Everyone in Cedar Creek, Texas, knows Jack McNight is an arrogant devil. Physically, I get it: he"s tan and fit, with coal-black hair that"s clearly been scorched by hellfire. Oh, and his personality" It burns just as hot.
When I show up on the doorstep of Blue Stone Ranch, I"m run-down and rockin" my last pair of underwear. I"m hoping for a savior, but instead, I find him.
My opinion of Jack is marred by a dismal first impression, but his opinion of me is tainted even before I arrive. He"s heard I"m a spoiled princess there to take advantage of his goodwill. To him, I"m more trouble than I"m worth.
Our button-pushing banter should get under my skin. His arrogance should be a major turn-off. Problem is, devils are known to offer their own form of temptation.
Every one of his steely glares sends a shiver down my spine.
Every steamy encounter leaves me reeling.
Sure, it could be the Texas heat messing with my head, but there"s no way I"ll survive the summer without silencing him with a kiss and wrestling him out of those Wranglers.
Who knows"going to bed with the devil might just be the salvation I"ve been looking for all along.Books by Author:R.S. Grey Books
I left my husband last night. There"s something so nice about the past tense"left. He"s still in California. Meanwhile, I"m standing in a gas station in Middle-of-Nowhere, Texas. I have no money, no car. I pawned a gaudy diamond tennis bracelet to purchase a plane ticket to San Antonio, and to its credit, the bracelet also paid for the taxi currently fueling up at the pump outside. However, my cash has run out and my stomach is growling.
I eyeball the shelves lined with an array of sugary junk food. It"s the good stuff: half-dozen packs of white powdered donuts that are messier than glitter bombs and stacks of sad, deflated honey buns. It all seems like what aliens would come up with if tasked with recreating human food. In spite of this, my mouth waters just looking at it all. I want to tear open a bag of Doritos and waterfall the chips straight into my mouth. I want to double-fist the ancient, desiccated hot dogs destined to forever spin on greasy rollers"that"s how hungry I am.
I didn"t plan my departure very well. I didn"t plan it at all, in fact. Last night, I was lying on my side of the bed, wide awake. Andrew was snoring loudly beside me, just as confident as ever that the sun would rise in the morning like it always does. An hour earlier, he"d come in late from a work dinner with lipstick smeared on his cheek. His white collar, meanwhile, was pristine.
I had a million reasons for leaving him"enough to fill this entire gas station snack aisle, enough to make any marriage counselor put a big down payment on a vacation home"but last night, I only needed one. I left, and that"s all that matters. There"s half a country between him and me, and the only thing I have to worry about now is putting my next foot forward"well, that and the fact that I have nowhere to go, no money, no job, and no food. I"m also rapidly running out of sellable accessories, but let"s not get bogged down by the details.
I stare at a can of peanuts sitting on the shelf. Yesterday, I could have slapped my black AMEX down on the checkout counter and dragged my arm across the shelf, knocking food into my basket like a contestant on Supermarket Sweep. Now, I can"t afford peanuts; Andrew canceled my cards as soon as he realized I left.
I smile, imagining how pissed he must have been when the truth dawned on him. He never thought I"d do it. It was part of his spiel: Who pays the bills" Who buys your clothes" You"re nothing without me, Meredith"worthless.
In a purely financial sense, he was right about the whole "worthless" thing. My net worth currently consists of a couple dollars and some loose change. He was wrong about the other part though. I left him, and I did it in the middle of the night with nothing but the clothes on my back. It"s the outfit I had laid out for a charity luncheon"an event that must be taking place at this very moment without me. The ensemble is a frilly white blouse, Hermes belt, and designer jeans.
My great escape was a victim of my fleeting courage. I knew if I sat down and planned it all out, I"d lose my nerve. I needed to have no time to back out, no second-guessing. Now, I realize I should have been a bit more practical. I should have packed myself some getaway snacks, water, maybe some sneakers.
Honestly, though, I never thought I would be here. Of all the places I could have run to, Texas seemed to make the most sense because of my sister"well, technically she"s my half-sister. I recall the phone conversation I had with her last night while I was at the airport trying to catch a red-eye. I had to dial her number about a dozen times before she finally answered.
"Meredith"" she asked, obviously shocked to see my name appear on her phone screen. We aren"t exactly close. She probably has me in her phone as That Half-Sister I Hardly Know, Meredith. To be fair, I have her in my phone as Half-Helen.
She didn"t answer back right away. There was so much static on her end of the line.
"Are you there" Can you hear me"" I plugged my free ear with a finger and hoped the call would suddenly come through clearer.
"Barely!" she shouted. "What"s going on" I have like fifty missed calls from you."
I blanched. "Yeah, well, it"s actually kind of a long story, but I"m on my way to Texas."
She sounded shocked, and that"s fair. She"s lived in the Lone Star State for six years and I"ve never visited.
I cut right to the chase since time was another luxury I"d abandoned.