Hmmm. Author’s Choice. That would be that one…no. This one…no. Dang it. Decisions, decisions.
How about this one…
Bad idea, very bad idea, he told himself. Friends, remember? Just friends.
“Yeah, and as a friend, I can go out there and see how she is doing, right? I mean, after the weekend she had, what could it hurt?” he muttered to himself.
Trying to talking himself out of that idea, trying to cool the need, the fire in his gut, he decided to stop by the store. His last grocery store run, he’d been distracted—and without a list. Today, he was still distracted, and still without a list, but one thing he’d realized he needed was deodorant so he made himself stop before leaving town.
He made it halfway through the store, congratulated himself for not thinking about Lena. But as he stopped in the microscopic health and beauty section—crap, why did they put men’s deodorant in the beauty section—he found himself in front of the display of condoms.
Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit.
He did not need condoms for a friendly relationship.
Once more, his focus was right back on her, and this time it had nothing to do with the strange mystery of the screams and everything to do with the shape of her mouth, the round curve of her ass, and the weird way he found his heart skipping when she stood close. The way he smiled when she laughed, and the way his chest ached when he saw that sad look on her face.
It was almost like the way he felt when he’d first started dating Stacy Traynor back in high school—first major crush—that hot, fiery burn of young love.
But the deal with Lena? It was worse. Way worse.
Shifting his weight away from his stiffening right leg, he grabbed a box of Trojans and threw them in his handheld basket before stalking out of the aisle. Fine. So what? He’d bought a box of condoms—he was being practical. Nothing else.
Except he was having a hard time thinking about practical when it came to thinking about sex and Lena at the same time. It gave him the weird sensation of burning his brain cells—causing little microscopic implosions—he could almost hear the neurons going up, one by one.
In self-defense, he started thinking about something else—and the best way to distract himself was to focus on the puzzle. The screams.
“Not likely a car wreck. Pretty much out of the question,” he muttered.
There would have been records at one of the local hospitals, a vehicle, even just the sign of an accident, something.
They could mark that off.
Missing person? Somebody had been kidnapped, maybe escaped only to be recaptured by her abducter?
Problem with that line of thinking, in a town the size of Ash, if a person disappeared, people would notice and he figured the sheriff would have mentioned it if somebody had fit that bill.
“Could be somebody not from around here, though…”
Stopping in his tracks, he winced. That creaky voice was familiar. Normally, he would have welcomed it, but he really, really wasn’t in the mood for the thirty minute distraction that was Lucy Walbash.
Miss Lucy had been his grandmother’s best friend and Ezra had known her for as long as he could remember. When he’d come back home to for his grandmother’s funeral, Miss Lucy had sat in the front row for the funeral, right next to him, and she’d held him hand, patted his hand as he tried not to cry.
When he hadn’t been able to fight it anymore, she’d whispered, “She was a fine woman, you know. Would be a shame if you couldn’t shed a few tears for her, I think.”
She was, without a doubt, one of his favorite people in the world, and probably his favorite person in Ash…with the possible exception of Lena.
But he really didn’t want to talk to her just yet—especially not with the box of Trojans sitting right there in his basket.
You’re a grown man. Thirty-six years old. The fact that she used to teach the Sunday school classes when you went to church with Gran doesn’t change the fact that you’re a grown man, he told himself.
Other authors to check out…
Mandy M Roth