Forever's Embrace (Forever In Luck Series Book 2)

BOOK: Forever's Embrace (Forever In Luck Series Book 2)
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FOREVER’S EMBRACE

 

J. Darling

FOREVER IN LUCK SERIES

 

Book 1: Forever’s Promises

Book 2: Forever’s Embrace

Book 3: Forever’s Affection

Book 4: (Late 2014)

 
FOREVER’S EMBRACE

FOREVER’S EMBRACE

Copyright © J. Darling, 2014

First Edition

This is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, places and incidents are products of the author's imagination, or
were used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to
actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely
coincidental. All rights reserved. The republication or utilization of this
work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic or mechanical or other
means, not known of hereafter invented, including xerography, photocopying and
recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, is forbidden
without the written permission of the publisher. The scanning, uploading, and
distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without
permission of the copyright owner is illegal and punishable by law.

STORY
DESCRIPTION
:
Mere acquaintances, Jake Albrecht and Jules Blomgren find themselves fostering
a budding romance when she visits Luck, Wisconsin, over the Thanksgiving
holiday. Separated by time and distance, the smitten Jake devises a plan to get
her back to Luck in time for Valentine’s Day and a little romance, when the
unexpected happens and their new found love is tried beyond measure. Will it
withstand the test? Will he be able to get her to give him a chance? Find out
when you read the epic drama in
Forever’s
Embrace,
book two in the Forever In Luck series.

 
 

This book is dedicated to my supporters.

You know who you are.

CHAPTER 1

 

Standing
in the baggage claim area of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport,
Jake Albrecht waited with his younger sister Linnie for her best friend and
maid-of-honor, Jules, to arrive from Chicago. Nate, Jake’s soon to be
brother-in-law, had been banned from this trip because Linnie was picking up
her wedding dress and he wasn’t allowed to see it. Protective as ever, Nate
insisted she not travel alone, and so, as brother to the bride and trusted
friend, Jake was enlisted to tag along.

It
wasn’t like they had to twist his arm though. Jules was a looker, and he
couldn’t wait to see her again. It’d been nearly five years since he’d last
seen her, and if he wouldn’t have been so young and dumb at the time, he
would’ve known back then that she was a one in a million kind of gal and
would’ve tried to get something going with her.

The
fact that they were separated by six hours and four hundred plus miles hadn’t
stopped him from fantasizing about her though, and he’d had a vivid imagination
where she was concerned. He wondered if the attraction would still be there,
would he still feel the same or—

“Now,
Jake, remember it’s her first visit, so don’t go giving her a hard time. I want
her to feel comfortable enough to want to come back again.”

“Me?
You talking to me?” he asked innocently. “I’m not the one who gave her a hard
time when we visited you in Chicago. It was Nik. I was a perfect gentleman.”

“Aha,
right,” Linnie said, rolling her eyes. “
Which is why I have
to tell you, and Nik, to play nice.
Now behave,” she admonished.

He
shook his head at her like she was crazy, then turned away and cracked a wide
grin, because he and his younger brother had been rather merciless. Jules was a
blusher, and boy was she pretty when she did. Turning back, he asked, “How come
she’s so shy?”

“Because she’s never really been around
men.
When she was little, the kids picked on her a lot at school, so her grandma
pulled her out and homeschooled her for a few years before she attended an
all-girls school.”

“Her grandma?
Where are her
mom and dad?”

“They
died of carbon monoxide poisoning when she was a baby. Her grandparents were
caring for her while her parents worked the evening shift. They went home after
work to sleep for a while before picking her up in the morning. They died when
the furnace malfunctioned.”

Thank
God she had grandparents, he thought. “Does she have any family?”

Linnie
shook her head.
“None.
Her grandparents have since passed,
and initially weren’t able to have children for whatever reason, but then
surprise, Nana found out she was pregnant with Jules’s mom while in her
forties. So,
there’s no aunts
, uncles, or cousins, and
if there was anyone extended beyond that, they’d lost contact with them long
before Jules was ever born.”

Hell,
she was painfully shy,
and
all alone.
That had to be tough, he thought. “Why didn’t she drive up? She could’ve saved
some money by driving.”

“She
doesn’t know how to,” Linnie answered.

“What?”
Jake asked in shock. “What do you mean she doesn’t know how to?”

“She
doesn’t know how to, she’s never driven. She’s lived in the city all her life
and never learned how to drive. She walks or takes public transportation.”

Feeling
perplexed, he asked, “What kind of work does she do again?”

“She’s
a pharmacist, works for a big pharmaceutical company doing research.”

That’s
impressive, he thought. “Wow, doesn’t that take, like brains, and time to
complete? She can’t be that old.”

“Sure
does, and she’s not, she’s twenty-five. Jules is wicked smart though. If she
relaxes enough while she’s here, you’ll see what I’m talking about. She
finished high school early, and then started college right away. She just kept
right on going from there. Her test scores and academic performance were so
advanced,
she was able to get into programs others only
dream about. She made it through in record time, and was contacted by a
headhunter working for the company. They snatched her up right away, and now
she has a dream job.”

Fascinating,
I’m twenty-five too, he thought. “It’s strange then that she’s so shy. You’d
think she’d have come out of her shell, met some guy, and be having the time of
her life by now.”

“Yes
and no,” Linnie said. “In order to finish early and get good grades, she had to
apply herself in school and study a lot. She didn’t party or date. In her job,
she’s involved with projects that have her working independently, or only with
a few members of a team, so she doesn’t have a lot of contacts there. Some men
at work have expressed an interest, but she doesn’t want an office romance, so
no go there. Then of course there’s the shyness piece too. I think she’d like
to find someone
special,
she talks like she does, but
nothing so far. So, we’ll see, someone will come along and sweep her off her
feet.”

A
wave of people came towards them, and Jake could just barely see a beautiful
head of blond hair bobbing amongst the crowd. She was here, and his heart
started to thump. People began to split off, and pretty soon, there she was. He
knew he was in trouble the moment he saw her again. If she’d been a looker
before, she was a knock out now, and Jake watched as man after man turned and
stared at her as she walked down the corridor. Undeterred, she continued making
her way towards them, oblivious to the stir she was causing.

Amazing,
absolutely amazing, he thought, then imagined for a brief moment what it would
feel like if she’d come for him, was looking for him, and would walk straight
to him and into his arms. He inhaled deeply as he remembered meeting her for
the first time five years ago. His attraction to her had been instantaneous,
but he’d figured time and space would have dulled that particular ache. But
ohhhh no, it was still there.
Big time.

Linnie
squealed and ran to Jules, the two throwing their arms around each other and
hugging as people walked on by. Jake watched, wishing he could do the same. I
need to play this real cool, he thought, not wanting to lose control and
embarrass the hell out of
himself
. Rolling his
shoulders in an attempt to shake off his gathering tension, he stood up
straight and tall, putting his best out on display. Then he slowly made his way
over to her, all the while hoping she’d throw him a bone and remember who he
was.

Taking
notice of him, she pulled back from Linnie’s embrace, and said between batting
lashes, “Hi, Jake, it’s nice to see you again.”

ZING…a
shot of electricity whizzed through him like a pinball. His body hummed to
attention and vibrated so much so, he was damn near levitating. Reminding
himself to breathe, his chest expanded as he took a deep lung full of air. The
sultry tone of her voice was like a smooth caress to his ears, a delicate
stroke over his body that made his hair stand on end, and hell if it didn’t
take every ounce of his control to keep from hugging her, then and there, in a
manner that left no question as to how he felt about her.

Continuing
to try and play it cool, he did his best when he gave her his trademark quirked
lipped grin and flick of the head upwards, while responding low, hoping she’d
get his message, “Hey, Jules, you’re looking good.” What a lie, she looked
downright scrumptious. He couldn’t help but get lost in those beautiful blue,
blue eyes of hers, as his stare locked onto hers intently.

Blushing
profusely, she quickly broke the contact by looking away, hiding from his
stare.

Ohhh,
he groaned inside, she was lovely, and he wanted to be with her, bad. There was
something about her that made him want to start beating his chest like an ape,
and howling like a wolf, in hopes of getting her attention. Linnie jabbed him
in the side. He knew what that was about, he’d made Jules blush, and she didn’t
think he was behaving.

Collecting
her luggage, they headed for the parking garage. He needed to figure out a way
to get some time with her fast. It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and
she probably had to be back in Chicago come Monday, so essentially four days to
try and make something happen.

Listening
as he drove, Linnie and Jules sat in the back of Linnie’s car talking and
catching up on things, all the while acting like he wasn’t even there.

“So,
how’s work going? What are you working on?” Linnie asked.

“It’s
going
well,
I’m on a neuroscience team right now.
We’re studying the structure of the nervous system through the use of human
biology, neuroimaging, and biomarkers. By gaining a better understanding of the
brain and the nervous system circuitry, we can better direct our efforts
towards improving degenerative and psychiatric diseases.”

“Wow,
that sounds cool,” Linnie answered.

“Yeah,
I’m enjoying it. In addition to running studies of our own, we’re doing a
systematic review of the topic literature using meta-analysis. The knowledge we
gain will help us refine and advance our existing formulations, as well as
assist in developing new therapies too.”

Ooookie
dokie then, he didn’t know what that was all about. She’d lost him somewhere
between nervous system and biomarkers, her voice having lulled and distracted
him, but whatever it was she was doing, and how she talked about it, made her
sexy as hell. He wondered if she fit the typical stereotype, hair up, large
glasses, lab coat, clipboard, and found he needed to loosen his collar a bit.

“Niiice,”
Linnie said, all drawn out.
“Any particular area of interest
for you within the study?”

“Mmhmm,
pain, the nocioceptors and their corresponding neurotransmitters,” Jules
answered.

Okay,
so he kind of got that. If she only knew how much pain he was in right now. He
raised an
eyebrow,
he might be able to work this to
his advantage. Hmmm, he’d have to think on it bit. Well, come to think of it,
he was pretty sure his shoulder was hurting right now, his biceps and triceps
too. Hell, come to think of it, both of his shoulders hurt. That’s to be
expected with all my muscle, and the amount of physical labor I do, right? He
smiled. Maybe she could take a gander, look him over, and give him her expert
opinion. Not bad, Albrecht, not bad, he thought giving himself a mental pat on
the back. Wait! What had he missed?

“So
you didn’t like him?” Linnie asked.

“Well,
he was nice, but I don’t know. I felt kind of…well, uncomfortable.”

“Why?”
Linnie asked.

Yeah,
he wanted to know too.

“I
don’t know. I just did. It’s…it’s…hard to explain. Nana would’ve probably
called him a dandy. Yeah, I think so. He seemed out to impress, like
appearances were important to him, but you know that’s not me, I’d fail at it
miserably. My job may have me operating in that kind of circle, but it’s not
where I’m from, or where I want to live.”

“He
treated you well though, right?” Linnie quizzed. “No trouble in the end?”

“Mmmm,
yeah, sort of,” Jules answered, hesitating.

He’d
personally drive to Chicago tonight and beat the shit out of the guy if he hurt
her. Come on Linnie, pull it out of her,
come
on.

“What
do you mean, sort of? What happened?” Linnie pushed.

“Well,
it was before all the snow and it’d been warm when we left on the date, but
then cold when we left the theater after. I was shivering so much so, my teeth
chattered. He insisted we take a walk and look around awhile. I thought maybe
he’d offer me his coat or something, but he didn’t. By the time he took me
home, I was frozen. I…well...I think… Oh never mind, I shouldn’t say.”

Yes,
you should, Jake thought. Come on Linnie, keep her going.

Encouraging
her, Linnie said, “Say it, what’d you think?”

Jules
sighed. “Well, I kind of think he wanted me to be cold, so…well, he, umm,
could, ahh, warm me up.”

Jake
growled inside. Maybe he would be driving to Chicago tonight after all. Keep
fishing Linnie, keep fishing.

“And?”
Linnie asked
questioningly.

“Not
a chance.” Jules said vehemently.
“No way.
I would’ve
maybe held his hand, might’ve let him kiss my hand good night, but that
would’ve been it, and only if it was a good date, and it wasn’t, because he let
me freeze to death.
So, no way.”

Shazam!
Shut down cold.
Boy, that
had to have hurt. Jake knew
the guy recognized his mistake, but by then, it was too late.
Haha, sucker.
Jake felt like he’d just won a bout in the
wrestling ring. Dancing around the ropes, warming up his mental muscles, he
thought about everything he’d learned so far. He didn’t want to strike out like
that ding-a-ling had.

Let’s
see, homeschooled by granny, all-girls school, shy, hasn’t been around men,
dandy, offer her his coat, hold her hand, kiss her hand…hmmm, this was all
sounding pretty old fashioned. In fact, with grandma at the helm, she probably
grew up watching old movies, and hearing stories about courting, and having a
beau, and waiting till your married. Oookay, so in other words, he needed to
quit playing her, and he’d needed to keep his shirt on.

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