Cole Cameron's Revenge(2)

By: Sandra Marton

Faith was changing his life and Cole loved it. The truth was that he loved her. He wanted to tell her that, to ask her to go steady but before he could, he had an unpleasant duty to perform.

He'd been seeing a woman. Not a girl-a woman. She wasn't the first Liberty housewife who'd tried to seduce him but she was the first who'd succeeded. Her name was Jeanine. She was the young, sexy, bored wife of fat, middle-aged Edward Francke, who owned half the businesses and most of the politicians in town.

Cole had noticed her. Hell, every male in town over the age of ten had noticed her.

One day, when his old Harley had quit on the road to Windham Lake and he'd stripped off his shirt while he worked on it, Jeanine pulled her Cadillac onto the shoulder next to him. The late-morning sun was hot, the air humid. Cole noticed the Caddy and the woman, but he was too intent on getting the motorcycle working to pay either much attention.

Jeanine said hi. Cole said hi in return. After a couple of minutes, she got out of the car.

"You know a lot about engines?" she said in a whispery drawl.

Cole, still busy with the bike, shrugged his shoulders. "Enough to fool around some."

She gave a silvery laugh. "Well, then, how'd you like to fool around with mine?"

That was when Cole looked at her, let his eyes drift slowly up her long, bare legs, over her full bosom to her face. He'd watched her pink tongue snake slowly over her bottom lip and he'd known exactly what engine she meant.

By the time he met Faith, he'd been screwing Jeanine for a couple of months. Friday afternoons, when her husband was over in the next county playing golf, Cole would ride his bike out to her house on the lake and then ride her until they were both exhausted. It had never been as much fun as he'd hoped it would be and, after he met Faith, he stopped. Just stopped. He figured Jeanine would figure out that it was over.

He had no desire to see any female except Faith, even if it meant giving up sex, which he'd done because of Faith's innocence. It was true that their last couple of dates, things had heated up. Faith had whimpered in his arms. He'd touched her breasts. She'd even taken his hand in hers and brought it low on her belly and he'd wanted to accept that sweet invitation but he hadn't.

Faith wasn't like that. She was a fresh flower, not to be taken casually. He'd wait until he was out of school, until he had a job... until he could buy her a ring, get down on one knee and ask her to be his wife.

And then, on what would turn out to be the start of Cole's last weekend in Liberty, everything went to pieces.

Jeanine phoned him the afternoon of the Liberty High senior prom. The housekeeper gave him a funny look when she told him he had a call and Cole knew the reason the minute he heard that hoarse, sexy voice.

She had to see him, she said. It was urgent. She sounded panicked so Cole got on his Harley, rode out to her house. She was waiting for him and the "urgency" was that she hadn't seen him in weeks and weeks and where in hell had he been? Cole told her, as gently as he could, that things were over between them.

She didn't take the news well. She pouted, then she raged. At last, she threatened.

"Nobody walks out on me, Cole Cameron," she shouted as he rode off. "It's not over until I say it is. You can't just do whatever you want and get away with it!"

His father, his teachers, everybody in Cole's life had been giving him that same message for as long as he could remember. Jeanine's warning was just one more to ignore.

That night, Cole put on his rented tux, borrowed Ted's car and called for Faith. He knew she was embarrassed by the differences between the big house he'd grown up in and the trailer she lived in but he'd assured her that it didn't matter.

What he'd never told her was that his father thought it did.

When Isaiah heard the rumor that his youngest son was dating a girl from the trailer park, he'd spoken to Cole for the first time in weeks, warning him to be careful of females after the Cameron name and money.

Cole found the speech laughable considering that everybody knew he had the name but not the money. Isaiah always made it clear that he had a good son and a bad son, and that Cole would never get a dime of his money.

As it turned out, his father's speech was a warning Cole should have taken to heart.

That night, he drove to the trailer, picked up Faith. She was beautiful, almost ethereal in a gown she'd made herself of white lace and pale pink silk. He helped her into Ted's car, set off for the high school gym, but halfway there Faith reached over and put her hand on his thigh.

His skin felt as if it were burning; his breath caught in his throat.

"I don't want to go to the dance," she whispered. "Take me to the lake, Cole. To our place. Please."

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