Yes! It’s Snippet Saturday again. (I’ve not had any scenes that fell into their suggested categories for a while now.) But this week’s theme is Lost Loves. So I’m going to give you a sneak peak into an unedited excerpt from my upcoming release from Carina Press, Texas Tangle. Meet Brett, Dillon, and Nikki …
Brett Anderson switched off the strobe lights and parked his squad car beside the others. Three other units parked in front of Nikki’s, their lights still flashing, highlighted the trim figure striding back and forth across the lawn her arms wrapped about herself. Where the hell was Dillon and why had he left Nikki alone?
He got out of the car and headed straight for her, ignoring the house for the moment. When he’d recognized the address blasted over the police radio, it had been all he could do not to abandon the accident site out on the highway and head straight here. At least Tiny had been the first responder on scene and had kept him in the loop. “Hey, Nik.”
Nikki’s head snapped up. “Brett!”
She launched herself at him, wrapping her arms about his waist. The fear that had caught him since he’d first heard the call relaxed as he closed his arms around her. “You okay, sweetie?”
“Yeah, it’s just …” She buried her face against his neck, her chest heaving as she struggled to maintain control. If he knew her, it wasn’t an effort to hold back tears but to contain her anger. “Everything I’ve got is gone.”
“I know, Nik. But it’s just things. At least you’re safe.” Tucking her head under his chin, he stroked her back, enjoying the feel of her in his arms. Despite the number of visits he’d made to her place over the years, only in his fantasies had he been able to hold her like this again.
They stood wrapped together for a few minutes, her breathing gradually calming down, her body softening against his. Brett memorized how she fit perfectly against him, then took the time to notice the tinier details like how her braid was probably the width of his wrist, and how it dangled to the small of her back. He fantasized about removing the elastic holding it in place and running his fingers through her hair, freeing it from its bindings. What would it be like to lie beneath her, to feel her hair cascade over his chest?
When she tilted her head back to look at him, he imagined kissing her like he had back in high school.
Not now. Not yet. She’s been victimized. If you make your move now, you’ll never know if she’s turned to you because of you represent safety or if she’s hot for you.
“Tiny thinks Phil took everything.”
“I heard.” When he’d heard Tiny broadcast the B.O.L.O. on Phil, the tow truck drivers had saluted the curse he’d uttered.
“I don’t understand …” She shook her head in confusion and looked toward the house.
Goddamn that lazy bastard. How they could be related was beyond his imagination. Then again of all people, he knew how genes didn’t carry the best—or the worst—traits between family members. Thank God for small mercies. “Honey, there were no marks on the lock to show someone had broken in. There were no broken windows—”
“No,” she interrupted. “I understand why they think it was him, but what I don’t get is how he could have done this to me, his own sister. I took him in instead of making him live in a halfway house or somewhere with strangers. There must be some other explanation, he must have …”
He cupped her cheek until she looked at him. “It’s not about you. To Phil, it’s about satisfying himself no matter who he hurts.”
She leaned her cheek into his palm, her eyes closing. “What would I do without friends like you?”
Friends? Yeah, he’d tried to stay her friend. When he’d come back from college, it had hurt to see her in town with her husband, to be reminded of what he’d lost. A couple months after he’d joined the Barnett County police and he’d discovered her husband receiving a blow job from town slut Patsy Schrader in the grocery store parking lot, it had just about killed him not to warn her. Or the next time when he’d caught them flagrante delicto in the back seat of Patsy’s van. Or the next.
When she’d finally kicked the sorry bastard out the year before, he figured he’d have another chance. But every time he’d checked on her since, she’d been oblivious to why he was visiting. Instead she’d announced she was determined to make it on her own and spurned all his help.
But maybe now … maybe they could pick up where they’d left off ten years before. He moved a half step closer and she didn’t step away. Instead she continued to look up at him, her lips slightly parted. Inviting him to kiss her. He bent his head until the brim of his hat brushed the top of her head.
A throat cleared on the porch. “Hey, Anderson, you get that accident scene cleared up?”
Stifling a sigh, Brett pulled back. On the porch, Tiny rocked on his heels, one eyebrow raised. Shit. There went the professional rating on his next review. Then he saw Dillon standing in the shadows, arms folded across his chest. Shitfuck.
When Dillon stepped into the light, he couldn’t miss his friend’s narrowed eyes. Nor could he miss the heat in them when they turned on Nikki. Shitfuckdamn.
You’ve been down this road before. Remember that fiasco? It’s Dillon’s chance with Nikki this time. Not that either of them had ended up with her back in high school, but he wasn’t prepared to lose Dillon or the Barnetts. Not again.
He dropped his arms from Nikki, and stepped back. “Hey, Dill. Nik, I gotta go help Tiny here. I’ll talk to you later, okay?”
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