Zephyr was married to Larry, a man she loved with all her heart, but when he was killed in a car accident over a year earlier, she was left with unresolved suspicions of infidelity.
Now life has run full circle, and when Brett runs into Zephyr at the local strawberry festival, their feelings of instant attraction are renewed.
Brett is bad news and has spent most of his life in and out of jail for violence.
He has been dreaming of Zephyr, and now that they are back together, he hopes with Zephyr in his life he can find the strength to control his temper and break the cycle of his past.
Things take an unexpected turn at an estate sale and, it seems as if Brett’s dreams are truly premonitions. He has hope for a brighter future with the woman he loves. But Zephyr has issues with trust, and although she wants to trust Brett, there is always a little voice in the back of her mind that questions his actions.
When the only man who can answer the haunting question of her husband’s affair is also the man who wants her dead, will this lack of trust be their downfall?
Zephyr sat at the picnic table watching as Tyler walked away. He was nice looking, despite the close-cropped skim of black hair on his head and lackluster dark brown eyes. His face was manly and handsome, and he did have a cute ass, but something was odd about him she couldn’t quite pinpoint.
They had been dating on and off for a few weeks, but the spark she was looking for always failed to ignite in her mind. She felt no excitement when she was with him, no sadness when he dropped her home at night. He was good company, and for the most part fun to be with, but the desire she longed to feel was not present. By all outward appearances, he was intelligent, sweet, and loving, but Zephyr had an undeniable sense he was hiding something. Each time she was with him, the inner sense she needed to end their relationship grew stronger.
“I miss you, Larry. Why did you have to die on me? We were supposed to greet old age together. Instead I’m going on dates with men to break up the routine of life,” she whispered aloud as was her habit.
A hand touched her shoulder and she turned to see who it was. The sight before her made Zephyr’s heart skip a beat. “Hi.”
His smile was filled with a timid hesitation she had once found adorable. “Hi, remember me? I saw you and had to come over and say hello.”
“Brett the brat. Yes, I remember you.” How could she forget him? In truth, she never had. He had come into the grocery store where she worked a few times and always made a point to come to her register, yet for months afterwards, she had seen his face in her mind. Zephyr would catch herself searching the faces of her customers, hoping to see him again. It was probably better that hadn’t happened, because she would never betray Larry’s trust in her.
Two years later, while walking her dog near her house, she had run into Brett again. Seeing him that single time had renewed her longing to be with him. Brett was so damned alluring.
“I thought I was Aragorn?”
The comment still held true. Brett did look like the movie character, except his longish hair was lighter, not quite blond but not really brown either. His hair was slightly shorter now, but she was struck again by the sultry steel blue of his alluring eyes as he gazed at her.
“The first time I met you, I said you looked like Aragorn. The second time I called my dog a brat and you said your name was Brett. Right?”
“You have a good memory. Can I sit down?”
Zephyr gestured to the empty chair at the head of the table and Brett pulled it out, turning it backwards to sit down. “Your husband’s not going to appear and kick my ass, is he?”
“No,” she replied in a low tone. “He died just over a year ago.” She couldn’t dwell on thoughts of Larry. His loss still hurt too much. “How’s the baby?”
Brett’s smile lost its brilliance. “I don’t know. My girlfriend got married, and I signed Brianna over to her. I wasn’t really a part of her life anyway.”
“When did you get out?”
“You knew I was in jail, huh?”
“I believe it was a week after the last time I saw you. You were on the front page of the local section. I remember staring at your picture, and all I could think of was wanting to ask you what the hell you were doing. What were you thinking? Didn’t it occur to you having a cloth over your license plate was a red flag?”
“I didn’t put the cloth there. Someone else did. I did the rest, though. I ran from the police, got into an accident, almost backed over a cop, and blew off my court dates. My license was suspended. It was a stupid act of desperation. Ann and I were fighting because we couldn’t pay the rent. I don’t know…” His voice faded out as he shrugged helplessly. “I don’t like it in jail, but I can’t seem to keep it together on the outside. I have a felony on my record, and that makes it impossible to get a good job. You wouldn’t understand.”
“You’d be surprised what I understand. I have a stepson who is just like you. Some people get away with shit all their lives and never get caught. Others have an invisible tattoo on their forehead that says I did something illegal today, go ahead and arrest me.”
Brett chuckled, his laughter warm and deep. “I’ll have to remember that. How do you get that tattoo removed?”
“No one else can do that for you. You have to decide you never want to go back to jail. Think about things before you do them. Forethought can be a difficult thing, but it’s something you need to do. You know what will get you arrested again. Don’t do those things.”
“That’s a nice theory. Now tell me how to pay the rent with a minimum wage job?”
She hoped Brett wasn’t like her stepson—that boy had more excuses for why he kept getting arrested. One of them was he couldn’t get a good job to support himself. When he did get a job, he usually got fired within a few weeks because he didn’t like to work. Larry grew tired of bailing his son out and finally put his foot down. They hadn’t seen Nick since. “Not all jobs are romantic or interesting, but they hand you a paycheck at the end of the week. If you have to, work two jobs. Earn a reputation as a good, reliable, honest worker and then go after something better. In the meantime, stay away from things you can’t afford.”
“Can I afford you?”