Texas Bad Boy(9)

By: Jean Brashear


Cursing softly, Dev pulled away. A few blocks farther, he stopped in front of a condo where he knew there was a jazzy red convertible in the garage. He looked at the darkened windows and wondered which ones let moonlight filter onto her bed.

He remembered a gazebo silvered in moonglow. Remembered innocent gray velvet eyes. Silken curves trembling under his hands.

What are you dreaming tonight, Lacey?

Dev set his jaw, sipped at the styrofoam cup of coffee, and drove away.



Lacey awoke from a fitful sleep and glanced at the clock. Three fifteen. The headlights from a passing car swept across the wall. She rolled over and stared across the lavender silk comforter toward the moonlight spilling into her window, drifting across her shoulder.

You’re so beautiful, Lacey. She couldn’t have seen the green of his eyes that long ago night, so serious and dark as he bent over and unfastened the bodice of her dress, but somehow they were always that startling green in her dreams. He had taught her the hum of rapture beneath the boundaries of her skin. Had sent the heat of ecstasy rushing through her veins.

Are you sure about this? Had she been sure? Or just so full of her pipe dreams that she couldn’t see how they had been doomed from the start?

Somehow tonight after seeing Dev again, she could remember, for the first time in years, not how badly it had ended, not the shouts, the fear, the awful nakedness.

Instead, she remembered nerves. Jive-jumpy thrill, pounding in her blood. The sweetness of an ache that had stolen her breath. Longing so sharp she could taste it still. Everything with Dev had seemed larger than life. More colorful. More intense.

Intense. That was Dev, then and now. She’d seen the fierce glow still inside him tonight.

She had fallen headlong into the madness, trusting Devlin Marlowe to be her first, the one she would remember forever. The man who would make her a woman. He would be her one true love. She’d been so sure.

Foolish, foolish girl. Tears slipped across her temple and trickled into her hair as Lacey watched the moon slide behind whispery clouds.

Silly little rich girl. Lacey wept for the innocent and her fanciful dreams…

The girl who never suspected that even love had its price.



Ringing woke her into sunlight that sliced into her vision. Lacey tripped on the edge of the comforter and fumbled for the cell in her purse. She squeezed her lids shut against the glaring brightness. “Hello?” she croaked.

“Too early?”

She glanced at the clock but couldn’t make out the numbers. “What time is it?”

“Nine-thirty.”

She groaned, then bolted up straight. “Dev?”

“Not a morning person, right?” His tone was dry.

“No, it’s just—” She squinted then threw her shoulders back, standing up straight, as if military posture might help. “Never mind. Why did you call?”

His tone went brisk and impersonal. “I have to be in Dallas all week. I’d like to schedule the picnic for next Saturday. Will that work for you?”

She fumbled for her planner. “What time?”

“You choose.”

How about never? “Noon?”

“Fine.”

Silence spun out.

Then they both spoke at once.

“Dev, I don’t think—”

“If you need to call—” He paused, like her words had just registered. “Look, this doesn’t have to be painful. A simple picnic, that’s all. For a good cause.”

It will be painful. It can’t be anything else. But she was too much Margaret DeMille’s daughter to say so, and the cause was important. One hand pressing against her stomach, Lacey spoke again. “I have a three o’clock tennis match at the club. That shouldn’t be a problem, do you think?” There. She’d put a time limit on it. Two hours, max.

How would she ever get through two hours alone with Dev?

A wry chuckle sounded in her ear. “Tell you what. I’ll just give you my cell number so it’s easier for you to cancel.”

“I won’t cancel.”

“I won’t hold my breath.” He gave her a phone number with a Dallas area code. “But I’d appreciate it if you’d cancel by Friday so I don’t have to make the drive.”

“I won’t cancel, Dev.”

He paused before he answered. “Then you’ll surprise me.”

His tone turned impersonal again. “I’ll call you when I get to town, and we’ll work out logistics.” Then he hung up without even saying goodbye.

“I won’t cancel, Dev,” she whispered once more, into a silent phone.

She wouldn’t. But oh, how she wished she could.





Chapter Three

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