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.More so, actually, because now her curves had filled out completely and she had a look that said she’d lived life and had an inner strength to deal with whatever it threw at her.And yet, as she moved toward him, he detected a hint of…un-certainty.“Hi,” she said softly as she drew to a stop right next to him.“Hey.What’s up?”She chewed the inside of her cheek briefly.“Zach’s plan is the best you’ll find.”“I have to make sure of that.”“How can you argue about a place where people want to raise their kids?”“I can argue anything with you.”She scowled at him, then glanced over her shoulder.She took a deep breath and put her hand on his bike.He eyed her, waiting for her to remove it.“I never pictured you on a motorcycle.”“You pictured me, though, huh?” He shot her a lopsided grin.That was all it took to get her to drop her hand.“I didn’t say that….” She crossed her arms.“Still just as cocky as ever, I see.”“That’s the way you always liked me.”“I never liked you.”“That’s not exactly how I remember it.”She swallowed and pierced him with those eyes.“Back to the land…Are you going to sell it to us, or are you just going to play games?”“You really think I’ll tell you my plans?”Fire flashed in her eyes.Here was a much more familiar Savannah than the one he’d seen so far.A thought occurred to him.“Is there something between Rundle and you?”Savannah laughed for the first time, and he was yanked back to the days they’d run in the same crowd.That laugh had always made him want to hear it over and over.“Me and Zach?” she said.“Seriously?”“You can’t expect me to believe you don’t have a man in your life.” Jake didn’t allow himself to consider why he wanted to know.“I don’t.And if I did, I can tell you with total certainty it wouldn’t be Zach.He’s my brother-in-law.”Jake felt the tightness ease out of his neck.“Seems your interests are pretty wrapped up in this company.Your livelihood, your brother-in-law’s, your sister’s…”“That’s why I’m standing here in the street, talking to you.”“Wouldn’t be caught dead with me otherwise, would you?” Anger from the past seeped into his voice.One of Savannah’s knuckles cracked and Jake remembered that had always been the telltale sign she was pissed, liable to tear someone’s head off.Getting a reaction from her satisfied some twisted part of him deep inside.“Hard to be caught dead or alive with someone who disappears for almost twelve years.”“If I recall correctly, I disappeared after you told me to get lost.”She hesitated then.“Are you saying you left because of me?”Jake couldn’t help chuckling as he shook his head.“Don’t flatter yourself, sweetheart.”He would never admit the impact her blowing him off had had on him.But it had only been one part of what had convinced him to leave.Savannah frowned, and he could swear her thoughts turned the air blue.But instead of letting loose as she once would have, she spun on her heel and stalked to the driver’s side of the van.Jake watched her retreat, wanting like crazy to hate her.The fact was, though, that after all these years she still got his blood pumping and his brain fantasizing.CHAPTER TWO“YOU HAVEN’T BEEN BY the hospital yet, have you?” Jake’s sister stood in the middle of their grandmother’s spare bedroom with her hands on her slender hips, her shirt riding up just enough to reveal some kind of flashy jewelry in her navel.Jake noticed the tattooed claw of a dragon wrapped around an Asian-looking flower at her hip and would’ve laughed if he hadn’t known she would tear into him for that, too.“You’ve got me here for a week,” Jake said.As he glanced from Emily to their maternal grandmother, who was perched on the antique armchair in the corner, he felt something inside himself softening.“Ten days, max.”“You’ve already been here for two full days.” Emily continued to stare at him, her green eyes somehow conveying both steel and affection.“Shouldn’t need half that long to do what you came to do.”Jake bent down and took an armload of books from one of the shelves, then carried the pile to the side table next to his grandma.Thinning out her bookshelves—stacked three books deep from the bottom—was yet another task Odessa had decided Jake should tackle while in town.“I came back for you, Em.Not for him.”“I told you I appreciate that, but a visit’s overdue.If you don’t do this now, it’ll be too late.”The tears in her eyes were like a physical blow.It wasn’t often his hard-shelled little sister cried.Her pleas over the phone had been the only thing that convinced him to return to Lone Oak, for the first time since he’d left.Jake faced his grandma and picked up the top book from the pile.“John Jakes.Heaven and Hell.This sounds like something I might be able to relate to.”“It’s part of a series,” Odessa Levine said, running her hand over her straight, grayish-white hair.“One you’d probably enjoy if you’d sit still long enough to read it.”“I’ll save it for my retirement.”“I’ll give it to the library,” she said, struggling to prevent the corners of her mouth from tipping upward any more at her grandson’s hopeless lack of interest in reading.“He’s dying, Jake.” Emily broke in [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]