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No one knows how I blow off steam, and that’s how I like it. Most of the time, I’m happy just being part of a big family in a small town. And those times I need to get away are mine and mine alone.
My secret stays safe until I meet her – the woman who simultaneously pisses me off and turns me on. She seems like a wallflower at first, but it turns out there’s a lot more to her than I realized. Despite her hidden strength, she has a vulnerability I can’t resist.
As we open up to each other, I realize she’s starting to mean everything to me. She doesn’t feel the same way, but that won’t stop me from doing whatever it takes to keep her safe – even if it means exposing my secret to her. I’m in way over my head, and all I can hope is that someday, she’ll feel the same way about me.
I pressed my lips together, silencing my indignation. Mousy? Librarian? Who the hell did Mason Lockhart think he was?
If only I was the kind of woman who’d fly out from behind the corner I was hiding around and defend myself. Poke a finger against his chest and show him just how unmousy I was.
But I wasn’t that kind of woman. His words hurt because of the spark of truth they held. My cheeks were flaming with embarrassment as I managed to sneak into another room to hide from view so they wouldn’t see me. I’d die of shame if Reed and Mason saw me, or if they knew I’d accidentally overheard their conversation.
I’d been waiting to meet Mason and thank him for helping move my stuff in. Ivy and I got back early and I had headed down to my room to start unpacking. But I heard the brothers talking as they headed to my room and I didn’t want to interrupt so I managed to make myself scarce. But I still heard every word of their conversation. Fat lot of good that had done me. Now I knew Reed’s brother thought I was a frumpy, mousy bore.
But, seriously, did Mason Lockhart think people got dressed up for moving day? I’d just pulled a U-Haul truck from Seattle to Lovely, Missouri, stopping at motels on the way. Today I’d completed the last leg of the journey and judging by the dark skies it looked as if I arrived in the nick of time. I’d be willing to guess that snow was in the forecast. This morning, after I’d showered and looked through my stuff for my hair dryer and clean clothes, I hadn’t been able to find exactly what I wanted.
And that was why my long curly hair was wound into a bun and I was wearing a random, longish skirt. But the cardigan? That was totally on purpose because it was soft and warm. Mason Lockhart could piss off if he didn’t like it.
I’d seen him at Ivy and Reed’s summer wedding. The Lockhart brothers were pretty much impossible to miss. They were the quintessential tall, dark and handsome man – times five. Other than Reed, I didn’t know any them. Except, possibly, Mason. I doubted I’d ever forget his name now.
Brenda Rothert lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three sons. She was a daily print journalist for nine years, during which time she enjoyed writing a wide range of stories.
These days Brenda writes New Adult Romance in the Contemporary and Dystopian genres. She loves to hear from readers by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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