Here's a piece from my upcoming release This Can't Be Love.
Back in the kitchen, Jessica regarded him, an unreadable expression in her eyes. Even her face looked different for some reason tonight. His gaze lingered for a brief moment. She wore makeup. A lot of it.
“Great, I’m starved.” With a determined effort Zach kept his eyes focused on his plate. “Thanks for making dinner tonight.” He bit into the gooey slice of pizza. The hot sauce burned the roof of his mouth. The pain brought a welcome distraction.
She slid into the chair across from him. “I didn’t do much.”
She put her elbow on the table and cupped her chin in her hand. “So, are you working tonight?”
“No, but, uh, I have some things I need to do out in the barn I didn’t get to today.”
“Oh.” Her face fell. Her teeth bit into her lower lip. “I could help you.”
“No.” The word slipped out harsher than he intended. “I mean, that’s okay, it’s really messy out there. I wouldn’t want you to—”
She cut him off. “No problem, I understand.” She leaned back in her chair and picked at her pizza.
Her dejected expression sent a tiny stab to his heart. He’d hurt her again. “Jessica?”
She didn’t look up. “What?”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to sound so rude.”
She waved a hand. “You don’t need to apologize. It’s my fault. I shouldn’t have expected you to want me”—her voice broke—“to help you.”
Zach gazed at her in horror. Was she crying? He’d made her cry? “Jess, I—”
“You know, I’m not really hungry.” She stood so quickly her chair unbalanced and crashed to the floor. “I...I’ll be upstairs.” She turned and ran from the room.
Until next time,