It’s almost summer and already the heat is rising here in the South. I actually like the heat at times. Unlike the cold when I can never get warmed up. When I get hot its easy enough to cool down in the pool, the ocean, the lake or even the air conditioned house. When its warm I can walk outside–even if its only in the morning, or I can sit with my laptop on the back porch…So bring on the heat.
Obsession of Jayde is set in coastal South Carolina in the summer and things heat up quickly in more ways thank one.
Jayde rushed down the sidewalk, sweat trickling down her back as she hurried toward the glass doors of the bank. She gripped her bag tighter, willing her hands to quit shaking. What could possibly be in that damn safety-deposit box to warrant the increased fear racing through her the closer she got to it? It had to be the heat, the hot, sticky air she dragged in and out of her lungs. Much longer, and she would certainly melt.
She’d grown accustomed to the mild climate of San Francisco and had forgotten that during the summer in South Carolina, you never knew what to expect. Rain one day, heat the next, but always the miserable humidity. Instead of the jacket and skirt she wore, she longed for a thin sundress and sandals. Not to mention a tall, cold drink. The kind with an umbrella and some fruit on the side. Something with enough liquor in it to make her forget why she was here.
Her stomach knotted in grief at the memory of the polite phone call she’d received a few days ago. She’d woken to the shrill ring of her cell phone at an ungodly hour of the morning and had been ready to curse the person calling. Those words were forgotten when the caller informed her that her beloved grandmother had died the night before, and that she was needed in Hickory Falls as soon as possible.
It had been several years, more than five in fact, since she’d come here to visit, and she had no idea what would await her on Main Street. Jayde always had an excuse whenever her gran would ask her to come. Looking back now, every one of them sounded even lamer than the one before. Pangs of regret sliced through her as she considered all the time she had wasted. And for what? A dead-end job with an ex-fiancé as a boss?
The only information she had managed to pry out of the attorney was that renovations had recently been completed, and there were currently a pair of tenants living in the guest apartment on the third floor, next to her grandmother’s residence, which she guessed was now hers. She’d looked over the photographs the attorney had given her, and she had to admit she was quite impressed with her grandmother’s vision; the place looked fantastic and not at all like the run-down house she remembered. But nobody had been able or willing to give her a straight answer about the financial status or future plans for the historic home. She would have to dig through her grandmother’s things and find all her financial records herself.
Her gaze swept across each business lining the sidewalk until she spied the familiar stone arch of the old town bank. Anxious to get inside, she pushed through the revolving door, and a blast of cool air brushed her face. Goose bumps prickled across her heated skin, and she wondered if she could just stand there awhile to recover. On a slow sigh of regret, she moved on and searched out the information desk to find a petite, dark-haired woman eyeing her curiously with a smile on her face. She headed in that direction.
“How can I help you today, ma’am?” The thick Southern accent rolled from her tongue.
“I need to access my safe-deposit box.” Jayde showed the woman the gold key she’d been gripping in her hand.
“No problem. Bob can take care of that for you.” She waved to a tall balding man across the room. Jayde watched him approach, wondering if his strictly starched appearance and pasty skin hid a darker soul underneath. Where the hell did that come from? This isn’t San Francisco.
After he verified her ID and declared her the official owner of her grandmother’s box, Bob led her through a series of lifeless corridors in the back of the building. Funny, the farther she followed him, the more her anxiety ratcheted up. Perspiration broke out on her forehead, even with the chilly temperature, and her hands shook harder than before. Silly, really. What could her grandmother have left her that would give her any reason to be nervous? Or for that matter, what could she have left that would require the security of a safe-deposit box?
That was the real question that had burned through Jayde since she’d been told about it. She’d never thought of her gran as the secretive type, but there was no telling what she’d been up to before she died.
“Your box is right in here, ma’am. I’ll just leave you alone, if there is nothing else you need.” While he spoke, his eyes darted down to her breasts, which didn’t relieve the nerves.
What a perv! She turned away from him in disgust and surveyed the room, a tiny, smaller-than-her-walk-in-closet area that was lined with lockboxes. “This is fine. Thank you.”
She gritted her teeth and stepped inside. A stronger sense of foreboding surrounded her like a thick and powerful cloak. Her skin prickled, and the tiny hairs on the back of her neck stood on end. It took every ounce of willpower she possessed not to turn and run.
What the hell?
She searched through the numbers until she located the right slot. Maybe she should leave. Her grandmother’s will had left her with a cryptic message about her life being about to change forever. It had said there would be no turning back, all fate was hers. At the time, she’d assumed they were the wild ramblings of an aging mind.
Now she wasn’t so sure.
Slowly she released the breath she’d been holding, one fraction at a time, searching for an internal calm that seemed to elude her. With trembling hands, she pulled the container from the shelf marked with her number and carried it to the table.
She slid the key into the lockbox and turned it.
Jayde lifted the lid to find another box, an old, ornate wooden one to be exact. How old, she had no idea, but from the brown, aged wood and odd markings, she could only guess it was really old—as in centuries old. Her fingers brushed the edges, and her skin tingled from her arms to the back of her neck. When she lifted it from the safe, her throat tightened, making her breathing seem labored. As she eyed the box, she couldn’t help but think how silly she was behaving. It’s just a box.
Her fingers slid along the seam, trying to find the spot that would open it. Finally it dawned on her that the series of levers created a pattern, and she would have to follow it to get inside. One by one she moved the pieces of the puzzle until only one remained.
She held her breath, pressed the last lock, and flipped open the box. Sucking in a deep breath, she stared down at the intriguing antique gold necklace nestled in the corner. The filigreed gold of the chain had aged to a shimmery bronze color, and the intricate beading work around the edges of the rough-cut links gave it a delicate yet sturdy look.
In the center of the delicate arcs of the pendant sat a pearlescent oval moonstone, sparkling in the artificial light of the room. The stone was large and flat, so that when she ran her thumb across it, she found it to be smooth as glass. But where she expected a cool, solid surface, she found heat and life. Jayde pulled it from the box and held it up in front of her. The stone seemed to change color as it moved in the light. She guessed the necklace to be the perfect length to nestle between the breasts, atop the beating heart of its owner.
The weight and texture of it seemed perfect, not too heavy nor too light. She wanted nothing more than to put it on and wear it. Feel it against her skin. Why had her grandmother hidden it away in a bank? More importantly, why had she never seen her grandmother wear it? It was far too beautiful a piece to never be appreciated and kept hidden. Unable to resist, she unhooked the clasp and slid the chain under her hair.
With the necklace fastened, she let the chain fall, and the dangling moonstone did exactly as she’d thought. It slid between her breasts to nestle in the cleavage there. The contrast of the cool temperature of the chain and the heat of the stone felt delicious against her flushed skin. A sudden crackle of energy swept the length of her body, causing her to shiver. Heat continued to build inside her, until her sex tingled with arousal and surprising need.
Jayde’s fingers followed the sensation as she skimmed her hands up the seam of her skirt, stopping at her hips. She looked around the room, hoping to find something she could use as a mirror; she wanted to see how it looked. No luck. She would have to wait until she got to the house before she could admire the beautiful necklace around her neck. Not to mention figure out why her pussy throbbed between her legs.
Unable to resist, Jayde slid her hand down and cupped herself, applying pressure to her clit. Common sense told her to stop. Yet her hand rubbed harder as carnal, wicked thoughts filled her head. Maybe she could just go with it for a few minutes.
“Is there anything you need in there?”
Her hand jerked at the bank manager’s voice outside the door. Heat flooded her face as she smoothed her skirt and fought back a desire she didn’t understand.
“No…no, I have what I need.” Not really, but this was not the time and place to figure that out.
Opting to keep the necklace on, she picked up the box and tucked it under her arm. No need to keep this locked up here, not when she fully intended to wear the beautiful stone.
A piece of paper fluttered to the ground as she lifted the wooden box. Unfolding the worn and wrinkled paper, she found one sentence scrawled inside.
Beware the obsession.
Be sure to follow the trail for more snippety goodness.