Your Inescapable Love (The Bennett Family Book 4)(6)

By: Layla Hagen

The rest of the session passes quietly, as I do the exercises with Max, patiently explaining every move.

“Let’s go out to an early dinner,” Max suggests at the end.

“No can do. I have two other sessions.”

“I can pick you up later then?” he pushes.

“After work is generally a bad time for me.” Taking a deep breath, I admit, “Grams has Alzheimer’s, and it’s come to the point where she needs a lot of supervision. She has a caregiver during the day, and sometimes a lovely neighbor helps out in the evening if I have seminars, but I like to spend the evenings with her.”

“I’m sorry about Grams,” he says gently. “Especially since she’s so young.”

“Yeah.” Grams is sixty-one. She had dad at eighteen and became a grandmother at thirty-four.

“I always liked her. Except when she took you away to Montana.”

“It’s hard seeing her like this,” I say in a small voice. “I’m used to her being this strong person, and now she’s just…. Anyway, I spend evenings with her. Sometimes I read to her or just rattle on about my day.”

Max raises his hand to my cheek in a soothing gesture, the way he did when we were kids. Only now his touch doesn’t just bring me reassurance, but also a wave of heat.

“She does remember me, most of the time,” I say softly.

“D’you think she’d remember me?”

“You’re a hard man to forget. Even as a boy, you made an impression,” I say with a grin, which fades when my next patient walks through the door. “Oh crap, my next appointment is here. About your leg, you don’t have much swelling, but just in case, put some ice on it when you’re home.”

“Will do, boss. See you on Thursday for our next appointment.” He leans down to me, his lips brushing my cheek. The light touch sets my skin on fire. I take a deep breath, inhaling his masculine scent, and all my senses go hyperalert. This is ridiculous. We were once best friends, and I hope we can be that close again. Lusting after him is out of the question. I have an unused wedding dress and years of dates gone bad to remind me that my romantic relationships always take a turn for the worse. I want Max Bennett in my life, and I want him as my best friend.

Swallowing hard, I wave at him as he leaves the room. I was expecting our reunion     to wreak havoc on my emotions, but not my hormones.

Chapter Four


“Thank you so much for coming with me,” Alice says as she climbs into my car. I parked in front of her restaurant, which is located high on the Twin Peaks. It’s highly successful, and I’m damn proud of her. She’s been scouting for a location to open a second restaurant and asked me to go see a place with her. She shoves a take-out bag in my lap as I gun the engine.

“You brought me a turkey sandwich?” I ask, unwrapping the sandwich in record time.

“Yep, can’t let my little brother starve.”

I scoff at the word little. “I’m only one year younger than you.” Christopher and I are firmly convinced we were the accidental pair of twins. But then again I’d bet my ass a lot of us were accidental. On the drive to the new location, I tell Alice, “You’re never going to believe who I ran into today. Emilia. She’s my physical therapist.”

Alice frowns, and then she exclaims, “Oh! Jonesie? Our neighbor way back when?”

“That’s the one,” I say.

“How is she?”

“Didn’t get to talk to her much, we had to start our session. But her Grams is sick. She has Alzheimer’s.”

Alice sighs, sinking down the seat a little. “That’s so sad. How’s Jonesie holding up?”

“As I said, we didn’t talk much, but I imagine it’s hard.” In fact, I think hard doesn’t even cover it. Emilia all but shrunk before me, closing herself off when she mentioned her grandmother. I instantly recognized that look. As a kid, she withdrew in herself whenever she was hurting. It made all my protective instincts spring to life, and the same happened today. As a kid, I was loud, careless, and confident, and I couldn’t understand why everyone around me wasn’t the same way. Something about Emilia beckoned to me, and I made it my mission to replace her sadness with laughter as often as I could. I was successful, and she became my best friend.

When the clinic director mentioned her name, I was ecstatic. When I met her face-to-face, it was a shock to my system. She has the same warm, green eyes I remember, but Jonesie has grown into a beautiful, hot woman, and I turned into a horny moron the moment I saw her. Dick move on my part. She walked into my arms all trusting and open, and there’s no way I’ll take advantage of that. Emilia is the white-picket-fence type of girl, and she deserves someone who can give her that. Right now, that’s not on my radar at all.