“Get away while you still can,”
“Excuse me?” Stunned, Willa couldn’t have budged now if she wanted to.
“You heard me. It’s dangerous for someone like you.”
“Someone like me? You’re going to have to spell that one out,” she said, growing more angry every second. “Exactly what are you driving at?”
He nodded as though she’d satisfied some private question. “Yes, you look like a woman who wants to hear men say it. Beautiful. And alone.”
A surprisingly cool breeze blew in through the screen door, and Willa shivered. It felt like phantom hands stroking her arms.
“But I’m hardly alone, am I, Mr. Denton? After all, I have you to watch over me.”
Something mesmerizing and yet untamed flared in his eyes. “That’s your biggest danger.”
Helen R. Myers satisfies her preference for a reclusive lifestyle by living deep in the Piney Woods of east Texas with her husband, Robert, and—because they were there first—the various species of four-legged and winged creatures that wander throughout their ranch. To write has been her lifelong dream, and to bring a slightly different flavor to each book is an ongoing ambition.
Admittedly restless, she feels this trait helps her writing. “It makes me reach for new territory and experiment with old boundaries.” In 1993 the Romance Writers of America awarded Navarrone the prestigious RITA Award for Best Short Contemporary Novel of the Year.
Watching for Willa
Helen R. Myers
He sat motionless behind the faded blue net drapes and watched his new neighbor dash from the house to the van for another box. Thunder rumbled endlessly, as only spring thunder could, underscoring the assault of rain as it machine-gunned the gutters. The combination of sounds sent something rattling precariously behind him. The racket compounded an already brutal three-aspirin headache; still, he took considerable pleasure in seeing the woman getting drenched. She deserved to be miserable, and he hoped trip from van to house added to her disgust. It would serve her right for buying the vacant Miller place. Little fool…she wasn’t asking for trouble, she was provoking it.
It had been her arrival, the slam of the driver’s door that had roused him from yet another drunken nap. His third…or was it the fourth of the morning? It didn’t surprise him that he’d lost count of how often he’d drifted in and out of consciousness; when he worked himself to the point of exhaustion, he could sleep through a tornado. Once he’d done just that. But the sound of another human presence always put him on the alert. Ignoring the need to brush the foul taste of Scotch from his mouth, to shower and get a potful of coffee into his system, he gripped the chair’s padded arms and leaned forward to peer outside, keenly aware that the time he’d been dreading had come. Actually, he’d been waiting for it, aware of its inevitability ever since the For Sale sign disappeared from the front of the empty two-story house. And now he had another reason to dread the event because everything about her was right, which made her wrong, dead wrong to be here.
As he exhaled, the sheers shifted subtly, his vision blurred and a wave of nausea swept through him. Those reactions, however, had less to do with his hangover than with fury. He knew what this intrusion meant, what she was forcing him to do, and he resented her for putting him in this predicament. But heaven help him, she was something to look at…as perfect and stunning a target as those first teasing glimpses of her had led him to believe.
Fair and shapely, she was a shimmering woman who became more so courtesy of the rain drenching her and plastering her tank top and leggings to her body. The fact that both were white, and that she wasn’t wearing a bra fueled his imagination, and forced him to remember cravings he preferred to forget, and anticipate horrors that might be even too terrible for one of his books.
Despite the distance and the downpour, he could see the full delineation of her breasts, the tautness of her nipples. He could also see that she wore bikini briefs beneath her leggings. Not much of a pair, he thought, his mouth going dry as she stretched to reach for something from deep inside the van.
Out came a plastic pail loaded with what he figured were cleaning products, followed by a mop. The head of the mop got stuck on something and she had to jerk it free. That sent her ponytail swinging across her shoulders; several shades of blond, it made him wonder about the color of her eyes. When he’d first seen her, he’d guessed aquamarine blue, pale and aloof like the business suit she’d been wearing. Now he wondered if they weren’t the vibrant green of the lush shrubbery she momentarily disappeared behind. By the time she reappeared, hurrying along the sidewalk and up the stone steps to the porch, he decided that whatever color they were, she looked and moved like money. Some women were gifted that way, born with an