Jack can't quite shake the feeling that he's missed something. When his high-octane career as a war correspondent is brought to an explosive close, the feeling overwhelms him. He reluctantly plays wing-man for his best friend at their school reunion and encounters an old flame that it seems is still scorchingly hot. More
Jack can't quite shake the feeling that he's missed something. When his high-octane career as a war correspondent is brought to an explosive close, the feeling overwhelms him. He reluctantly plays wing-man for his best friend at their school reunion and encounters an old flame that it seems is still scorchingly hot.
After he and Matt ate, Jack felt his body gradually relax. Then, while Matt made another foray to the increasingly crowded bar, Jack caught sight of Liss dancing with someone. God, his temper had never shot up and down like this in his life – it couldn't be good for him. She was trying to politely keep her distance, but the guy – Gary? – seemed determined to push the First XV advantage he'd barely had twenty years ago. Suddenly he saw Liss turn towards him as though he'd called her. She unmistakeably mouthed 'HELP' at him. Without thinking he bolted to his feet, sending his chair over and his crutch flying. She quickly moved to assist him, fetching the crutch, righting the chair, sitting down opposite him, and leaving 'Gary' alone on the floor.
"Thanks for that – I didn't mean you to hurt yourself trying to help me."
Jack ground his teeth, "I didn't hurt myself."
A flicker of pain crossed her face at the hard tone. He watched, fascinated, as she smoothed her features and smiled politely, "Glad to hear it, Jack." She could never do that when they were together – absolutely wore her heart on her sleeve, and had no guile, no deceit at all. It was how he'd known so surely that she was hiding something from him. She must've learned the trick of covering her feelings in the intervening years.
"Sorry – didn't mean to snap." He leaned forward, giving her a conspiratorial wink, feeling his heart pound at the way she leaned in, too and smiled warmly at him, "I did hurt myself, and I didn't mean to knock my chair over. I have suddenly become a klutz the last few months and I'm not used to it yet."
She waved a hand airily in teasing dismissal, "You can't fool me, Thoroughgood. You've been a klutz as long as I've known you – ", she gave him a provocative smile from beneath lowered lashes and squeezed his good knee, gently, "Didn't you knock me off the bed, once?"
He clenched his jaw, enraged by the surge of arousal that flooded him, hardening in his groin. "Why are you doing that?"
She pulled back, "Doing what?"
"Flirting with me? Acting like we could still be friends? Fucking lying and leading me on, again?"
She stood, "I never led you on, Jack. You abandoned me. You made out that you were my champion, my knight in shining armour, and then at the sight of the first dragon to snatch me away screaming, you just stood and waved me off. All that 'I'd do anything' crap didn't mean a thing when the darkness really threatened." She leaned closer, her face flushed and her eyes flashing, and hissed in his ear, "So don't try and push guilt at me, you piece of shit." Then she straightened again, her gaze cool and composed, "Excuse me for taking up your time. Thank you for your assistance with Gavin, earlier."