Our Finest Hour (The Time Series Book One)
I believe in choice, not fate.
I chose to nurse a broken heart at the kitschy country bar that night.
I chose to let Isaac Cordova buy me a drink.
I chose to spend one hour with a near stranger in an attempt to soothe my pain.
No last names, no details about our lives, just one hour where I was allowed to forget, and then we would never see each other again.
But was it a choice when I ran into him five years later?
I needed help, and he was the only person equipped to give it.
Our instant attraction doesn’t feel like much of a choice either, but it doesn't matter.
Everything has changed.
Now my choices impact other people.
And what will I choose?
Do I keep Isaac out?
Do I dare to let him in?
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His hand creeps across the seat and grabs mine, fingers intertwining. He has strong, long fingers.
Big, thick, tan hands that look capable. Since when are hands this interesting? Somehow Isaac’s are. “I’m leaving the country in a few days.” He says it so suddenly that I jump a tiny bit. “It’s a long trip. I can extend it and stay longer if I…” He trails off, surveying me. “Sorry. More than you need to be told. I just wanted you to know I’m leaving, before this goes any further.” “I’m OK with that,” I say. It’s a good thing, actually. Cut and dry is what I need.
He nods, scraping his free hand across his chin. “I hope you don’t mind that my place is mostly packed up. All my stuff is going into storage.”
“I’m OK with that, too.” The cab comes to a stop in front of a row of brightly lit storefronts. Isaac drops my hand and removes his wallet, swiping his credit card through the machine on the back of the drivers seat. He steps out and I open my door. I’m halfway out when Isaac round the back end of the cab. Making a face, he hustles to grab the open door. “You should of let me get your door,” he chides. “That’s what people do when they’re on dates.”
I step onto the sidewalk. “We’re not on a date.”
“True. If we were on a date, I would’ve picked you up at your house, not at a bar.” He steps closer to me.
“Oh yeah?” My eyebrows raise. “What else would you have done differently?”
“Probably brought you flowers.” His hand extends across the short distance between our chests. I take his pretend flowers. “I don’t understand why guys give girls flowers. They are literally dying plants wrapped in tissue paper.”
Isaac laughs and takes another step, closing most of the space between us, and his arm cradles my lower back. “So you’re saying you’re a romantic?”
A disbelieving sound bubbles up from the back of my throat. “Hardly.”
He pulls me in closer until we’re pressed up against each other. My hands fall on his upper arms, and my furious heartbeats pound a loud rhythm in my chest. “If I kissed you now, in front of all these people, would you think it was romantic?”
He’s so close I can almost feel his words hit my lips. Confused, I lean my head back and look to the rain slickened street, where I see nothing but the red and yellow lights of cars driving past. I look the other direction and see what he’s talking about. Behind us, there’s a packed ice cream shop, tables full, and here we are standing in front of the long window.
My eyes sweep over all the interested gazes, and my cheeks catch fire. “Romantic?” Isaac asks when I look back at him. “Yes,” I breath the word.
His mouth is on mine before I finish my breath. He pushes me back, past the window, and up against the brick wall that separates the ice cream place from its neighbor. His hands are in my hair, running down my neck, tracing my collarbone. My fingers skim the muscles in his upper back, cling to his shoulders. I’m feeling things, good things, but my nerves are back, pushing into the rational part of my brain, trying to make a stronghold before I’m swept away by hormones.
Is this a bad idea?
Am I going to get hurt?
I’m kissing him, but I’m hesitant, and I wonder if he can sense it. Isaac puts one hand on the back of my head, protecting it from the wall. Sensation takes over, and I feel his desire. It’s hot like a flame, thirsty like a parched throat. I ache for him in a way I never expected and never wanted.
“I’m not in the mood for ice cream anymore,” I whisper, then pull his lower lip into my mouth and suck on it. He moans into my mouth and pulls back to look at me before diving back in. His kisses are hot and wet and his hand keeps sliding up my stomach and then back down to my waist, like he’s reminding himself where we are. I’m glad he still has some sense because I have almost none right now. Isaac pulls away, a new smile on his face. This one is lustful, a half curl of one side of his mouth.
My breath is long and loud, dragging, and it clears my mind a tiny bit. “Is this a bad idea? Isaac stares at me. With his back to the streetlamp, I can’t see into his eyes. I wish I could, but his eyes are so dark it probably doesn’t matter. I just want to look into them, to see if he’s doubting this like I am. He takes my hands and squeezes them.
“I could use some comfort tonight, and I think you could too. Let’s make a deal. One hour. We’ll give one hour to each other. When one hour is up, you can tell me if you want me to come to your door sometime with something other than flowers. How does that sound?”
“Have you forgotten you’re leaving the country on a long trip?” He shakes his head slowly. “I don’t have to extend my travel, and by the time I get back you’ll be over the guy who broke your heart.”
I purse my lips and look at him. Knowing he’s leaving makes this decision as safe for my heart as possible. Our ending has already been decided. It’s one hour, for one night, and then it’s over. My hand wraps around his neck, pulling him in. When my lips are at his ear, I whisper, “I hope your place is close.”
The vibration of his groan grinds against my cheek. He surges forward, pulling me along behind him. Our pace is quick until he stops abruptly and looks back at me. This time the streetlight illuminates his face, and I can clearly see into his eyes. They look hungry.
"I don’t know if one hour with you will be enough for me Aubrey.” He turns back around and keeps going.
I follow his quick footsteps, fully in the knowledge that one hour is all I have to offer him. This isn’t about love. I have none to give. This isn’t about my heart. It’s not whole enough to break. This is about one hour of forgetting, one hour of letting my body rule while my mind shuts off.
I’m going to spend one hour with this man.
And then I’m never going to see him again.
Jennifer Millikin is a contemporary fiction author who wants her stories to make readers feel something passionate- love, agony, maybe even hate. She is the author of Full of Fire and The Day He Went Away. Our Finest Hour, her third effort will be published on October 12th, 2017.
Jennifer lives in Scottsdale, Arizona and can be found chasing around her two young kids, retrieving crayons from the mouth of her lab puppy, and roping rattlesnakes (just kidding. Or...?).
She loves hearing from readers, so reach out!
For a free copy of Full of Fury: A Full of Fire novella, visit jennifermillikinwrites.com. *Only available on her website*