The Bars Between Us
by A.S. Teague
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About The Bars Between Us:
I don’t have a damn thing in common with the beautiful rich girl who walks in to my bar. She’s southern class, fancy cars, and designer shoes.
I’ve got a drunk for a mother, a cheater for a father, and a reputation for trouble I’ve more than earned.
I look the other way, pretending I don’t notice how perfect she is. She wouldn’t give me the time of day anyway. Until she shatters that first impression and shows me she’s so much more––everything I never thought I deserved.
After a lifetime of being a disappointment, I want to prove to her that I’m better than my past.
We have one tragic thing in common, and the thread that binds us together will tear us apart as it unravels.
Are we strong enough to break through the Bars Between Us?
“So, what brings you to Beaufort?” I ask, her small hand still engulfed in my own. It’s soft and dainty, a contrast to the sass she’s been throwing my way today. The way her eyes dance each time she shoots a zinger at me causes my interest to grow. I don’t know what the hell possessed me to reach for her arm, but I couldn’t stop myself from doing so. The moment my rough fingertips made contact with her smooth skin, my skin began to buzz and hasn’t stopped.
“What kind of work do you do?”
She sips her water and then leans forward, her face lighting up. “I’m a nurse. I graduated in the fall and took a job with a travel agency.”
The way she immediately checked me for injuries earlier makes sense. “Damn, I should have faked an injury earlier.”
Her eyes widen before she purses her lips. “That’s not funny!”
“Maybe pretended to need mouth to mouth?” I lift a brow.
One corner of her mouth tips up as she rolls her eyes. “Now you’re just being crass!”
I nod. “Probably.”
“Definitely.” I grin. “So, travel nursing, what’s that exactly?”
“Basically, I go wherever I’m needed. I’m contracted at Beaufort Memorial until November. Then, after that, I’ll go where they send me next.”
“So, you’re only here temporarily?” I do the math in my head. “Six months?” I don’t know why that thought causes disappointment to wash over me.
“Yep. Although my contract with the travel agency is only for a year. So, I figure, if I find a place I like, then maybe I’ll stay.”
Her hand is still in mine, but I grab the straw that’s lying on the table with my free hand and begin twirling it through my fingers. Her accent is light, and I’m caught up in the soft, musical sound of her voice. The more this conversation flows, the more caught up in everything about her I become.
“Well, what do you think of our lovely slice of the south here?” I ask.
Beaufort is an amazing town. The charm, the atmosphere, and the weather all make for a perfect place to live. Travel magazines are constantly claiming it as the best place to live, retire, or visit.
But the town hasn’t always been kind to me. And there may be times that I love it, but more often than not, I find myself just wanting desperately to escape it.
She pulls her hand from mine and tucks a strand of hair that’s fallen from her messy bun behind her ear. “Well, I’ve been here less than forty-eight hours, so I can’t really say.” Her cheeks pink. “And so far, I’ve managed to be rude to a local and almost run him over.”
I do my best to look stern and tell her, “Yeah, not the best way to start out in a new town.”
She nods. “But, I do prefer small towns over bustling cities. And I love the water.” Her eyes flutter shut, her face softening. “There’s just something about the ocean that calls to me.”
I’m entranced by the way her perfect lips curve, causing her nose to crinkle slightly, her long lashes to flutter. She looks peaceful and serene, and my chest tightens with the desire to feel that, too. “Maybe I was a mermaid in a past life.” She opens her sparkling eyes and pins me with a look that causes the air in my lungs to leave in a whoosh.
The dreamy look in her eyes and the softness of her face as she talks about the sea makes me want to get swept away by her. She’s beautiful, a fact that I’d noticed the moment I laid eyes on her. But, the fact that she can simultaneously make my heart pound and give me shit makes her the most attractive woman I’ve ever encountered. And the realization that I want to spend the rest of the day with her, getting to know her, causes my heart to pound, my stomach to ache.
I clear my throat, hoping that the action will also clear my mind. “The ocean calls to me, too. One of the reasons I never moved away from this place. But if you were a mermaid, then I was probably a pirate. And not one of those cool ones like Johnny Depp. I was probably more like that guy whose face was an octopus. What was his name?”
About the Author:
A.S. Teague enjoys the warmth of South Carolina with her husband and two daughters. The stereotypes about peach cobbler and sweet tea are not overstated. After years in the medical field, she is now enjoying every minute of being a stay-at-home mom. She loves wine, the beach, wine on the beach, and crying at Disney movies. When she doesn’t have a book in her hand, she can be found pestering her husband with pictures of animals she wants to rescue, as well as debating whether to exercise or take a nap.
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