The mystery of attraction ...

From Your Saving Grace

Setup: Hannah was recently attacked outside her home after receiving threatening phone calls. Jude Brenner, temporarily assigned to protect her, stayed in her home while she was in the hospital recovering. They've just returned to her farm house after spending an afternoon away.

Hannah scrambled out of the Jeep, reaching in for the laptop the same time as Jude. She tried to move out of his way as he stepped forward but ended up sprawling on the seat, Brenner on top of her as he stumbled over her feet. They both started laughing, but the laughter died when their eyes met. His body pressed on hers—much of it covered by his sheepskin jacket but she felt his hard thighs. For an instant she wanted to wiggle underneath him and hitch up her own jacket, the better to experience him against her.

He jerked away and helped her to her feet, reaching in to snag the laptop and her briefcase. Suddenly breathless, Hannah flailed about, grabbing the two big notebooks and staggering under her burden. She followed him up the steps to the kitchen door.

She entered the kitchen foyer and dropped her books on the floor. Brenner crowded in behind her, putting his gym bag down while bending over to untie his boots. For a minute they were close, each leaning against the other to get laces undone and coats and mittens off. Then they straightened up.

“Let me check things,” he said, disappearing down the basement steps.

Hannah wondered if he’d looked through the house the night before. It felt odd to know someone had walked around her house without her knowledge. He came back upstairs. “All okay. Your plants need some water, though.” He jerked his head toward the basement door then walked into the kitchen.

Hannah frowned. Her seed-starter kits were in the basement under grow lights. She went to the kitchen window, looking out on the snowy backyard where the garden would take shape. The brief snowfall from the afternoon had softened some of the tracks. But Hannah saw the tracks from the night before, remembering the run through the thigh-deep snow, panicked and terrified.

Then she saw a new set of tracks. Brenner’s footsteps? They skirted the west edge of her property, near the windbreak that separated her property from Albert’s. They looked fresh and new, with no snow filling them in. They must be Brenner’s. But he wasn’t gone that long—he couldn’t have gone all the way over to the side of the house then walked up to the south edge of the lot and back, not while I was in the Jeep. They must be—

She turned to look at Brenner as he walked into the kitchen. He met her accusing gaze squarely. “Yeah,” he said. “Somebody’s been here.”

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