
a MILF?” Sadie asked in six-year-old innocence.
blush burned hot in her cheeks. Leon, however, grinned like an idiot. He
crossed the room and kissed their daughter on top of her auburn head.
he told her, “you’ll learn the answer to that. But today is not that day.” He
ruffled her hair. “Be a good girl. Have a good day at school.”
hugged him tight. “Love you, Daddy.”
the morning ritual continued; Leon telling each of the kids to be good, each of
them saying they loved him. Then it came her turn. Leon clipped his badge onto
his belt, her name flexing across his inner forearm. He hugged her tight,
kissed her, looked her right in the eye. “I love you.”
kiss. “See you tonight.”
smiled as he snatched a piece of toast off of Chase’s plate before disappearing
out the door. A wave of dread washed over her. She bit her lip, wanting to race
after him, beg him to play hooky, call in sick—something he’d never done in
their entire twelve year marriage. She choked down the emotion, telling herself
he’d be fine—just like every other day—and focused on getting the kids ready
for the bus. After they left she and Penelope had a date with the mall.