Closing The Gap (Dangerous Pasts, #1)
mom.  He’d also give anything to go back and change his despicable behavior while she was fighting for her life and wondered if Shelly ever had regrets about her behavior during that same time. 
    “I wish I could take back my actions during those years.  I’m older and wiser now, dad.”
    “I’m really glad to hear it.  In honor of your mother, I’m about to say something and you listen closely.  Joshua, you were not born in a barn.  Remember that tomorrow and don’t hurt one of my dearest friends on purpose.”
    “Dad, its one date.”
    “You don’t understand son.  This is the kind of woman you can’t forget.  She’s the kind of woman you hold on to with both hands and never even dream of letting go.  Lake is the kind of woman that will haunt you.”
    “Dad, I would never dream of disappointing you.  Lake Harrison is safe with me.”  Even though they were only words, Josh knew that he meant them.  Josh would never dishonor his mother’s memory or his father’s friendships.  They were the only two people in this world worthy of being held on a pedestal.  Besides, after just one night, he’d be able to let this woman go and return to his life without looking back.  He’d done it hundreds of other times.  How could this time be any different?  Josh found his dad’s words gave him pause.  What could be so unique about Lake?  He didn’t know but was intrigued by the prospect of getting to know her.
    Josh gave his dad a pat on the back to reassure him further and turned towards the door where he’d last caught sight of Lake.  He imagined her sitting out on the patio for a breath of fresh air; unless she’d taken the opportunity to hide in the ladies room.  He was now even more fascinated than ever and the time had come to meet the elusive Ms. Harrison face to face.  Women never fled the scene of interactions with him and he found his confidence taking a slight beating.  Most women flocked to him in droves.  After his dad’s impassioned soapbox speech, the evening had presented a mystery that he wanted to unravel just to find out if his dad was right.  Since his dad wasn’t normally so nostalgic, his curiosity had increased.  Perhaps the lovely Lois had turned his dad into a romantic softie.  He couldn’t even imagine being haunted by one woman.  When they were out of site, they were out of mind.
    As he stepped out onto the cobblestone patio, he spotted her leaning against a wrought iron railing squeezing a glass of red wine as if to obliterate the lead crystal into dust.  Josh took the liberty of allowing himself the time to study her at length and noticed the blood start to surge through his body as he stared at her.  The light breeze tousled her loose curls and her hair floated like spun gold. He loved her dress and the way the corset back molded her body, revealing a tiny waist with ample cleavage.  He took note of her full breasts rising and falling with each deep breath she took and he considered what her pale skin would feel like if he trailed his finger under the top seam of the corset.  Would her nipples harden at the caress?  They probably would, right before she slapped his face. 
    As she gazed out on to the manicured landscape, her full lips pursed into a pout.  The simple action caused her expression to take on a sexy quality in full contradiction to the style and grace of her attire and mannerisms.  He wondered if full passion lay beneath the veneer of her polished exterior.  Josh admitted to himself that this woman confused the hell out of him.  God, she’s exquisite.   His dad was dead on about that part.  She had an ethereal quality and a fragility as though she might shatter if the wind changed direction.
    Josh wondered what ‘horrible’ thing had happened to her in the past to cause the protective armor to envelop her body like a second skin.  He sensed that she was holding on and holding back.  Someone had obviously hurt this woman and that

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