Avery Knicely grew up with three older brothers who can’t see her as anything but the family’s baby. What she really wants and needs is twisted with doubts, but after the ways of her brothers, she’s positive she doesn’t need a man to hover over her.
Security specialist Bryson Welch’s controlling and manipulative twin sister reminds him on a daily basis why he joined the army and why he never should have returned home to endure the toxic relationships his sister and mother perpetuate. A blind date leads to a cold but eye-opening night in his vehicle and fulfills a Christmas wish for Bryson.
Will he be able to show Avery he can take care of her in the ways she really needs without overpowering her? Or will family come between the young lovers and lead Avery to question his true intentions?
This is a previously published work. It has been revised and edited for Evernight Publishing.
Had to admit, she was damn cute when she was all riled up. Her cheeks flushed with anger, and her breaths quickened, forcing her chest to heave in a way that made me remember why I had been glancing at her in the first place. I didn’t expect her to take off so suddenly, and I couldn’t shake the memory of how her eyes disclosed her disappointment.
The machine slowed. My thirty minutes were up.
Grabbing my towel, I wiped off before tagging my bag from the locker room to leave Triple R. I was almost to my Jeep when I noticed a red sedan with a license plate that read “RDRIBNZ”.
The redheaded young woman who had laced her way through my thoughts the last two nights was crying with her head leaning back against the headrest.
Nice job. Don’t know her name and I’ve upset her to the point of crying. Great.
I walked to the driver’s side door and tapped lightly on the glass. She jumped at the sudden intrusion. I gave a wave and small smile.
Her sad eyes held to mine. The color appeared darker filled with pools of reflective tears. Witnessing her hurt had disappointment in myself ratcheting up about ten thousand notches.
She rolled down the window and shivered at the rush of cold air.
“I’m really sorry if I upset you.” I squatted next to the window so we were face-to-face.
“I’m not crying because of you.”
“Oh. Well, I’m still sorry for upsetting you at the elliptical machines. Can I ask what’s wrong?”
She sniffled. “My youngest brother won’t make it back for Christmas. It was hard to hear. I’m sorry I accused you of looking at my phone.”
“Sorry to hear about your brother. To be honest, I did see the flash of texts but I wasn’t looking at your phone … technically.” I swallowed as my heart crashed through the pulse point in my throat. “I was looking at you.”
“Me?” The word created a mist of breath as it escaped from her crimson lips. Her gaze scanned my face as if memorizing every feature, and stopped at my eyes.
“Yes … you. But now that I’ve admitted to being a creeper you probably want to run me over with your car.”
She smiled and a rosy blush tinted her already flushed cheeks. “Not really. I was kind of, maybe a little, checking you out, too?”
“So we’re both kind of creepers?” I laughed. “Interesting.”
“I’m sorry for getting upset at you.”
“I’m sorry for inadvertently seeing your texts when really all I wanted to see was you.”