Temptation in Texas: Logan and LaurenBy: Lynda Chance
For Clayton, and all the misunderstandings that have ended . . . nicely.
Temptation in Texas: Logan and Lauren
A Short Story
Logan Crenshaw had just finished unbuttoning his shirt and pulling off his tie when he heard a subdued noise coming from his wife's closet. Prowling closer to the door that stood only a few inches ajar, he was surprised to hear the hushed feminine tones of Lauren's voice coming from within. He came to a sudden halt just outside of the large walk-in closet.
He frowned and was only seconds away from pushing the door open when he realized she wasn't mumbling to herself, as she had a habit of doing, but was talking to someone else and that she sounded upset. "I don't think divorce is the answer." Logan heard the whispered words and his guts clenched in automatic rejection at their possible meaning.
No way. There was no way he could have interpreted that statement correctly. He stood completely still and continued to listen to her soft, quiet tone. "No, there's no way I'm going to tell Logan yet. You know how he is; he'll fly off the handle and want to kill somebody."
A fist the size of a sledgehammer grabbed Logan around the throat and tightened so hard he could barely breathe. He had to literally pull himself together while Lauren paused to listen to whoever she was unloading to on the other end of the phone. She took a shaky breath and pain slammed into him at the sound of her distress, and from the sheer, unmitigated fright that began roiling through his stomach. "Yeah, I get that, but he goes ape-shit crazy and won't listen to reason. It won't matter what anyone else wants, he always gets his way. Shit. There's no freaking telling how he's going to react to this when he finds out."
Logan's hands clenched at his sides and he realized through a haze of shock and panic that his wife was right. He did get what he wanted. And he wanted Lauren, now and forever and if she thought for even half a second that she was getting away from him, she was dead wrong. And there was no question. Absolutely no question about it. He'd kill anybody who tried to take her from him.
Was she having a fucking affair? Pain and fury clouded his brain at just the idea.
"Yeah, I know, but he won't care that it hasn't gone any further. He'll still see it as cheating, trust me. I'm telling you, he won't listen to reason. He'll want to commit murder. And I don't know how I'll be able to keep him from it." She paused to listen. "Okay. I have to go anyway, he'll be home any minute."
Logan continued to stand still as the conversation ended. He could still hear her, shuffling around as she finished up doing whatever she was doing in the closet. He crossed his arms over his chest as his mind barely continued to function, a complete daze settling over his brain cells. He was slightly amazed that the primary emotion bleeding through his veins was one of panic; he would have thought that fury would encompass his entire body and leave little room for anything else.
He was angry, he admitted that to himself. But it wasn't his first emotion. Panic, that's what he was feeling. And then shock. Mixed with panic. Anger, yeah. Panic. Shit. What the hell had just happened to his life in the last five minutes?
He stood completely still, simply trying for the moment to keep breathing.
Lauren stepped from the closet, holding a shoebox in her hands. She was looking down into it, and he made no move to get out of her way as she stepped into the bedroom. She barreled right into him, just as he had intended. He reached out and took her by the shoulders and tried like hell not to demand an immediate answer.
Her gaze lifted, and the first thing he saw reflected in her beautiful eyes was pleasure, and that utterly confused him, but her pleasure was quickly eclipsed by a look of alarm. Distress hit her features, and he could clearly see the nervous tension that transformed the delicate lines of her face. She inhaled quickly. "Hi."
He couldn't stop himself, his fingers bit into her shoulders as another wave of unrest slid through him. "Hey."
"You're . . . you're home early." Her words were shallow, uneven, and suspicion formed an ugly knot in his mind, settling like a stone in his stomach.
He studied her reactions closely. "No, I'm not," his words were clipped; he was unable to control them.
"Oh." She exhaled a pent-up breath. "What time is it?" Her eyes left his to wander to the clock on the bedside table.
His eyes narrowed. "After six."
"Oh." She slowly turned her head and looked back at him and he felt his nerves shift restlessly, his control barely in hand.
He looked from her eyes down to the cell phone that she held in her left hand. "What were you doing in the closet?"
Her inhalation was ragged. "Cleaning out a few things. I don't . . . don't ever wear these shoes."
He ran his hand from her shoulder down to the box she held and took it from her and tossed it aside. He had a sudden, primitive urge to prove that she belonged to him, right here and right now. "Why not?" Swiping the cell phone from her trembling fingers, he dropped it on the dresser beside him and then turned back to her. Wasting no time, he began unbuttoning the cotton blouse she was wearing, his intention unmistakable.