The Forgotten Daughter - Page 35

“Your fault?” He shook his head. “No, Josie, I’m not saying anything is your fault.”

“Oh, you’re not?”

“No, I’m not.”

She’d never wanted to cry so much before. Well, other than the day she’d been arrested. As a matter of fact, Scooter was the reason she’d wanted to cry that day, too. He’d been so mad. About as mad as she was right now. “Yes, you are. You think everything is my fault.” Skipping over the kissing part—which was the most painful—she stated, “No one in Duluth knows who I am, Scooter. No one.”

He grabbed her by the upper arms. “Josie, calm down. I never said—”

Pushing at his chest with both hands, she informed him, “You don’t have to say it. I know what you’re thinking.”

“Do you?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Then you know I’m thinking about doing this.”

His lips landed on hers so fast she didn’t have time to respond. Verbally or mentally. His kisses completely shut off her thinking capabilities. Her lips, however, knew how to respond. They went into action, flying against his with all the frustration and fight she held inside. That soon changed. Her frustration. It turned into a need like no other.

When his tongue swept into her mouth, she grabbed on to his shoulders in order to plaster her entire length against him. There was no denying that was exactly what her body craved.

As her mind grew hazy, it momentarily snagged on an iota of reality. This couldn’t be what she craved. What she wanted. Scooter would be the last person to understand why she was helping Gloria.

Josie snapped her head back so fast her neck popped. The action caused a bit more common sense to prevail. All this kissing was making things worse. She pushed at Scooter’s shoulders, harder this time, and took a step backward. Then she did something she rarely did.

She ran.

Footsteps followed behind her, and she took a moment to shout over her shoulder, “Leave me alone, Scooter Wilson. Just leave me alone.”

Entering the resort through the front door, she was thankful the entire party was outside. There were no obstacles in her way whatsoever. She ran all the way to the second floor, through the door that separated the family living quarters from the rest of the resort, and into her bedroom, where she slammed and locked the door.

Chapter Seven

Josie slept in later than usual. She hadn’t fallen asleep until dawn was breaking. The clock beside her bed said it was well after ten. Pushing eleven, if her second glance was right. As flustered as she’d been the night before, she threw back the covers. At some point, she didn’t exactly remember when, she’d gotten undressed. The pea-green dress lay on the floor like a glob of moss.

She headed for the closet, trying not to glance at the black coat draped over her dressing table chair, but her eyes wouldn’t cooperate. She stubbed her toe on something, sending a shooting pain up one leg and making her hop on the other. She crossed the room like that, off-kilter and uncoordinated, until she caught herself from falling on the floor by slapping both hands against her closet door. Her nose smacked against the wood in the process, making it sting and her eyes water.

Pressing her forehead against the door, she waited for her toe and her nose to stop throbbing before she lifted her head.

A deep breath helped, so she took a second one, and a third. Then she pulled open the closet and chose a white blouse and dungarees. Gathering up a pair of soft-soled shoes with almost no heels, she snatched clean underclothes out of her dresser on her way to the door.

The bath, though she’d made it a fast one, helped her mood, and before leaving the bathroom, she pressed a couple of finger waves into her damp hair. A quick and final glance in the mirror gave her the satisfaction to nod at herself. At least she looked normal. Like the Josie she’d known her entire life. The one who had never—ever—spent half the night kissing Scooter Wilson.

That had been so foolish. So unlike her. She’d made up her mind some time ago as to what she wanted, and it didn’t involve Scooter. It didn’t involve any man. The events of late had confused her. Her sisters all getting married, for example. All that had interrupted her plan and she had to get back on track. She should look at all this as a blessing. Leaving wouldn’t be nearly as hard now, at least not once Norma Rose returned home. She’d have to accept that her father would need her for the next few weeks, but afterward she’d be free to proceed. On her own.

Well, not entirely alone. She’d still need Gloria.

A second wave of remorse overtook her. The repercussions of what had happened yesterday, when Scooter had stopped her and Gloria, were another issue. Something she’d need to resolve.