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What follows is the last chapter of COVET. I took these eighteen manuscript pages out after my editor and I decided that I’d kind of ended the book twice. There was also an Epilogue, but that material I’m rolling into the beginning of CRAVE which is Book II in the Fallen Angels. Endings are always tricky for me- there are a couple of books I’ve ended too fast (LOVER UNBOUND, for example,) and I think because this is the start of a series, I wanted to do extra justice to the hero and heroine. Trouble was, these scenes, while great, killed the urgency of Jim starting on his quest so they had to go.

I really love Vin and Gretchen together- I think they had a great love story and seeing them here after the dust settles is wonderful. I hope you enjoy!

WARNING! If you are not into spoilers, and you have not read COVET yet, DO NOT READ ON.

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MAJOR SPOILERS!!
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Chapter Forty-four

It took Vin almost a week before he could get back to St. Francis to sign the official release forms for Jim’s body. The aftereffects of the gunshot had lingered, the crippling pain hanging on for days, but there was also a strange lethargy that he had a feeling was tied to getting Devina out of him. He’d turned the corner the day before, though, and slept for a good twenty-four hours straight. When he woke up, he was ready to deal with life again.

He’d spent the whole time on Gretchen’s couch.

It had been the perfect place to get better. During the first couple of days, he’d checked in with her constantly about how Robbie was with him around, and she’d watched the boy carefully as well. But it was all good. Robbie didn’t seem to mind Vin’s presence in the slightest, and it had taken shockingly little time to grow used to the rhythms of that house—to the way Gretchen got up at seven and made coffee before waking the little man. . . to the quiet lessons that were conducted in the kitchen. . . to the daily trip to the YMCA for Robbie’s sports. . . to dinnertime and TV, which came just as night was falling.

Vin loved being with them both. Loved fielding the kid’s questions about cars and houses and baseball. Loved watching Gretchen with the boy. Loved the stability, the rock-solid grounding that came with being a family.

He also just plain loved seeing Gretchen every day. Anything she did, anywhere she went, his eyes were on her. . . especially if there were something sensual in what she was doing—which happened oh, about every second and a half. He loved watching her bend down to re-tuck the blanket around his feet. . . loved it when she folded laundry as she sat in the wing chair by the window. . . loved it when she leaned in to give him his dinner plate. And it wasn’t all visual. He tried to always take a shower right after she did and use the towel she’d run over her naked body. . . He sneaked kisses whenever he could. . . He nuzzled her palm and stroked her arm and. . .

He couldn’t wait to be with her again, but it was going to be a while. Her rental was too small for any hanky-panky, given that neither of them was willing to risk even a chance of the boy walking in on something. When they got to the farmhouse, though, and Vin was up in that private maid’s quarters that had a lockable door. . . it was so on.

And given the way things were building up with every glance, every “casual” touch, things were going to be explosive.

He could. Not. Wait.

God, Gretchen had been his savior in so many ways. During his recovery, she’d changed his bandages and fed him and bought him sweats from Target so he didn’t have to go back to his duplex. She’d plumped his pillows and rubbed his neck when it got stiff and washed his blankets. She’d even turfed his business calls, being a buffer no one, not even the baby-faced shark Tom, could get through.

The DiPietro Group pretty much ground to a halt without him, and the time he’d spent on that couch had clarified his plans for the business. He was closing it, getting out, extracting his assets from all the land and housing projects he was a part of—including the place at the bluff. He hadn’t told Tom it was game-over yet, but that was on today’s list as well.

Way Vin figured it, he was going to get out with close to fifty million dollars—more than enough cash to keep himself and his descendants comfortable for generations—as well as do some pro bono building for people who needed housing on the cheap.

Time to give back. Big-time.

Holy shit. Descendants. . . He couldn’t believe he was thinking like that, but yeah, he wanted to take care of Gretchen and the boy and. . . any other children who might come along.

As the St. Francis complex came into view, he squinted up at the noonday sun. His sunglasses were in his M6 and in his Land Rover, but the former—which he couldn’t have driven anyway because it was a stick—was still at his parents’ house, and the latter was at the duplex.

Both places he wasn’t in a big hurry to get back to.

Which meant he was cruising behind the wheel of Gretchen’s Camry and totally cranked off. The beater was a goddamn death trap, and every time he thought of her and Robbie in it, he got heart failure: The brakes were spongy to the point of malfunction, the engine was unreliable, and anytime you got the wheezing s-box over forty miles an hour, it rattled like a paint mixer.

She needed a new car. Badly.

As Vin drove under the inpatient building’s porte cochere to get into the parking lot, he passed by the crowd gathered at the front of the hospital and realized that none of them were looking at him. Now that he wasn’t in a flashy, expensive car, he was just another anonymous driver going about his business.

He didn’t mind in the slightest.

And when he parked next to a Mercedes that was about to pull out of its spot, the driver gave him the evil eye—like the guy was convinced Vin was going to swing his door wide on purpose and crack the AMG’s silver paint job. In the Land Rover or the M6 that never would have happened—usually luxury-car drivers were relieved to see him pulling in because he had as much to lose as they did.

Vin was smiling as he walked away from the Camry. Things had changed, hadn’t they, and he couldn’t say it was a bad thing.

The building he went into was the same one he’d visited Jim in before the dominoes of both of their lives had started falling at a lightning clip, and he went up to the information desk with a bizarre feeling of déjà vu. The elderly lady on duty, who was a total love, directed him into the basement, to the morgue’s reception office.

Riding down in the huge elevator by himself, he moved his sling out of the way and checked his watch. Good. Plenty of time to make his appointment in the coffee shop, even if the whole paperwork-filling-out thing took a while.

It didn’t.

No more than ten minutes later, he was going back up to ground level. Before they would release the body to him, the full waiting period after the notices that had gone into the papers had to pass—which was fine. They couldn’t bury anyone until the frost level went down, and Vin had to get the plot at Pine Grove and the coffin arranged for.

Jim’s death remained painful, and Vin had taken to dreaming about the guy, imagining him standing by a castle with a young woman by his side. They seemed happy and that was a relief, even though he didn’t take it to mean anything more than his subconscious needing to see the man hooked up and happy. Hopefully there was an afterlife worth spending eternity in and Jim and the woman were there, but who knew. More likely it was just Vin’s sadness and guilt talking.

The St. Francis coffee shop was actually a Starbucks, and considering he’d imagined some kind of cafeteria with either sludge or dirty water in its mugs, he was psyched. Inside, the place smelled like java and chocolate and there were plenty of cushy wing chairs to sit in, one of which had his date already in it.

Detective de la Cruz was taking a load off in the far corner, his back to the wall, his eyes focused on the entryway. As he went to place his order, Vin waved and the guy lifted a palm in greeting.

The scones looked good, so Vin got one along with his espresso and he carried the real plate and the thick paper mug over to de la Cruz.

“You’re an espresso man,” the guy said as Vin sat down. “Me, too.”

“I like coffee with a personality. Lattes are weak even when they’re made here.”

“Couldn’t agree more. How’s the shoulder?”

“Better. I keep the sling on to remind myself not to use it.” Vin broke off a corner of the scone and gave it a go. The thing was perfect, light and dry. “You like scones, Detective? This one’s fantastic.”

“More of a doughnut guy, actually. Comes with the badge.” The two laughed a little. “Why don’t we start with your ex-girlfriend.”

“Might as well. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover.”

“She’s disappeared.”

Vin stopped in mid-chew. “Disappeared as in how?”

“We can’t find her. Not at the address she gave us—which is totally emptied out, by the way. Not on the cell phone number she left. Not at her modeling agency—which hasn’t seen her either. She failed to show up for her appointment with the DA, and the primary-care physician she gave when she was admitted to this hospital has no record of her ever being at his practice.”

As he took a sip of his espresso, Vin remembered Eddie saying that once Devina disappeared all of the effects of her would be wiped clean. And what do you know, the guy had been right.

“Where does that leave the charges against me?”

“Between you and me? Right now, I think the DA’s dead in the water on them. Without her, there’s circumstantial evidence at best, just the video from the elevator that shows you going in and out around that time. Probative value of that is next to nil, especially given that the blood we found in the apartment was of a different type than that listed on your medical records here. So it can’t be yours.”

“I didn’t do that shit to her, Detective.”

“I’m beginning to believe that.” De la Cruz took a drink and wiped his mouth with a paper napkin. “As for the man you killed last Sunday, Eugene Locke . . . I did manage to tie him to the attacks downtown. Belthower, the guy in a coma, came out of it and made a positive ID on that disguise—and the blood on the hair fibers was his.”

“I’m really glad he survived.”

“Me, too. He was released a couple of days ago. Nice-looking blond woman came to pick him up and take him home. They were cute together.”

“I’ll pass that along to Gretchen. She was feeling really bad that he was hurt.” Vin finished his scone and washed the last of it down with the tail end of his espresso. “Listen, she and I are thinking about going to stay at a property of mine in Connecticut. That okay? Or is there a problem because it’s over state lines?”

“I’ll talk to the DA. More than likely, he’ll have you register yourself with both the local and state police and require you to be readily available. But like I said, the case against you concerning Devina is looking weaker as opposed to stronger, and that works in your favor. As for the other incident with Locke, the DA hasn’t signed off on it officially, but it was a clear case of justifiable homicide—and both the registration for that gun and your license to carry checked out.”

“Good. If you need anything from me, you have my cell and I’ll make sure you have the Connecticut addy, too.”

“So, you pulling out of town completely?”

“Out of everything, Detective. And I’m not going to miss Caldwell. Me and Gretchen are looking forward to settling down somewhere else.”

“Well, if you’ve got your family, you have everything you need.”

“From your mouth to God’s ears, Detective. We done?”

“For now, yup.”

Vin and de la Cruz shook hands and went their separate ways. On his way out through the lobby, Vin stopped by the nice old lady at the information station, and thanked her for sending him to the right place—

“You were right.”

Vin turned toward the voice and got a jolt all the way through his body. It was the man from when he’d first come to the hospital to see how Jim was. . . the balding one who’d had the gray shadow around his chest. He was with the same guy as before and he looked much older, centuries older.

“It is in my lungs,” he said, brushing the front of his red Orvis jacket. “It’s in. . . my lungs.”

As he choked up, the one with him stepped in. “But they think they’ll be able to get it out, and with treatment—”

“How did you know?” the patient said, grabbing onto Vin’s good arm. “How?”

Vin took a deep breath. “I’m so sorry.”

“Can you tell me. . . what’s going to happen?”

The man standing beside him started shaking his head. “I don’t think that’s a question to ask.”

Vin was so on board with that. “Yeah, I’m not sure that’s—”

“Please.”

Vin met the exhausted, terrified eyes of the guy, and thought, Well, shit, he knew that tight crack, the one you got in when your world was all but nuked and the only question you had was how long the fallout was going to last.

“I can’t promise you anything.”

“Good or bad, I just need to— No, John, stay out of it.” The man patted his friend into silence. “He knew before anyone did, and if it hadn’t been for him, I would never have gotten scanned. So maybe he can tell us. . . me. . .”

Vin could understand the logic, but he wasn’t sure he could deliver. For one thing he wasn’t seeing the shadow anymore—although that could just be because he wasn’t in a receptive kind of way. Or it could be because with Devina gone he was now just a normal Joe with none of those paranormal bells and whistles.

“Please,” the patient said. “Help me. . .”

It had been years since Vin had tried his other gift, years since he’d rubbed his hands in a circle and focused on a person in that special way. . . years since he’d foretold anything. But God. . . in a moment like this, he actually hoped he still had the power—provided he saw something that was good news.

When he reached out, the man and his friend went stock-still, and as contact was made, none of the three of them moved.

Vin closed his eyes. . . and. . .

Got nothing but the feel of that Orvis jacket. It was some kind of brushed cotton, smooth and chilled from the outdoor air, and underneath, the man’s arm was trembling.

Long moments passed, during which the footfalls of other people passing through the lobby seemed as loud as drums.

“I’m sorry, I’m not—” And then there it was. The sight of the man. . .

Vin smiled and released his hold. “I see you on a beach at night. . . looking up at Halley’s Comet. Which is due back here in another fifty years or so. I don’t know what’s going to happen, or how hard it’s going to be, but you’re around at least that long— Oh and you”—he nodded to the other guy—“were with him. FYI, the two of you looked to be about a hundred and eighteen years old—I think there was a walker in the background.”

Vin got pretty much tackled by the two of them, hugged so hard that his shoulder let out a FUCKIN’-A! and he had to step back.

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” the patient said. “Your shoulder.”

“Nah, I’ll be fine.” Vin waited for the pain to ease off, bracing himself against the information desk with his good arm.

“Thank you,” the guy whispered. “You’ve given me hope.”

As tears trembled on the surface of those eyes, Vin clapped him on the shoulder. “You take care, okay. And listen, I’ve never been wrong before. Not saying you’re going to have a party this next year. . . but you can do this.”

Before things got huggy again, Vin waved and took off. He’d never handled gratitude well, and wasn’t going to start now—especially given that both of them were looking at him like he’d just tossed a lifesaver over the bow of the boat they’d fallen out of. But he was happy he could relieve some of the pain and stress.

It was the kind of satisfaction that went deeper than the rush he used to feel making money.

It was. . . good.

Out in the parking lot, he got behind the wheel of the Camry and cranked the key once, twice. . . three times. . . Nothing.

And again with the key. Eventually, the engine heaved over, and as he headed out of the parking lot, he saw the two men standing just outside of the porte cochere as if they’d wanted to make sure he made it to his car okay. They were looking as if they wished there were something they could do for him. They already had, though.

He gave them a final wave, and as he left the hospital, he thought back on all the shitty things he’d done in business. Considering how ruthless he’d been, he kind of expected some sort of divine retribution or whammy from the universe, where all the semi-legal, lying, underhanded crap he’d pulled in the past twenty years came back and bit him on the ass. Maybe it was still coming. . . or maybe he’d just have to live for the rest of his life with those burdens on his conscience.

Which was not a scot-free kind of thing. He had regrets now, and not all of them were about business—he’d been thinking about his parents a lot, too. He was sorry they’d died the way they had, and hated the idea that his shit with Devina had been the reason for it. They’d been horrible to him, but they were the only reason he took up space on the planet.

Another thing he was going to have deal with for the rest of his days.

It wasn’t all depressive shit for him, though. Doing something good for that pair back at the hospital had felt great, and he could do more of that kind of thing. A lot more.

On that note, Vin made one stop before going back to Gretchen’s, and it wasn’t the duplex. He’d meant to go over to the Commodore and get some of his clothes, but he couldn’t imagine wearing any of those threads. They’d belonged to someone else. . . someone he didn’t want to know anymore. Nope, he was just going to keep chilling in his new wardrobe from Target—eventually he’d pick up some casual threads, but he had other priorities before what was in his closet.

Like hitting the Lowell & Son’s Volvo dealership.

Vin drove the Camry right up in front of the showroom, and he didn’t bother to lock the POS after he got out. Considering the condition the thing was in, you could have left it downtown with a sign that said, Take me, please, and the fucker would still be there a week later.

As he went inside and walked around the super-shiny station wagons and sedans, the young salesman who finally approached him had the expression of someone who’d gotten the short end of the walk-in-customer stick.

“Hi, name’s Rickie Peterson.” He stuck his hand out and popped a polite smile onto his puss. “You looking for anything in particular?”

Vin did a quick shake. “Four-wheel-drive station wagon is what I’m after.”

Rickie cleared his throat. “Well, that would be our Cross Country over here.” He walked over to an iron gray tank with darkened windows in the back and enough undercarriage clearance to garage the M6. “This particular model is really done up. It’s got the cold-weather package, which includes heated leather seats and hot water headlight wash. It’s got premium sound, moon-roof—”

“Is it safe?”

“It’s a Volvo.” As if this explained everything. “It’s the safest thing on the road.”

Vin leaned in and got a look at the sticker on the window. The list of add-ons went on for a good six inches of little writing. “Are there any options it doesn’t have?”

Rickie Peterson didn’t answer: He wasn’t focused on Vin, but rather staring over Vin’s shoulder as a matched set of attorneys came in talking on their cell phones.

“Hello?” Vin waved a palm in the sales guy’s field of vision.

“I’m sorry, what?” Rickie got back with the program. “Listen, maybe you’d like to look at our V70 range? They’re great cars and not as expensive—”

“I’ll take this one.”

Rickie’s eyebrows did the Safety Dance, up, down, up. “Ah . . . okay . . . good, this is good. I, ah, saw that you drove in here with”—the words a piece of shit were no doubt choked in his throat—“a possible trade in, but look, we can get you a really good financing rate— Hey, folks!” he called out to Mr. and Mrs. Attorney. “I’ll be right with you!”

“I don’t need financing.” Vin got out his wallet and palmed his black cash card. “I’ll take the car for forty-two thousand.”

Which was, like, eight grand under the sticker, but cash was king.

The offer got Stan’s full attention. “Excuse me?”

“Cash. I don’t need financing.”

“I. . . need to talk to my manager.”

Vin put his arm around Rickie’s shoulders. “Where’s your office?”

The guy nodded at a cubicle over on the right.

“Walk with me, Rickie, and I’ll tell you how this is going to work. You’re going to call my private banker and I’m going to speak to her and she’s going to give you an authorization code. Then we’re going to call my insurance agent, and you’re going to give me the keys, and I’m going to take that lovely, safe car home so that my woman doesn’t have to drive the piece of shit I parked in your lot. Okay?”

Rickie nodded like a puppet. “What did you say your name is?”

“You can call me Santa Claus today, Rickie, my man. ’Cause I’m feeling like it’s Christmas and the world is fresh and new.”


#######################################################



Sitting in the living room, a glass of cold water in her hands, Gretchen was getting worried. Vin had been gone a lot longer than the hour and a half he’d predicted when he’d left.

After checking her watch, she pulled back the filmy curtain and looked outside.

“Mom, are you going to marry him?”

Okay, if that wasn’t a way to distract her from the anxiety.

Turning around to Robbie, who had his Spider-Man bag packed to go to the Y, she met her son’s steady, clear eyes and wondered how in the hell to answer that one.

She decided on the truth. “I don’t know.”

“Well, if you do, it’s all right with me.” He dropped his bag on the floor and put his hands on his hips, all little Mr. Big Man. “You like him, and you been laughin’ a lot. Plus don’t they have big cakes at weddings? You could get a choccie one.”

“Ah . . . I’m not sure he and I are ready for that. But I’m really glad you told me how you feel.”

“I gots one other thing to say.”

She braced herself, heart stopping in her chest. “You can tell me anything.”

“When we gets to Connecticut, I want my name back. I’m Sean, not Robbie, and if you can gets to be called by your real name, I want to, too.”

Gretchen nodded while blinking quickly. She was so proud of him, so grateful that even with all he’d been through, he was still able to open up at least to Vin.

Clearing her throat, she said, “I think that’s a great idea.”

“Good. Now can we go to the Y?”

“We have to wait until Vin gets back.” She rubbed her eyes and couldn’t stop herself. She got out of the wing chair and went over to him, kneeling down and pulling him into her arms.

“Mom? Um . . . Mom, I can’t breathe.”

“Sorry.” She eased up and sat back. Smoothing his hair from his face, she whispered, “Have I told you how much I love you?”

“’Bout a hundred times a day.” Hundred came out hunert.

“Good, because I do. So much—”

The sound of a car honking in the driveway stopped her, which was good timing. She kept going like this and she was just going to make Robbie. . . Sean. . . feel awkward. He still needed his mommy on a regular basis, but with each passing week, especially with Vin around, he was growing up.

Sean broke away first and went to the window. “Oh, coooooooool. Look what Vin gots!”

As he tore for the door, she got up and fanned her face a little so she didn’t look quite so post-crying flushed. After she unlocked the dead bolt, Sean burst out of the house, his Nikes slapping down the walkway. She was just going to call to him to slow down when she saw what Vin “gots.”

A brand new, super-fancy Volvo something-or-another was gleaming in the driveway, with Vin leaning a hip against the passenger-side door. The expression on his face was half triumph and half shit-I-could-be-in-trouble.

While Sean ran around the station wagon and then started climbing through the inside, she approached Vin. “What happened to the Camry?”

Vin shrugged those big shoulders of his. “I lost it.”

“You lost it.”

With a grave nod, he said, “Oops.”

She glanced over at the Volvo. It was clearly expensive, the kind of thing she’d be lucky if she could afford waaaaaay used. “Vin, I don’t want you buying me expensive things.”

He’d already paid off all her debts and given her an interest-free loan to cover them. And when she got to Connecticut, she was going to get a real job to pay him back. She was fine with his being kind and giving her a break, but Vin wasn’t going to fix her life for her.

“I know you don’t want me spending tons on you,” he said. “But I can’t have you drive that old thing around anymore. It isn’t safe for you. . . or him.”

Crap. He had her with the safety angle. She’d been worried about that herself.

He held out a key. “It’s in your name and the insurance is all paid up for the next year. You hate it, you can sell it, but its all-wheel drive, so it’s perfect for snow, ice, rain—”

“This is great!” Sean said as he burst out the far side of the backseat. “It doesn’t smell like socks!”

“Annnnd,” Vin drawled, “it doesn’t smell like socks. Although if you like, I’ll leave a couple of mine on the floorboards in the back—”

“Thanks, Vin!” Sean all but tackled the man, grabbing him around the waist and squeezing. “You’re awesome!”

For a split second, Vin froze. . . but then his free hand ever so gently landed on Sean’s shoulders. “You’re welcome, my man. . . but your mom hasn’t decided whether she’s going to take it.”

“Mom!”

“Hey, hey, hey,” Vin cut in. “It’s up to her. She decides and she doesn’t need to be pressured by us.”

As Vin looked down, Sean looked up, and their two dark heads were perfect together. Sean would always have his biological father and nothing would change that. . . unfortunately, she thought. But how wonderful if he could have a man in his life who was a good influence.

“Can we take it to the Y?” Sean started for the house. “I’ll gets my stuff.”

Gretchen took a deep breath, thinking so much for the no pressure. “I really don’t want you buying expensive things for me.”

“This is it, though. Think of it as a drivable engagement ring.” As her mouth fell open, he held up his palms. “I know we’re not there yet. Not by a long haul. But if we ever are, this could count. I know you’re not into diamonds.”

True enough—she’d been curiously revolted by the beautiful piece he’d bought for Devina.. . . Wait, had he really used the e-word?

Because that was hardly a subject to talk about in front of Sean, she said, “What did you really do with the Camry?”

“Left it at the dealership. I think it’s being recycled into license plates as we speak. Or maybe soup cans and bottle caps. But rest assured, it’s being treated with dignity.”

Gretchen cracked a smile. “You are something else, you know that?”

Vin’s gray eyes crinkled at the corners, likely because he knew she was giving in. “And I love you.”

Sean came barreling out of the house, the Spider-Man bag bouncing against his spindly legs. “Let’s go! Let’s go!”

As if the Y were going to burn down if they didn’t get there fast enough.

Sean tossed his stuff in the backseat, hopped inside, and slammed his door, doing up his seat belt and bracing himself for a missile-like takeoff. When the two grown-ups didn’t follow suit, he knocked on the window. “Come on!”

“What do you say, Gretchen? It’s safe. . . nice color. . . the boy likes it. . .”

She snatched the key out of his hand.

While Sean started cheering, she lifted up onto her tiptoes and quickly pressed her lips to Vin’s. “Thank you. Very much.”

His free arm shot around and he kissed her back, hard and brief. “Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. . .”

Sean cracked his door. “Enough with the sucking face! Let’s go.”

Gretchen stared down at her son. “Sucking face? Where did you hear that?”

“Vin said it. We were watching a movie and that’s what he said it was.”

Vin kissed her cheek and headed for the house, all butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-his-mouth. “I’ll lock up and get your purse.”

“And you’re going to stop expanding his vocabulary like that,” she called out.

“Aw, Mom.” Like she was suuuuch a buzz killer. “Everyone’s saying it.”

Vin sauntered back to the car, whistling all casually. “Yeah, everyone.”

Gretchen walked around and got behind the wheel. “You two. . . I swear.”

Sean laughed. “Only when you think I can’t hear you.”

“You swear?” Vin said as he got in. “Why, I never.”

“Yeah, she does,” Sean chimed in. “I hears her alla time.”

Vin mock glared into the back. “Never, I say! I nevvvvvvva!”

As Gretchen backed out of the driveway and put the Volvo in drive, Vin and Sean kept up the banter, her two guys quipping back and forth, the age difference not even a nominal barrier.

It was so right. . . so good. . . everything she had ever wanted. Funny that her true fantasy had turned out to be nothing glamorous or showy, just a man, a child, and. . . a Volvo.

When she came up to a light on the four-lane road that went to the Y, she looked at the car next to her and saw another woman in a station wagon with a kid in front and a big dog in the back. The mother was talking and smiling at her daughter, and when the dog poked its head into the front seat, there was a lot of patting and ear flopping and happy panting.

Gretchen reached out and took Vin’s hand.

All she’d ever wanted, Gretchen thought, was in her brand new car.

As he squeezed her palm and smiled, the light turned green… and she hit the gas, driving the three of them onward into the bright and lovely future.

Copyright 2009 by J.R. Ward
All rights reserved
May not be reproduced in full or in part without the express, written permission of the author.

 

 


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