Madison sighed and stared across the park. Kids squealed their delight, while parents—mostly mothers—watched on protectively, some engaging their offspring in active play. She envied those children, but didn’t begrudge them their good fortune.
When I have children, I’ll be a good mother. If I can’t figure it out, then I’ll read books, do anything to get it right, but most of all, they’ll know they’re loved.
“Madison?” The single word reminded her he’d asked a question.
Micah brushed hair behind her ear, a gentle gesture that left her shivering. She struggled not to turn into him and force an embrace. Just to be held by someone who acted like they cared would be awesome.
Foolish desires led to reckless outcomes, her daddy always said so. What had propelled her to call him? If she’d been thinking clearly, she wouldn’t have—
“If you don’t start talking, I’m going to start guessing,” he warned in a low voice, as his fingers shifted through her hair. It was a privilege he hadn’t earned and she should request he cease, but she didn’t because his touch comforted her. He went on. “I’m pretty sure I can come up with a lot worse than what likely occurred.”
“No, Daddy had nothing to do with today.” Madison swallowed back a gulp of fresh tears that threatened to emerge. She cleared her throat and watched a bird hop along the ground, bobbing into the earth randomly. “I’m ashamed to tell you what happened.”
Warm, powerful fingers closed around her nape and his thumb swished against her pulse. Nervous excitement danced through her body in a warm flush.
“Did you do something wrong?” he asked, his voice low and understanding.
Refusing to meet his gaze, she shook her head. But she felt like she’d done something naughty.
“Then you have nothing to be ashamed of. You’re not accountable for another person’s actions.”
“I know,” she whispered. Logically she did, but logic had nothing to do with the guilt of seeing her Momma and those men. She’d stood there too long, gotten too big of an eye-full. Those were visuals that would never go away.
A finger touched her chin and combined with the hand on the back of her neck, he turned her to face him. “I cannot be your defender if you refuse to tell me what occurred, kitten.”
“I…” She wet her lips. Telling him her mother’s heinous actions felt wrong, as if she betrayed a secret even though she hadn’t promised to keep one. “You can’t tell anyone.”
Her request seemed to amuse him if the slight tilt to the corners of his eyes was any indication. “I swear.”
She cleared her throat and said in a rush, “I found Momma in bed with someone. Two someone’s actually.”
Strong fingers tightened on her neck and a flash of something dark shifted in his eyes. She never wanted to be on the receiving end of that glare. “Yeah, I imagined much worse,” he said slowly. “I can understand your grief, however. Does she know you saw her?”
“Yeah, she smiled when she saw me and kept going at it with them.” Madison shuddered at the memory of Momma’s salacious grin. “They were Deacons from Daddy’s church.” Strange, but sharing the bad news with him made her feel a touch better. “I’d always thought sex would look pretty, but that…that was so not pretty.” She felt the blush spread from her neck up into her cheeks. “I’m sorry, that was too personal.”
Madison went back to staring at the children and chewing on her thumb. Micah’s hand shifted off her neck. He plucked her thumb from her mouth and ran his finger over the jagged nail. “Sex is beautiful when it’s two people who love each other.”
“And you’ve been in love to speak so wisely…Micah?” How she found the gall to look him in the eye and ask that bald question, she didn’t know. How she did it without blushing was a bigger mystery. The only thing she was certain of was the ease with which they connected.
Micah grinned. “Busted.” He winked, but his expression grew serious. “I imagine when I make love to…the woman I love—” why did his pause leave her feeling as if he already knew the name of his lady love, but he wanted to keep her a mystery? “—it will be beautiful. Just as it should be.”
Lucky girl. The thought flittered through her head before she could’ve guessed it was coming.
He laced their fingers together and she didn’t resist. “Did the Deacons see you?”
The contact of his skin pressed to hers, was too powerful for her to form coherent words, so she shook her head.
“Good,” he said, but the dark edge to his voice didn’t make her feel good. Instead, she feared for someone’s safety. She looked at him, certain his expression would absolve her worry. His features were devoid of emotions, but his eyes were intense enough to brand her soul. So caught up into staring into his eyes, his words startled her, “It is ideal that only you and your mother are aware of her treachery.”
Madison blinked. “Why?”
“The Deacons won’t fear you’ll inform your father. An awkward situation for all involved with their working relationship.” Micah shifted her hand to his thigh and she held her breath. Contact with his leg, even through his clothing, was so personal and she worried what others would think, but not enough to see who might be watching. He disentangled their fingers and positioned her hand palm-side up.
Her breathing resumed, stuttered and she managed to squeak out, “Shouldn’t Daddy know?” But she wouldn’t be the one to tell him. The bearer of bad news too often suffered the brunt of irrational anger.
“What purpose would it serve for him to know?” His fingertip swirled against her palm, creating sensations so powerful, it threatened to overwhelm her and she labored to craft a response to his question.
“Isn’t honesty always better?” Her voice sounded husky, as if just roused from sleep. She knew it was because of his touch. Fascinated by that fact, she stared at their hands. A modest caress, but it created havoc with her equilibrium. She swayed toward him, but caught her body’s slight movement and clutched her fingers around the edge of the concrete to stabilize herself.
Micah’s fingertip circled and circled until it was repositioned on her wrist and his thumb pressed firmly against her throbbing pulse.
“Gullible words uttered from chaste lips,” his words uttered low and throaty, but with a touch of amusement. Madison’s gaze flashed to his, while all of his attention was fastened on her mouth. “Do you really believe honesty is better in all situations, Madison?”
“It has to be.” She licked her lips, took a deep breath and finished with conviction. “Otherwise, everything is built upon lies and any relationship built upon that foundation will crack and crumble.”
He leaned forward and for half a dozen heartbeats she thought he would kiss her. She wouldn’t stop him. Lord no! She wanted to experience the press of his lips against hers, even though she knew it would lead to an outcome she hadn’t foreseen for herself. She suspected an embrace from him would lead to a future not of her making and she still didn’t pull away.
Heartbeat erratic, it pounded like a drumbeat in her ears, as his cinnamon scented breath puffed against her mouth. The pad of his thumb landed on her bottom lip and he brushed the digit back and forth, slow enough to torment.
“Madison?” Her name came out rough and ragged, a carnal kiss.
In a rush of awareness, she recognized she stared at his wide, kissable mouth. She tore her gaze uptward to meet his arctic colored eyes, but there was nothing wintry or cold about his stare. Instead, his look melted her resistance in a blast of sensual recklessness.
© Gracen Miller 2011 ~ No part of this site (written or artwork) may be reproduced in anyway whatsoever without express written consent by Gracen Miller.