The Forgotten Claim - The Claim: Book 1

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Chapter 15 - Olivia (Part 1)

Olivia parked her car outside her mother’s house and sat there. With her hands on the steering wheel, she stared out the front window as her memories replayed themselves in her mind at the cafe.

Cameron was right. She was letting her fear rule her.

Like he said, how many times did he have to tell her of his intentions? How much more proof did she need before she believed him?

“I just need time,” she had mumbled.

Clearly, she was still upset about everything that happened five years ago. Why couldn’t she let it go? Why was it so hard to give him a chance? Why did a part of her ache for him? Not only in a sexual sense, but in general. The more she held herself back, the more her body groaned, bemoaning her restraint every time he was near.

They finished eating their food and sipped their tea in relative silence.

She didn’t know what else to say as uncertainty gnawed away at her.

A part of her wanted to give him a chance. She wanted desperately to go back to that day five years ago. To be that carefree girl again without responsibility, pain, and regret.

“I know you don’t remember who I was five years ago,” she had whispered over her third cup of tea. “I wasn’t like this back then and I can’t go back to being that person again. Things are different. Everything is harder now. More complex. I have to put Chloe’s needs before my own. She needs me.”

“I know,” he replied. “And she needs me too. It’s not like we have to rush into anything. We can take things slow, meet over dinner or have coffee after your open houses on weekends and talk on the phone during the week after you put Chloe to bed. We can take our time getting to know each other. Would that work?”

She chewed on her bottom lip before nodding. Why was she always hesitating? Even when they had enough tea and called for the bills, there was still a nervous tension in the air. Or maybe it was all her?

When they left the restaurant, he clasped her hand and pulled her aside.

She stared up at him, her heart hammering against her ribs as he joined both of her hands and held them together against his heart.

“Don’t be scared. Be brave,” he whispered. “For Chloe.”

She nodded, forcing herself to look up and meet his gaze. Those unique cognac-colored eyes gazed back at her, crinkling in the corners as a warm smile spread across his face.

He reached up to stroke her cheek. “Can I see you after your open house tomorrow?”

“I only have one showing.”

“Can we meet for coffee then?”

She hesitated again.

“Please? I need to see you again.”

“Okay.”

The gap between them had closed and only a foot remained. His eyes looked down at her lips. She could see his desire as his Adam’s apple struggled to bob up and down in his throat.

She could have turned away. He was holding back, giving her a chance to refuse. She realized that, despite everything she had been through, she still ached to feel that fire burn to life within her when she was with him five years ago.

But fires sometimes burned out of control.

“Can I kiss you?” His voice was raspy, twisting knots in her stomach.

The first time he kissed her was the beginning of it all. The moment she could no longer deny the unexplainable attraction she felt toward him. Lost as soon as her lips touched his. Transported to another world where it was just the two of them and the magic that surrounded them.

She should say no. She knew she should. Instead, she uttered, “Yes.” A breathy whisper from lungs that struggled to get enough air due to his closeness.

The fire within her burst to life as he bent down to place a kiss on her lips.

And as quickly as he had come, he pulled back. A vein throbbed in his neck as he hung his head, bid her goodbye, and walked away with his hands clenched into fists at his side.

She stood there reeling. Her thoughts whirled. Her lips and toes tingled. Her body craved for more than a chaste peck.

She wanted more.

He always had that effect on her. That was how she wound up in his bed that night merely hours after meeting him five years ago.

Even then, she still craved more after he was long gone. That was the part that hurt and scared her the most. After crying herself to sleep many nights, she still agonized for something she couldn’t have.

Why was she scared of it now? She could have it all back. Throw herself at him and let him erase all the pain and heartache in a single night knowing that she’d wake up to find him lying there beside her. And every night thereafter, he said.

As she stared out the front windshield of her car, she still couldn’t stop thinking about kissing him. Of pushing herself flush against him. Of his hands groping her ass and grinding his hard-on against her.

In some sick and twisted way, she still desired him.

Chiding herself, she took a few deep breaths before climbing out of the car and entering her mother’s house.

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