Read an Excerpt
Intermix titles by June Gray
The Disarm Series
THE HENRY SESSIONS
A Disarm Novella
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have control over and does not have any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
An InterMix Book / published by arrangement with the author
InterMix eBook edition / May 2013
Copyright © 2012 by June Gray.
Cover photo by Konrad Bak.
Cover design by June Gray.
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To the children, the innocent little souls.
1 | FIRST DATE
I woke up with a smile. For the first time in a long time, the ache that had taken residence in my chest was absent; instead I was filled with optimism and a healthy sense of curiosity. I had given Henry Logan three dates to make me trust him again and the possibilities left me prickling with excitement. Our first date was not scheduled until this coming Saturday, so I had to suffer through the entire week imagining what kind of things he could come up with.
Really, the weekend could not get here fast enough. The love of my life had returned and was actively trying to win me back. If that didn’t make me wish for Saturday to arrive sooner then I don’t know what would.
I jumped out of bed, eager to get the day started. After I showered and dressed for work, I found a text message from Henry on my phone.
Can’t stop thinking about you.
Those five simple words stayed with me throughout the day, keeping that candle inside me flickering with a happy little glow.
The flame was extinguished after lunch, when I received a call on my cell phone from an out-of-state number.
“Hello?” the female voice said. “May I please speak to Elsie Sherman?”
“This is she,” I said, holding the phone against my shoulder as I continued to work on a web project.
“Hi Elsie, this is Rebecca Holt from Shake Design in Denver.”
I was so stunned I dropped the phone. I’d completely forgotten about the applications I’d sent out in the middle of last year when I was desperate to get out of Oklahoma. It hadn’t mattered where I was going as long as it was out of this state, away from all of the memories. Rebecca was the only one who had called me back. The phone conversation had gone well and even though they weren’t currently hiring, she said she’d keep my resume on file.
I hadn’t thought about that phone call until now, when leaving Oklahoma was the furthest thing from my mind.
I forced myself to breathe again and retrieved the phone. “Hi Rebecca. Sorry about that.”
“No problem,” she said. “I was calling about a position for an art director-slash-senior designer. It’s a hybrid position, created for our last designer but he has since moved on.”
I couldn’t believe my ears. It was exactly the job I’d been trying to convince my boss to create for me but had been unable due to the flagging economy.
Rebecca described the job and its responsibilities and said, “We received your resume last year and were really impressed. Now that a position has opened up, we would like to offer it to you.”
I spoke in a low voice so as not to be overheard. “And the salary?” Screw tact, I needed facts. There was too much at stake to beat around the bush.
Rebecca threw out a figure that made my ears burn. It was, needless to say, substantial. Almost double what I was currently making.
“Thank you, Miss Holt,” I said, with my heart pounding wildly in my chest. “Would I be able to give an answer in a few days?”
“Of course,” Rebecca said. “But I’ll need an answer by Friday at the latest.”
“Thank you. When would I have to start if I accepted?”
“In three weeks.”
My heart dropped to my feet. Five days to decide to leave the love of my life for a dream job; it didn’t seem nearly enough time.
“Okay. Thank you so much, Rebecca.” I ended the phone call and stared at the computer screen for a long while, feeling like the normally unhurried pace of my life suddenly made the jump to light speed.
I had never been gladder for radio silence from Henry than I was today. He didn’t text or call until I arrived home from work and was in the middle of cooking dinner.
“Hey, what are you making?” he asked when he heard the clanging of the wok on the stove.
I put him on speaker as I began to chop the vegetables with an almost-manic intensity. I almost felt sorry for the poor carrots and peppers. “Beef stir fry,” I said. The wok hissed when I threw in the vegetables.
“Mmm. I can smell it all the way from here.”
“What are you having?” I asked, distracted by dinner and life.
He snorted. “Ramen noodles.”
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.” I picked out a carrot and absentmindedly munched on it while the rest of the food cooked, my mind in a faraway place.
“Please invite me over.”
I finally took note of the longing in his voice. His tapes came to mind then and what he’d said about coming home night after night to an empty house with nothing to eat but ramen noodles or frozen burritos. My heart hurt at the thought, unable to stomach the idea that he was reliving his lonely childhood. “Okay, come over.”
“Really?” he asked in surprise. “This won’t count as a date, right?”
I sighed impatiently. “Just get over here,” I said. “You’ve got fifteen minutes.”
“I’m out the door right now!” he said and I heard the door slamming before he hung up the phone.
Even though the drive from the house he was renting usually took at least seventeen minutes, I heard the rumble of his motorcycle no more than ten minutes later.
“You shouldn’t speed on that thing,” I said as soon as I opened the door and let him in.
He ignored my words; instead he wrapped his arms around my back and held me against his body. He let out a long sigh. “Man, I’ve been dying to do this all day,” he said against my hair.
I allowed myself one moment to enjoy his warmth, closing my eyes and breathing in his unique scent, before I pulled away and made my way back to the kitchen. “I hope I made enough,” I said, turning my back to him as I prepared two bowls of food.
“Anything you can offer me is enough,” he said, making me wonder if that was indeed the truth.
We sat on the living room floor, leaning against my couch out of habit, with bowls of stir-fry and rice in our lap. I usually made enough food for at least two meals and thankfully had enough to even feed a sizable hungry man, and boy, was Henry hungry. He finished his dinner in record time.
He placed his bowl on the floor and leaned his head back into the couch, quietly gazing at me. He looked so content in that moment that I decided I couldn’t tell him about the job yet, so I just smiled and tried to bask in this little slice of heaven.
“How was your day?” he asked with a lazy grin. He reached out and held my hand, tracing circles on my palm with his thumb.
“Fine,” I said. “How about you?”
“Well, I heard back from the OKC Police Department today,” he said, his face becoming animated. “My application was approved. I go in tomorrow for the physical and written test.”
“So you’re really doing it.”
“Yep, I’m really doing it.” He grinned, looking so excited at the prospect of becoming a police officer. Of course, a new career in law enforcement along with the rental house agreement he’d just signed meant that he was tied to Oklahoma now. It wouldn’t be impossible for him to break those ties but the real question was: did I even want him to?
Instead of facing the tough question, I opted for the easy way out. “You know, I don’t think that uniform is going to be anywhere near as sexy as your BDUs, but I guess it’ll have to do,” I said.
He quirked one dark eyebrow. “I still have some BDUs somewhere. I’ll wear mine if you wear your Tomb Raider costume.”
I chuckled. “You’re still fantasizing about that?”