A tight smile was playing tug-of-war with his mouth since meeting Caroline Painter Gregory. It felt good to use those muscles again, and with some practice, he might pull off something that could be considered friendly. When was the last time anyone had hugged him? He couldn’t recall. He felt lighter, as if a weight he carried for too long was carried off in the warm breeze.
Jack had forgotten how different the people were in the South. Caroline was a modern Southern belle, and her accent dripped with sweet friendliness like the Spanish moss on the oaks out back. There was no question she was genuinely interested in what mattered to him.
Admit it, he told himself. It’s more than that. You don’t talk about what happened, and she had no reason to pay any attention to you. Then she walks up like fresh air and sunshine through a window she nonchalantly opened in your soul, using a nursery rhyme to give you enough distance to express yourself. She got you to understand your own hopes and say it out loud. Voicing something is the first step to making it happen. Heaven help the guy who loves Caroline.
His smile vanished. The guy who loves her was heir to Gregory Global, and he needed heaven’s help all right—from a drug cartel named Temoso, the Spanish word for “fearless.”
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