Posts tagged “romance

Chasing Truth: Chapter 38

Posted on 14/03/2020

Image result for candlelight

The lights were off. Candlelight danced over the wine bottle on the small table set up in the living room. Soft music floated from a speaker. Mari tipped her head back to smile at Tyler.

“This is a very good start,” she murmured appreciatively.

“I’m glad you agree.” Setting her bag down on the couch, he took her hand and escorted her to the table. “I’m finishing up dinner. In the meantime, I want you to sit down and relax.”

“I can keep you company in the kitchen.”

He shook his head. “I want you to get relaxed.”

Once she was seated, he poured a glass of wine. No sooner than she accepted it, he knelt before her. She watched in surprise as he removed her shoes. He set them off to the side and straightened again.

“Relax,” he repeated with a kiss to her forehead.

“You’re making it very hard not to.”

He flashed his crooked grin and walked away. Mari relaxed into the chair and sipped at the wine with a small smile. Tyler had gone through a lot of effort in a short amount of time. He was often thoughtful, but this was especially romantic. She hummed along to the music gracing her ears. The lighting, the wine, and the music combined for a seductive lull that stole any tension or stress.

When Tyler returned to the living room with plates in hand, she made to rise and help him. A perfectly arched brow dissuaded her of that notion. She leaned back in the chair and watched him set the plates on the table.

“You’re having trouble with relaxing, I see.”

“I’m really not. Or at least I wasn’t until you came back in,” she teased.

He settled in across from her and topped off her glass. She beamed at him and dug into her plate with gusto. Music wafted between them while they ate and Mari shared her day.

It wasn’t until her third glass was emptied and her plate nearly cleared that Tyler grew serious.

“We said we were going to clear the air about this situation with Blake. I want to do that so we can enjoy the rest of our night together.”

“I like that idea.”

“Right now, we’re just monitoring him. I know this is new to you, but a lot of things like this are mostly hurry-up-and-wait. We have to watch, collect information. That takes time. You hesitated to agree to this, but we’ve been rebuilding trust. You were willing to follow my lead and now that’s changed.”

He held up a hand when she started to interject. “I get meeting him and spending time with him changed things for you. No matter what we find out, he’s your father. You feel guilty don’t you?” he prodded gently.

She ducked her head and focused on scooping together the last of her rice. “Like you said, he’s my father. If he’s… If you’re right, then there needs to be justice. It’s just playing a part in it myself while he thinks we’re just getting to know each other…”

“I get it,” he repeated. “Why don’t we make a deal? Before I do anything with the information I learn, I’ll share it with you. That way you can relax and not worry something will sneak up on you.”

Her mouth twisted in a slight frown. “You’d really tell me?”

He reached across the table to cover one of her hands with his. “I would because I don’t want to jeopardize us. But I need you to understand that when I do tell you, it’ll be at a time and in a way you can’t share that information. Not because I don’t trust you, but because I have to do my job and I really shouldn’t be telling you anything.”

Turning her hand over in his, she laced their fingers together. “Deal.”

His smile was blinding, hidden only when he lifted their hands to his lips for a kiss. “Good, now that’s enough of that. Do you know how bad Leo messed with me when I asked for this recipe?”

Mari dropped her head as her laughter spilled free.

“The things I do for you, woman.”

“I promise I’m properly appreciative.”

“Are you?” he asked teasingly as he pushed back from the table. He offered his hand to her. “Prove it.”

Grinning, she took his hand and let him pull her into his chest. He slid an arm around her to press gently into her back. With her cheek pressed against his shoulder, she let her eyes close. She loved the way he held her in the sway of their dance.

A delicious shiver ran through her as he caressed her back. He untangled one hand from hers and his fingers brushed her jaw. She lifted her head and met his hungry gaze. She didn’t wait. Rising on the tips of her toes, she took his mouth in a hard kiss. His groan sent a thrill racing through her. She cupped his neck and deepened the kiss. He yanked her tight against him, taking over. Minutes later, he was backing her toward the bedroom to finish their night.

<< Chapter 37 Chapter 39 >>

Chasing Truth: Chapter 30

Posted on 17/01/2020

“He’s staying at the house with Raoul and Allie?”

Tyler had shown up with food in tow not long after Reese had left. He claimed he wanted to feed her a home-cooked meal after a long day, but she suspected it had more to do with her hanging up on him.

He seemed calm enough about her news Reese would be staying behind for a few days, but it didn’t take a genius to anticipate how poorly he was going to take the news of exactly where Reese would be staying. She rolled her shoulders as she drew in a breath.  

“Actually he’s staying with me.” 

Tyler stopped stirring. The spoon clanged against the pot as he turned to face her fully. She tried to shrug casually.

“It’s just for a few days and I have a decent couch.”

“Why is he staying here, Mari?”

“Just to keep an eye on me for a little while. That’s all. You know, make sure nobody tries to use me to get to Blake,” she said pointedly. 

There wasn’t a single trace of shame in his expression. “And he has to stay here? They’re staying with Raoul and Allie now. He can keep staying there.”

Mari folded her arms across her chest. “This is what you wanted, isn’t it? You wanted Blake to care about me so you could use that. Well, he cares enough to leave somebody behind for a few days. Get over it.”

“That doesn’t mean he needs to sleep here.”

“How is he supposed to be here for me over there?”

“It’s not exactly across the island, Marielle,” he growled. “Why are you so eager to have him stay here?”

Mari stared at him with her mouth open before she gathered herself, anger sweeping in over the disbelief. “Are you serious? Think about why you’re here, Tyler! He’s already said he has enemies and the vibe I’m getting is that they wouldn’t think twice about using me. You’re using me. So excuse me if I’m okay with having somebody here to help make sure nobody else gets to, especially if they’d plan on doing it by hurting me.”

He held his glare for a moment longer before he sighed and held his arms out. “C’mere.”

“No. Finish dinner. I’m hungry.”

He caught her by the arms and gently tugged her into him. She didn’t unfold her arms or soften her stance at all. 

“I’m sorry,” he murmured against her temple. “I just don’t like the idea of him here with you. I’m a little jealous. Take it easy on me, please?”

“Jealous about what?” she grumbled to his chest with her arms still folded. “I don’t even know the guy and he’s not interested in me. He’s doing a job.”

“A man would have to be dumb and blind not to be interested.” He pressed a kiss to her head. “I get that you’re scared. This is scary. I wouldn’t let anything happen to you.” He leaned back and angled her away so he could look at her face. “You know that, don’t you?”

She stared at his forehead. “Your attention is divided.”

He gripped her chin, demanding her focus. “It’s never that divided. I have a job to do, but I care about you. Your safety is important to me. Blake can leave whoever he wants, but I’ll be seeing to your safety.”

Her arms slowly dropped to her sides. His thumb stroked over her bottom lip.

“I heard what you said. You gave me an in I needed to Blake, yes. I can’t deny that. But I am not using you.” 

The emphasis on his words softened her further. 

“I know it’s hard to separate what I have to do from our relationship, but I need you to do that. I care about you in a way I’ve never cared about another woman in my life,” he confessed on a whisper. “I want you clear of all of this so we can focus on building us, making this permanent.”

Her eyes rounded as she echoed, “Permanent?”

“Permanent,” he confirmed and sealed the word with a deep kiss. “You don’t need to say anything now,” he said when he lifted his head. “I just want you to know where I’m going with this, with us.”

Still in shock, she nodded weakly. His smile widened and he stroked over her bottom lip again.

“Have you thought about getting your dad a gift? Something to mark your first time meeting him, that reminds him of you when he’s not here?”

Her eyes lit up. “That’s a really cute idea. It hadn’t crossed my mind, but I think I will pick up something before he leaves.”

“I have good ideas every now and then. I don’t want to have them too often or you might start expecting things from me.”

With a quick kiss to her forehead, he turned back to the stove. “Now stop being distracting and let me get you fed.”

Instead of backing off, she wrapped her arms around him and leaned into his back with her chin propped on his shoulder. 

“I know this hasn’t been easy. I haven’t been easy. Thanks for sticking with me through this.”

He laid a hand over hers and squeezed. “Trust me, there’s nowhere I’d rather be.”

Content, she held on for a moment longer before she pulled away to get drinks from the fridge. It was after Tyler had bowled soup for both of them and they’d settled at the table that she felt something vibrate. Tyler grabbed his phone and glanced at the screen before lifting it to his ear.

“Hey, man. What’s up? You’re interrupting dinner with my favorite lady,” he said with a wink at Mari.

She rolled her eyes, but the smile was there.

He frowned, moving the phone away from his mouth. “Sorry, give me a minute to take this call, sweetheart. Go ahead and eat.”

She nodded, watching him retreat into her bedroom to finish his conversation. It was all too easy to wonder who was on the other line, what the call was about. He had a job to do, she reminded herself. He wasn’t supposed to have shared about that job either. He would need to check in and get updates. Secretive calls were a part of that. She’d decided to trust him. She needed to do that.

No sooner than she came to that conclusion, he was walking back out of the bedroom. 

“Everything okay?” she couldn’t resist asking.

His crooked smile curved his lips. “Yeah, everything is just fine.”

She mirrored his smile. Yes, things were fine.

<< Chapter 29 Chapter 31 >>

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