From the Author
"Jeff." Alicia moved closer and lowered her voice. "My mom is a really difficult person. I feel bad that you're in the middle of this."
Jeff placed his hands on her shoulders. "I want to help your mom. I want to help you. You're just going to have to live with that."
Alicia exhaled. He was really close, and she strangely felt like either kissing him or crying. So she should probably go back into the house before she did either. "I don't know if I can ever thank you."
"I'm not looking for thanks," he said. Then he leaned down and kissed her cheek.
Alicia was so startled, she didn't move for a moment. Before she could come up with any sort of response, he said, "See you tomorrow. Call me when you get the police report, and we can conference Dawson in. It would be good to have a strategy before he calls your mom."
He moved away, and Alicia nodded numbly. She remained on the porch as she watched him climb into his SUV and drive away. She might have waved goodbye, or she might have just stared at him blankly. She wasn't entirely sure.
By the time she went back inside, her mom was curled up on the couch under a pile of dusty afghans, sound asleep. Alicia locked the front door and turned off a couple of lights, leaving the living room one on for her mom. Then she changed from her hostess dress and climbed into her bed.
When she closed her eyes, she saw Jeff's blue eyes watching her. She saw him leaning toward her. She felt his lips on her cheek.
No, she told herself. He's just being a friend.Nothing more. But her heart wasn't listening to her brain. Her heart was imagining what it might be like to kiss Jeff. To be pulled into his arms, and to have his lips on hers . . .