You Can't Go Home Again
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by Aubrianna Hunter
Description: Long time friends, one time lovers. It's been five years since she left? since she ran away. They say you can never really go home again. It looks like Danielle Foster was about to find out. She'd had one night with him. One, glorious night before she'd left for L.A. Unfortunately, she knew he regretted it. So, she had moved on, made a life for herself in Los Angeles. But now, Jenn was getting married, and Dani was the Maid of Honor. After five long years, Dani had to go back to Austin. She had to face Jason Bradford. Jace had almost convinced himself that it didn't matter, that she didn't matter. It had only taken him five years to believe it. And, less than thirty seconds to prove he was a liar. As soon as she walked in the door, Jace felt rage unlike anything he'd ever felt before. Unfortunately, that rage was merged with something else? desire. He hated her? almost as much as he wanted her. Despite his best efforts, the passion won out, driving Jace into Dani's arms, and crumbling her defenses. But with the pain and anger between them, there was no way they could ever have a future together. Could they?
eBook Publisher: Sugar and Spice Press, 2011
eBookwise Release Date: June 2011
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [319 KB]
Reading time: 208-291 min.
Dani saw the group sitting at the table. Brian, Sean and Zack had been joined by Sara and Beth just as Jenn and Dani had walked in. The gang was all here, with one noticeable absence. Before she had a chance to look around for him, Jenn and Brian exchanged a quick kiss just before Brian swooped her up into a giant bear hug.
By the time he set her down, Dani was laughing, trying to catch her breath. "I'd forgotten how strong you are. You just squeezed the life out of me." She patted his shoulder, looking into his smiling eyes. Jenn was so incredibly lucky.
He gently squeezed her shoulder. "Nah, you're just too skinny." He ruffled her hair, then comfortably settled his arm back around Jenn's waist.
Sara and Beth stood up, coming around the table for their own hugs and hellos, and the guys followed suit. Zack was last, making sure to tease loudly enough for everyone to hear. "I don't care what Brian says, you're definitely not too skinny. I think I would go more for sexy as hell."
Everyone laughed, which would have caused Dani to redden in the past. Now she decided to play back. "Aww, too bad I'm not blonde, Zack. Maybe we could have had something meaningful...for the next three days." She winked at him with a little smile. "That's your standard relationship, isn't it?"
Everyone chuckled again, even louder as Zack put his hand over his heart, making a wounded expression. "For you, I might make an exception, darlin'."
She didn't see him approaching the table. There was no way she could hear him over the noise in the bar, so she had no warning whatsoever. No way to prepare herself for the sound of his voice. Or her own response to it.
"Well, look what the cat dragged in."
She knew his voice immediately. How could she ever forget it? At his first word, tension shot through her body, raising the hair on her arms and neck. Now, his voice was calm, friendly even. As she made her way up his face, finally settling on his deep green eyes, she knew he felt anything but. His voice may be serene, but his eyes were shooting sparks at her. He was furious. And his anger was aimed directly at her.
She felt the tension and nerves settling in to fear. This was what she had been afraid of, what she had been trying to avoid.
"What, Danielle... Everyone gets a welcome-back hug except me?"
Again he seemed pleasant, unless you looked directly at him. There was a sardonic smirk on his lips, hate burning in his eyes. Hate and something more... He was daring her!
As Dani started to rise from her seat, she felt the fear slowly giving way to anger. Why was he angry? She was the one who had the right to be angry! How dare he try to make her feel guilty for staying out of his way!
She stepped forward to meet him, expecting a brief, perfunctory squeeze, knowing this was only a show for his friends and a challenge for her. She'd been shyer in college, but she'd never backed down from a challenge.
She leaned in, smirking with just as much anger as he had. "Of course, Jace...you need only ask."
* * * *
Jace hadn't expected the sly grin. He had actually figured she would simply shake his hand, if not ignore him completely. He remembered too late just how feisty she really was. When he saw the answering spark of anger flash across her eyes, he realized that time may have changed her, as well. This could be an interesting visit. He wondered just how much she could take before she caved and ran back to L.A.
He pulled her close for a full-body hug, resting his head on her far shoulder, away from their friends' view. He wasn't sure why, but after his very physical response to her arrival, he felt the need to prove something. To himself or to her, he didn't know. Within the first second of contact, Jace realized this had been a supremely bad idea. As soon as her body pressed against his, he felt the heat race across his skin. He couldn't tell if it was anger or desire driving him, maybe both. But something made him press a soft kiss against her neck.
At the touch of his lips, he felt her shiver. He stepped back as soon as the pressure rose in his groin, knowing that six pairs of eyes were watching their every move. He smiled at her, cruelly, letting her know that he'd felt her response. He was grateful he had tucked his erection into the waistband of his pants before he'd ever walked to the table. Otherwise, everyone would know just how screwed up he was.