This Time, Forever

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Authors: Pamela Britton
at placing fourteenth ran a distant second to how I felt in your arms.”
    She couldn’t breathe for a moment, felt her resolve weakening.
    â€œSpend the day with me,” he said.
    â€œLinc, you know I can’t. I have work to do. And I left the track early yesterday. If I do something rash, likeleave with you on my arm, my brother will surely hear about it.”
    â€œSo?”
    She shook her head. “I can’t.”
    â€œWe can,” he said. “Meet me for lunch, then. We’ll call it business.”
    She was tempted. Oh, how she was tempted. But she just couldn’t see her way past all the obstacles. She’d promised Gil. Darn it, she owed it to her brother to stay away from his star driver, at least while he was trying to make his big comeback.
    â€œI’m not taking no for an answer, but if it’ll make you feel any better, I’ll call Emma-Lee and have her arrange it. That way, it’ll look more official. We can discuss business.”
    No, she couldn’t. She really, really shouldn’t.
    But she wanted to. She remembered what it felt like to have his mouth cover hers. She’d fantasized about what it would be like to be kissed by him for too many years to walk away from him now. She tried to remain strong, to keep resisting him, but the look in his gray eyes was her undoing. They burned into her own…taunting her, challenging her, reminding her.
    â€œOkay, fine,” she said.
    Because if she were honest with herself, she’d never really stood a chance.
    Â 
    T HEY NEVER MADE IT to the restaurant. Linc stopped on the side of the road—the two of them having left in separate cars—and asked if she’d rather eat lunch at his house. Of course, she knew what he was really asking, and all it took was one look into his heated eyes to convince her to follow him.
    She was such a fool.
    It was like playing with fire. For a moment she wondered if that wasn’t part of the allure. He was forbidden. Off limits. Someone she should avoid at all cost, but she’d always had a thing for Linc and so maybe that wasn’t it at all.
    Linc’s home was in the opposite direction of most of the NASCAR community. It was still off Davidson Highway, but east of most of the race shops. As she pulled between the brick pillars that guarded the entrance to his home, she found herself thinking racing had been good to him. Nothing illustrated that better than the home he lived in. It appeared to be one story, but it sprawled along the top of a hill overlooking a green valley. Secluded, sheltered and set back from the road, it was like a seashell set atop a beach, especially with the granite rocks that framed the lower third of its walls. Windows peeked out, scores of them, all at different angles. The exterior was painted a soft pink that should have looked out of place in the south, but that somehow worked in this setting. Billowy clouds hung overhead, causing the valley below to be dotted by gray shadows.
    â€œIt’s beautiful,” she said, slipping from her car.
    â€œI know,” he said, but he wasn’t looking at the house, he was looking at her.
    Marley knew they wouldn’t be eating lunch then, especially when he kissed her. That was all it took—just one touch and food was the furthest thing from her mind. His mind, too, it seemed.
    â€œLet’s go inside,” he said, drawing back and holding out his hand.
    They walked, hand in hand, toward his home.
    Â 
    S HE AGREED to a secret affair. That way, if things didn’t work out, her brother would never know about it and she wouldn’t have to live her life hearing his “I told you so” over and over again. And so they became coworkers in the office by day, lovers by night.
    â€œYou’ve certainly got a glow about you,” her brother said, popping his head into her office.
    It was the Monday after the California race, her brother completely oblivious

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