Stars and Stripes, Part One
A Wish Upon a Star Tale
by Shay MacLean
Vanessa Ó Rinn took a deep breath and pushed the memory of Jin Wu dancing with Mizuki Turner out of her mind. She’d been haunted by images of them together for two months now. No more. She’d made a conscious decision to not think of them to enjoy herself when she’d accepted Willa’s invitation to the barbeque Schy and Kee had decided to throw for the 4th of July.
Enjoying meant not thinking about them or what had happened in the past. What had happened back then was over and there was no looking back.
Sighing Nessa frowned as she finished arranging carrots on the veggie tray and she realized Willa and Schy had never had a barbeque for July 4th before. She had a mental note to ask her about it later and picked up the tray to take it outside. Pushing the screen door open Nessa stepped out onto the deck without looking up. “Hey, Willa, where do you want the veggie tray?”
“Just put it on the table under the kitchen window,” Willa called from the other side of the deck.
Nessa smiled when she heard Willa giggle. She didn’t need to look at her best friend to know that one of her husbands was probably doing something to make her reach that way. In fact she was certain she didn’t want to look. It was bad enough she kept catching Kee and Willa together at the hospital. She really had no desire to see it here.
Nessa glanced up and located the table Willa was talking about. She’d only taken a couple of steps when she stumbled on a loose board and pitched forward. Shit. She let go of the tray and braced herself for the impact with the deck.
Squeezing her eyes shut she was surprised when she felt a pair of strong arms wrap around her. She took a deep breath to steady her racing heart. “Thanks, Schy. You can let me go now. I’m fine.”
“And if I don’t want to let you go? Now that I have you’re undivided attention.”
Nessa opened her eyes and stared into the deep brown eyes that had been haunting her dreams for the past nine years. “Jin.” She grimaced when his name came out more breathless than she would have liked. She stiffened her spine. “What are you doing here?”
“Probably because of me.”
Nessa closed her eyes at the dulcet tones of Mizuki’s voice sent a shiver racing up her spine. “Please let me go,” she whispered to Jin.
Jin dropped his arms from around her and took a step back. “Rinn, we just want to talk to you. Can you at least listen to what Ryuu and I have to say?”
A tremble of pleasure rippled through her with the way he said the nicknames he’d given her and Mizuki when they’d dated what felt like a lifetime ago.
Mizuki took a step closer drawing Nessa’s attention.
Nessa sucked a breath in at the sight of Mizuki, her black hair pulled into a ponytail which she’d curled into long silky ringlets that brushed her bare shoulders her bone structure and porcelain skin a perfect mixture of her American and Japanese parents genetics. God, she was gorgeous. Nessa dug her fingers into the palm of her hand fighting the urge to push the hair out of the way and replace them with her lips.
She forced herself to return her gaze to Jin. Heat pooled between her thighs at the undisguised lust she saw burning in his eyes. She didn’t have to look to know he aroused by the sensual tension permeating the air around the three of them. She shook her head. “I…I can’t.” She didn’t wait to see if either of them would respond before she fled into the house and practically ran to Willa’s guest room.
As she shut the door behind her she realized Schy had invited all the available members of the hospital staff that had served any time in the Armed Forces. That was why Mizuki was here. She and Jin had been inseparable since she’d come back to town. At least that was the gossip she’d heard from the other nurses.
What the hell was she going to do? She didn’t know if she could handle an entire evening in such close proximity with both of them.
One would have been easy to avoid, but both of them would be impossible. Swiping away the tears she hadn’t even realized she’d shed, she decided she would go tell Willa she had been called in or something.
She had almost reached the door when it swung open.
Mizuki stepped into the room and closed it behind her. She leaned back. “Ness, please hear me out before you leave. I never got the chance to talk to you after you left Jin and I.” She pushed back and approached not stopping until only a couple of inches separated them. “Please, Rinn.”
Nessa felt her heart skip a beat at the sound of Jin’s nickname for her coming from Mizuki’s sweet mouth. She started to shake her head and froze when Mizuki caressed her cheek. “I…”
“I know why you left, but I never got to tell you a proper good bye.”
Before Nessa realized what Mizuki was up to she leaned in and pressed her mouth to her suddenly dry lips.
Happy Forth of July! I hope you all enjoyed part one of my short free read. It's a precursor for the second book of my Wish Upon a Star Series, Dragon Star, which I will be working later this year. Please stop by tomorrow and read the next installment. Comment for a chance to win a copy of Falling Star.
Oh and don't forget to take a moment to remember why we celebrate Independence Day. Remember all the soldiers and their families throughout history who have sacrificed so much for us to live with the freedoms we take for granted most of the time. :)
Until we meet again where passion breathes...