Bursting With Love(8)

By: Melissa Foster

Elizabeth, Lou, and Aiden had their tent fully constructed. Pratt helped Josie with her stakes, and Savannah wrestled with getting the poles through the stupid little rings of vinyl. Each time she got one in, another would slip out before she could secure the two pieces together. She plopped down on a fallen tree and let out a loud breath, then took it all apart and started over. I could be in a five-star resort right now in Hawaii, or Nassau, or anywhere else but the fucking woods. Maybe I should call someone to come pick me up. Treat would charter a plane to rescue me. Savannah and her brothers had significant trust funds, though none of them flaunted their wealth. But at a time like this, an extravagant expenditure seemed like an acceptable thing to consider. She shoved one pole through the loop and finally secured the other to it, pinching her finger in the process.

“Darn it,” she snapped and put the hurt finger in her mouth.

Jack looked over with a pinched and annoyed look on his face, then turned and walked away.

Jerk. Wasn’t he supposed to be teaching them? How was this teaching? She’d show him if it took all afternoon. She struggled with the next set of poles, determined to get the tent set up without any help.

She heard Josie tell Pratt, “We should help Savannah.”

Pratt headed in her direction.

“I got it. I’m fine,” she snapped. Savannah was capable of doing anything they were. She was just having trouble focusing. She glanced at Jack standing with his back to the group, his hands on his hips while he looked out over the ravine below, and narrowed her eyes. It’s you. She’d lost her edge when she was with Connor, and Jack’s attitude wasn’t helping. It was time she got it back.

In the courtroom, she’d know her next move by watching the jury’s reactions to her opponent. She scanned the other tents, noting their construction. She didn’t need instructions. She needed only to focus. In the next few minutes, she was able to visually match the construct of the other tents. She was done being the helpless woman. I’m reclaiming my mojo, so watch out, Jack Remington. There’s nothing I can’t do.

Jack turned to address the group. The sun illuminated his wide shoulders, and the way the land fell away behind him, his six-four frame looked larger than life.

Why do you have to be such an ass? She gritted her teeth, wondering if she’d be the only Braden unable to find love. Men suck. Not that I’m looking. She was done with them, but it would be reassuring to know that nice men still existed.

Jack’s deep voice boomed through the campsite. “Grab your canteens, and if you want to wash up for the night, bring your towels. We’re only going down to the stream once tonight.” Jack’s eyes darted all over the damn campsite except within ten feet of her.

She fell in step beside Elizabeth, wishing she’d worn her hiking books. Back home, she could walk for days in her cowgirl boots, but this mountain was a whole different story. What was I thinking?

“How’s Aiden holding up?” she asked.

“He’s got more energy than me and Lou put together. He’s doing great, but he’s completely enamored with Jack.” She nodded to the two, walking up ahead side by side. Aiden’s head was cocked to the side as he looked up at Jack. He was rattling off questions in rapid succession. Jack answered each one as he led them to the stream. Savannah noticed the softer tone he used with Aiden and that every so often—usually when he looked at Aiden—he rubbed a long white scar on the back of his left arm.

“He’s not exactly the nicest guy, is he?” Savannah said.

Elizabeth leaned in closer to Savannah and brought her hand up and shielded her mouth, like she was sharing a secret. “You know about his wife, right?”

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