Jared's Counterfeit Fiancee - Page 5

“Considering everything, do you regret going to my parents’ home for dinner?” he couldn’t help but ask.

Although she didn’t open her eyes, a smile touched her lips. “No, I had a wonderful time, Jared. Being around your family and seeing your closeness, brought back so many memories of how close I was to my parents and how they used to make every holiday so special for me.” She opened her eyes, tilted her head to him and smiled. “I really appreciate you sharing your friendly, loving pack with me today.”

The warm look Dana gave him sent heated sensations down Jared’s spine. She might have enjoyed spending time with his family, but he could admit that he had actually enjoyed spending the day with her, as well. She was a charming person to be around and, unlike a lot of his other dates, Dana had not demanded his complete attention, by clinging to him or refusing to let him out of her sight.

He had watched how easily she had blended in with his family and how quickly she had won them over. He could see why his mother thought he had fallen for her.

Jared’s hand tightened on the steering wheel. Thinking he was falling for her was one thing, but actually believing that he was engaged to her was another. How could his mother assume such a thing? She knew how he felt about marriage. Did she actually believe one woman could make him change his whole thought process on something he felt so strongly about?

Moments later he pulled into Dana’s driveway and brought the car to a stop. He glanced over at her and saw that she had fallen asleep. He hated waking her but knew that he had to. So as not to startle her, he leaned over and softly whispered, “Dana, you’re home.”

He watched as her eyes slowly opened, then of its own accord his gaze latched on to her lips, full, luscious, tempting. He would give anything to know how they tasted.

“I think I’d better walk you to the door,” he said, fighting the urge to pull her into his arms and kiss her.

He watched as she took a deep breath and nodded. “All right.”

Opening the door he got out of the car and walked around to open the door for her; then together they walked to her door. She turned to face him. “Thanks again, Jared, for such a beautiful day. It was special.”

He nodded. He wanted to say that she was special, too, but knew that he couldn’t. This was their only time together and he had to accept that. “Thanks for being my date. I’ll talk to my mother tomorrow.”


He watched as she put her key in the door and moments later she turned to him. She hesitated for a moment, then asked, “Would you like to come in for a drink?”

He suddenly decided that he wanted to go in, but not for the drink she was offering. He wanted to do something he’d been thinking of all day. “Yes, I’d like that.”

He followed her inside, but when she headed toward the kitchen he placed his hand on her arm. “I can’t think of a better way for this day to end than this,” he said softly, before leaning down and gently capturing her mouth with his, needing to taste her as much as he needed to breathe.

Shivers of profound pleasure shot through every part of Dana’s body the moment their lips touched and her eyelids automatically fluttered shut. When Jared’s tongue slipped into her mouth, tasting of the sweet tea he had sipped earlier, she shuddered as a delicious shiver ran up her spine.

Sensations she had never felt before consumed her and when she felt his hands wrap around her middle, pulling her close to the fit of his hard body, she could have melted right where she stood. His assault of her mouth was deliberate, sensuous, unhurried. It was meant to tantalize and awaken every part of her and it did.

Then he deepened the kiss, taking it to another level as he continued to take her mouth slowly, thoroughly, passionately. A part of her wanted to pull back, but he was right. This was the perfect way to end the day. They had been attracted to each other from the first and to pretend otherwise would be a complete waste of time. And since this was the last time they’d spend together, they could at least have this moment.

So she hung in and continued to let him kiss her, finding exquisite pleasure in every moment that he did so. Then he changed the rhythm of their kiss as his tongue played seek and retreat with hers, making a whimper rumble from deep within her throat.

Heat throbbed within Jared as he continued to kiss Dana. Initially, he had meant for the kiss to be nothing more than a way of saying goodbye, to satisfy his curiosity and hunger, but the moment he tasted her sweetness he was helpless to do anything but sink in and savor.

He made sure his kiss was gentle but thorough as he relentlessly explored her mouth. His tongue dueled with hers in a slow sensuous motion and when she wound her arms around his neck and arched her body to the hard length of his, he was consumed with hot waves of desire. There was something about her that had his senses pulsating. Never before had he been this driven to devour anyone.

Moments later with a fevered moan, he lifted his mouth away from hers although he continued to track her lips with his tongue. “You’re beautiful in every way that a woman can be, Dana,” he whispered roughly against her ear, burying his face in her neck and placing a kiss there.

His compliment touched Dana’s very core. No one had ever said such a thing to her. “Thank you.”

“Don’t thank me. It’s the truth,” he said, releasing her slowly and taking a step back. “And I want to thank you again for helping me out today.”

“I want to thank you, as well. Like I said, your family is wonderful.”

He nodded. There would be no reason to see her after today. He tried racking his brain for some excuse to drop by, but couldn’t find one. He ran a frustrated hand across the back of his neck. No woman had ever had him this reluctant to say goodbye. He glanced around the room, stalling for time. “Where’s Tom?” he asked, trying to prolong the time by even an additional second if he could.

“He’s probably in my bed.”

Damn lucky cat. Jared met her gaze and knew he should leave before he did something really crazy such as grabbing her and starting to kiss her again. “Goodbye, Dana.”

“Goodbye, Jared.”

“Take care of yourself.” And with those final words he turned, opened the door and walked out of the house.


A round ten the next morning, Jared walked into his parents’ home. His nine o’clock court appointment had gotten canceled, which afforded him the opportunity to visit his mother and straighten out yesterday’s misunderstanding.

“Mom! Dad!” he called out while walking through the living room to the kitchen.

“I’m out back,” was his father’s reply.

Jared opened the kitchen door and stepped onto the sun deck his father had built last year. He saw him busy at work putting a coat of polish on his classic Ford Mustang. “Good morning, Dad.”

“Morning, son. What a nice surprise to see you on a Monday morning.”

“I had a canceled court hearing this morning. Where is everyone?”

“Durango stayed over at Stone’s place last night and Ian and Spencer are having breakfast with their cousins at Chase’s Place. Quade had to fly out first thing this morning to return to D.C. and Reggie, I imagine went to work.”

Jared nodded and glanced around. “I need to talk to Mom. Is she upstairs?”

His father sighed deeply. “No, she had a doctor’s appointment this morning.”

Jared frowned. “A doctor’s appointment? Is anything wrong?”

His father shrugged. “I hope not, but you know your mother. If something is wrong then I’ll be the last to know. She thinks if she tells me anything I’d worry myself to death. I wouldn’t know about her appointment today if I hadn’t heard the message the doctor’s office left on the answering machine reminding her of it. Appears they found another lump during her checkup last week.”

Jared’s frown deepened. Three years ago his mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer and had undergone a series of chemo and radiation treatments before being given a clean bill of health.

“Mom’s car is in the driveway so how did she get to the doctor’s?”

“I offered to drive her but she had already made arrangements for your aunt Evelyn to take her. You know those two. They have been best friends for years.”

Jared nodded. Everyone in the Westmoreland family knew how the two women who had been best friends since high school had ended up marrying the Westmoreland twins, becoming sisters-in-law. “Do you think it’s anything serious?” he asked.

He couldn’t help but remember how things were the last time. The cancer treatments had made his mother sicker than he’d ever remembered her being. He, his brothers and his dad had made the mistake of hovering over her as if she was an invalid. That hadn’t helped matters, which was probably the reason she hadn’t mentioned this doctor’s appointment to any of them. They would have all shown up at the doctor’s office with her today.

“To be honest, Jared, I was beginning to get concerned. I could tell she was worried, although she tried pretending that she wasn’t. But then all that changed yesterday.”

Jared raised a brow. “Yesterday? What happened yesterday?”

Tags: Brenda Jackson Billionaire Romance
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