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Captured by Mr. Wild: Chapter 6

Daisy

    again for a couple of days. I get out and have a swim early enough that he’s probably still asleep. It’s for the best. Ever since the diner a couple of nights ago, I’ve not been able to shake off the feeling that I need to keep away. He and Betsy are better off far, far away from me. He thinks I’m the girl he said goodbye to on the porch steps all those years ago. But I barely remember her anymore. Not since…

“Stop, just stop,” I mutter as I spray the hose over the herb beds, willing my mind to think of something else.

It’s early evening and the day has finally cooled down enough to do it without the risk of scorching the delicate leaves if I were to do it in the blazing sunshine.

I survey the garden. It’s thriving. It really is magnificent. I’m so glad I pushed Mum and Dad to keep on a gardener. I feel closer to my aunt here, out in the place she loved most.

I sigh as I look back at the peeling paint on the house. The inside is all done. There wasn’t much for me to do, really; just clean. Most of the furniture had already gone, except for the essentials. And we will probably sell the rest with the house. All that’s left for me to do is to employ a painter for the outside. Something I’m putting off for as long as possible. Because once that’s done, what other reason will there be for me to stay?

I turn the hose off, satisfied that the plants have had a decent drink, and turn to head back into the house.

“Hey! Dee!”

I look over to the driveway and see Kayla pulling up, her head leaning out of the open car window.

“Hi,” I call back as I head over to meet her.

She cuts the engine and bounces out wearing exercise gear, her light brown hair pulled into a high ponytail.

“I was passing and thought I’d say hi!” She grins at me.

“You were passing?” My gaze goes behind her to the long driveway, which leads up from the road

A road which has town in one direction and just forest in the other.

I raise my eyebrows at her with a knowing smirk.

“Okay.” She rolls her eyes. “I drove here specially. I wanted to see how you were doing.”

“Me?”

“Yes, you! Unless you’re hiding some fit guy inside I don’t know about?” She peers around me toward the house.

I snort. “Hardly.”

“A girl can dream.” She sighs theatrically.

“I thought you were happily married?” I smile at her, folding my arms.

“Exactly. That’s why I need to hear about it from my unmarried friends. I will never have that first-time, lust-fueled passion again!”

I tip my head back and laugh. It may have been years, but Kayla still makes every conversation a lot more fun.

Her eyes light up. “It’s good to hear that sound.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You. Laughing.” She smiles at me. “I’ve missed hearing it. We used to have fun, didn’t we?”

I look back into her deep brown eyes. “Yeah, we did,” I whisper.

“So, why don’t we have some more tonight?” She claps her hands together. “I need to make the most of you while you’re here.”

I glance back at the house. Back to the peace of being alone.

I shake my head at her with reluctance. “I wasn’t planning on going out tonight.”

“You don’t know where I’m suggesting yet.” Her eyes shine with mischief. “Besides, what else are you going to do? Go to bed early with your knitting?”

I shift uncomfortably on the spot. Going to bed means one thing to me now—nightmares.

Remembering something I wish I didn’t.

I chew on my bottom lip before answering. “What did you have in mind?”

Forty minutes later, my face feels like it might explode from all the blood that’s being pumped into my cheeks.

“I wish I was at home knitting,” I hiss to Kayla from the plank position I’m holding. My abs are on fire and my arms are shaking as I struggle not to collapse into a heap on the grass.

She winks back at me as Blake’s voice calls out, “Okay, change!”

I flop down onto the floor and roll onto my back, puffing.

“Trust me. You’ll feel amazing after! He may be a big-headed douche sometimes, but he sure knows what he’s doing.” Kayla grins at me as she swaps from doing ab crunches and rises onto her elbows and into a plank.

I sneak a glance over at Blake, further up the field, as he moves fluidly between all the bodies on the ground, dishing out words of encouragement and positive mantras. He’s wearing a pair of black gym shorts and matching muscle vest. He looks like he’s just about to take part in an Iron Man contest with his ripped muscles glistening with sweat.

I don’t know why I let Kayla talk me into coming to one of these outdoor bootcamp style classes he runs.

“I swear the women here would not be batting their eyelashes half as much if they knew him like we do,” Kayla says, holding her plank effortlessly.

I tilt my head to look around. Most of the class consists of women with beaming smiles and perfect makeup. Their eyes seem to follow Blake as he moves around, crouching down now and again, causing his shorts to ride up around his muscular thighs.

“He loves it. Attention whore,” she mutters.

My stomach twists as a woman in a pink workout bra who looks like she lives off lettuce says something to him and he lets out a deep, throaty laugh.

I drag my eyes away, my cheeks burning from how ridiculous I’m being. I’m not jealous. Blake is—was—just a friend. Now he’s just the guy who lives across the lake, who I won’t see ever again once I return to England.

I screw my eyes shut and swallow down the bile in my throat at the thought of going home.

“Hey, ladies.”

I open my eyes, straight into the mesmerising green gaze of Blake, who’s towering over me. A little to the left and I would be able to see straight up his shorts. I frown and dart my eyes away.

“Came to check out my class, eh, Dee?” He squats down next to me.

I have no chance of escape now.

“It was Kayla’s idea,” I murmur, shooting her a look that says I’m never going to trust her again when she says she knows something ‘fun’ we can do.

“Well, seeing as you’re here, I better make sure I give your body the full experience.” He winks at me, a cheeky grin plastered over his face.

I want to get up and tell him I’m done, but before I can, I feel his large, warm hand rest over my belly button, his long fingers pressing lightly against my skin.

“Right, now breathe out as you lift.” He brings his other hand behind my head and encourages me up into an ab crunch. My muscles fire up underneath his fingertips as I reach the top. “Great.” He beams. “And back down.” He supports my head as I rest it back on the floor. “Okay, again.”

I look up at his profile as I crunch. His dark brown hair is just the right length to give him a sexy, just-fucked look—unless he has just fucked before teaching the class—and his firm jaw has the perfect amount of beard stubble on it to make him look rugged. Not groomed and designer like some guys aim for, but rough and real. Like a guy who can take charge effortlessly.

I blow out a breath as I reach the top again, and my body shakes under his touch.

“Great job.”

He grins at me and then his hands are gone, leaving my skin cold as he goes to assist the woman next to me, whose eyes sparkle at him as he crouches down next to her.

“Shameless flirt.” Kayla tuts. “He knows exactly what he’s doing.”

I watch as he dishes out praise to the woman next to us, my stomach twisting again. But I notice he doesn’t touch her.

I collapse back after another crunch and take a deep breath. Maybe he could tell I needed all the help I could get.


“Well, that was interesting,” I say to Kayla as I climb out of her car and lean on the doorframe of the open window.

“You’ll ache tomorrow, believe me.”

I shake my head at her as I smile. “I ache now! I didn’t come back here to be tortured; you know?”

She smiles back at me. “Why did you come back?” she asks gently.

The smile drops from my face as I look back into her eyes. They’re curious, but not in an unkind way.

“My mum and dad want to sell the house. I just wanted to come back one more time.” I shrug my shoulders as I repeat my unconvincing story. There’s an element of truth to it, but I can tell from the way Kayla’s studying me, her lips pursed, that she isn’t buying it. Not one hundred per cent.

“I thought you said your aunt left half the house to you when we last spoke online?”

My shoulders sag. “She did. Half to me and half to my dad, her baby brother.” A sad smile crosses my lips. “But he had a poor investment and needs the money for his retirement. I thought about buying him out. I dreamed about it. About coming back here permanently. But I don’t have the money. Things don’t always work out the way you hope they will.”

Kayla gives me a lopsided smile. “You never know what’s around the corner. I remember you were always so positive when we were kids. Maybe something good is on its way, and everything will change?”

I tip my head at her as I stand. “Maybe.”

“I’ll see you soon, yeah?” she calls through the open window.

“Yeah. See you soon,” I call back as she turns her car around and heads back down the driveway.

My gaze wanders over to the far side of the lake. The rear porch light is on at Blake’s house, and I can just about make out a dark shape on the sofa—Betsy.

Warmth spreads in my chest as I picture her and Blake together. They adore one another. It’s so obvious by the way he talks about her and the way she sticks to his side like his shadow when they’re together. I don’t think I’ve seen anything sweeter.

That’s why I have to keep away. These stupid reactions my body is having whenever he’s near need to stop.

They must.

He thinks he still knows me, but he doesn’t.

I don’t even know myself.


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