Just One Night - Josh & Bailey

By: Melanie Shawn


He probably got it from his real dad.

The sound of an engine roaring in the distance interrupted Bailey’s musings and hope rose in her chest. Maybe whoever was up there had listened to her pleas and her request had been granted. She turned and saw a single headlight shining. The tiny hairs on the back of her neck stood up.

“No,” she whispered to herself.

There was no way. No matter what the tiny hairs standing at attention were telling her, she refused to believe it was him. He wasn’t the only person in Harper’s Crossing with a motorcycle. But when she saw him slow down where Buford sat on the side of the road, she knew, just knew it was him.

“Seriously,” she sighed in equal parts frustration and anxiety.

Josh Scott was the last thing she needed tonight.

That’s what her head was telling her, anyway. Her heart and hormones were convinced that Josh was exactly what she needed tonight. And every night, for that matter.





Chapter 2





The illumination of the single headlight acted as a spotlight on long, blonde hair, huge brown eyes, and the most perfect set of lips God had ever designed. Bailey Rossum was barefoot on the side of the road in a long, red dress that hugged curves that could bring any man to his knees.

When he’d spotted Buford sitting all alone beside the river a mile back, he’d had a feeling his night was about to turn to shit. And he’d been right.

Josh knew that he couldn’t leave a woman, any woman, walking alone along a deserted road at night. But that didn’t mean he didn’t want to.

In the six years since Bailey had returned to Harper’s Crossing, he’d done a damn fine job avoiding her. Even when they’d both been attendants in his cousin Brian’s wedding and they’d been paired to walk together, he’d managed to keep his distance, at least emotionally.

When he saw her on the street, he ignored her. If they happened to be at the same restaurant or store, he didn’t acknowledge her. If they came face to face in a social situation, he looked right through her like she was the invisible woman.

For six years, two months, and five days since she’d been back he’d managed not to interact with her at all. In all that time he’d not spoken a single word to her. It had taken a lot more restraint than he’d expected. But it had been necessary. And now all of that work was down the toilet.

His only hope was that he could manage this with as little interaction as possible.

The rumble of his engine quieted as he slowed to a stop. He could feel her staring at him as he reached up and unbuckled his helmet, removing it in a swift motion. He lifted his arm and offered it to her. The wide-eyed expectancy in her big brown eyes mixed with guarded vulnerability stole his breath away.

He ignored the tickling sensation in his chest that the rawness in her gaze caused him and thrust the helmet in her direction as he demanded, “Put this on.”

A flash of hurt was quickly replaced with anger. Her jaw tightened and the vein that only appeared when she was pissed or turned on popped up on her forehead. Since he knew there was no way it was coming out to say hi because she was hot and bothered it was clearly there because she was mad.

Unfuckingbelievable. He’d stopped to offer her a ride, but he was the bad guy.

“No, thank you.” Her tone was cold and distant and she started walking away from him.

Again.

The last time he’d seen that view was sixteen years ago. Two years after she’d left Harper’s Crossing he’d gone to find her and she told him that she didn’t love him, she wasn’t sure if she ever had and she’d walked away. He let her go, then. This time he was older, wiser, and not completely devastated from just being dumped by the girl he’d loved since he was twelve years old. The girl he’d thought he was going to marry and spend the rest of his life with.

He was still devastated by the things she’d said to him that day, but he’d had sixteen years to get over it…so it stung a little less than it had then.

He pushed the kickstand down, lifted his leg off the bike, and started following behind her. She didn’t speed up, but she didn’t slow down either. Her pace was set and apparently his presence didn’t affect it at all.

“Bailey.”

She kept walking.

“You’re in a dress.”

She didn’t respond.

He knew he was pointing out the obvious, but he was just thinking out loud. She had to be on the way to the country club for the annual hospital fundraiser. So, why was she so far out of town? And why would she be driving Buford? It was not the most reliable form of…

Oh shit.

Something upsetting must’ve happened. When they were teenagers, whenever she got upset, she’d go sit in her grandpa’s truck. That’s where she felt closest to him.

He had no idea what upsetting event had occurred since he didn’t know anything about her life. He hated himself for feeling anything for her, but it was still Bailey, and despite himself he was concerned for her.

“Are you okay?” His voice was rough with frustration.

“I’m just peachy!” Her tone was overly enthusiastic.

She’d always been a smart-ass. Her dry wit had been one of his favorite things about her. It didn’t matter what the situation, she always said something that could make him grin. It was one of the first things that had stood out to him.