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A Reluctant Hero

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Fighting down the absolute sharp thrust of lust that shot through my very core at the words I vaguely recalled saying when we met, I focused on my breakfast again. The waitress brought me a glass of water, once I’d had my fill of juice, and JD tried for a less entendre laden topic.

“Why would you go out in the middle of the week, alone, and get completely plastered?” Better than a bucket of ice water to cool down my libido.

“I got an unpleasant shock when I got home from shopping yesterday,” I took a sip of water, then picked up my fork again. Stabbing at my scrambled eggs, I gave an internal shrug. Fuck it, I hadn’t done anything wrong. “My NOW ex was humping one of his students on my very expensive dining room table.” His eyes widened at my candor. “I felt numbing myself with copious amounts of alcohol was the best course of action.”

JD was chewing carefully on a bite of his own breakfast, mulling over his next question, and I recalled that Kelsey had said he was in law enforcement or bounty hunting so it made sense, I supposed, his interest I mean. “That explains you wanting to hire cleaners, but the chainsaw you need to purchase has me worried I should learn your ex's name, just in case I have to link you to his mangled body.”

I snorted, nearly choking on my own bite in the process. “I think I only want it for the table, actually. He’s a dickhead, but he’s not worth prison time.” I smirked and went back to eating.

 

I paid, even though he tried, not too subtly to slip the waitress his own card. And then I directed him to my house. He was driving like a maniac, and I found myself clutching at the ‘oh shit’ handle as my grandpa once called it.

“Are you in a rush?” I gasped, as he took a turn so fast that I felt like I’d left my full stomach at the beginning of it. “I could have called a cab-”

He turned slightly and I saw his smile grow. “No hurry, I just like to drive-”

“Like a fucking psycho?” I provided, closing my eyes because it made the ride slightly less terrifying.

I heard his chuckle, but kept my eyes tightly shut. “If you think this is fast and crazy, I better not borrow the Spyder from my buddy to take you for a spin.”

I realized that I had to open my eyes, sometimes the GPS would go screwy and bypass my house’s turnoff. My house was just a far off the beaten path as his, only on the opposite side of town. I heard him let out a little gasp of surprise when he made the turn and my house came into sight. Far back from the road, looking like it was a part of the side of the hill, all glass and browns, and this was only the front. Once he pulled around to the garage, he’d be able to see the guest house, a spacious apartment above the three car garage, but the other amenities were interior.

“Ani?” He shot a look at me once the truck was parked outside the garage. “Kelsey said you taught at her school.”

I nodded and gave a shrug. “If I’m in town for more than a month, the university asks me to cover one of their creative writing courses.” I was about to open my door and hop down, when his hand on my wrist stopped me. Oh, I had to explain outside, fun. “Anilea Ampstead.” I watched as his mind tried to figure out how or from where he knew my name. “The Greek Acropolis series?”

JD’s eyes widened again. “That’s you?”

“That’s me.” I reached for the door again, but he stopped me again. “I know that I said I couldn’t go home until I had a chainsaw and a cleaning crew, JD, but seriously, I’d like a shower.” In my fucking decadent shower.

He laughed and shook his head. “Just hang tight for a moment, would you?” And then he was out of the truck and opening the passenger door for me, holding out his hand so he could help me down. “Your ex was a winner, wasn’t he?” Another shake of his head, and he smiled down at me as he shut the door behind me. “You still don’t have your car, Ani.”

“I can call for a ride,” I led the way to my house, happy that he was following behind. Using the bio-metric lock, I added resetting and erasing Roger’s identity from the system. Asshole. “Come on, I’ll give you the tour.”

 

JD didn’t fawn. He didn’t froth at the mouth at the obvious signs of my success. The indoor pool. The sauna. Hot tub. I showed him where Kelsey lived when she wasn’t at her mom’s or visiting him.

“Didn’t you say you needed a shower?” He asked, and I shook my head. “I haven’t seen the whole house, your room, the infamous dining room table-”

I couldn’t decide if he was teasing or flirting, but I figured what the hell. We walked across the entire house, me pointing out the massive dining room table that looked like a huge redwood sliced with the rings stained to a high shine, and the base like twisted limbs. The chairs, also patterned as though they were fresh from a forest, were well padded and comfortable.

“Seems like a shame to take a chainsaw to it,” JD’s eyes drinking in the rustic beauty of it. “Maybe just have it re-sanded and stained in a new color?”

“I’ll think about it.” I realized that while he wasn’t impressed with the opulence, he was fascinated by the decor. It was well made, and rustic, while also showing well used wealth.

“This doesn’t really look like a-” he stopped, taking in the color schemes dark browns, tans, hints of gold. Soft suede sofas and chairs, gorgeous, but also comfortable.

I smirked. Everyone who got a tour of my house said nearly the same thing. “Like a lady’s house?” I put a sneer into the word ‘lady’. “Yeah, well I want comfort, without fear of dropping a glass of wine or a glass of scotch on the carpet.”

He followed me down the hallway, and I pointed out the guest rooms that were on the corners of the house. “Back here,” I offered over my shoulder, “are my rooms.”

“Isn’t the whole damn house made up of your ‘rooms’?” He growled, and I smiled.

“Yes, but company gets to visit the rest of my rooms, only special people get invited back here.” I shut my eyes at the implication of my words, but sailed on. I pressed a button, also print based, and a hidden pocket door slid open. “I like to keep something a bit of a mystery.”

“Maybe I should go?” He offered, but I just looked over my shoulder.

“What’s wrong, JD? Scared?” And I stepped across the threshold daring him to follow.