Page 8 of Tribulation Pass

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It took her a minute to figure out where the controls were for the shower, and she couldn’t help the grin when the control panel lit up in the wall and multiple jets started spraying water.

The home she’d shared with Derek had been a renovated brownstone on the Upper East Side. It was big, stuffy, and boring, much like Derek. It had been a home with no happiness, and memories that only contained anger and violence.

The pulsing water felt amazing on her chilled skin, but she didn’t linger. She wouldn’t put it past her savior to barge in and dump her back outside if the rain stopped before she was finished.

She turned off the water, dried quickly, and then put on the sweats he’d given her, very aware of the fact she didn’t have any undergarments. The clothes smelled clean, and she breathed in the scent before gathering up the wet towel and her dirty clothes. She made sure she left the bathroom as spotless as it was when she’d entered, and when she was satisfied, she went back out to see if his mood had improved. Hers most definitely had.

The smell of something delicious greeted her when she came back into the kitchen.

“Oh, God,” she moaned and held her stomach. “I didn’t realize how hungry I was until just now.”

“Oh, did you want something too?” he asked, raising a brow.

She felt the heat in her cheeks before she realized he’d set two plates on the pub table next to the window.

“Do you have a plastic bag I could put my clothes in?” she asked.

He grabbed a trash bag from under the sink and handed it to her. “All I had was leftover pizza,” he said. “Worst of the storm should be passed by the time we finish.”

“Here’s your hat, what’s your hurry?” she asked, making him grin. She took a seat at the table, and decided maybe he wasn’t humorless after all. “I didn’t catch your name.”

“I don’t remember giving it,” he said, putting a round pizza tray in the middle of the table.

He took the seat across from her and looked up, and she arched a brow at him.

“Duncan,” he said. “Duncan O’Hara.”

“Ahh,” she said. “I guess that makes sense. Alice told me you could throw a dart and hit an O’Hara most anywhere around here.”

“That’s mostly true,” he said. “But maybe a little exaggerated. We claim a lot of families that don’t share the last name, but we have a heck of a family reunion every year.”

“Why have a family reunion if you all live right here?” she asked.

“We don’t all live right here. And a lot of those who have homes here, don’t live here full-time. We’re like Grand Central Station.”

“At least you’re not Hotel California.”

“Are you usually this much of a smart aleck?” he asked.

She frowned. It had been a long time since that side of her had come out—had beenallowedto come out.

“No,” she said, and left it at that.

“Well, you’re a natural.”

She’d not really taken the time to look at him before. There weren’t many men who didn’t make her feel like a giant when she stood next to them. Her height had always been a source of embarrassment for her mother, and Derek had never let her wear shoes that made her taller than him.

But this man had at least a couple of inches in height on her, and his shoulders were broad and his arms muscular. All she remembered when she collapsed against him was that it was like hitting a brick wall.

His skin was dark enough to let her know he spent time outdoors, and he was obviously in very good shape.Verygood shape.

There were flecks of colored paint on his hands and smeared around his nails, and she found it curious. He definitely didn’t seem like the type of man to sit all day in an office. His forearms were strong, and her gaze lifted higher until it rested on the sensuous curve of his mouth. And then she met his eyes and saw he was staring back at her. They were green with flecks of gold, and the look he gave her was so intense she had to look away for fear of being swallowed whole.

Whatever was going on, she was not equipped to deal with the feelings a man like Duncan O’Hara brought out in her. She’d spent the last five years keeping her emotions bottled up inside, putting a smile on her face, and pretending everything was okay. She didn’t know what it was to have a physical connection with a man that included kindness or gentleness. Derek had made sure on their wedding night that sex was something to be feared, and she thanked God every day for the mistresses he used in place of her throughout their marriage.

Duncan reached toward the pizza and picked up a slice, putting it on her plate.

“You’re safe here,” he said.

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