Facing Our Fears
Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : Celine Chatillon
Word Count :26325
Publication Date :2018-02-09
Series : Seven for Seduction#2
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-4874-1506-8
Jaynie is unsure, Bryce is frustrated, and both are confused. Fears from their pasts are blocking their futures.
Jaynie knows she has found the Mr. Right of her dreams. Yet Bryce doesn’t seem to want to commit to a real relationship. Her insecurities from being left at the altar, and the fact she knows Bryce is keeping secrets has her so confused she doesn’t know what to do.
Bryce knows he wants Jaynie—just ask his libido. She’s fun, smart, and just plain sexy. Yet the ghost of Helena still has the power to make him wary. Guilt and frustration are making it difficult to commit to a permanent relationship.
Can family and friends help Jaynie and Bryce get past their fears and give their relationship a try? Or will their fears pull them apart?
“You’re moving in with a couple?” Madi shrieked. The break room echoed her sentiments for several moments before anyone dared to open her mouth.
Keryn put down her yogurt container and spoon. “I think that’s exactly what Emma is saying, Madi. At least your rent payments will be less. Right, Emma?”
“Yep. Dino’s given me a free pass to use the gym he manages for my workouts. That saves me hundreds a year right there. Plus, Shasta cuts my hair and does my nails for free.” Emma wiggled her fingers in front of Jaynie’s face. “You like?”
Jaynie put down her sandwich. “Nice work. I like the racing stripes.”
Madi snorted. “But really!”
Jaynie smiled. The idea was a bit unconventional, but then again, Emma was an unconventional person. Her new living arrangement made sense in a very unconventional way. Still, she didn’t like seeing Madi so upset.
“It’s all right, Madi,” Jaynie whispered in her ear. “Emma will see the error of her ways before too long. She’s a big girl and has to make her own life decisions.”
“I wish Raheesha wasn’t out sick,” Madi said with a sigh. “Rae can set people straight. She’s very good at that.”
“Straight?” Keryn raised an eyebrow. “I doubt Raheesha can set Emma straight if Emma is bisexual. Right, Emma?”
Emma shrugged and took a bite of her apple, chewed it thoughtfully and swallowed. “Yeah, I guess. I don’t think I’m bisexual anymore, though. I prefer Shasta over Dino any day of the week.”
Madi’s face paled. Jaynie put an arm around her shoulder to prevent her from falling out of her chair. “Is that so?” Jaynie said, trying to keep the conversation on a lighter note. “Dino is a pack rat or something?”
“Now that you mention it, he is. He’s a first-class slob. Poor Shasta has to do all the housecleaning. If she didn’t have me to help her out she’d…”
Emma’s brow furrowed. “Hey, wait a minute! That’s all I seem to do whenever I’m with Shasta—clean up around the house. You don’t think she’s leading me on just to get me to move in with them and become a live-in maid, do you?”
“Sounds like a distinct possibility,” Keryn agreed. “What is Shasta and Dino’s relationship like? I mean, do they hang out with you or with each other more when you’re not out clubbing?”
“They hang out together more than they do with me.” Emma’s puzzled scowl grew angrier by the second. “I’m beginning to think they don’t love me after all.”
Madi rolled her eyes. “How could they? They love each other. That’s what being a couple means. One plus one doesn’t equal three.”
Jaynie stared at her younger co-worker. For acting terribly naïve at times, Madi demonstrated some rather deep insights on occasion.
After lunch, Jaynie returned to her office and the mile-high stack of papers she was processing for Mr. J, but Madi’s comment stayed with her all through the afternoon. One plus one doesn’t equal three. When it came to her relationship with Bryce one plus one didn’t even equal two. Somehow, emotionally, things never seem to quite add up between them.
Jaynie glanced over at Bryce, who was totally engrossed in whatever he was working on. Was he oblivious to the gaps she saw in their relationship?
She’d finally confessed her engagement and how ready she’d been to say I do before it was all called off. That revelation didn’t seem to faze Bryce one bit. However, he didn’t reciprocate with a confidence of his own. He never told her about his past relationships. He never told her who the perfect woman in the photograph was. He never told her what their relationship was like and how it ended.
Of course, after seeing the wounded look in his eyes, she’d never even dared to ask.
A knock at their office door startled Jaynie out of her troubling musings. Lotus walked in with some papers in hand.
“Jaynie, can you check this over for me? With Raheesha being absent today, I’m feeling a bit lost at the lead position.”
“Sure thing. Come on in.”
Jaynie scanned the document and pointed out two small errors. For her first day subbing as the lead, Lotus was doing an excellent job.
“I sure hope Rae gets to feeling better soon,” Lotus confessed. “She sounds so froggy on the phone, though. Since she’s got quite a bit of sick leave accrued, I doubt she’s going to be in until next week.”
“That’s too bad. But, hey, you’re gaining valuable work experience.”
“Really?” Lotus sighed. “That’s one way of looking at it, but I don’t think I can keep up the strenuous pace much longer.”
Jaynie gave her co-worker a quick squeeze. “Oh, Lolo! Have more confidence in yourself and your abilities. You’re doing great. Tell me, how are you and Mr. Maxwell getting along these days?”
Lotus pale cheeks turned bright pink. “Max and I get along great. We’re going to a rally this weekend to help save virgin forest stands in Mark Twain National Forest.”
“Sounds exciting. Do you get to hug each other while you hug the trees?”
Lotus blushed again. “Uh-huh. That’s part of the fun. Afterward, when we have all these loose cords laying around, we…”
“I’m trying to think here,” Bryce abruptly interrupted. “Take the conversation outside.”
“Oh, so sorry.” Lotus quickly gathered up her papers.
Jaynie mouthed don’t mind him as Lotus left the office, but she could tell Bryce’s boorishness had hurt the gentle hippie’s feelings.
“You owe Lotus an apology,” Jaynie said through clenched teeth. “Your rudeness was uncalled for.”
“My rudeness? If you let her go on, she’ll talk your ear off about saving the whales, the seals, the penguins, and the rainforests. The woman is addicted to supporting causes.”
“And what’s wrong with that? At least she’s not afraid to put her beliefs into action.”
Bryce sighed and twisted away from her in his seat. “Meaning?”