Read The Past Between Us Online

Authors: Kimberly Van Meter

Tags: #Mama Jo's Boys

The Past Between Us

“There’s nowhere for you to go. Think this through.”
Tommy underestimated her need to escape. Cassi shrugged, appearing flippant, but in truth she was stalling, waiting for the strength to return to her limbs. She was starting to think that’s why he’d tackled her then stayed on top of her, to weaken her. Well, if it was, it had worked and it’d also destroyed her hope that he’d stayed put simply because he liked being there.
There’s a blow to the ol’ ego.
She flexed her fingers and gave him a hard look of her own.

“Sorry, Tommy. I can’t. There’s no way I can make you understand, and that’s a tragedy. But I’m not going anywhere with you. That man killed my mother and I’m going to prove it somehow. It’s the only chance I have of making things right. So if you want to take me in…you’ll have to kill me first.”

Dear Reader,

This book kicks off an exciting new series entitled Mama Jo’s Boys. Mama Jo, a foster mother with a heart big enough to fit three boys who aren’t of her blood but are hers just the same, connects each book, and she’s a wonderful character. We could all benefit from having a “Mama Jo” in our lives.

The first book features Thomas Bristol and Cassi Nolan, true soul mates who found each other in childhood, but along the way to adulthood, lost sight of what was important. I confess, I love stories like this. I think there is something magical and pure about first love, and those who are lucky enough to hold on to that love are truly blessed.

The second book features Christian Holt and Skye D’Lane, two people in the Big Apple trying to make things right in their world and finding love along the way.

The trilogy ends with Owen Garrett and Piper Sunday and I think you’re going to find these two quite entertaining as they fight their attraction to one another while they uncover a twenty-five-year-old secret within their California town.

In all, Mama Jo’s Boys are hot, sexy, strong men with eyes only for the one woman who can drive them crazy but at the same time, make them fall madly in love.

Hearing from readers is one of my greatest joys (aside from really good chocolate) so don’t be shy. Feel free to drop me a line at my website www.kimberlyvanmeter.com or through snail mail: P.O. Box 2210, Oakdale, CA 95361.

Happy reading,

Kimberly Van Meter

The Past Between Us
Kimberly Van Meter

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kimberly Van Meter wrote her first book at age sixteen and finally achieved publication in December 2006. She writes for Harlequin Superromance and Silhouette Romantic Suspense. She and her husband of seventeen years have three children, three cats and always a houseful of friends, family and fun.
Books by Kimberly Van Meter
HARLEQUIN SUPERROMANCE
1391—THE TRUTH ABOUT FAMILY

1433—FATHER MATERIAL
*

1469—RETURN TO EMMETT’S MILL
*

1485—A KISS TO REMEMBER
*

1513—AN IMPERFECT MATCH
*

1577—KIDS ON THE DOORSTEP
*

1600—A MAN WORTH LOVING
*

1627—TRUSTING THE BODYGUARD
*

SILHOUETTE ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
1622—TO CATCH A KILLER

1638—GUARDING THE SOCIALITE

To fellow Silhouette author Susan Crosby, a woman of quiet wisdom and gentle humor. Not only is she an inspiration and a joy, she reminds me with the patience of someone who has already “been there, done that” what remains important, whether it’s advice applied to career or personal issues. I don’t know what I’d do without our bi-monthly chats!
To my family, for—
always, always, always
—being my biggest fans! From yelling the loudest at my various graduations to telling every single person they come into contact with about my books… I would be nothing without you!
Lastly, to my editor, Johanna, and agent, Pam—two ladies whose vision and insight never fail to steer me in the right direction. Thank you!
Contents
CHAPTER ONE
W
ARM MOISTURE TRICKLED
between the valley of her breasts, which were bound tightly by the purple sports bra she’d found at a little thrift store on Third. Her muscles were loose and slack from the workout, and she mentally congratulated herself for managing to convince a class of twenty upwardly mobile New York executive-types that she’d been teaching yoga for the past six years when in fact, she’d only just assumed this identity in the past month. She dabbed a thin towel at her hairline and slung it around her neck. This was by far the easiest identity she’d ever taken on and she actually liked being Trinity Moon, the earthy yoga instructor who believed in peace and love, vegan food and karma.
She really liked the karma part. If karma really worked, she enjoyed imagining that her stepfather was destined to be reincarnated as a dung beetle. Although, that was probably unfair to all the industrious dung beetles on the earth who were not nearly as odious as Lionel Vissher.

Unpleasant memories blotted out her previous feel-good, exercise-induced endorphins and she exhaled softly. Home was so far away, not so much geographically but definitely as a possibility; Lionel had made certain that Cassi could never go home as long as he was alive.

A bitter draft danced along her spine and she knew someone had just walked into the yoga studio from outside where the temperatures were hovering in the forties. Why did people always pop in for information when the class was clearly already finished? “Sorry but you missed the class. Schedule’s on the door if you want to—”

“Hello, Cassi.”

The breath wilted in her lungs, threatening to wheeze out in a painful gasp if she wasn’t careful. She turned slowly to face the man whose voice she hadn’t heard for years yet remembered with a ferocity that shocked her.

“Nobody calls me that anymore,” she said, her gaze sliding over him in a quick but wary appraisal. Time had been good to him. Not that he hadn’t started out with an advantage in that department, but his boyish cuteness in high school had hardened into the kind of take-a-girl’s-breath-away attractive that often found its way onto the movie screen. Tommy had that quality in spades.

Except Tommy Bristol had always hated the attention his good looks had brought his way and never would’ve tolerated fame well. Unlike Cassi, who had basked in any light that had shone her way. She blinked away the unexpected tears, unsure where they originated from but felt certain they could gain her no ground with the man assessing her as intently as she had assessed him.

“How’d you find me?” she asked. No one in her current circles knew her true name.

He shrugged, but a hard light entered his eyes that she didn’t care for.

“Been a while…” She let the rest of her sentence trail.

“That it has,” he agreed easily. “You’ve been busy.”

She cut him a short glance. “A girl has to make a living.”

“Not typically on the backs of others,” he returned mildly.

Put that way, it sounded so sordid, so mean. She supposed to him it probably looked like that. A minor ache bloomed somewhere in her chest for the dry, dusty remains of whatever had once softened him toward her. Would it change things if he knew how her life had spiraled to the place she was mired in now? Likely not, given the cool chill coming from those ocean-blue eyes so like her own. In school, kids had snickered that they were probably related. She cocked her head and wondered what he saw when he looked at her. A thief? A liar? Perhaps both. But she was certain when he looked at her he didn’t see a long-lost friend. Yes, there it was again, that ache, ghosting across her chest, squeezing painfully. Why did it have to be him? Anyone but him.

“Not everything is as it seems,” she said, surprising herself at the effort. She shouldn’t have wasted her time.

“And most of the time…it is,” he countered.

“Not all of it is true,” she murmured, glancing away so as not to see the derision in the cruel twist of his lips.

He sighed and the sound pulled her attention. He almost looked…regretful. But it was gone in one laborious heartbeat. “Cassi…you’re under arrest. You had to know this was coming sooner or later.”

She refused to answer. It was probably rhetorical, anyway. “And you’re going to be the one to bring me in, huh?”

“That’s right.”

Keep thinking that, Tommy boy.
He was blocking the front exit. She couldn’t count on outrunning him to the back exit. Besides, the latch sometimes stuck and she figured if luck had been on her side, she wouldn’t be facing down Thomas Bristol at that moment so she wasn’t about to lean on luck for favors. That left one way out. Not the way she preferred, but there wasn’t much she could do about that.

“What if I’m innocent?” she asked, testing the waters one last time.

“Then a court of law will decide that. Get your stuff. We have a hard night of driving ahead of us and I want to get moving.”

She took in his stance, the way it seemed he might know her next move before she made it, and she knew no matter their history, he wasn’t going to be swayed by the pull of old times.

This man was going to arrest her.

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