Chapter 1 ~ The Move
Being a single mother was never what I saw in my future. I was meant to go to college, travel the world and then find someone to settle down with. Marry, have a family, not spend seven years raising a child on my own but never the less, this is what I have had to do. Sure, I could have aborted when I found out, but as I looked down at my beautiful boy, Leivon, his sleeping form curled into a bundle, I don’t regret my decision to keep him one bit, though, I do wish I had of chosen a better man to give my heart and virginity too.
Levi didn’t deserve this, and he sure as heck didn’t deserve having his life uprooted just so I could find work. If only things had turned out differently. The bakery I worked at had suffered due to the two larger supermarket competitors opening up, and customers could get all of their needs from one store. It put a lot of small businesses out, and in financial strife, which, unfortunately, meant no work for me and hundreds of others, it also meant my son suffered, something I had tried his entire life for him not to.
I walked down the hall after leaving the door slightly ajar and plonked down on the sofa with a heavy sigh. “He sleeping?” My Uncle Clade questioned next to me, on his favourite grey suede recliner.
“Like a log.”
“You excited about starting at Johnson’s outdoor place?”
I was staring at the television screen, but everything in the room was hazy and unfocused. “I guess,” I answered monotonously.
“When do you officially start?”
“In the morning, after I drop Levi at school. Thanks for teeing that up, by the way, we were getting pretty desperate.”
“C’mon Harper, you didn’t think I would turn down an opportunity to spend some time with my favourite niece, did you?” Clade turned his head towards me with a dashing smile.
“Uncle, I’m your only niece.” My head remained in the direction of the television, but I still wasn’t watching it.
“Yes, and aren’t I lucky.” His words made me smile, he had been so supportive and comforting my entire life. I was happy to be here with my uncle, he had always been my world. “God knows, I would have no hair left if I had any more of ya to deal with.”
I finally met his mischievous face with an incredulous look. “I hope you’re not implying your hair loss is my fault?”
“Ah kid, I’m just messing with ya, you know its genetics, your father would have ended up the same had he lived.”
My face faltered, thank god for Uncle Clade. Dad passed away from a heart attack in my early teens, and I still mourned his loss, even after all these years. “Anyway, I’m off to bed, see you in the morning.”
I made my way back down the hall of the old brick home; to my room adjacent to my son’s, and slipped in, closing the door quietly behind me. My room was rather large with a lavish bay window, a king bed with a bright white and green bedspread and bedside tables each side with two wooden tallboys side by side next to the room’s door with an en-suite attached. I grabbed my pyjamas and entered the bathroom. Removing my clothes, I turned the shower taps, hearing the old pipes groan as the water filtered through them, and I scrutinised myself in the mirror.
I was no longer that skinny rake of a kid I had once been. These days my figure was more rounded, but not enough to be considered overweight. I was blessed with wide hips, and a full chest, my naturally darker skin tone was an attribute passed down from my mother’s side, she was of Hawaiian descent and dark-skinned, when she mixed with my father and his European background, I received my unique colouring. The same skin tone, my son, inherited from me, thank fuck, his father was so pale he turned sickly grey when it was cold.
My dusky tanned nipples still sat perkily upon my chest despite their larger size, and my hair, naturally dark blonde, the same as my fathers but had a curl to it. My light brown eyes looked worn and haggard, much like my appearance these days, hell, I just looked worn out all over, despite being only twenty-four.
I had fallen pregnant at seventeen to our school’s biggest dick-knob, and the moment I told him I was pregnant, he refused to believe it was his, stating I was some whore when I have only ever slept with him. My mother, Juniper, had remarried when I was eighteen and I worked odd jobs, supporting Levi and me in any way I could. My mother cried the day we left, after all, having a one-year-old at the time was not easy for anyone, but she needed to move on with her life, and I felt more of a burden than anything. So, we had been facing the world ever since just my son and me.
I lost my job about a month ago, and things were beginning to get desperate. Being the stubborn, self-reliant mule I am, I refused to rely on welfare. Uncle Clade offered us his home and had found me a job, we moved across the country, and now, we were starting life over again.
As I slipped into the fluffy sheets, relishing the feel of the material on my skin, I was thankful for having such a loving family; a girl needs that these days. Tomorrow, I start my new job, in our new town, miles away from our old life, and thankfully, away from Levi’s father, that I was forced to watch as he plunged his way through woman after woman.
This time, I will get to be happy, and maybe one day, I will find someone who can love me for me.
~ FRIENDLY ~
Dropping Leivon off in his new classroom was hard for me, but he slipped right in and introduced himself, the fearless little monster he is. I was always in awe of my son’s confidence because I knew for sure he didn’t get his charisma from me. Levi inspired me on so many levels. I was also happy that being here meant he would be able to witness what it was like to have a male around. Uncle Clade had offered to collect Leivon every day and take care of him while I was at work, daycare was expensive and having my Uncle to watch my son meant more money in the bank and a brighter future for my boy.
Upon arrival at the Outdoor and Adventure store in the centre of town, I was immediately greeted with friendly faces. The owner, Mr Johnson, was a poker buddy of my Uncle’s, so he hired me without an interview or resume, guess the word of a drunken gambler was enough. I laughed to myself about how small towns like Clarkson Glades still existed.
“Ahhh... you must be Harper Maddox, you look a little lost.”
I shook this man’s hand enthusiastically. “Yes, is it that obvious?”
“Not many new faces around these parts and the snapping of your head left, and right was a dead giveaway you had no idea where to go.”
I laughed. “Note for the future, don’t look so out of place.”
This stranger, who I’d deduced was the owner, smiled back. “Your Uncle was pretty vocal and excited about you coming here, near on talked my ear off about your son, Levin.”
I chuckled, “Leivon, well, Levi is his nickname, and yes, Clade’s always been an incredible man, I’m very lucky.”
Mr Johnson chuckled soundlessly. “Sorry, Levi, I stopped listening to Clade after a while of him fleecing me of my cash. Right this way, we have a new shipment in, and it needs to be unpacked, priced and filled. You can place your bag in the lockers, and we’ll get started.”
Mr Johnson seemed like a very fit man, he still had a full head of brown hair that had only just started to grey, sky blue eyes and a lean structure. You could tell he was an outdoorsman, which was fitting considering his business.
It was almost one when I looked at my watch, hearing my stomach grumble, and so did Mr Johnson. “Sorry,” I blushed.
“Jesus, what kind of monster are you hiding in there?” I giggled as he glanced at his watch, “dang it, no wonder you’re starving. I should have at least given you a break by now, sorry girlie.”
“It’s okay, I...” my words were cut completely off by the local law enforcement that walked in and stood behind my boss. My eyes immediately falling upon the divine specimen that stood just behind the older cop, the strangest feeling swept over me, like I had been temporarily placed in a tornado. My heart pumped rapidly within my chest, I lost all hydration in my mouth, and the subtle scent of oak mixed with rain perfumed the air.
He was tall, I’d say over 6ft with a rather muscular build, I could see the bulging of his arms and the tightness of his shirt as it pulled across his chest. This unknown man’s hair was black and spiked, but with short back and sides. When he pushed his aviators up to rest on top of his head, I nearly whimpered as his dark sapphire blues raked the length of my body causing not just my skin to melt under his burning gaze but a flurry of inappropriate thoughts to invade my overactive mind.
“Harper, you okay?” I just tilted my head to the officers standing behind Mr Johnson, and he turned in surprise. Truth was, at that very second, I couldn’t speak, I was barely holding myself together.
“Fuck, how long have you two been standing there?” Mr Johnson questioned the older man.
“Just walked in,” the older cop’s gruff voice replied as they shook hands.
“Uh, Fitz, this here is Clade’s niece, Harper, she just moved to town. Harper, this is our Sheriff, Fitzpatrick and his son, Deputy Spencer.” I extended my hand with a warm, welcoming smile, despite the fact my pulse was racing, and I could feel how weak my knees were. They both clasped my hand and gave a tight squeeze, but when Spencer and I made contact, my breath caught in my throat, a wave of what felt like an orgasm, crawled from top to toe, below the surface of my skin. I felt a rush of fluid moisten my core as I tried desperately to push the lewd thoughts out of my head so I could act appropriately in this situation.
“N-nice to m-meet you both. M-Mr Johnson, I’ll just head out for my break now and leave you to it.” I went to walk past them but then stopped in my tracks. “Uh, Mr Johnson? Where do I go?”
He laughed. “Oh hell girlie, you are from out of town...”
“There’s a nice diner on the corner, I could show you if you like?” Spencer’s husky, deep baritone rippled through me, hardening my nipples and arousal flared through my nervous system.
“Uh... n-no, that’s okay. I’m s-sure you gentlemen are busy. I’ll...”
“Son, show the young lady to Patty’s,” Fitz ordered, turning back around and focusing on Mr Johnson.
“Take a forty-five-minute break Harper, I missed your fifteen minuter this morning,” my new boss called out.
“Thank you, sir.”
I headed towards the front door, trailed closely by the young officer but then paled in realisation and stopped, suddenly Spencer walked into me with an ‘oof’. “What the...”
“My bag,” I cut in quickly, ignoring the sudden urge to lean into him. “I-I... have to get my... b-bag.”
Deputy Spencer’s hand jutted out and grasped my upper arm, the connection had me almost whimpering. “You don’t need it,” he stated.
“But I need too...”
“Nah, I got this round.”
“But I need money...” I protested.
“Nah, I got it,” Spencer flatly replied again.
“Why would you do that? You don’t even know me?” I could feel my eyebrows rise up in curiosity.
“Call it a... Welcome to Clarkson Glades... gesture.” He smirked, moving his sunglasses down to cover his intoxicating eyes and carried on past me. It was like he was unsusceptible to the sudden and very dramatic air floating around us, or maybe it was simply just me. How embarrassing that my body was responding this way.
“You really don’t have too,” I pleaded, falling into step behind him.
He said nothing on the excruciating, minute walk, to the diner, opening the door for me to enter. I mumbled my thanks and made my way to a table.
“Spence, how are you, son? What are you doing here?”
“Clade’s niece moved to town, she needed lunch, Dad told me to bring her.” The older woman’s eye’s snapped to me as I nervously twisted a napkin between my fingers.
“Well, take a seat... I’ll bring you some menus.”
He joined me at the four seated table, but instead of sitting across from me, Spencer sat next to me. I got a strong whiff of his cologne, oak and rain. I wondered if he tasted that way too. “So, why did you move here?”
My depraved lustrous thoughts were clamped shut upon hearing his voice, and I shuddered. “Uh- um- I...”
“Well now, are you going to introduce me?”
My head lifted. “Sorry mum, Harper, this is my mother, Patty... Mum, this is Harper.”
I stood to my feet and gave a tight smile. “Pleasure to meet you Mrs... um? Spencer’s mum.”
I realised I didn’t know what his last name was and my face scrunched in horror at my idiotic babbling. Patty, thankfully, took my hand and practically snorted as she laughed. “Mrs Spencer’s mum? That’s a new one. Nice to meet you, and it’s Marcelo, but Patty is fine. Sherriff and I, just happen to have the world’s best son together, I carry his last name, but we ain’t married, just filling you in before the gossips do.”
Patty winked at me, playfully, “oh, I’m sorry, I just...”
“All good love, forget it. What can I get ya?”
I sat down again with bright red cheeks and ran my palm over my face, “um, what do you suggest?”
“She’ll have the same as me, Mum,” Spencer cut in with a sharp snap.
Spencer’s mother Patty smiled lovingly at him, “two burgers with the lot and thick chocolate shakes, coming up.”
“Oh sorry,” I quickly interrupted, “I’m not a fan of chocolate, do you have banana?”
They both scrunched their faces at me, the same look everyone gave me when they found out I wasn’t particularly fond of chocolate. “Sure love, banana it is.”
“Why do you not like chocolate?” The deputy asked incredulously.
“I suppose... I’m sweet enough, won’t satisfy your curiosity?” Spencer shook his head side to side with an amused smirk on his face. It was the first sign of less seriousness, and I enjoyed it. “No, well, my mother has an extremely rare allergy to the cocoa bean. It’s almost unheard of, and most medical professionals don’t believe it even exists, claiming its other ingredients. She seriously hurt herself attempting to prove it, thankfully, it was not passed on but having grown up without chocolate, I never really acquired a taste for it.”
“Wow, that’s a weird story,” the deputy commented.
I swallowed the dry lump in my throat, “I’m a weird person,” I shrugged.
“So weirdo, why are you here? You on the run? Should I handcuff you now in case you make a break for it?” I creased my forehead at his odd choice of words, the idea of being handcuffed did nothing to control the blasting heat radiating off of me.
“I wish my life was that exciting. No, I lost my job when the bakery closed down and couldn’t find any more work, so my Uncle suggested here.”
“Just you?” Why the bloody heck was Spencer prying for? That’s rather impersonal.
“Why am I asking? Or why, you don’t want to say?”
“Why are you asking?”
“Curiosity, this isn’t exactly an exciting town.”
“I refuse to rely on welfare to survive, ‘exciting’ was not exactly what I was looking for, more... financial stability.”
“So... you move here on your own?”
“No, not just me.” Here it is, the moment all men run for the hills, “I have a seven-year-old son.”
Spencer’s reaction was surprising, he just nodded slowly, as if digesting my words carefully. But, I knew the truth. Any moment now he’s going to get an ‘emergency call’ or remember a ‘business meeting’ he had to get too. “Nice, you have a son, what about the father?”
Oh, well I wasn’t expecting that question. “Huh? H-H, he jumped ship the moment I found out I was pregnant.” I replied slowly, trying to understand why the deputy hadn’t high-tailed it?
“So, you’ve been alone for seven years?” Spencer’s tone indicated surprise; I turned away in horrific abashment, spotting the bathroom sign. Yes, I had been alone for seven years, a mum with a child didn’t exactly have the men queuing up for my number.
“Excuse me.” I removed myself, unable to meet Spencer’s eyes, and walked into the convenient sanctuary of the restrooms. Trying to regain my composure at having my private life so questionably examined by someone I’d just met, this was not my idea of fun; did I wish things had turned out differently with Levi’s dad? Of course, but that wasn’t in the cards for me. I had resided myself to watching love from the background instead of experiencing it first hand and I guess I was okay with that, as long as Leivon was happy and got to live a life full of love.
I returned a little while later, still unable to look the deputy in the eyes. The food and drinks were waiting for us when I sat down. “This looks lovely,” I mumbled more to the food than him.
Spencer reached over and collected my hand, running his thumb along my knuckles, the sparks that flew across my skin where he touched so intimately were crippling. “I’m sorry for my behaviour, questions fly out my mouth when trying to suss out someone, it’s my job.” The hair on the back of my neck rose when the deputy spoke.
I finally peered up, meeting Spencer’s furrowed brow, “no, I’m sorry.” I extracted my hand from his feeling self-conscious and uneasy about how my body responded so lustfully to him. “I get I haven’t done a lot with my life, being a young mum, at seventeen there wasn’t a lot of options open to me, and yes, I have been alone for a long time raising my son on my own. The few men I have been on dates with, the mention of a kid and they run as fast as they can away. I’m not someone that needs to be sussed out, I’m boring, my son comes first and ensuring his happiness and future is the utmost important thing in the world to me. I’m not used to people asking me personal questions, especially those I just met a few minutes ago.”
“I get it, though I would like to say that I think it’s admirable, in your reply it clearly shows you’ve sacrificed a lot for your child and from now on, I’ll be more respectful of your personal life. It’s kind of hard to switch off the ‘Deputy Sheriff’ role.” Spencer gave me a tight smile, “new subject, what do you do for fun?”
We spent the next thirty minutes talking about him mostly and laughing about other subjects, Spencer had the most enchanting laugh. It was nice to have someone to talk to, even if it wasn’t substantial. Spencer even walked me back to work; his father was still there when we arrived. “Well, thank you for lunch,” I timidly spoke.
“It was my pleasure; I hope we can do it again sometime?” My heart flipped. The was gorgeous, I secretly hoped we would meet again, though, I highly doubted it, after all, I had nothing to offer a man, especially one as incredibly sexy as him. I returned to the stock and continued to unpack, price, and put away the items.
I arrived home just before six, to find Uncle Clade and Levi in the kitchen, setting the table. “Hey, you two, how was your day?”
“Mummy,” Levi squealed, his tiny arms wrapping around my hips.
That night, as we read our nightly story, I looked over to see my son fast asleep before we had a chance to finish. The poor monster, seems school really tuckered him out. I kissed his forehead and then switched off the light. Uncle was in his suede recliner watching T.V with a beer in hand. “Hey, wanna do something fun next weekend?”
I eyed him, suspiciously, “oh yeah, what’s that?”
“Let’s have a barbeque? We’ll invite some folks around.”
“Okay, sounds good, it will give me a chance to make a friend.” I secretly wished I would run into Spencer again and then I could invite him to the Barbeque. Damn it, I really shouldn’t follow this train of thought.
“How was work?”
I smiled, “good, I think it’s really friendly here.”
“Wouldn’t have anything to do with our Deputy Spence and your impromptu lunch date, would it?” I grabbed the couch cushion and hurled it in uncle Clade’s direction.
“How much do you know? Spencer was just being... friendly.”
“Yeah, friendly,” Clade rolled his eyes.
“They all were...”
“Yes, welcoming, happy and caring and...”
Clade jumped in, “I get it; I get it...” he held his hands up, dejectedly, “friendly.”
~ RESCUED ~
The days rolled by so quickly and today, being Friday, it was the last day of my first week. The work wasn’t difficult and I loved talking to the town’s occupants, though, I had not seen nor heard from Spencer, I guess I was mistaken, and he really was just being friendly.
I collected my things and said goodbye to Mr Johnson and his wife who worked the counter, Uncle had already informed them about the barbeque next weekend, damn that man worked devilishly fast. As I hopped into my dual cab truck heading for home, I sighed in relief at really enjoying my first week, deciding, this was a great place to raise my son. Levi was happy and exhausted every day and he and Uncle Clade were building a big race track in the shed for all of my sons toy cars.
I was humming away to ‘Before he cheats’ by Carrie Underwood that had just come on the local station when I heard a massive bang and the steering gave way. I managed to hold on tight and came to a stop by the side of the road.
“Shit,” I cursed, slipping out from behind the wheel and went to examine the damage. I had blown a tire but stupidly didn’t have a spare.
I pulled out my mobile but the useless thing had run out of battery, my face washed with panic, what the hell was I going to do? I was about an hour’s walk from Uncle’s house and about the same distance back into town, with no guarantee’s anyone would be open. Collecting my handbag and locking up my truck, I was forced to hoof it home. Just as I started, a black Ute slowed down and pulled up beside me. “What the hell are you doing?”
My body froze when the instant and unmistakable, husky, deep baritone hit my ears and ran through me, I turned to see him staring at me through his passenger window. “My truck popped a tire, I don’t have a spare and my battery is flat.”
“You plan on padding it all the way back to your Uncle’s? Those shoes will wear out before you get there.”
“I’m fine,” I replied defensively, not wanting to appear helpless and in need of rescuing. I was an independent self-reliant woman, I got this, I had already decided to organise it tomorrow.
“Bloody hell woman.” Spencer threw his gearbox in reverse and came to a standstill by my vacant truck.
I kind of just stood there for a moment, watching his movements, then backtracked the two minutes I had walked. “What are you doing?”
He was on his phone, leaning against the tray of my truck. “Yeah flank, it’s Spence... need ya help, mate, highway 72 about fifteen minutes from town, Clade’s niece has a flat, needs a spare and a tow... no worries, thanks, man... yep, see ya soon.” Deputy Spencer hung up and opened his passenger door for me. “Get in,” he ordered with a tilt to the side with his head.
I, naturally objected. “I’m fine Spencer, I can collect the truck tomorrow. I’m not helpless, or need rescuing...”
“I get you’re used to doing things on your own Harper, but it just wouldn’t sit right to leave you out here for the coyote’s dinner. Not to mention the wolves that roam these parts.”
I jumped closer to Spencer, my head swirling from left to right fearfully. “There’s coyote’s and wolves out here?”
That gorgeous man laughed, clearly amused by my uncertainty. “Nah, I’m just messing with ya, well, not about the wolves. Listen, the moment Flank arrives he’ll load up your truck and we’ll get ya home, I won’t even tell anyone you had to rely on someone else.” Spencer winked at me teasingly.
I shivered, suddenly feeling the crispness in the breeze, “thank you,” I submitted.
“You cold? Here...” Spencer pulled off his Sheriff’s jacket and wrapped it around me, hooking it in the pin and zipping up the front.
“You don’t have to, ya know... I’m quite capable...”
Spencer’s big hands cupped my face, silencing my train of thought, I felt immediately shy and dipped my head, intimidated by our closeness. “I know, you’re independent, not used to relying on the kindness of strangers,” he tipped my head upwards to meet his sapphire gaze. “Sometimes, it’s nice to know people are there for you. You don’t always have to be alone; we like to help our townsfolk.”
Townsfolk... so this was friendship, I could deal with that; it had been for a long time since anyone had shown such selfless kindness but I’m glad he clarified things before I made a fool of myself. Guess I still secretly wanted to be loved by someone that I was trying to see something that simply wasn’t there. What did I expect? Every man ran when they found out about my son, I took a step back from him, his warm touch leaving my cheeks as my eyes fell. “Thank you, Deputy, I really appreciate your help, I’m sure all the towns’ occupants cherish your care for them.”
“What? Harper, I think you’ve mistaken my words...” Spencer was interrupted by blinding headlights heading towards us. He huffed in annoyance and jumped in his truck to move it completely out of the way.
I don’t know what he was annoyed about? Maybe I had said the wrong thing? Spencer brushed past me to help get the winch hooked up and my vehicle on the back of the tow truck. His friend Flank led the way as we followed behind, I stared blankly out the window as silence surrounded us with suffocating force. I decided to break the ice-cold atmosphere, only he decided to too and we both spoke at the same time.
We laughed heartedly. “You go.”
“I was just going to ask what your son is into?”
“Leivon? He’s into cars mostly, but also he loves soccer.”
“Soccer? What team?”
I chuckled nervously, “any team that wins... why?”
Spencer shook his head, “just curious.”
We pulled into the driveway and my Uncle and son came flying out the door. “Mummy,” Levi’s arms collected my hips, “where were you?” He cocked his head to the side in question. “I thought you forgot me.”
“You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me, why would I forget you?”
“Shit Kid, we were worried, your phone went straight to voicemail,” my Uncle breathed a sigh of relief.
“Sorry Uncle, my phone battery died and I got a flat,” I gave him an apologetic look.
“I can see that, thank god the young Deputy here just happened to be passing,” Uncle Clade arched his brow at me.
“Yes, it was convenient. Anyway...” I turned to face Flank, “thank you, Mr Flank, do you accept EFTPOS?”
Flank coughed, “uh, no charge. I owe this crazy my life.” He thrust his thumb towards Spencer who just smiled. “And it’s Flank, Flank Rogers.”
“Well, I appreciate that but I still would like to...”
“She’s independent,” Spencer cut in.
Flank and Spencer snickering to themselves. “The girls had no choice but to be,” my Uncle stated proudly, coming to my defence and cutting off their behaviour.
My truck was unloaded but the moment Spencer whipped off his uniform shirt, all saliva drained from my mouth at the sight of each perfectly carved and sculptured muscle that rippled as he lifted his jack from the back of his car and got to work on my tire. Even with the darkening sky, you could see how impeccable his body was and my head again filled with thoughts of my tongue lapping at his divinely perfect frame. I moaned accidentally, all four heads turned to greet me with their curious faces, “I-I I need to-t pee,” I stuttered and whimpered at the same time.
Turning on my heels and practically running inside, I cursed myself for being so ridiculous and desperate but man, was his body seductively crippling. “I need to pee? Really... that’s the best you could come up with?” I chastised myself loudly.
I showered and changed, hearing roaring laughter coming from the dinner table as I entered. There sat a now dressed Spencer and Levi, playing with my sons toy cars. “What’s for tea?” I smiled.
“Your favourite... stew,” Uncle Clade beamed brightly at me.
“Yum, can’t wait. Can I help?”
“Nah, sit your bony ass down, I got this... Spence is staying for grub.”
I nervously raked my bottom lip through my teeth. “Thank you, Deputy... for rescuing me.”
He frowned, “Spence is fine, Harper.”
“Okay Spence,” I retorted with a playful smirk.
“And everyone can call me Levi,” my son interjects, causing the room to erupt in laughter.
We spent the evening basking in each other’s company, Spence and Leivon really hit it off and when bedtime rolled around, he requested Spence to read him his nightly story. Uncle Clade headed to his favourite suede recliner and I started the dishes. I flicked on the radio in the kitchen and softly sung the words to the music while swaying my hips. “Now there’s a sight for sore eyes,” I jumped in fright as Spencer entered.
“You scared me; did Leivon go down okay, not give you too much trouble?” I leaned over to switch the music off.
“Don’t.” Spencer stepped closer, I could feel his warm breath on the back of my neck. “He’s a beautiful boy, Harper, you’ve done a great job in raising him.” Spencer’s words caused my body to hum, “dance with me?”
I tried desperately to curb the thoughts that swirled through my overactive brain. He’s just being friendly, I told myself, do not think too much into this. As the deputy pulled me closer, his incredible scent filled my senses, weakening my resistance to not have a crush on this alluring man.
The song ‘More than friends’ by Jason Mraz and Meghan Trainor played softly in the background as we swayed gently under the dim light of the kitchen, one hand on the small of my back and the other gripped my hand tightly. This was the pinnacle of my very lacklustre romantic life, my eyes staring at Spencer’s chest more than at his blazing sapphires. My heart thumped dramatically in my throat as my breathing quickened to short, strangled pants as my body sightly trembled.
Spence hooked his finger under my chin, tilting my head up. I blinked rapidly, “have you not danced with a man?” My eyes shifted between those capturing blues. I shook my head side to side, attempting to swallow the lump of nerves gathered in my throat. He groaned and closed his eyes, “how is that even possible?”
My embarrassment was too much for me to bear and I stepped back from Spencer and the swirling vortex of confusion. “Y-y you are p-probably tired, I should let you go home.” My mumble was barely audible as I twisted my fingertips nervously in front of me, my head hung in shame.
Spencer wanted to be friends and here I was, stupidly thinking that we could be something more when I clearly had no right. He threw me a look of frustration before Spence grabbed his jacket from the back of the chair, popping his head around the corner to say goodbye to my Uncle, only Clade had fallen asleep. I cursed inwardly at the man for leaving me to farewell our guest, when I wasn’t the one who asked him to stay.
I walked Spence out to his car, he threw his jacket onto the passenger’s seat and forcefully closed his door, seeming pissed at me.
“Thank you for your help tonight,” I practically whispered.
Spencer stood there with his driver’s door open, assessing me. “Why do you do that? What did I do to make you close off from me?”
My head snapped upwards to greet a fierce blaze burning behind his darkened irises. “What do you mean?”
“Isn’t it obvious? Shit, all week I’ve tried to get you out of my head and all week I’ve tried to find an excuse to see you and have come up short, and finally tonight, I get given the opportunity to see you and it’s like you are trying to push me away. If you want a friendship only then fine, I will leave it at a friendship, but I can’t stop thinking about you, Harper, I just want to get to know you better, see where this undeniable attraction goes...”
“You’re attracted to me?” I asked incredulously with a higher pitch to my voice.
“Do you really not see?”
“When you said you ‘help the townsfolk’ I just presumed you wanted to be nothing more than friends.”
“That’s what you thought?”
I wiped my hands over my face, “Spence... men usually find out I have a child and mysteriously disappear. I’m not very good at this,” my chest heaved as I whimpered my reply.
“Boys, not men, Harper.” Spencer leaned forward shocking the hell out of me, his lips lingering a little longer as they pressed against my cheek. I closed my eyes, relishing in the warmth of his flesh. “Let me take you and Levi out tomorrow night? The rodeo is in town. Have either of you been?” I panted heavily; maybe I should just give in for once? I wasn’t dead and maybe it will be fun, god knows it’s been a long time since Leivon and I had done anything fun, choosing to save our money rather than spending it.
“I-I don’t know,” I was really battling with myself.
“Just...” he appeared to be even more frustrated by my hesitance, “just, give a go.”
“Okay.” It sounded more like I was trying to convince myself rather than accepting a night out with a friend.
“Okay?” He questioned.
“Yes, Spencer, okay, we would love to go to the rodeo with you.”
This put a dashing smile on Spencer’s face. “Well great, I’ll pick you two up. See you tomorrow night... sweet cheeks.”
~ THE RODEO ~
We had risen fairly early for a Saturday and I figured I would need a nap later to get through tonight’s events. I had never been to a rodeo so I was unsure on what to expect. “Where’s Spence taking you again?” My Uncle Clade questioned.
“The rodeo, Levi and I have never been.” Clade nodded with a distant look in his sparkling blue eyes, the same eyes as my fathers. “What will you do with yourself while I’m away?”
“Ah, Kid, I have three women on the go that I’ve neglected since you two showed up. Perhaps I should pay at least one of them a visit.”
“Three?” I was flabbergasted, “I can’t even manage to get one, how do you have three?”
“Easy, there are more women in this town then there are men.”
“Do they know?” I asked curiously, suddenly finding out my Uncle was some kind of a ‘playa’ had me more than just a little enthralled.
“They do. I’m completely honest about keeping our ‘coitus’ open and my bachelorhood intact.”
“So... you have no problems if they slept with other men?”
“Sleep with other men?” Clade questioned and I just nodded in complete awe of his revelation and active sex life. “No, they are fine women.”
“Do they get jealous of each other?”
“Yes, but I don’t take them out, I fuck them, maybe stay a night or two, then head home.”
“Do you not want to settle down with any of them?” I asked incredulously.
“Well, ideally, I’d love to settle down with all three of them, but two just ain’t into that sort of thing, so, I continue this way, loving all three, committed to none.”
I slumped down into the chair, bewildered by my Uncles sexual exploits. “Jesus, when did I become such a loser?”
My Uncle Clade laughed. “Kid, your father had the same ability, only the moment he met your mum, he was a goner. I haven’t met that ‘one’ for me, I doubt I ever will. I love all three of my women for different reasons, if only they liked each other, I would be a blissfully happy man.”
“You would be a polygamist?” Uncle Clade smirked wickedly.
“This town isn’t exactly against ’free loving exhibitionist, hell, the town was founded by hippies. Fitz Marcelo and Patty were only ever fuck buddies, still are really, she may carry his last name but they don’t live together, and they sure as shit aren’t married, yet their son Spencer is their pride and joy.”
“Fucken hell, what the heck did I move into?”
“The future Kid, we may be small but we got the right idea on stuff.”
“I need a nap before tonight; will you watch Levi for a bit?”
“Of course, I love that superstar.”
I stood to my feet, giving Clade a chaste kiss on the cheek. “You’re too much,” I commented before heading to my room.
I was getting ready; a towel draped around my body as I straightened my hair and applied makeup. Leivon swung open the bathroom door; he was dressed in his cowboy costume, complete with boots and hat. “Mummy, can I take my gun?”
I looked down at my boy and my heart swelled, he looked incredible. “Maybe we should leave it behind tonight honey, don’t want anyone thinking it’s real and you being arrested by Deputy Spencer for having an unlicensed firearm.”
Levi pointed his tiny finger at me, “you’re right, plus it might spook the animals.”
I chuckled. Leivon had crafted himself a gun out of toilet paper rolls a few days ago and carried it like it was his pride and joy. “Good thinking, that too.”
Levi strode out, slamming the door behind him. I slipped my legs into my tight black jeans and shrugged on a loose, off the shoulder, purple glitter midriff top and paired my outfit with my favourite pair of purple Doc Martens. Hearing the distinct sound of Spencer’s baritone laughter coming from the lounge, I knew it was time to leave the comfort and reliability of my room.
Nervously, I padded down the hall and into the kitchen, my Uncle was dressed to impress in a grey suit and Hawaiian print shirt. “Woo, woo, planning on impressing someone special?” Spence coughed, his eyes wide as they raked predatorily up and down my body, my core pooled with wet heat at the way he hungrily perused me.
“You know me, Kid, I always look spunky,” I laughed.
“Have a great night, Uncle.” Clade kissed my cheek and playfully bumped Levi’s shoulder.
“You guys have fun too, don’t wait up,” my crazy uncle called back as he exited.
Spence cleared his throat. “Shall we take your truck? Since it’s already fitted with Levi’s booster seat?”
“My truck is a serious downgrade from your lavish beast, are you sure you want to be seen in it?”
Spencer scrunched his forehead, “yes, why would I be ashamed of your car? You have some strange ideas about things, Harper... weirdo. Now, the important thing is keeping you and Leivon safe, and there is nowhere safer for either of you than in my hands. I’ll drive, but if you would prefer to move his booster, we can...”
“No, its fine, I just meant... never mind, c’mon let’s get going before Levi bursts.”
We arrived at the most elaborate rodeo I had ever been too, well, to be fair, I hadn’t actually been to any rodeos before but I had seen them in movies and this one sported not just the main arena but rides and games, my eyes were bulging out of my head. I grasped Spence’s arm excitedly, “wow, this is nothing like I imagined.”
He laughed at me as my eyes surveyed the scene, “yeah, it’s a pretty big event.” Spencer turned in the driver’s seat, “you ready for this cowboy?”
“I wanna ride a bull,” Levi stated, I, however, paled.
“Uh, how about the horses on the merry-go-round honey?”
“Oh Mummy, I swear I won’t fall off,” Leivon pouted.
“I’m sure you won’t honey but I might have a heart attack.”
“C’mon cowboy, let’s get you out,” Spencer chuckled.
We grabbed some tickets from the booth and headed towards the haunted house, Levi made sure he stayed in between us both, holding our hands. There was a bunch of petrol drums sawn in half with wheels attached, being pulled by a tractor and a man disguised as a zombie was behind the wheel. Spencer handed over the tickets and we stepped in. “Hey cowboy, how about you let mum and I sit together and you sit in between her legs? Ya know how afraid of the scary monsters she gets.” I arched my brow at the brazen deputy, but he just shrugged in defence.
“Okay,” Levi happily obliged, shifting forward.
It was hard to understand why he was making such bold moves, but it stroked my ego and made me feel... admired? Attractive? Hell, just, in general, it made me feel good inside. I climbed in between them, Spence’s big hands gripped my backside and squeezed, eliciting a groan from the back of my throat as I got comfortable in between his legs. I turned my head to the side as he swept my hair out the way to expose the side of my neck. “Smooth moves there, Mr Deputy,” I teased, his rough spiky chin-grazing gently along the curve of my neck, causing me to shudder.
“You possess a luscious ass like that and expect me not to cop a feel?” Spencer huskily purred into my ear. We hadn’t even started the ride and my core was already throbbing. Stop reading into it, I chastised myself. “Lean back into me Harper, I’ll save you from the horrors.”
I chuckled. “What’s so funny Mummy?” Levi questioned.
“Nothing honey, just excited, are you?” I said, leaning into Spencer’s warm embrace. It felt stiff and slightly awkward, I had never done anything like this and truthfully, I wasn’t sure how to relax.
“Yes, let’s go.”
Within the first few seconds of the tractor entering the fake haunted house, a man with half a face wielding a chainsaw stepped out from the shadows. Leivon and I were screaming, I was practically crawling on top of Spence with my head buried into his shoulder and Levi was mimicking my actions not too much longer after me. As the tractor exited, poor Spencer was cradling both of us like newborn babies, one in each arm. They snapped a Polaroid of us and the organisers laughed so hard at the trembling bundles in his muscular hold, that they said we could just have the picture when others had to pay. I was unimpressed by the scary haunted house, even more so by the picture of a beaming Deputy with a gigantic smile and two trembling figures in each arm.
“I’m never going in there again,” I stated clearly and passionately as he pocketed the Polaroid.
Spence bit down on both of his lips, clearly amused, “you don’t have to.”
“I think we should go again,” my son chirped up and the Deputy burst out cackling. I narrowed my eyes at my seven-year-old son, flashing him a scowl of a lifetime.
“Never... again... Leivon.”
After, playing a few more games, we headed for the Merry-go-round. I watched from the fence line as Spence seated Levi on his horse and came to join me, his hand resting comfortably around my waist. “Don’t think I miss that smirk every time I touch you, Harper... like right now.” I couldn’t hold back and my face broke out into a wide toothy grin, I could feel my cheeks flush.
Levi rounded the corner and beamed at us, his tiny hand flapping excitedly as we both waved back with just as much enthusiasm. “Spency? Spency baby, it is you...” I felt Spencer’s hand clench at my hip.
“Shit,” he cursed through gritted teeth, refusing to turn around. I, however, couldn’t help but look, my eyes immediately regretting the sight of a tall leggy brunette in a denim mini-skirt and a plaid red chequered shirt that was tied just under her gigantic tit’s and opened at the front, exposing an obscene amount of cleavage. I stayed still, unsure of what to do as her evil glare failed to hide her hatred of me and Spencer’s arm around my waist. “Just ignore it, it might see a dick a go away,” Spence whispered.
But she didn’t see any dicks or go away, instead, she stepped closer, her cheap perfume invaded my nostrils, I scrunched my nose in disgust. She must have touched him because Spencer whipped around so fast, glowering murderously at this unidentified woman. “Don’t ever fucken touch me, Sheila.”
“Oh, come on Spency baby, you’re not still angry at me are you?” The brunette pouted, batting her eyelids at him.
“You need to get the fuck away from me right now...”
“Mummy, Spence, did you see me? Did you?” Levi came running up to us and Spencer dropped to his knee collecting my son into a great big bear hug.
“You sure are a natural cowboy, we’ll get you riding a real horse in no time.” Spence picked him up, depositing him comfortably on his strong shoulders.
“Hey there... cowboy, who are you cutie?” My green-eyed monster was lurking below the surface of my skin, ready to be unleashed on this woman, trying to engage with my son.
“Mummy, who is that? She stinks.” I stifled my giggle but Spencer did not, his baritone rumble exploded from within his chest.
“That’s her nasty perfume cowboy, come along, we have some bull riding to watch.” Spence collected my hand, which again was a pretty bold move and took off in the opposite direction as I followed close behind, almost tripping over my two feet.
Watching a rider trying to stay on a bull for eight seconds was pretty exhilarating, Leivon asked to join a friend he had made a couple of rows below us but we kept vigilant watch of him. “Are you going to ask me?” My head snapped towards Spencer but his eyes were trained on the action in the arena.
“Do you feel like sharing?” I replied honestly.
“Do you want to know?”
“I want to know what you are willing to share.”
“Does it bother you at all?” His brow was furrowed as Spencer finally caught my eye.
“I’m guessing at some stage she belonged to you,” I took a sip of my warm beer.
“Sheila is my ex, yes.”
“Okay,” I simply said.
“Okay? That’s it? Nothing else?”
“I’d be stupid to think you didn’t have a past, Spencer, we all do, if you want me to know, you will tell me.”
He enlaced his fingers in mine and lifted my hand to his lips, pressing them gently against my soft skin. “I want you to know that she means nothing to me.”
His statement was firm and I believed him, though, it really was hard to hide my pleasure at hearing his declaration. “Alright, I believe you.”
Spencer flashed me a megawatt smile as our eyes remained locked on one another’s. The announcement of the final competition between two riders broke our heated stare and Spence suggested it was time to go. Collecting my son, we climbed into the car and made our way home.
Back at Uncle Clade’s house, Levi had fallen fast asleep in the back seat, so Spence carefully unbuckled him and carried him to bed, removing his cowboy boots and hat, and placing him under the covers. My heart swelled seeing how much Spencer cared for Leivon and this was moving into dangerous territory. My heart had awakened and the dream I thought was long gone roared to life, the yearning for a ‘whole’ family. But could I do it? I’d made the mistake of trusting my heart with Levi’s dad and he completely and utterly smashed it to pieces.
I walked Spencer to the door. “Don’t come outside, your Uncle is not home, I want you to lock the door behind me, okay?” I nodded, understanding he was doing it to keep us safe. He cared for us. Shit, I was losing myself quicker than I realised.
“Spence... thank you... for tonight, I really appreciate it.” He moved in closer, my body fizzled like fireworks were exploding inside me, why did he have to be so goddamn intoxicating? Why was I not stronger? More resistant to his charms? This was going to end badly and now my son was at risk too. Levi liked Spencer, he liked him a lot.
Spencer’s head dipped as my mouth slightly parted and he pressed his soft succulent lips against mine. For a moment I could not function, my breathing stopped and all I could feel was his heated flesh against me. I was drowning in a pool of ecstasy and I was willing to hold up the white flag, surrendering completely and falling into the grand canyon if this is what kissing him was like.
Suddenly, Spencer withdrew completely, his face scrunched as though he were finding it hard to say something he really wanted to. “Good night, sweet cheeks.”
And just like that, the deputy left and closed the door behind him. Now I was even more confused than before, leaving all of my insecurities exposed, I had set myself up and fallen into his ploy, maybe I was a terrible kisser? Maybe he had suddenly decided I wasn’t worth the effort over a lay? Maybe once he kissed me he realised this wasn’t what he wanted. God, I was so embarrassed my eyes welled with tears.
All night I tried to talk myself down from that ledge, tried not to think that this could be something more. I wasn’t made to be loved, I was made to watch from the sidelines as others fell in love. He didn’t want me, and the moment Spencer’s lips touched mine, I surrendered every wall put in place for nothing. He had gone and left me staring at the closed door, feeling more rejected and insecure than I ever had in my entire life.
~ EMOTIONAL OVERLOAD ~
Another week passed with no contact from Spencer, no explanation, and reason for his abrupt departure, but hey, I should be used to this... right? I wasn’t made to be loved, I was here to be Levi’s mum and help him become the best damn man he could be, even if he came from someone as unlovable as me.
My heart had ached all week, it was like a brick was permanently attached to my chest and there was nothing I could do until those concrete walls, I once had in place, were rebuilt and reinforced with thick steel, just so no one could affect me again. The only problem was, I didn’t know how to rebuild them, so this heavy rejection would not dissipate.
People had started arriving and Uncle was introducing me like I was a prized possession, I think the liquid flowing through his veins had a lot to do with his rather chipper disposition, but even though I was not made for romantic love, I could see clearly how loved I was as his family, and that, I adored.
“Kid, grab the steaks from the fridge, will ya? We have some hungry mouths to feed,” my Uncle shouted above the music.
“Sure,” I hollered back.
As I was extracting the meat, I felt two large hands grip the sides of my hips causing me to jump in fright, my head going deeper inside the fridge. I straightened myself and turned, ready to pummel whoever thought it was okay to grasp me so intimately, holding a long cabana sausage in my hands, my weapon of choice to whack the offender. “Ma’am, please put down your dangerous weapon, no one needs to be sausaged today,” Spencer’s laughter roared through the kitchen, sending a shiver up my spine.
“Crap Spence, you scared the bejesus out of me. What are you doing here?” I clutched at my heart, dropping my hand and throwing the cabana back into the fridge.
“Sorry, sweet cheeks, but you bending over was just too enticing of an opportunity to pass up.”
“I’m sure it wasn’t that enticing, you shouldn’t be here.” I bit out harshly, the sting of last weekend still fresh in my mind, this time my heart pulsed deeply; it hurt to see him when I was still so exposed.
Spencer scrunched his face. “What?”
“Mummy,” Leivon comes running in as I loaded up with meat trays. “Look what the Deputy brought me.”
I turned to see a brand new soccer ball in Levi’s tiny hands. I flashed Spencer Marcelo a harrowing look of annoyance but he just beamed away at me. “Wow, aren’t you lucky?” I grit my teeth. “Did you say thank you?”
“Yes mum,” Levi rolled his eyes at me before running at full speed out of the house.
“Why did you do that?” I sneered, readying myself to squash the deputy’s balls.
“I didn’t do anything.” Spencer leaned over pressing a lingering kiss against my cheek. I couldn’t help but blush wildly as Spencer groaned, pulling the meat trays from my arms for him to carry. I, however, was fucked off by the way my body still reacted to him, despite his rejection of me. “You gotta stop blushing like that, I may have to drop this meat and push you up against the kitchen bench.”
I froze, no one had ever spoken like that to me, the thought of it alone ignited my lusting and very neglected core and I didn’t know how to physically react, especially after the confusing departure last Saturday. I scoffed at his odd behaviour, “I can’t believe you, you shouldn’t...”
“Where the bloody hell are these steaks, Kid?” Uncle Clade comes waltzing in, “oh, now I see what’s taking so bloody long, Spence... how are you?”
“Clade, thanks for the invite, someone never spoke a word about tonight’s fiesta.” Spencer arched a brow at me as my mouth fell open.
A scowl crossed my face, I could feel it, “maybe it was not mentioned on purpose.”
“What the hell has happened between you two?” Clade questioned, folding his arms over his chest.
“Nothing,” my eyes fell to the floor, taking a huge breath before I gathered my courage and lifted my head, flashing my uncle a dashing smile. “C’mon, we have people to feed and new friends to make.” I accentuated the words ‘new friends’ hoping to god, Spencer would understand that I understood, I would not ever be anything more than that to him. Friends, I told myself, and that’s what I’ll be, I’ll just forget everything and bury my feelings. After all, we were here, I didn’t want to spend my night being pissed off and have everyone dislike me because his presence had put me in a foul mood. No, I’m going to put in the effort and push away last weekend. It was my fault too, for being so damn desperate. Yes, that’s what I’ll do, I will enjoy myself.
The night was filled with more booze then you could poke a stick at, everyone was laughing and having such a great time, the local kids played with Levi, and for the first time in a long time, I felt peace. Spence did not leave my side, which was annoying at first, but once I decided to let last week’s event go, we got to really talk about so many wonderful things and I discovered aspects to him I would never have guessed. Like, how he plays the guitar and how he enjoys building and crafting furniture from wood. I caught Clade looking at us every now and again and I’d narrow my eyes at him, to which he would just smile and wave. I would shake my head from side to side, indicating a ‘not going to happen so stop it’ kind of a motion.
What I did notice, was how every time we were interrupted by my son, Spencer would halt immediately and give Levi his full attention. I caught myself a few times daydreaming about a fantasy future where Levi and I might actually have an opportunity to have a whole family and I chastised myself inwardly.
I was a fool, a complete idiot, I cannot risk my heart, he had proved that by his rejection and bad things happen when you succumb to a man’s charms. Heck, I knew that first hand and after spending a week convincing myself Spencer Marcelo simply wasn’t interested, this was already shattered glass I was treading on, I needed to focus on something else, the first man offers a slight bit of wayward interest and I’m a fucken mess. Jesus, I needed to get my head looked at.
We had started to clean up as people began to pack up and go home, by the time Spencer and I had finished it was almost two in the morning. Clade had gone to bed and Levi had gone down, hours earlier. We were putting the last of the rubbish in the bin. “Thank you for all your help, you must be exhausted.”
“Me? You must be exhausted,” he stated in earnest as a yawn chose that moment to make its presence known, causing a red hue to grace his cheeks.
I chuckled. “You can’t drive home in your state, c’mon... I’ll do up the couch for you.”
“I can go home, but the fact is, I don’t want to go home.” I sucked in a sharp breath, nibbling on my lip as we walked inside. I wished Spencer wouldn’t say things like that, he didn’t want me, I was unlovable.
Washing our hands in the sink before collecting the extra linin from the cupboard, I still had not said a word out loud, however, in my head, I was talking an awful lot but could express none of it. If he could see inside my mind, he would have been able to see just how much I wanted him to rip off my clothes and fuck me to oblivion, though, I was glad Spencer couldn’t.
“Would you like some PJ bottoms?” I asked, averting his gaze.
“No, are you going to continue to shy away from me?”
“I’m- I...” Spence stepped forward, all rational and functional thought swept from me and I found it hard to swallow. I could feel his body heat radiating off of him.
“You looked beautiful tonight.”
“Don’t, you can’t say that.” I whimpered, trembling under his intensely blue sapphire coloured eyes.
Spence’s hand lifted and he tucked a loose strand of hair behind my ear, making sure to run his thumb along my burning red cheek, dipping his head forward as wisps of his breath fanned my startlingly parched lips. “Mum? Mummy?” Levi called as I jumped back, looking at Spencer apologetically at first, but then annoyed I had let my guard down again. Why the fuck was I so easy? Damn him.
Leivon had too much excitement and lollies and as a result, he had given himself a tummy ache. I didn’t go back out to Spencer, instead, I slipped into my room and closed the door. What was I meant to say anyway? Hey... I’m back, please toy with me some more? No, I knew his intention now, he wanted... well, I didn’t actually know what he wanted, I don’t think he even did, but it sure as hell wasn’t me, his actions and abrupt goodbye last Saturday with no contact all week, showed me that.
I crawled under the sheets, my aching limbs letting me know I was pushing my physical limits but as exhausted as my body was, my mind would not stop racing. The intimate touch from Spence had sparked something within me, call it lust, call it igniting passion but whatever it was, I was one hundred per cent addicted and this was not a good place to be in, for me, my mental sanity, or my heart.
I lay in bed, tossing and turning, because knowing the delicious deputy was out there, in our lounge, had fantasies swirling rapidly through my mind, worse than they had all week. I had never been so taken by a man before and after seeing the godlike structure that hid beneath the thin material of his shirt, had my crotch sopping wet and my thighs rubbing against one another in need for friction.
I heard the floorboards outside my door creak and I sat up on my elbows, eyes straining to see the door through the pitch-black darkness of my room, thinking Levi had gotten up. The knob twisted and the door opened, “Harper? Are you awake?” A loud husky baritone whisper called out.
“What the fuck are you doing Spencer?” I yell whispered back.
The floorboards creaked again under the heavy 6ft frame that entered, “I’m scared of the dark.”
I snorted. “You are not,” I left the tease in my tone, secretly my heart was flipping out of my chest.
“I am. It’s scary when it’s not your own house.” He came around to the other side of the bed, lifting the blankets and hopping in. “It’s also cold, just let me warm-up and then I’ll go back.”
I turned on my side to face him, “Spence, you can’t be in here. What if Levi wakes up and finds you? How am I meant to explain you being here? He may get his hopes up and think this is more than what it actually is.”
“I’ll tell him that I was scared of the dark too, plus I can’t sleep.” Spencer dropped his tone an octave lower, “I can’t sleep knowing you’re in here alone, and what do you mean... more than what this is?”
“Just... I don’t know... some kind of friendship.”
“You only want to be friends?”
I huffed in annoyance, I couldn’t play these games, won’t play these games. “So, you’re in here because you are scared and cold, oh and can’t sleep and didn’t want me to be alone? Yet you left last weekend faster than I’ve seen anyone and couldn’t call to clarify your hot and cold actions.”
“Exactly.” His face paled realising what I added to the end. “Wait... that’s not...”
“Forget it, Spencer, I get it. I do. Friends are good, friends don’t touch or kiss, and they sure as hell don’t say things to confuse the other and make them question themselves.”
I rolled onto my stomach, his left arm came out to hold me, pulling me close to his chest as his lips brushed lightly against my forehead. “I lied to you Harper,” I remained silent, carefully listening to his words, “I won’t be able to keep this a friendship, even if you told me now that’s all you wanted. All week I have contemplated over the way I left you last weekend and...”
I whimpered as my eyes glazed over, I didn’t want to hear it, I had not had a lot of practice at kissing and if that’s why he left so abruptly then I wouldn’t kiss anyone again. I was angry that I wanted him so bad and I couldn’t believe I was this weak, I couldn’t hold in my emotion anymore. “Please don’t... just... don’t.”
“No, you need to know Harper. Seeing Sheila brought up some...”
“Don’t Spencer, I have too much to risk and you’ve already hurt me. I’ve spent the past week over analysing the whole night, every touch, every move, that kiss... I will break, you need to play with someone stronger, someone who can fill your cup because it’s not me.”
“Play? You think that’s what I’m doing?”
“I don’t know what you want from me, I have nothing to give you, yet you say these things that confuse the shit out of me. I’m self-conscious now, afraid that I’ve somehow conjured up this unrealistic ideal of the way you see me. Do me a favour, don’t toy with me, just leave my bed and in the morning, if by some chance you’re still here, we can start over and be friends. Quit the compliments and the loving behaviour towards my son, this all just too hard for me to handle.”
“Harper, I know you’re scared, from what you said tonight, I guess you have not been given any reason to trust a man before, to trust me, but I promise I will be there, always, to catch you when you fall, support you...”
“You can’t promise me that, you proved that already.” I closed my eyes for a moment, trying hard to reel in my emotional outpour. “You know nothing about me, or my son, you kissed me, the most incredible kiss I had ever had and then you suddenly turned and left, without any explanation.”
“I know enough to know I want to be with you.”
“You ran away, it was just a kiss and you ran away from me. I won’t be some pawn you use to stroke your ego. It’s not just me, I come with a child, a child whose feelings I won’t risk.”
“Pawn, you think that’s why I left suddenly? I didn’t run away from you, Harper. Seeing Sheila again riled me, she was my girlfriend and I finished work early one day, headed over to her place as a surprise, knocking was never something I was ever worried about, so, when I walked in, I saw both her clothes and the clothes of a males thrown all around the room. When I opened the bedroom door, I found her and my best mate Justin in bed together. When I kissed you that image popped into my head and it kind of threw me, your lips weakened every inch of my heart and soul, and for a bit, I felt vulnerable. It was never you I was running from, it was myself. I spoke with my Dad about it in length, he pointed out that she had always had those flirtatious tendencies.
“Our job as Sheriff’s is to find the truth between what people say, body language, and actions. You display none of those insecurities of needing males attention, I guess I was worried, I panicked about making the wrong decision again, because yes, it’s not just you, it’s Leivon too, but Dad observed the way I reacted to you the moment I saw you and knew you would end up meaning more to me. I think you and I are both afraid to hurt again, to trust when our hearts have been so carelessly mistreated. I can promise you, you and Levi are safe with me, that I will always be there, no matter what, that my intentions were to never lead you on or mistreat you maliciously, because as confused as I was about my own feelings, the truth is, I couldn’t stop thinking about you, either of you, and I promise that kiss was just as incredible for me.”
I let Spencer’s words sink in. He had been hurt, just like me, I could understand his confusing departure now, but was I really willing to put my heart on the line and risk my world being flipped upside down and into chaos? Apparently, I was. “Then kiss me, Spencer, kiss me the way you should have done last weekend.”
“Gladly.” He shuffled closer as I turned to face him, I could feel his laboured breaths fanning my face as he tilted his lips to meet mine. The moment his soft flesh pressed against me, I almost died. We moved as one, it was like popping candy fizzling away at our connection. His tongue gently swiped across my top lip asking for entry and as I opened wider his tongue plunged into my mouth, softly caressing against mine, playfully stroking it causing me to surrender completely to the tantalising taste of sparkling champagne that swirled in his mouth, despite knowing that was not his choice of beverage tonight.
I lay on my back as his muscular frame covered my body, our hands roaming each other without restriction. I could feel his rather pronounced and hard shaft grinding into my throbbing mound as his tongue lapped along my throat. “Oh, Spencer,” I moaned.
His fingertips brushed down my thin spaghetti strapped, satin negligee, exposing my unused and rock hard nipples, the warm cavern of his mouth enclosed around my right nip and Spencer flicked the erect sensitive points with the tip of his tongue. A bolt of electric pleasure slithered down my body, heating my core more than before. I shuddered under his ministrations, inflicting my body with unbridled sensual passion.
Spencer made his way back up and captured my lips once again, claiming my entire mouth possessively. God, it all felt too incredible. My head was lost to the euphoric haze, the thought of being discovered though, wormed its way past the lust. “Stop... god, stop.”
Spencer pulled back, resting his forehead between my large bosoms, his thumb and index finger rolling my hard pebbled nipple in his fingertips where his mouth had once been. “I don’t want to stop but if I do carry on, things will escalate pretty quickly and I want you to trust me,” he panted, attempting to calm his racing body as I groaned, knowing full well it was the ‘responsible’ thing to do.
I held his head still against me, my heart pounded thunderously against my ribcage while I gently ran my fingertips along the back of his neck. “I’m sorry,” I whispered.
“You have nothing to be sorry for”.