Redeemed by Becca Jameson

Book: Redeemed by Becca Jameson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Becca Jameson
screaming at him in a cacophony of craziness. “Is this how you feel?”
    “It’s exactly how I feel.” She didn’t stammer.
    He turned toward her once again. “Let me take some of that away.”
    She bit her lip and nodded. “I’d like that.”
    Evan reached for her arm and slid his hand down until he met her fingers. He grasped them lightly and gave a gentle tug, nodding behind him. “Let’s sit.” He stepped toward the couch.
    “I’m all messy.”
    “You’re perfect.”
    She pulled her hand free anyway and removed the paint-splattered apron she wore. After she dropped it on the stool behind her, she set her palm back in his, a sort of peace offering. The first advance she’d made on her own.
    If he could hold her hand for the rest of his life, he’d be a happy man.
    Ashley sat on one end of the couch, releasing his hand again. He hated the loss. She curled her legs under her in the corner and leaned against the arm to face him.
    Evan sat as close to her as he dared. She smelled so good. Even the fumes from the paint didn’t cloud her own scent. He’d remember it always, anywhere, anytime. “How are your classes going?”
    “Good. Boring so far, but it’s a start. I’m taking basic gen-ed classes to get my feet wet. It’s going to take me a while to get my degree at this rate. I was hoping to build up to a full schedule.”
    “You have some college classes already, right?”
    “Yes. I had thirty hours before…” Her voice trailed off and she ducked her head.
    Evan sucked in a breath and held it. He berated himself inside for bringing it up.
    “It’s okay, you know,” she muttered. “It’s going to happen. There’s no way to avoid four years of a person’s life and pretend it didn’t happen.”
    She was right, but that didn’t make it okay on any level.
    Evan reached for her hand again, instinctively. He needed to touch her. He grasped her palm and rubbed his thumb over the back. He flipped her hand over and grinned at the variety of colors sprinkled on her fingers. “Have you been painting a lot?”
    “Yes. And most of them are a bit more defined than that one from today.” She giggled again. God, he loved that sound.
    “I want to see them sometime. You have such an artistic eye.” He could get lost in her work. In fact he had a few of her pieces from before she’d been taken at his house. She didn’t know it. Her mother had scrounged them up for him one day, and Josh brought them over. He hoped she could get back the mojo that existed before Damon the monster stepped in and ruined everything.
    “Thanks. Most of them are scattered around my parents’ house. I’ll give you a tour someday.”
    “I’d like that.” He squeezed her fingers, enough to emphasize his words.
    “You suck the oxygen out of a room, you know,” she blurted.
    He chuckled. “That’s not possible.”
    “Why?” She tipped her head to one side, scrutinizing him.
    “Because there was no oxygen in the entire basement when I arrived.”
    “I’m a hot mess.”
    “Everyone is. You just have a few extra skeletons. But you aren’t the only person with an ugly past who has gone on to live their life to the fullest. You deserve to be happy. I want to make that possible.” He took a deep breath. “I’ll do anything for you…including letting you go if you can’t deal with having me around. But I’ll never be far away. If you know nothing else about me, know that I’m committed to you for life. I won’t take another mate. It’s not meant to be that way.”
    “It happens sometimes. Josh told me. I’ve heard from others too.”
    “It does. That’s true. But I don’t know of anyone who flat out rejected their claiming on the grounds that they plain didn’t feel worthy. Sometimes one party has deeper issues than we do. Drugs. Alcohol. Abuse.” He paused, but then he went on. It was all true. “There are lots of reasons someone might decline a mate. What we have won’t do it, at least not for

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