“You mean remodel the building?” She had to receive clarification.
For a moment Ryan looked deep in thought. He tilted down his chin. “No. I’m going to tear down the building and rebuild a better one. The one that stands now is infested with mold and worse yet, might collapse. We can’t have that.”
“I can’t believe this. Ha. Oh wow.” Jillian dropped the fork and stood. Did he just say what she heard? Of all things to do, the all American boy had returned to town to make it his own. “I’ve got to go.”
“Anywhere away from you right now.” She chanced a look at him. His brows were furrowed, possibly with confusion. She stormed away.
She didn’t listen to him. When her hand touched the doorknob she felt him come up behind her. He pressed his hands on either side of the wood door. As he curled his body around hers, caging her, his forehead laid on her back. As she gritted her teeth, her nostrils flared.
“Get away, Stevens.”
His head lifted. “Look at me, Jill.”
Dominance radiated a force of belonging. Like he thought she was his. She wasn’t, hadn’t been for ten years. Through her cloud of rage the click of the doorknob confirmed that she now was locked inside the house. Not only that, but locked inside the house with him.
“Look at me.”
A burning demand to obey him boiled inside, but she held strong, her hands balled into fists. When he stepped closer, she could feel the hardness of his body pressed against her back. A large hand clasped her hipbone. Fingers clenched and released. He was so damn annoying that it spun her mind like a yo-yo. How would she get out of this mess? The man behind her drove her insane.
“Jill.” He breathed her name. The vibrations in his chest rippled on her back. She closed her eyes. A pull of lust and self-disgust warred. The predicament wasn’t a good one.
She turned to face him. The desire was there, the law of attraction, but he was no good for her. His goal of tearing down her father’s pride and joy meant they were oil and water. Not a worthy mix—and their mix, if shaken hard enough, would explode. She needed time to think about the entire evening. She sagged against the door to gain distance from him.
“I need you to take me home.” He filled her vision, broad shoulders and large biceps bulging beneath his white shirt sleeves. She didn’t know where to look.
“I can’t right now. Not until you tell me what has upset you.”
“Take me home or I’ll call a taxi.” Jill stared at his chest, heaving with each breath he inhaled and exhaled.
“Just tell me.”
“Let it go.” She spat.
She shot him a glare. “And why not?”
Disappointed in ever turning around to face him, she pushed his arms away. And when she did, she sagged further in her stance. He curved over her. Desire, intense and searing, shone in his eyes. Once more his hand found her hip, but this time he tugged her closer. Hunger, wild and savage, sprang off him and into her. For an instant she almost had forgotten the previous topic. She almost let lust win.
“Just give me the keys to your truck and I’ll drive myself home.” His lips were close, close enough she could kiss him. Instead, she wet hers. “Please.” No way could she let her attraction for this man ruin her father’s legacy.
She felt chilled as he pushed away. Ryan dug into his pants pocket and handed her the ticket she needed for escape.
Jillian snatched the keys from him. “I’ll make sure you get your truck back.” With that, she turned on heels and unlocked the knob.
“Before you go…” His silken voice came from behind. She closed her eyes and waited for the worst. “You.”
She turned to him once more, and when she did she opened her eyes. “Me what?”
“You.” He pointed.
“What about me?” The keys in her hand dug into her palm.
“You’re the reason I came back to town.”
She blinked. It was like sand had engulfed her mouth. Her throat dried. She tried to swallow, but couldn’t. How and why would he come back for her? “I really don’t have time to play these games.” With those words she walked over the threshold and got into his truck.
With one crank the ignition started. With a toss she placed the truck in drive. The engine revved and she peeled out. Rocks and dirt hit under the truck carriage, spitting back at the house. Her thoughts spun. She was driving away from a man who had come back to town for her. The same man who wanted to destroy a piece of her history.
At the time she entered the true city limits of Rossville, rain broke from the sky. It unleashed with it the cold irony of the true meaning of “lost.” Tears welled in her eyes. How would she save one of her families legacies?