Forever and Always<br/>

Author: Jan Abney
Publisher: Janet Abney
Published: 2011-10-27
ISBN(s) 978-1466482883
Category: Fiction
Audience: Adult
Genre(s): Romance, Contemporary, Romance & Friendship Read Excerpt >

Before she could look any further, the door behind her was being opened, moving her with it.  Taking a step away, she felt a hand clamp hard around her wrist.  It had come from behind the door where a head and body was joining it.  Evelyn froze, mostly from fear, but also from the strength of the hand that held her arm.

"Do you mind telling me what the hell you are doing in my house?"  He was now inches from her, towering over her.  Anger dripped from each word as if they had been freshly painted with it.  A silent figure stood before him, refusing to loook up.  His anger nearly reached rage at not being answered.  Not too gently he took her chin in his hand, forcing her to at least return his gaze.  No, he glared, she pleaded.  "Well?"  His deep voice boomed into the silence and she nearly jumped out of his grasp.

"I... You...  That is..."  Tears filled her eyes.  She wanted to look away from him, but his grasp on her chin was too strong.  She was so frightened.  This was the Jeromy Dana.  Kathy knew he was eligible, but did she know why?  Evelyn could tell her why within the first few seconds of meeting him face to face.  He'd scare every woman off his place before he got to know her, before she knew what he was like.

"Yes?"  He continued to glare at her.  "Don't play the scared little rabbit with me.  Why are you up here?  The first floor is opened to the public."  He continued to hold her with both hands, forcing her to stay.  "Snooping around where you don't belong.  Opening closed doors."  His anger remained at peak.  "I didn't want to open my home, but I let them talk me into it.  Damn, why can't you people stay where you belong?"

"I was downstairs."  That was a silly statement to make, she told herself, seeing that there was only one way to get to the second floor.  "There are so many people down there.  I'm too short to see over them.  They're so noisy.  I had to get away, and I couldn't get back to the front door."  Her words came out quickly, in a hushed voice, as if this were a place to be reverenced.  "I didn't even want to come, but they insisted.  Please let me go.  I'll go back downstairs.  I'll even leave your house."

He felt the race of her pulse as he held her wrist tightly.  Her breathing was so fast, he was afraid she would hyperventilate.  And the tears that coursed down her blush-red cheeks were from the fear she had of him.  She was a lovely young woman.  No makeuup, no fancy clothes.  Certainly not someone he wanted to frighten away.

"Why, you are just a scared little rabbit, aren't you?"  HIs voice had softened, had become deeper.  Letting go of her chin, he led her, having to use more force than he wanted now, toward the window to a settee.  "Sit down."  He coaxed her in his gentle voice.  "So, you're too short to see over the others?"  He sat facing her, their knees touching.

She looked up at him, the hardness was gone from his expression, he was even smiling at her.  This was a completely different side to mr. Jeromy Dana.  Handsome wasn't the word to describe this devil.  She was sure she hadn't seen the worst of him, but enough of it to last the rest of her life.  This view of his personality was more pleasant.  His eyes had become lighter in color, the dark gray she had seen in his anger was more blue in the filtered sunlight.  The laugh lines at their corners brought character to them.  He must spend an awful lot of time smiling, maybe even laughing, Evelyn thought.  There were many women in his life, that was apparent.  Anyone with the looks he had, his fabulous build, as much as she could see through the fears and tears, and his money...  He had to be fighting women off all around the world, if they could get past the first glimpse she had seen.

"I'm afraid being short has disadvantages."  She couldn't help but return his smile.  Her voice was still the soft, timid that it had been.  "I should have stayed home.  I have so much to do.  But my friends said this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and they wouldn't let me pass it up.  If I'd stopped to realize how many hundreds, maybe thousands of people I'd be fighting, I would have run the other way.  But I seem to be stuck here until they're ready to go."  The rambling was a sign of nervousness.

"You don't like crowds?  All the noise?"  Jeromy Dana watched the reddish-blond curls dance on her head as she shook it for an answer.  "Me either.  That's why I chose to remain up here."  His searching eyes made her lower hers, and again he had her chin in his hand, gently now.  "Let me look at your eyes.  I've never seen such a green.  They aren't those colored contacts, are they?"  He figured without makeup, she wouldn't change the color of her eyes, either.

Evelyn shook her head softly, her chin still in his hand.  She was calmer now, as if nothing had happened to upset her.  Her tears had dried up, and she found his touch very gentle as he wiped the wet streaks from her cheeks.  Her eyes closed as she felt the tenderness of his index fingertip tracing her lips.

"Your hair is beautiful.  Natural.  In fact, everything about you is natural.  I like that.  Very few women are nowadays.  Why not you, too?"  The more words he spoke, the softer his voice came.

"I'm just a country girl.  Never needed any of that stuff for the land and farm animals.  I guess I haven't lived in the city long enough to change."  Studying him, she wanted to remember his features.  His jaw was strong.  His cheekbones high, making her think he could have Indian ancestry.  His nose was nearly straight.  His eyes were laughing now, nothing of the anger they held a short time ago.  This was his natural state, she knew.  His lips, once taught in temper, were soft, like his voice.  The latter was easy to listen to, and she knew the former would be heaven on hers.

"Never change, little rabbit."  His words pulled her eyes quickly from his mouth to his eyes.  "Always stay natural."  Jeromy saw she was worrying at her lower lip.  "What's wrong?  Do I still frighten you?"

"No."  She paused, thinking about her answer.  "Yes."  Again she lowered her eyes, then her head.  He was wearing a white silk shirt, an evening jacket of dark brown covering it.  His trousers matching his jacket.  None of it hid his physique.

Jeromy, still holding her wrist, slipped his hold to her hand, curling her fingers as he closed his.  "Which?  No, I don't scare you, or yes, I frighten my little rabbit?"  He ran his other fingers down her jaw line to her chin, trying to lift her head again.  Because she resisted, he kept his fingers there, very still.

"I don't belong here.  I should be with my friends.  I know they're looking for me.  They'll be ready to head back to the mainland soon."  Yes she was frightened of him.  Not so much of him, as she was of the virility he seemed so naturally to use on women.  On me, she emphasized inwardly, as she didn't know about any others.

"I don't even know your name.  How can you expect me to let you just hop out of my life?"  He used a teasing tone.

"It's enough that I know who you are.  My friend told me about you.  If you don't mind, may I quote her?"  She had to look up at him for his nod.  "I don't suppose you need to hear it.  You've probably been told so many times."  She blushed, having decided not to repeat the words after all.

"No, please tell me.  What is it that women I've never met are saying about me?  I promise not to let it go to my head."  His smile was almost startling.

Forever and Always   by   Jan Abney   |   See Bio >

Fresh from the country, Evelyn secured a job in a sewing factory as the floor girl.  Making friends with a couple of women who worked there, they decided to invite this new friend to Friday garage sales.  She needed furniture for her house, left to her by an aunt.

But this particular Friday, they decided to do something different.  The new owner of an island had finished remolding the mansion, and it was opened to the public, but only today.  They couldn't miss this 'once in a lifetime' tour! 

Evelyn wasn't interested in touring someone else's house, but she was talked into going.  Being short had disadvantages, she found, as she tried to see over the droves of people looking at the beautiful house.  Feeling overwhelmed, she was pushed and shoved along, until she found a door that surely would take her away from the noise.  Finding a set of stairs that would take her to the second floor, she hoped to be able to see something of the place.

That's when she meets the owner.  He was the most sought after bachelor with loads of money.  After the first few minutes in his presence, she understood why he was not married.

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