Home > Transcend (Transcend Duet #1)(12)

Transcend (Transcend Duet #1)(12)
Author: Jewel E. Ann

“Don’t move.” I hug Griffin’s back tighter as he kills the engine to his bike.

He interlaces his fingers with mine, gripping his chest. “You okay?”

After a few more seconds of relishing the feeling of our bodies pressed together, I release him and pull off my helmet. “I’m great.”

He removes his helmet and his bandana while I slide off the Harley. I could watch him all day. The meticulous way he puts our helmets on the shelf and wipes the bugs off his bike mesmerizes me. Griffin takes care of everything he owns—the new shiny things as well as the old, weathered things like his house and garage.

“I think you’re an old soul, Griffin Calloway.”

He hangs the rag on the hook and shoots me his sexiest grocery-store-guy smile. “Why is that?”

“My parents used to tell people I was wise beyond my years because I knew stuff most kids my age didn’t know. That was just knowledge, random facts, not wisdom. But you … you have an appreciation for things and you take care of them like someone twice your age might do.”

“My parents always took care of things. They still do. It’s just how I was raised.” He shrugs.

“No. Hayley and Sophie are complete disasters. I’ve seen their rooms. Chloe is a little tidier but still not you. I don’t think you were conditioned to be this way, I think it’s nature more than nurture.”

“An old soul, huh? From another time?” He pulls me into his chest and nuzzles my neck while lifting me off my feet.

I hug him with my arms, legs, and entire being. It took twenty-one years, but I finally found where I fit in life, and it’s every inch of my body pressed to his.

“You make me feel safe,” I murmur but it sounds more like a moan warring between physical pleasure and emotional pain. It’s an unsettling feeling that I have such a strong need to feel safe. I don’t understand it.

“You are safe,” he says between kisses beneath my ear.

“You make me feel like I belong.” My breaths race to catch up to my pulse.

“You belong with me.” He walks us to the garage door, shuts off the light, and closes the door behind us.

He’s my mind’s favorite place to go. When I think of him—of us—I don’t feel crazy. And maybe I should feel crazy because we’re both young and inexperienced in life and love. But I don’t want to think about the numbers that make up our ages or the months we’ve been together.

We crash through the front door like the first big gust of wind at the front of a storm.

“You make me feel needed,” I whisper just before his mouth claims mine.

His house is bigger than my apartment, but only by one bedroom. We don’t make it to either bedroom. He deposits me on the sofa and shrugs off his shirt.

“I need you.” He unties his boots and kicks them off while unfastening his pants as I shimmy out of my clothes. “In fact, I am pretty fucking sure you’re all I truly need.”

Twenty-three-year-old guys don’t say that. His soul is not simply old, it’s ancient like that of a great poet … who may have said fuck a few times.

I tug at his partially unfastened jeans.

He grabs my hand. “Close your eyes.”

“Why?” My head cocks to the side.

“Because I know you don’t want to see the tattoo on my ass.”

“Shut. Up.” I bat his hand away and tug down his jeans with both hands. A few moments of silence settle between us as I stare at his form before me. “I still blush when I look at you.” My gaze trails up to meet his eyes.

Griffin steps out of his jeans and briefs and kneels on the sofa between my legs as I lie back. “I know what else makes you blush.” He slowly dips his head between my legs, and my fingers curl into the sofa cushion.


“Rise and shine.”

The covers are ripped from my naked body.

“It’s Saturday.” I blindly search for a sheet, blanket, even a discarded T-shirt. Nothing. They’re gone, so I rub the sleep from my eyes and peel them open.

“There she is.”

I lift up onto my elbows. “Here I am. Naked. In your bed. Yet…” my lips twist “…you’re dressed. How are we supposed to have Saturday morning sex with you so overdressed?”

“The real question is how are we supposed to have Saturday morning sex when you’re supposed to be at Professor Hunt’s house in less than thirty minutes?”

“It’s not my Saturday to work—SHIT!” I fly off the bed. “It is! I said I’d watch Morgan for an hour this morning.” My legs wobble a bit as they fight to keep up with my adrenaline rush.

“You did.” Griffin chuckles.

“Don’t laugh at my forgetfulness,” I holler from his bathroom. “Instead, be helpful and get me some coffee.”

“It’s already on the kitchen table next to your purse and car keys.”

After throwing on clothes and brushing my teeth in record time, I race past him toward the kitchen.

“Wait.” He snags my arm and pulls me into his chest. “Drive safely.” And there it is, that adoration, that complete feeling of safety and security that comes with Griffin’s affection.

“I love you, Grocery Store Guy.”

He tips my chin up with his finger and kisses me. “I love you too. Now go, before you get fired.”

I smile. I’m late, but I take a few seconds to bask in the moment of being so incredibly in love with this man. If my father’s death taught me anything, it’s that last goodbyes don’t RSVP. Take lots of mental pictures of favorite moments. And being present with the ones that matter most is the wisest investment of time.

“Your place or mine later?” I grab my stuff neatly lined up on the kitchen table.

“Yours. It’s a mess. We should clean it up tomorrow.”

“Great. Your place it is. Bye, Griff.”

He slowly shakes his head as I close the door behind me.

I arrive at Nate’s three minutes late thanks to traffic and my oversleeping. A shower and clean clothes would have been nice. I really need to keep more than a toothbrush and a stick of deodorant at Griffin’s, but he hasn’t asked me to move in, so actual clothes might feel a little too intrusive and presumptuous.

“Hello?” I step inside the front door and slip off my shoes.

“In here,” Nate calls from his office.

“Sorry I’m a few minutes late. Traffic was—”

“It’s no problem.” He keeps his eyes on the computer screen, fingers playing hunt and peck with the keyboard. Typing would have been a useful skill, but I’m not surprised he never learned it.

I’m only surprised that I know that. Here we go again …

“Where’s Morgan?”

“Sleeping. She was up early, so after her bottle she fell back to sleep.” He shuts the top to his laptop. “I won’t be gone long.”



“Oh, you have an actual plot?” Last week Rachael told me Jenna was cremated. I suppose some people still want a physical place to feel close to the departed.

“No. It’s …” He shakes his head. “Hard to explain.”

“O-kay. No explanation necessary. I’m here, no major plans today so take your time.”

Nate studies me with that scrutinizing look that feels pained and confused at the same time. I glance around the room, out the window, at the shelves of books. Anywhere but directly at him.

“My best friend died.”

This statement demands eye contact. “I’m sorry.”

He shakes his head a half dozen times. “Thank you, it was many years ago, but I still go visit her grave every year. I named Morgan after her.”

My eyes widen a fraction. “Your best friend was a girl?”


“That’s … wow. And you named your daughter after her …”

He nods again.

Thinking back, he did say “she” when he discussed his best friend’s favorite pizza. It didn’t sink in until now.

“That’s really … special. Did Jenna know your friend too?”

Nate hesitates, distracting me with nervous gestures like clearing his throat and checking his watch. “No,” he says so softly I can barely hear him. But I know that’s what he said.

“Well, I’m still very sorry for your loss. Clearly you must have been close if you named Morgan after her, and you still visit her grave every year.”

Nate stares at his feet while scratching his head, ruffling his already wayward curls. “We met when we were seven.” He sighs slowly and makes his way toward the windows.

I guess he’s not leaving quite yet.

“I never talk about her. I never told Jenna about her. She never knew about my yearly visit to Morgan’s grave.”

“You should share this with Dr. Greyson.”

With his back to me, Nate shakes his head. “My sessions with him revolve around Jenna and my ‘feelings’ about being a single parent—a widower. But …” He sighs again.

“But what?” I rest my hands on the edge of his desk and lean back against it.

“I need to tell someone. I need to let it go … I need to let her go.”

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