It's almost time to return to Cliffside Bay!
Keep reading for an excerpt from Jaded: Zane & Honor by Tess Thompson!!
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“Don’t ever apologize for who you are,” he said. “You’re special. Brody knows it. So do I.”
“I don’t feel special most of the time.”
“That doesn’t mean it isn’t true,” he said.
She couldn’t think of what to say. They drank from their wine glasses, the silence between them ripe with promise.
He thinks I’m special.
“Your dad was the first person who ever made me feel special. He was the first person who was ever kind to me for no reason. There was nothing in it for him to take me in like a wounded bird.” She’d been so scrawny after chemo and homely in her brown glasses. She rarely smiled back then, embarrassed by her crooked teeth. “Working for your dad allowed me to reinvent myself. Hugh loaned me the money to get braces and contacts. I paid him back by working extra shifts. I loved being around him, like a dog with the first person who fed them.” She smiled, remembering the day she’d gotten her braces off and had run into the restaurant to show Hugh. “I swore I’d never be invisible again.”
“You’re anything but invisible.” His throaty voice sent a spark of electricity from head to foot. She touched his neck with her fingertips, feeling the strength of his muscles. Did this man have a weak spot on his entire body? “Since I’ve come back to town, the stories of my dad’s kindnesses seem limitless.” Zane looked into his wine glass.
“What makes you sad about that?” she asked.
“I wish I could’ve told him how much I admired him. I’ve done that all my life—not told the people I love how I really feel until it’s too late.”
“Your dad knew,” she said.
“I want to believe that,” he said.
“He talked about you all the time.”
“I miss him,” Zane said.
“Me too.” She fanned her eyes, trying not to cry. “Even though he used to tease me without mercy over my crush on you.”
“You had a crush on me?”
“Only from the first time I ever saw you. I used to practically trip over my own feet every time you came in the room. You, on the other hand, were totally oblivious to me.”
“I’m not oblivious to you now,” he said. “I can’t do anything but notice you these days.”
“Really?” She looked down, pretending to examine her fingernails as warmth flushed her cheeks.
“Really.” He scooted closer. “Can I kiss you now?”
He grinned as he took her wine and set it next to his on the table. “Now I feel awkward. Maybe I should’ve just gone in without permission.”
“If you knew how much I wanted you to kiss me, you wouldn’t feel awkward.”
“You’re so pretty it hurts,” he said.
She couldn’t move as he drew closer, inhaling his scent. What should she do with her hands now that he no longer held them? They were lumps in her lap. Should she put her hands in his hair? The last time they’d kissed, she’d been tipsy and caught up in the moment. They’d attacked each other, ripping clothes off as they made their way to his bedroom. Tonight was different. They were too cautious, unwilling to startle the other with the wrong move. When he leaned down to kiss her, all thoughts of what to do about her hands vanished. He parted her mouth and kissed her gently, like an explorer with a rare and fragile find. She kissed him back and spread her fingers into the softness of his hair.
When they parted, he twirled a lock of her hair around his finger. “Maggie says you look like a hair commercial.”
“I pay a lot for it to look this way,” she said.
“It’s worth every penny.” He cocked his head to the side. “Maggie says I should ask you to go steady.”
She almost laughed, caught up in the joy of it all, but then she remembered. The point of asking him back to her home was to tell him the truth.
“What happened?” he asked. “I lost you.”
“I have something I need to tell you. I’ve not told anyone this. Most days I try not to think about it. I’m damaged goods. In more ways than one.”
Like most of her characters, Tess Thompson hails from a small town and will always feel like a small town girl, despite the fact she’s lived in Seattle for over twenty-five years. She loves music and dancing, books and bubble baths, cooking and wine, movies and snuggling. She cries at sappy commercials and thinks kissing in the rain should be done whenever possible. Although she tries to act like a lady, there may or may not have been a few times in the last several years when she’s gotten slightly carried away watching the Seattle Seahawks play, but that could also just be a nasty rumor.
She currently lives in a suburb of Seattle, Washington with her brand new husband, the hero of her own love story, and their Brady Bunch clan of two sons, two daughters and five cats, all of whom keep her too busy, often confused, but always amazed. Yes, that’s four kids and five cats. Pray for her.
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