Books of Love by Constance Bretes
A librarian, a mechanic, and a psychotic ex. What could go wrong?
When her marriage came to a devastating end, Janice Meyers moved to Montana to try to escape her past and get a fresh start. She's sworn off men, but she didn't anticipate meeting Chris.
After the death of his wife, Chris Jamisen focused all his time and energy on running his auto repair shop and raising his children. He's not looking for love, and when he first meets Janice, the town's new librarian, he never imagines they might embark on a relationship. Sure, he'll admit he finds the smart, sexy blonde attractive, but the frustrating woman expects miracles from him. Her vehicle is practically beyond repair, but she insists he has to keep it running.
As Chris gets to know Janice, he begins to develop feelings for her, but he's reluctant to pursue a relationship. He's Native American, and he worries about the complications of a biracial relationship. He's experienced prejudice first hand, so he knows how difficult it can be.
When Janice's ex-husband shows up seeking revenge, things could reach a horrible end. Will Chris save Janice in time? And will he and Janice be able to set aside their painful pasts and give their relationship a chance?
Content Warning: contains some sexual content
Janice had butterflies in her stomach as five o'clock came and Chris arrived at the library.
"Hi, Chris," Janice said.
"Hello. What's this all about?" he asked pensively.
"I wanted to take you downstairs to the basement and show you something," she said.
They walked down the stairs, Chris following Janice. When she turned on the light a rat slithered across the floor, and she let out a shriek. Chris looked around the room.
"We have all these books here," Janice said. She lifted one of the old books and opened it to the pages and within where some were eaten away. "The vermin and bugs have been attacking these, and in some cases, the books have disintegrated. See here? This is a book about Colstrip back in the 1800s and we can't even open the book to read it because it has totally disintegrated inside. Some of these books are real gems. This is one of a first edition, Samuel Clemens, do you know of him?"
"His pen name is Mark Twain. He wrote Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer."
"Oh," Chris replied.
"Look at his book. It's totally destroyed, and it would have been worth a lot of money now, if it had survived."
Janice went over to the ladder and stepped up on it to show Chris the books on the top shelf. The ladder gave way, and she came crashing down. Chris caught her before she fell to the floor.
"Are you okay?" he asked, concern in his tone.
"Um, yeah, I think so." She put her feet on the floor and turned, facing Chris, her breasts against his chest. His arms were around her waist, holding her tightly. His breath mingled with hers, and he was looking down at her lips.
Oh, she wanted him to kiss her. Please, please kiss me. The sweet, intoxicating musk of his body overwhelmed her. He bent slightly toward her, and his lips touched hers softly. She kissed him back, lingering, savoring every moment. She felt the kiss all the way through her body as she put her arms around him. A loud rustling noise broke their kiss with a start.
Chris looked around and saw that there were rats in the corner rattling paper. He turned back to her. "Are we finished here?"
"Yes, I think we are." Janice hoped she had convinced him that there was work to be done in the basement.
When they went upstairs, he turned around and asked her huskily, "What was the purpose of our little meeting, Janice?"
Janice thought about how she should answer the question then said, "I submitted the request to the mayor's office for several things, and I heard that you would probably be the one person that would oppose spending any money for the project I'm suggesting, so I wanted to show you the benefit of my proposal and the problems we are faced with currently."
Chris had a gentle smile on his face as he looked at her. "Good persuasion, Janice. Does that include the kiss too?"
Janice looked down at her feet, embarrassed. "No, the kiss was not part of the persuasion. At least, not on my part."
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