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Mary was running away from a lifetime of abuse, looking only for a safe place to raise her children. Eveline had been rejected by her family, and was trying to start her life over. When chance threw them together, it was only a matter of time before the sparks of desire caught fire. But will their mutual attraction be enough? Only time will tell, as Mary attempts to embrace her…Innocent Passion.
~~~~~ Excerpt ~~~~~
“We're home!” Becca shouted cheerfully as Mary turned on the lights. She took off her jacket, then helped Debbie do the same thing, hanging them up neatly on the battered coatrack by the door. Free of the jacket, Debbie toddled over to her, her small round face creased in a frown.
“I'm hungwy, Mommy,” she said.
“I'll have something ready for you in a few minutes, sweetheart,” she said absently. Then she realized that Evey was looking at her with something like horror in her eyes.
'Mommy?' This child? Evey's mind reeled. She had thought the two girls were Mary's nieces. Or perhaps she was a babysitter. She looked at the two children and her mind did some rapid mental math. She couldn't have been more than fifteen when her first child was conceived. If that. Maybe less.
Mary looked at her, her chin raised, daring her to say something. “They're both mine,” she said with painful dignity, “and no one is going to take them away from me.”
“I wasn't judging,” she replied quietly. “I do social work myself. I've seen worse, believe me. I've seen thirteen-year-old boys strung out on heroin. I've seen women who shouldn't even be allowed to be near children having baby after baby. I've seen...too much,” she finished lamely, unwilling to catalog all of the horrors she had seen over the last three years.
“You talk funny,” Rebecca observed, from a spot down around her knees.
“Rebecca!” Mary said, her voice horrified. She looked at Evey in apology. Instead, she knelt down to kiss the child's cheek.
“Ah do, don't ah, punkin?” she said, emphasizing her Georgia drawl. “Why, bless yo heart, but you're just as sweet as pah.”
The little girl giggled, then spun away to sit on the couch. “You mentioned a shower?” Eveline asked, feeling her frigid, waterlogged jeans sticking uncomfortably to her thighs.
“Of course,” Mary said, blushing. She led her down a short hall to a bathroom. “Just toss your clothes outside the door. I'll put them in the dryer. It's one of the few extras this place has.”
She skinned out of her wet clothes quickly, tossed them blindly out the bathroom door, then stepped under the blessedly hot spray of the shower, letting the heat soak into her bones. Unwilling to get her long black hair wet when she had a long drive home in terrible weather, she lathered with a bar of soap over and over, until the last remnants of chill had been driven away.
She stepped out, drying herself with a threadbare but clean towel. She was just hanging it up and beginning to wonder what she was gong to wear while her clothes finished drying when there was a polite tap at the door. Mary came in, with a small pile of clothes held in her arms.
“I thought these might fit,” she started, then broke off, staring at her naked body. Her pale face, her skin like cream under Evey's gaze, flushed scarlet.
Eveline kept her face carefully neutral. Oh. So it's like that, is it? But inside, her heart leaped, even as her belly spasmed in frustrated longing. Two children, and a lesbian? She must have one hell of a story to tell. And I doubt it's a happy one.
“Thanks,” she said calmly, taking the clothes.
“I've...I've got your clothes in the dryer,” Mary stuttered, still unable to peel her eyes away from her chest. “Come on out when you’re ready.”