Divine Grace(5)

By: Heather Rainier

“Did she seem to like you, Ethan?”

“I think it surprised her, but yeah, seemed attracted. That could explain why she appeared to feel guilty. What do you plan to do if she takes a liking to Adam as well?”

“To take this very slow and see how she feels about it. What we want is pretty unorthodox. I don’t want to scare her off completely if the idea of being with the three of us is too much for her to handle. Let’s just take it slow and see how she does. First thing we need to do is focus on Mom’s funeral and taking care of Dad.” He paused and felt a hitch in his chest at the mention of her name. He let out a long, shaky breath, and Adam reached over and put a hand on his shoulder.

“I can tell you right now, knowing Rose as well as I did, that while she would appreciate the sentiment, she’d expect you to seize the next opportunity that presents itself to get closer to Grace. You know how much she liked Grace, and that if we really wanted someone who could love all three of us, she felt like Grace might be the one. Remember what she said about her?”

“A heart as big as Texas,” Ethan murmured.

Rose Marie had not necessarily understood their desire for a woman who wanted all three of them. However, she did admit to them in her candid, no nonsense way that the thought of being a woman whose every need was attended to by three handsome, charming men was enough to get even her aging heart pounding just a bit. They’d all laughed, a little red-faced, over that, but she’d given them her blessing, warning them to let Grace set the pace if the opportunity presented itself.

Adam continued, “So just pray for an opportunity.”

Ethan added, “And hope the boyfriend is soon out of the picture.”

“She saw me half nekkid today,” Jack mentioned nonchalantly as he took a bite of his bread.

Both Ethan and Adam dropped their spoons, and they clattered to the table.

* * * *

Grace tidied up the kitchen, took her shower, and got ready for bed. It was early, but the heat wiped her out, and she didn’t feel like watching any TV. She lay in bed and tried to read, but thoughts of Jack kept creeping into

her mind. Even more disturbing were thoughts of Ethan, with his sparkling bedroom eyes gazing down at her.

He didn’t treat her as though she was an acquaintance or friend of Jack’s or even a possible girlfriend of his roommate’s. He reacted to her as though he was interested in asking her out for a date until she’d mentioned her boyfriend, and then he’d backed off. That had fueled her own guilt but not for the right reasons. She should feel guilty for lusting after two men, neither of whom was the man she currently lived with. Instead, her heart ached for feeling that way while attracted to Jack.

What a mess. Owen had to go as soon as she got up the nerve. She wished she was as strong as her sister, Charity. Charity would tell Owen to get the hell out. She’d throw all his stuff on the lawn and call the law on him if he complained. Grace hated to make a scene. Charity wouldn’t think that the deed had been done right unless the police did get involved. She’d told Grace this on several occasions and had even offered to do it for her. It began to sound like fun.

Her thoughts rambled back around to the incident in the dressing room.

She hadn’t intended to stare. She was used to averting her eyes in that area, delivering and taking away clothing her customers had tried on. But most of her customers wore tighty whities or at least Underoos, for Pete’s sake.

Looking away from Jack and that fine package was more than she was capable of until she’d snapped out of it and embarrassed herself even further while measuring his inseam. Coming face-to-face, sort of, with his erection through the fabric of his dress pants had brought her to one eye-opening conclusion.

She had been robbed. Robbed! All these years, she had foolishly believed that Owen liked the bedroom pitch black because of her physical deficiencies. He never wanted her to get a good look at how small his dick was. Owen was the first and only person she’d ever had sex with, so she’d never had anything to compare him to. No freaking wonder she’d never been able to get off with him. His tiny cock was needing both a magnifying glass and a road map to find it kind of small. All this time, she’d thought there was something wrong with her.

Oh, baby, some changes are coming!

The house cooled off overnight, and she got up early, showered, and dressed with relative comfort. It was the end of May, and the mornings were 26

a little muggy but not too hot yet. The thermometer outside read seventy-five degrees. Owen had never come home, and that was fine by her. He could sleep off his drunk somewhere else.

She checked her outfit in the mirror, hoping it would do. She was dressed traditionally for a funeral in a lightweight skirt, with a black blouse over a black camisole. She opted to go bare legged, detesting the thought of pantyhose in this heat. She slid her feet into her favorite heels.

When the time came, she locked up the house, got into her car, and drove out to Warner Ranch, which was just a little farther down the road from the Divine Creek Ranch. She parked in the row of cars lining the long driveway. She was feeling a little sad, a little tired, and slightly wilted as she walked down the drive to join other friends and family in the house.

* * * *

Jack stood with Ethan and Adam, talking in the living room, when Ethan nudged Jack and gestured toward the window with his head. Grace walked down the drive, looking like an angel of mercy come to comfort them. Each graceful stride brought her closer to him.

The long black skirt clung slightly to her legs as she walked, her sheer black blouse rippling in the breeze over the camisole underneath. She was modestly dressed, but there was just something about the way she moved and the style of the clothes she wore that set off her feminine curves. The sight made him wish for a chance to see the bare, sweet flesh that filled out that outfit so perfectly. Sometimes showing less really was more. As she came closer, Jack noticed sadness around her mouth and wanted nothing more than to kiss those soft lips and make it better. Ethan nudged him again and nodded his head at Adam, who was also staring out the window. Adam was tall, greater in height than either of them, but he seemed to stand a little taller, and his eyes took on a fierce glint as he asked, without taking his eyes off of her, “That’s Grace, isn’t it?”

A wide, knowing grin spread over Jack’s face. “Yes, that’s Grace. Come on, I’ll introduce you.”

* * * *

By the time Grace made it to the steps, she felt her chin wobble slightly.

On the walk up the drive, she had reminisced over many of the fun times she’d had with Rose Marie in the years she’d worked at Stigall’s. Grace had waited on her frequently, but what she loved about Rose Marie was that she would stop just to chat with her. She’d even invited her to lunch on a couple of occasions. She had been so wise but not pushy in giving advice.

Once, Rose Marie had found an outfit she thought Grace would look good in and insisted that she try it on right then. She had told the manager she wanted to see what it would look like on someone else, and Juliana had sent Grace right into the dressing room so she could model it for Mrs.

Warner. What a hoot she was. Rose Marie had bought the outfit just to cover for her lark and told Grace she looked so beautiful in it she should consider it for herself as well. Grace wound up buying it later on sale. It was hanging in her closet at home.

Grace paused at the bottom of the steps, feeling like she needed a moment to compose herself before joining all the others inside. She took a deep breath and climbed the first step up to the porch. As she looked up, three men dressed in black suits and black cowboy boots walked out the screen door onto the porch. One handsome cowboy would have been enough to make her salivate, but three of them?

Jack looked so handsome in his new suit. Ethan, with his shoulder-length dark hair and those sparkling blue eyes, looked like he belonged in the pages of a magazine. The other cowboy was a stranger to her, but she imagined this was their other roommate, Adam Davis. What startled her most about their appearance, though, was how genuinely happy they seemed to be that she was there, even the one she didn’t know.

He never took his intense pale green eyes off of her, this giant of a man.

His hair was dark brown like Ethan’s but cut much shorter, so only a little showed under his hat. He was taller by two or three inches than Ethan, so they were like stair steps, but all three were so imposing in their own way.

They were all muscular, but this stranger was broader through the chest, and she thought he’d probably had to order that suit coat-custom made to fit as well as it did. There she went again, thinking inappropriate thoughts at Rose Marie’s expense.

Jack trotted down the steps, took her hand in his, and kissed her cheek.

He led her up to the shaded porch. Her cheek tingled, and heat bloomed 28

where his lips had touched her. Her hand trembled slightly in his big, callused hand. She found his work-roughened, capable, working man’s hands to be incredibly sexy.

“Grace, you met Ethan at the house yesterday, I hear. I’d like to introduce you to my other roommate, Adam Davis. Adam, this is Grace Stuart.” Jack sounded so pleased that she was there.