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From Kindle Worlds and the world of NYT and USA Today bestselling author, Aurora Rose Reynolds. See how the Mayson clan began. You’ve read their sons’ stories, now it’s James and Susan’s turn. Experience the boom all over again in this action-packed novella of insta-love and suspense.
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DEEP, GUTTURAL CROAKING emanated from our pond frogs, greeting me as I parked my truck in front of the Mayson family home. A home I’d spent the last twenty-eight years making my own. The porch lights shone brightly, illuminating the path to the front door and most of the driveway. James’s cruiser was gone; he must have been called out unexpectedly on his day off. When I’d left at noon to pick up November for a day of shopping, he’d said his only plans were to tinker around the barn until I returned.
Turning my head, I stared at the metal structure looming like a sentry on our property and bit my lip, remembering a different barn that had been in its place. One made of timber, which had withstood more than fifty years of living; its red walls and white trim a symbol of the American heartland. I shuddered as memories came rushing to the surface while I glanced at its sister barn that still stood on the property. Memories we never spoke about to anyone. Not Alice or James Sr., when he was alive. And never our boys.
Closing my eyes, I thought about Asher who’d been conceived in the ashes of our past. I’d chosen his name as a reminder, and for its meaning: happy and blessed. Because that’s what James and I were. Blessed beyond reason because of our love and our boys.
Now it was Asher’s turn to find what James and I had, though I’d lay money he didn’t have to keep looking. He was his father’s son—all my boys were—so I knew better than anyone that when a Mayson decided you were it for them, there was no stopping them. And from the look on his face when he watched November, I knew she didn’t stand a chance against what my boys called the Mayson curse.
I chuckled softly, thinking back to earlier when I told November about James and my past. It was a tad bit G-rated and not exactly true. “A lie never hurt anyone if it’s for the right reason,” I mumbled, as I grabbed my shopping bags and made my way inside the house.
When I locked the front door, I caught my image in the entryway mirror. Where had the years gone? Dropping my bags, I moved closer to my reflection and scrutinized the small lines etched into the corners of my eyes.
Laugh lines . . . No. Scowl lines from repeatedly narrowing my eyes at James.
My sons may drive the women crazy in the twenty-first century, but their father was the original, arrogant, bossy, full-of-himself Mayson.
“What was it I said to November about James?” I asked my reflection, tugging at the frown lines he’d given me. She didn’t answer, so I filled her in. “I told her James asked me out daily for two months before I finally gave in.” The older and wiser version of Susan Elizabeth Montgomery Mayson smirked at me. “Yes, I know I lied. But my boys don’t need to know the truth.” Not the truth about how it started or what came after. I was as weak back then as I am today. James only had to look at me a certain way, and I was utterly powerless against him.
Speaking of looks. He’d shot one my way as I pulled out of the driveway this morning.
Time to collect on that promise.
Glancing at the clock, I wondered if I had enough time to prepare. “Shower, then sexy nightie,” I muttered, grabbing my shopping bags. I’d bought a surprise for James, one he’d receive the minute he stepped through the front door, so I needed to hurry.
Twenty minutes later I was freshly showered, buffed, and plucked. Then I donned a lavender silk nightie, trimmed delicately with antique lace that I’d purchased at the mall, and climbed onto our king-sized bed. I positioned myself for optimal effect, then grabbed my cell phone and took a picture, angling from my breasts up.
I examined the image. Good God . . . No woman my age should take a picture from that angle.
I changed position and tried holding my arms up high, hoping for less double chin and more cleavage.
No. No. Hell, no.
Maybe just a leg shot with a hint of the lavender silk?
I deleted the first two images and tried again. Bingo. The result was tasteful, while being sinfully sexy, with the added bonus of no double chin.
Now to send it.
My finger hovered over the doohickey symbol that meant attach an image to media, but I bit my lip, uncertain. Should I or shouldn’t I? I’d spent all day with a twenty-four-year-old woman who was full of life and exuberance—reminding me of the carefree and bold woman I used to be—and I realized I missed that side of myself. I wanted to be her again, even if only for a little while. Sending a sexy image of myself was something I’d never done before, but thinking about James opening it, made me feel daring and young. However, the question still remained, should I send a sexy image to my husband, the Sheriff of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and risk it being seen by someone else?