Bursting With Love

By: Melissa Foster



Jack’s cheeks lifted, and his smile brightened his eyes and softened his harsh edges. “Of course you can.”

Maybe you do have a softer side.

He addressed Elizabeth and Lou. “There’s no cell service up here. We talked about this, and you know the risks. It’s your job to keep track of Aiden at all times, not mine or anyone else’s. Got it?”

So much for the softer side. You really are a jerk.

Ten minutes later, they were making their way through the dense woods. Though they entered through what looked like a trail, the flattened landscape had faded fast, and Savannah had no idea how Jack could possibly know where they were headed. They were in the midst of two hundred thousand acres with no cell phone service with a guy who didn’t know empathy from apathy. How on earth would she heal herself when being led by someone like him? She reminded herself that one of the main reasons she’d chosen this particular camp was that there would be no cellular service. If Connor couldn’t reach her, he couldn’t try to lure her back. Whether Jack’s a jerk or not, I’m going to succeed, and when I get home, I’ll be stronger for it.

She’d never been particularly lucky in love, and after watching four out of five of her brothers find their forever loves over the recent months, she longed for more. If her brothers knew how Connor had treated her, they wouldn’t care that she was a thirty-four-year-old woman who could take care of herself. They would go after him without an ounce of hesitation—then they’d console her. It was after the consoling that worried her, when they’d look at her with pity in their eyes, not understanding how their bullheaded, smart-ass sister could ever allow a man to treat her that way. That was why she never told them. It’s complicated. That had been her stance on her relationship with Connor.

Other attorneys had gone so far as to call her Bulldog Braden because she was relentless in the pursuit of right and wrong. So why can’t I be that relentless when it comes to my heart? This trip was supposed to help her climb back into the armor she’d once worn and never allow herself to be treated that way again. She eyed Jack Remington as he pushed through thick branches and stomped over fallen trees. His muscles glistened against the afternoon sun. So what if he’s hot? He’s probably a bigger ass than Connor. And if she read the shadows in his eyes correctly, he was also dangerous. A bad combination for a girl on the rebound. She thought about the article that had made this weekend sound like the perfect remedy for women who had lost their edge. Stupid article. There was no doubt that this trip was a mistake.

A big, giant mistake.





Chapter Two


THE SUN BEGAN to drift toward the trees as the afternoon slowly turned to evening. The first day out, or what Jack liked to call the Day of Impact, would give him a clear indication of where each student stood, both mentally and physically. So far, they all seemed to be faring well, including Aiden. Jack glanced behind him at the boy, who held on to his father’s hand like a security blanket. He was a cute little guy with bright blue eyes and white-blond hair. His gut twisted, and a familiar lump formed in his throat as he thought about the unused nursery in his chalet. The night of the storm came rushing back like shards of glass being driven into his heart. He never should have let Linda leave the house, but he’d been so damned wrapped up in his work that he couldn’t—wouldn’t—pull away.

A shriek pulled him from the memory. He whipped around with his large knife in hand, knees bent. Josie huddled against Savannah’s side, her arms pulled in close, fear in her eyes.

“She thought she saw a snake,” Savannah said as she brushed Josie’s black hair from her shoulders. Josie’s skin was milky white, and her eyes were a vibrant blue, giving her the appearance of a porcelain doll…in jeans and clunky hiking boots.

For a moment, Jack didn’t move. A snake? You freaked out over a snake? Elizabeth and Lou stepped in front of Aiden, as if that might protect him from the snake. Jack looked down at the knife in his hand. Or protect him from me? Pratt stood off to the side with a smirk on his thin lips, shaking his head. Jack stole a glance at Savannah, who didn’t look shaken up or amused. She had one hand on Josie’s back and the other on her cheek.

“It’s okay,” Savannah assured her.

The kindness in Savannah’s voice spiked a memory in Jack. It’s okay. I’ll go. Linda’s voice crept through his mind. He turned back around and ran his hand through his hair. Love you, Linda had said before walking out the door. He hadn’t even answered her. He’d made a noise. A grunt. That familiar love-you-too noise that couples make when they’re too busy to give their spouse the time they deserve. Two long years and not once did a woman’s voice ever bring back that moment. What was it about Savannah Braden that had his mind twisting in ways it never had and his body noticing the beauty of a woman again for the first time?

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