Fears. We all have them. Internal fears. Emotional. Physical. We all say we’re scared of this or that and it rarely is about anything that isn’t internal or emotional. We’re scared we’ll lose someone’s respect, or a job, or a lover, or a family member. Maybe what we’re really scared of is how we’re going to handle it and move on afterward…
Fear can keep us rooted to the spot, unable or unwilling to change, scared to fail and sometimes, scared to succeed. Fear can keep us isolated. It can move us to push those who care the most for us, away. It can be paralyzing.
Most of writing of fear in my books, if there is fear, is emotional. Fear of being hurt emotionally. Fear of making the same mistakes.
Rosie’s fear was that others would find out what she needed, what she wanted, and that those she cared for and loved would lose respect for her. With a strong man like Decker, she didn’t have to be scared though…
Instead, she headed to the kitchen for coffee. A cup would calm her and wake her up the right way. The hammering, the walking around on the roof, the noise in her normally quiet neck of the woods was not the right way. Not that she’d been sleeping that great as she’d confessed to Decker. Ever since he’d gotten to town, her sleep was screwed up. No man had ever had this affect on her, and she was getting pretty pissed about it.
She was the independent one, the one who was in control, the one who knew what she wanted and how to get it. What she didn’t want was a man disturbing every precious minute she should be using to sleep. She didn’t want a man disturbing every waking second she should be using for something constructive instead of mooning over tattoos, shaggy brown hair, deep chocolate eyes and him slapping her ass with every belt he owned just so she could feel each different sensation.
“Exactly how much coffee do you plan on drinking?”
Shit. She looked down at what she’d been doing, scoop in mid-pour with coffee grinds. The filter was nearly full and she’d lost count of scoops. When had he come in the house? “Haven’t you ever heard of knocking?”
“I did knock. Once. You didn’t hear me. You didn’t hear me clomp across the wood floor either to stand behind you.”
He was right again, damn him. “Once? Gee, give a girl some time to answer, why don’t you?”
“As deep into space as you were, I don’t think it would have mattered how many times I knocked.”
She ignored him and lifted the filter carefully from the basket in the coffeemaker and dumped the grinds back into the coffee canister. And then started over again counting out how many scoops she wanted. Was twelve ounces going to be enough?
“What are you doing in here?” In her line of work as owner/waitress at the diner, she had to be gracious all the time, courteous. In her own home, she didn’t have to be. He set her on edge and if he ever so much as touched her between her legs…
“Couldn’t keep my mind on the job.”
Dangerous. The man was dangerous to her peace of mind. “Try harder.”
“Oh there are things I wanna try harder at, but the roof isn’t one of them at the moment.”
She wasn’t gonna ask. Nope. She wasn’t gonna give him one more measly inch. She grinned to herself. Not when she wanted the six or seven inches in his jeans. “What’s it gonna take to get you to go back outside?”
“Nothin’. You’re just so sweet and cute and rumpled from being in bed. I wanted to see you again.”
Cute and rumpled? She chanced a quick sweep of her blue with gray polka-dot pajamas and bare feet with light blue polished toes. She knew her hair was a tangled mess without having to touch it or look at it and she could all but taste the morning breath she sported. Oh yeah, real cute.
Then there was the matter of her not having a bra on. Her nipples were straining against the soft cotton of the blue T-shirt and where she should have been mortified or embarrassed, she couldn’t find it inside herself to lie like that. She honestly didn’t care if he saw her without a bra or without clothes at all. Truth be told, she wanted him to see her naked. She wanted to see him naked. She wished she could make up her own damn mind instead of flip-flopping back and forth. “What if I’d gone back to bed?”
He waggled his eyebrows at her. “Then we’d be having this conversation between the sheets.”
Okay, well she walked right into that one. “Good thing I didn’t then. Those boots would have made a hell of a mess in my bed.”
“Oh I’d have kicked ’em off.”
Rosie shook her head. The man had a comeback for everything. “What do you want, Decker?”
“Yeah? Are you sure you want to discuss this now? I haven’t had much sleep, and I’ve not had my coffee yet either. I can’t be held responsible for what I might say.”
“I’ll take my chances.”
He crowded her against the edge of the counter and bracketed her in with his arms on either side of her hips. He was still hard and was pressed into her lower belly. Sweat glistened on his body and all she wanted to do was lick him.
“Fine. I’m pissed at you. You…” She poked him in the chest with her finger, ignoring the electric zing that flowed up her arm. “You fucking left last night. I couldn’t believe you left me standing there on the porch like that. You’d just found out something that no one else knows in this town knows except for my very best friend in the world, and you just left. What the hell was that about? I want you so goddamn much that I can’t goddamn sleep. I want you to go away. I want you to finish the roof and then go away.”
“Because you tempt me.”
“Nothing wrong with temptation, Rosie. I fully believe in giving in to temptation.”
“I do too, but not here in my hometown. You scare me, Decker.” With that statement she promptly bit her tongue. Then let it go. He asked and dammit, she wasn’t ashamed of her sexuality, her desires, her kinks and there was no reason for her to hide it from him or anyone else. It was time to be herself without the fear of censure. She didn’t have to go around, shouting it from the rooftops, but the man standing in front of her, crowding her in her own kitchen, well…she could tell him. But after coffee.
“What do you mean?”
That grin was back and it made her as hot as the black liquid dripping into the stainless carafe. “Chicken.”
Decker stepped back, and she could breathe again. But she felt the loss of his heat, his weight, his scent.
“Not chicken. Just… I need to be thinking more clearly and right now, my head is all fuzzy from lack of sleep.” And you being near, pressed against me, hard as a rock, smelling like the outdoors, sexy as sin…
“Okay, well, I’ll leave you to have your coffee. I just wanted to look at you again. You can spill it all tomorrow night.”
“Do you want a cup?”
“No. I want it all.”
He winked and walked away. Why did she have the feeling he wasn’t talking about coffee? And why was she so chickenshit when it came to opening up to him? It’s not like he was going to stick around for things to get serious or out of hand. For as much as she accused him of leaving her wanting, what the hell did she think she was doing?
Enjoy snippets from the following authors:
Megan Hart — Read in bed!
Have a great weekend!