Heiress Behind the Headlines

Heiress Behind the Headlines by Caitlin Crews Page A

Book: Heiress Behind the Headlines by Caitlin Crews Read Free Book Online
Authors: Caitlin Crews
had remained empty, uncluttered. Anesthetized.
    Those could not be tears that pricked the back of her eyes.
    Jack smiled slightly, and picked up his fork.
    “My mother felt the same,” he said, his voice low. As if he was as wary of this—this intimacy—as she was. “She said that no son of hers would go through life unable to care for himself in the most basic way.” His smile deepened, though he aimed it at the food before them, and Larissa felt the slightest pang. She wondered what it would be like to be what caused that wistful smile, what called it forth. He looked at her after a moment, that smile more guarded. “She was an Endicott through and through, just like my grandfather. The ‘Sutton excesses’ made her uncomfortable.”
    “What about you?” Larissa asked. “You fall somewhere in between the Puritan Endicotts and the profligate Suttons, don’t you?”
    She remembered the younger Jack, the careless Jack. The famous playboy Jack. He’d driven impossibly expensive cars, had dropped unimaginable sums of money on forgettable evenings. He’d been like all the rest of them. Their peers. Their “friends.” She took a bite of the pasta, sighing happily as the rich flavors washed into her, chasing away the damp, the cold. The fight.
    He flashed that devastating smile at her, the one that had made him so beloved, America’s most eligible bachelor. She had to look away from all that shine, and told herself she didn’t know why.
    “People have to change, Larissa,” he said, in an odd tone. When she looked back at him, however, his expression was shuttered. “What other choice do they have?”
    “Most people never change,” she countered, with a shrug that felt too sharp. “Most people balk at the slightest suggestion that they should. Most people will go to great and dizzying lengths to make sure that absolutely nothing changes, ever. Themselves, their lives. Nothing.”
    “Then they are no better than children,” Jack said dismissively. He stabbed at his pasta, and she could not help but admire the leashed ferocity in him, the controlled power. She felt too much these days, and far more than that when she was with him. Far too much. “An adult must take responsibility for himself. He must do what is expected of him. If that requires change, so be it. It is called growing up. It is his duty.”
    “It’s a very unusual person who simply wakes up one morning and decides, apropos of nothing, to change their life,” she said, picking her words carefully, still thinking she could protect herself somehow from the things she could not help but feel. “I suspect that sweeping personal change is more often preceded by some catastrophic personal event. Because why would anyone risk it, otherwise? It’s too painful.”
    She took another bite, chewed it thoughtfully. “And of course, no one supports change. Everyone around you will fight tooth and nail to keep you in exactly the box they put you in, much too afraid of what it might mean to let you go free. No one ever changes, if they can avoid it. No one.”
    He didn’t say anything for a moment, studying her from across the table. And then he blinked, and the tension seemed to ease again somehow, like the tides. They talked of other things. The island’s history. His own summers here as a boy. Innocuous subjects, until they had both eaten their fill. Larissa carried their bowls to the deep sink and when she turned, found him close behind her. Too close. He leaned in, bracing himself with a hand on either side of her, caging her between his strong arms.
    She knew she should do something. Scream. Run. Object, at the very least. But she only stared, while her blood seemed to turn into molten lava beneath her skin.
    “Have you changed, Larissa?” he asked softly, a half smile on his mouth though his brown eyes were serious. “Is that what you’ve been trying to tell me?”
    All of her anxiety and fear rushed back into her then, shaking her. How could

Similar Books

Place to Belong, a

Lauraine Snelling

Branded By Etain

Jianne Carlo

Our Lady of the Forest

David Guterson