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John grunted. His hands tightened on her arms…

His breath, warm and smelling of coffee and peppermint, brushed her ear and ruffled her hair.

Mortified, Clarisse arched backward and met John’s pained expression. “I’m sorry! Are you all right?”

“Give me a second,” he murmured.

She tried not to think how her nipples touched the hard wall of his chest or how the familiar scent of his aftershave made her remember...

No. She’d concentrate on his Adam’s apple and the indentations of his collarbone. No. That wouldn’t work either.

“Are you all right now?” She grew uncomfortable.

“I—yes.” He retained a grip on her arm. “What about you? You almost took a nose dive.”

She glanced away. A curtain of her blonde hair fell forward, obscuring her face and the pain she knew lay carved there.

“I guess my legs must have fallen asleep right along with everything else.”

The sound of footsteps made Clarisse turn. She found an unsmiling Vivian on their side of the truck. Guilt sent a warm blush to Clarisse’s cheeks as she and John drew away from each other. His hand dropped to his side, but the heat from his fingers still burned into her flesh.

“I—” Clarisse closed her mouth. There was no reason for her to explain, especially when there was nothing to explain. “I’ve got to check a couple of things in my bag. It might take a minute. Why don’t I meet you both inside?”

The Long Road Home

Carol Webb

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