Perfect Night (Mason Creek #4) - Terri E. Laine

Chapter 1


The question hung in the air like a cloud that blotted out the sun.

“Emma, are you there?” my best friend Jessie asked, breaking the silence that had fallen upon our conversation. However, that wasn’t the question that hijacked my thoughts.

Breaking from that trance, I said, “Yes, I’m here.”

“Did you hear me?”

Had I?

“I don’t think anyone knows Aiden is coming back,” she added.

And there it was. Aiden. I thought he was gone for good. Now he was coming back. I wasn’t sure how to feel. My relationship with him was simple yet complicated. He was what some people might call ‘the one that had gotten away’. Then again, it wasn’t like we’d ever dated. He was three years older than me, and by the time I made it to high school, he was with Darcy. Beautiful, everyone thought she was stunning, Darcy, and I hated her. Mostly because she had Aiden and I didn’t.

They weren’t always together. The times they broke up, I had a boyfriend. And that’s how it went.

“I heard the sheriff talking to Stanley who is retiring, and Aiden is apparently interested in his position as the chief deputy sheriff. Though I think Wyatt is too.”

Wyatt was one of the deputies in town who had recently gotten married to a friend, Sadie. She just moved back from LA too. Though from what she’d said, she and Aiden hadn’t crossed paths there. While Wyatt had spent his entire police career in town, Aiden had left, gone to college, and ended up in the LAPD. Was he really coming back? I was engaged. It shouldn’t matter to me, but it did.

“Emma,” she said.

My mind had drifted again. “I’m here.”

“Are you really?”

“I am. Promise,” I said.

“Okay. Why don’t you tell me how it’s going with Evan’s visit?” she asked.

That was a good question. Here I was in town having brought my fiancé to meet my dad in person and I wasn’t sure how I felt, especially after how horrible dinner had gone.

“I don’t know,” I mumbled.

“Okay,” she said, slowly as if every syllable was its own word.

I sighed before finally admitting what I’d been thinking about all evening. “It was supposed to be a perfect night, but it was a disaster.” That was an understatement.

“Oh crap. What happened?”

“What didn’t?” The incident had left a bitter taste in my mouth. “I’m pretty sure they hate each other.”

“The two most important men in your life?” she asked.

One important man, I was beginning to realize. My dad would always be the man in my life. My fiancé, I wasn’t so sure about. How much did I really know about him after all the things he’d said tonight? “I’m not so sure anymore.”

“About what… or who?”

There was a knock on my bedroom door, and I glanced up. Evan peered in. “Can I come in?”

I nodded and said, “I have to call you back.”

“Use your inner superwoman,” she said, reminding me what I’d told her when she’d begun dating Miles, the hot new doctor in town.

“Wait…” I heard her say a second too late as I hit the end button. Evan slipped into my room with the widest grin on his face. Something that had once sent tingles down my spine, tonight, sent a shiver through me, and not a good one.

Schooling my features, I managed a mild smile. “You know you aren’t supposed to be in here.”

He slid in next to me, forcing me to move to the center of the bed to accommodate him. “It’s been a week and I don’t think I can keep my hands off of you any longer.”

Hands that had brought me pleasure now made me cringe as he brushed them over my skin. I found myself worming away and forcing a giggle to cover my unease.

“We can’t,” I insisted.

“Why not? The old man is downstairs.”

The frost that covered my features was instant. “That old man is my dad, and you owe him respect.”

“Respect?” he spat. “His views are archaic. He can’t possibly believe I’m not tapping that.”

His gaze landed at the juncture between my legs before winking at me. I rolled until I was on my feet creating more distance between us.

“That may or may not be true, but Dad asked us to respect his rule of law in his house. And if you can’t respect that, you should leave now.”

I caught his flash of anger before it was gone. Just as quickly, he softened his features and got to his feet as well. “I’m sorry, Emma. It’s just