Perfect Night (Mason Creek #4) - Terri E. Laine Page 0,1

that I love you so damn much,” he pleaded. “It’s hard to keep my hands off you.”

If his name were Pinocchio, his nose would have grown at least a foot in length. As he’d spoken, he’d inched his way in front of me. By then, his expression resembled the man I’d fallen in love with.

“Emma, it’s me.” He leaned in and pressed a gentle kiss to my lips before stepping back. “I promise, I will follow the rules.” His hands were in front of him and in that moment, he looked cute and sweet all wrapped in one. He licked his lips. “Dare I ask, will you leave with me tonight? We can go back to my apartment in the city.”

Seeing him like this, I was tempted, but I shook my head. “I need to talk to Dad.”

Evan’s lease in Billings was ending soon. He was moving back to Chicago after graduation. I was supposed to go with him. It was another reason he came to meet my dad.

“Tonight?” he asked.

“No. I’ll talk to him tomorrow. It’s important to me that you two get along. He’s the only family I have.”

He nodded. “I’ll talk to him too and apologize.”

I bit my lip to stop my grin. “Thank you.”

He smiled back before leaving my room. I sat on my bed and looked around my childhood room. The one I hadn’t left after graduating high school and had only redecorated to make it more adult. It would always be my home. I hadn’t gone off to school but stayed in town and worked my way through community college. I’d met Evan at a coffee shop between our respective schools and fallen in love, or so I thought. I’d told my dad after the wedding, I was moving to Chicago, Evan’s home. I’d been so sure. Now I wasn’t

Maybe it was fear that was making me doubt my decision. Maybe it was hearing Aiden’s name that had rattled me. Would Aiden move back to town with a wife? Though I hadn’t heard he’d gotten married. Then again, his parents didn’t come to town often. I’d kept my questions to Alana, his sister, to a minimum. She rarely talked about him.

But just because I’d loved Aiden from afar all these years didn’t mean he would ever live up to the fantasy in my head. So why did it matter? I was in love with Evan, wasn’t I? I would be married to him soon and whatever fantasy I’d have of being with Aiden would end for good.

I closed my eyes to vanquish thoughts of Aiden from my mind. Everything would change when I opened my eyes the next day.

Chapter 2


Mason Creek. There was nothing like the hills and valleys of Montana. Even the air was different here. A freshly fertilized field on a hot summer day smelled better than any day on the streets of a big city.

When I left for college, I never thought I’d be back, not to live anyway. But the saying that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side couldn’t be truer. All my life I wanted to leave and see the world. After college, it had only taken me a few years to realize how foolhardy that choice had been.

A couple of years on the fast track to become a LAPD detective wasn’t enough to keep me there. I’d seen too much that had me turning in my resignation even before I’d gotten the job with the Mason Creek’s Sheriff’s department.

It was much more than that. Not that I was sentimental, but Mason Creek was home. I hadn't come back to work on my father’s farm. I had been hired as the new chief deputy sheriff, the highest-ranking appointed position under the sheriff. I’d heard Wyatt, my friend from school, who due to a football injury had remained in town and become a deputy, had been interested in the position. I hoped there wouldn’t be bad blood. We'd have to have a beer and chat about it.

There were a couple of things we could talk about. I’d heard he was married with a kid on the way. So much had changed since I’d left.

There was another reason for coming home or rather one person I was looking forward to seeing. Emma Hawkins. Though, according to my sister, Alana, she was engaged. That should have me looking the other way. Truth was, because of that this could be my last chance with the one that had gotten away.