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Her Protective Deputy

Aria Mitchell is used to being alone. She likes to keep to herself, which isn’t easy in her job. Then Mason Conway steps into the office, and Aria finds herself drawn to the mysterious man-on-a-mission. Will Mason change his all-important agenda for love, or will Aria be all alone…again?

Age Rating: 18+

 

Her Protective Deputy by Renee is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.

 


 

The app has received recognition from BBC, Forbes and The Guardian for being the hottest app for explosive new Romance novels.
Ali Albazaz, Founder and CEO of Inkitt, on BBC The Five-Month-Old Storytelling App Galatea Is Already A Multimillion-Dollar Business Paulo Coelho tells readers: buy my book after you've read it – if you liked it

Subgenres:

Contemporary, Later in Life, New Adult, Police & Law Enforcement

 

Similar to:

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Read the full uncensored books on the Galatea iOS app!

Chapter 1

Summary

Aria Mitchell is used to being alone. She likes to keep to herself, which isn’t easy in her job. Then Mason Conway steps into the office, and Aria finds herself drawn to the mysterious man-on-a-mission. Will Mason change his all-important agenda for love, or will Aria be all alone…again?

Age Rating: 18+

Original Author: Renee

Aria Mitchell hated her boss, she couldn’t understand how someone like him could get a job like hers, let alone higher up, like he was.

She was running errands for him again, he was such a male chauvinist pig. He always sent Aria to do his bidding and always made passes at her, it was ridiculous.

Aria was too busy cursing her boss and not paying attention to where she was going, all of a sudden she ran smack dab into a very hard object.

Papers went flying and the bag of food she had scattered all over the cement.

She started to look around, trying to figure out what she’d just ran into, she was surprised when the voice came from underneath her a little.

***

Mason Conway got the wind knocked out of him and could already feel the knot forming on the back of his head. He rubbed the knot forming, “Ouch.” Was the only thing that came out of his mouth.

The skinny thing that ran into him began to get off of him, “Sir, I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you, I’m really sorry.” She seemed to get up as fast and as carefully as she could.

Mason got up, he recognized the smell that flew through his nose, cinnamon apple and strawberries. He found who ran into him, his blue eyes met her hazel eyes, he’d recognize those eyes anywhere also. Those eyes and that scent had tormented him every day since he came to Bardstown, Kentucky. He couldn’t believe her tiny five-foot three-inch frame knocked over his big five-foot nine-inch frame. “Aria, what the hell are you doing, are you okay?”

***

“No, I mean I’m fine but my boss is going to kill me if I’m any later then I already am, I got to get this stuff cleaned up fast.” She didn’t notice the man used her name, she pulled her gaze away from his eyes. She took the rest of him in, she realized it was Mason, “Mason, what’re you doing here, aren’t you supposed to be at work by now?”

“I told Jeremy I was going to be late today, I had to take care of a few things this morning, are you memorizing my schedule?” He teased as he leaned down to help Aria pick everything up.

“No, I have no reason to do that.” She went for a paper at the same time Mason did, they jerked away from each other fast when they smacked their heads hard, “Mason oh my God I’m so sorry.” She hated what this man did to her when he was around. He made her feel like an idiot and a little accident-prone plus nervous.

Mason cursed again, “Ouch, damn it. Do you know you’re like a magnet of pain for other people, you’re lucky I am a nice guy.” They finished getting everything picked up, he couldn’t help but offer her help, “Do you want me to help you get this stuff back to work?”

Aria stepped away from Mason, “If you’re busy you don’t have to but why are you offering to help me?” She was so used to people always having an ulterior motive anymore.

“Because it makes sense, we both are heading to the same place and I am a nice guy who wants to help out a pretty girl who has her hands full.”

“Oh, so that’s why you’re just trying to get yourself closer so you can try to get in my pants too.” She frowned at Mason, men couldn’t be nice anymore without wanting something in return.

***

Mason raised his eyebrows at her, “Um, no actually, I’m trying to be nice, why who the hell’s trying to get you into bed?” The question was out before he could stop himself. Yeah, he thought Aria was more than pretty but he knew he couldn’t bring himself to pursue a relationship with her.

All that would do would distract him from his one priority to be in Bardstown and that was to find his best friend’s baby sister. A relationship was far from the to-do list, Aria deserved a forever man and he couldn’t be that. He still couldn’t push away the jealousy he felt about someone else trying to get with her.

***

Aria took a deep breath, Mason would think she was crazy if she told him their boss was the one, “Just one of the other guys at work, it’s not a big deal, it’s fine, well if you’re going to help me then let’s go before Jeremy has a cow.” She smiled faintly.

***

Mason wanted to know who the other guy was, “Well if he’s not getting the hint I can take care of him for ya.” It was strange the effect this woman had on him in such a short amount of time.

“Yeah, then we’ll both lose our jobs.” Aria scoffed out a little, her eyes widened instantly when she seemed to realize what she let slip to him.

Mason caught her arm fast pulling her to a stop, “Are you telling me it’s Jeremy? You’ve got to be kidding me Aria, is that why he always has you running errands for him, is he inappropriate with you?” He demanded, he couldn’t stand Jeremy Ludlow and if he was the jerk then he’d be taking care of him for her.

“Don’t Mason, just don’t worry about it, I’m handling it just fine, you don’t have to do anything.” She pulled away from Mason and started for the office.

Mason sighed, Aria was the one woman he wanted to open up to him and he couldn’t get her to. She had no trust for him and didn’t know why he wished he had the time to figure out why. He shook his head and followed her to the office building. As they got there Aria stopped for a minute, “What’s wrong?” Mason asked as he came up behind her.

“Hum, what? Oh, nothing come on let’s go.” Aria started to walk away.

If Mason didn’t know any better he could have sworn Aria had stopped and stared at his truck. He smiled a little, if she was then that was a start maybe, she was interested in his truck.

He may get her to open up to him yet and the ice breaker maybe his beast.

When they got in the building they headed into the elevator, Mason gently elbow Aria, “So, how often do you go out?” He couldn’t believe he was asking such a question, he needed to keep his distance from her.

“Usually not very often, why are you going to ask me out on a date?” Aria teased a little, not thinking he actually would.

“I have half a mind to, if you don’t have very much fun I’d like to change that, you look awfully stressed too often.” Mason shot her a half-smile.

***

Her heart jumped in her throat, his smile was so sexy, she blushed a little, “Well then I may have half a mind to let you take me out, I’d like to have some fun.” She couldn’t believe she had just agreed, granted they’d worked together for about a month now but they still didn’t know each other very well.

She had been alone for too long, maybe he was just what she needed. He was something to look at that was for sure, his muscles always moved just right underneath his shirt, his legs were lean and muscular too. She had to pull her thoughts to a halt before she’d start to wonder about him without his clothes on.

Her face began to turn beat red she was sure, she tried to move her head enough so her hair would fall across her face to hide her redness.

Mason chuckled a little and reached out to move her hair from her face, “What’s the matter Aria, your face is pretty red.” He smiled at her again.

“Nothing’s wrong Mason.” It felt like an eternity before they finally reached the fifteenth floor. He was making her feel and think very different, she had butterflies in her stomach. Out of all the men it had to be this one, a southern drawl, a sexy tan, plaid, buttoned-up shirts, and wrangler jeans.

He was so different from the other men at the office, he put them to shame, they were weak and dainty for men compared to him. She didn’t understand what he was doing in a city like this, let alone able to become a partner at Elk and Ludlow law firm.

She let out a sigh of relief as the doors began to open, “Well Mason, thank you but I’ll take it from here, I appreciate the help.” She took the bag of food from him when they got off the elevator.

“No problem, anytime.” He smiled that sexy smile again.

She started for Jeremy’s office, she walked in, “Jeremy, here is everything you asked for.” She sat everything on his desk.

“Well hello Aria, it sure took you long enough, you usually don’t disappoint me, shut the door.” Jeremy directed and it was definitely an order.

Aria sighed as she headed towards the door, she slowly shut the door. She didn’t want to be in there any longer then she had to be but Jeremy seemed to have a different idea as usual.

***

Mason watched the door shut slowly, he wouldn’t stand for this very long. He went over to the door and leaned against the wall if Aria yelled he’d hear her and stop Jeremy right away.

He had no clue what he was doing, he was here on business, not his own pleasure.

He was supposed to be doing an investigation, not protecting a girl he’d probably never see again once he had to go back to Nebraska.

***

“Well Aria, I guess I can let you slide today because you are looking fabulous.” He grinned at her as he made his way over to her. He grabbed her by her hips and pulled her closer to him.

“Jeremy, you need to stop.” Aria tried to pull away from Jeremy, he was such a jerk. He never listened to her, always tried what he wanted with her. She usually could get him to stop or a knock would come to his door. She was praying for the knock because it was becoming clear he wasn’t going to stop just because she told him to.

He turned her towards the desk and sat her up on it, “Oh Aria, you know you like it dear.” He started to kiss her neck and slid his hands down to her ass grabbing it hard.

“Jeremy quit it.” She got louder, then the usual knock came to his door. Aria shoved Jeremy away from her fast, “No I don’t like it at all, you need to stop and leave me alone.” She practically ran to the door, she wished someone else was hiring, she would leave in a heartbeat. As she opened the door fast, she was looking up into the same crystal blue eyes from earlier, “Mason.” Was all she could manage to get out.

***

“Hey Aria, sorry for the interruption Jeremy but I need to borrow Aria, I need some help.” He looked at Jeremy for a second then back at Aria, the poor woman looked so shaken and frazzled. He had his assumption from earlier confirmed it was Jeremy hitting on her, he couldn’t help it his mouth worked faster than his brain, “But I want to speak to you first Jeremy, Aria you go ahead I’ll be out in a minute.” He laid his hand on her back and gave her a gentle shove out the door.

***

Aria looked at Mason, his eyes were telling her to go so she did. She hoped Mason wouldn’t get himself into trouble because of her.

As she walked out of the office she heard the door shut a little more forcefully then Mason should have shut it.

***

Mason turned back towards Jeremy with a glare on his face after he shut the door, “I’m only going to tell you this once, you come near her again I’m going to beat your ass, I asked her out and she said yes, so to me that means she’s no longer fair game, you make another pass at her or look at her wrong it’ll call for an ass whooping and I’ll be glad to give it.”

***

Jeremy was in complete shock, Aria was his not this new guy’s, how dare he come along and ruin all of that.

***

Mason didn’t give Jeremy a chance to say anything, he turned back towards the door and walked out of the office. He slammed the door and you could hear the echo throughout the whole room. He headed over to Aria slowly, he knew he shouldn’t have done anything but it needed to be done, “Um, Aria, hey you okay?”

“Yeah, fine.” She handed him a folder of notes she had typed up for him the day before, trying not to look up at him.

Mason still caught a glimpse of the tears, he leaned against her desk, “Aria, why don’t you report him? He shouldn’t be doing that to you, he shouldn’t bother you again though.” He slowly tilted her head gently to look up at him, he wiped her tears away, “Looks like you need a night out tonight and I’m not letting you get out of it.”

***

Aria couldn’t help but smile, she barely knew this man but she wanted to change that, “So when you said he shouldn’t be bothering me again, what exactly did you do?”

“Oh I just had a little conversation with him, that’s all.” He smiled his sexy smile again.

“What am I going to do with you?” she shook her head a little as she looked up at him.

***

Mason leaned his forehead against Aria’s, “Oh I could think of a lot starting with our date tonight.” He couldn’t explain the pull he had to want to kiss her but he’d wait for that, “Well guess we better get some work done.” He headed over to his office as his phone began to ring. He sighed as he looked at the caller ID and shut the door, “Hey Richard, what’s up?”

“I was just seeing about an update, are you coming close to finding her Mason?”

Richard was never good at the waiting game. Mason had been in Bardstown for a month and still nothing, he understood the frustration Richard was feeling.

“Richard I’m trying my best, you know this is like trying to find a needle in a haystack, is there anything else that your dad found out that maybe could help me out more?” Mason understood why Richard was pushing so hard but it wasn’t helping.

“I’ll try to figure some more out but I told you everything he told me.”

“Trust me, Richard, I’m trying my best, just give me a little bit longer, let me know if your dad has any other information.” Mason hung up his phone running his fingers through his hair. He threw at his gaze towards the door and slowly got up. He leaned against the doorframe after opening it and looked at Aria, she was going to be his distraction for sure.

***

Aria felt someone looking at her, she turned and saw Mason. She turned away so fast as a smile spread across her face. Boy was she in trouble, he made her feel the butterflies with just a glance.

She was such a mess around him at work, how she was going to go out with him was beyond her.

She started to type some email responses for Jeremy then his notes for a meeting later in the week. She was so glad that those few things took up most of her time and distracted her from thinking about Mason. She was close to finishing up when a hand fell on her shoulder that caused her to almost jump out of her skin. She turned around fast and Mason was standing there, “Don’t you know any better than to sneak up on people like that, what’s the matter with you?” She demanded.

“Don’t you know you’re not supposed to be so intense on your work especially for a boss who’s a complete ass?” He teased back.

Aria rolled her eyes, “Are you done for the day?” She asked as she started to turn back to the computer.

“Yes I am and so are you.” Mason turned the computer screen off and spun her chair from it, he held out his rough callused hand to her, “Come on, let’s go.”

Aria looked at his hand for a second, she had no idea what she was thinking as she reached out for it. Her heart began to beat a mile a minute as he laced his fingers with hers.

“So Hun, what do you want to do on our date?” The words felt good to Mason as he said them, he hadn’t used the word date in a very long time.

Aria blushed a little bit, she never heard a guy ask her what she wanted to do, it felt good and strange, “I don’t care, I guess whatever you want to do.” They headed for the elevator.

“Then I’m taking you dancing, that’s my kind of fun, none of this city crap though we’re going a little further from here then I planned.”

“Oh and you’re just going to have me drop everything like that, how far are we talking here?” she looked up at him as the elevator doors closed.

“Oh, maybe an hour or so.”

“You’re taking me an hour away, where are you planning on going?” she demanded, she wasn’t sure about going so far away.

“You’ll just have to wait and see, you said you didn’t care so I made my choice.” He elbowed her a little.

“Oh no, what have I gotten myself into?” She could kick him right now and there wasn’t much stopping her. Except for the fact she liked him for the most part and she needed friends.

“The time of your life, now do you want to go home and change because I have to run to my place and change,” Mason asked as they stepped out of the elevator.

“Yeah probably, do you want me to meet you at your place after?”

***

Mason panicked for a minute, he didn’t want Aria to know he was staying at a hotel that was being provided by the Mitchell’s, “Um, no I can come to pick you up, I can drop you off at your place so you don’t have to take a cab.” He grabbed her hand again and headed over to his truck.

***

“Oh, okay.” Aria stopped short when she saw the big dark blue ford truck, “That’s yours?” She always liked the truck, she should have put two and two together. The truck was lifted about three feet from normal height, a straight pipe, and dark tinted windows.

“Yes of course why?” Mason asked turning towards her a little, she had the same look on her face that she did earlier when they walked past it when they were coming into work.

***

“Oh no reason I guess, I should have known, you’re so different from the men around here, none of them would be caught dead in a truck like that let alone a truck at all.” Aria couldn’t help but fall for Mason, even more, he had such a nice truck and she’d been drawn to it since she saw it in the parking lot the first day it had shown up.

“Yeah most men around here like their BMW’s, Lexus’s and Mercedes’s, no thank you, give me a truck.” Mason smiled, now that he knew she liked his truck, it would hopefully work in his favor.

“Mason, why are you here? You don’t belong in a place like this.” Aria searched his crystal blue eyes with her hazel eyes. She was so confused by this man, there was no way he should be here.

“Well, we’ll get there, I don’t want to really say right now, we’ll take it one day at a time.” He slowly pulled her into a hug then headed to his truck. He helped her up into it, he was going to have to tell her why he was there and he wasn’t going to be able to stay. He just wanted to enjoy his time with her first. He headed over to the driver’s side and hopped up in and headed out of the parking lot.

***

Jeremy glared as he watched Mason have his hands all over Aria. Aria was his, he’d known her longer then Mason had, it wasn’t right that Aria would do this to him.

He’d get what he wanted one way or the other, no one would stop him, not even this Mason guy.

***

Aria told Mason how to get to her place when he pulled into the parking lot, she smiled at him, “Thanks, give me about half an hour and I’ll be ready.”

Mason took her hand and pressed a kiss to it, “Okay I’ll be here, you won’t be able to miss me.”

Aria giggled as she got out of the truck, she felt like a schoolgirl but didn’t care. She headed into the lobby and made her way up to her apartment. What was she going to wear that Mason would like?

She began to go through her closet, she finally found a pair of Levi’s and a lacy tank top, perfect, then she could wear her tennis shoes cause she wasn’t getting into her heels again.

She jumped into the shower, washed up fast then got dry fast.

She debated on whether or not to wear make-up, she figured a little bit would be fine. She found some light blue eye shadow and put on some eyeliner then got dressed.

She was ready in twenty minutes, she took a deep breath before she headed down to the lobby, ‘Mom, please help me not make a complete fool of myself tonight, this is crazy but I think he’s a keeper and I want to be able to keep him.’ She missed her mom so much sometimes it’d been almost a year since she had been gone, the pain still hurt sometimes.

She shook herself out of her thoughts and headed out to the parking lot, she was a little surprised to see Mason was already sitting in the parking lot.

She took a deep breath again and headed over to the truck.

***

Mason watched Aria walk over, God he had to be careful or he was going to lose his heart to this woman. He couldn’t blame Jeremy for wanting Aria but Jeremy didn’t have to be so rude about it.

Mason would win her in a heartbeat he thought.

Aria got up in the truck, “Okay sir, drive away.”

“Trust me, you won’t regret it you’ll have a blast I promise.” He tilted his Stetson and flashed her a smile.

“So you had to run home to get your hat?” She teased a little. It only made him sexier and he knew it.

“Maybe, I feel naked without it.” He started to head out of town.

“You’re still not going to tell me where you’re taking me are you?”

He shook his head, “Nope, it’s a surprise.”

***

Aria was quiet the rest of the way, she just stared out the window watching the city become country land. She was getting nervous, she couldn’t believe she was letting him take her so far away.

 

Read the full uncensored books on the Galatea iOS app!

Chapter 2

Mason was curious why she was so quiet but he didn’t want to push her too much. He was glad when they finally made it to the little town he’d gone through on his way here, he hoped the place was decent. He swung his big truck up into a parking spot, he got out and headed over to her side, he held out his hand when he opened the door, “Well, are you ready?” He asked as she took his hand.

***

“As ready as I’ll ever be.” She smiled as she took Mason’s hand, she almost couldn’t get enough of holding his hand. She let him lead her into the place that seemed to be a bar, “So what exactly is this place?”

“I guess you can call it a club, diner, or bar because I think it’s all of the above, don’t worry I won’t be drinking then driving you home I promise.”

***

“Neither will I, trust me.” She had never really drank in her life and she didn’t plan on starting.

Mason threw a glance her way, he couldn’t believe how innocent this woman was. No fun, no drinking, it was as if she did nothing but work.

He hoped he could change that, and hopefully, it would start with tonight.

As they walked into the bar the song “Roller Coaster” by Luke Bryan was playing. Mason didn’t give Aria the chance to back out, he pulled her out on the dance floor, he spun her around then pulled her back towards him. He was glad it was at least a somewhat slow song. He liked having her close to him, by the time the song was over they were in each other’s arms laughing and having a fantastic time.

Mason wanted to capture her lips in a passionate kiss, he began to lean down to kiss her but she stepped away from him a little. He could kick himself, he moved too fast for her, he cleared his throat awkwardly, “Um come on let’s go get something to drink,” he led her over to the bar. “Can I get a coke and,” he stopped and looked at Aria.

“A coke’s fine.”

“Two coke’s please.”

The bartender got their coke’s and handed them to Mason.

“Thank you.” Mason headed over to an empty table in the corner, “If you’re hungry we can get something to eat.”

“Okay sure.” Aria stared at her glass for a minute then looked back up, it was like Mason never took his eyes off her, “Mason, I’m sorry I don’t want it to be awkward now, we were just caught up in the moment.” She turned her head away from him.

Mason gently laid his hand on top of Aria’s hand when his phone began to ring, he was half tempted to ignore the phone call. He pulled it out and saw Richard’s name on the caller ID again, he shook his head as he sighed heavily, “Aria, I got to take this I will be right back just stay here.” She gave him a familiar look, he stopped short but pushed the thought aside.

There was no way that was the look Kelly would have given him, “Honest Hun I’ll be back before you miss me.” Then she rolled her eyes, again his thoughts flew to Kelly Mitchell. He stood up from the table and headed outside where he could actually hear Richard, “Hello Richard.”

“Mason hey, my dad did keep something, I guess he has a photo of Aria, it’s when she was a couple of years younger. I wanted to make sure that would help before I sent it to you.” Richard Mitchell paused for a minute when he heard the music, “Mason, where are you?”

“I’m out looking for Aria, I thought I had a lead but I didn’t, it was a bust but yeah just send me the picture, it’ll help.”

“Okay Mason, I know this was a lot to ask of you but thank you, you don’t know how much this means to Dad.”

“I know Rich, trust me if it wasn’t for him I probably wouldn’t have done this so willingly man, I’ll let you know if I find anything out.” He hung up on Richard then headed back into the bar to Aria. Maybe he should be doing more digging around where she was concerned, it was just he was hoping she wasn’t Rich’s baby sister. He didn’t know if he could handle the fact if she was. She also didn’t look too much like Richard or Jake maybe a little bit like Kelly but still a little far off.

He was glad when he walked back in and she was where he left her. He hurried back over to her fast, “Hey Aria, sorry about that, I’m yours the rest of the night, so we were talking about food, are you hungry?”

“Yeah a little, is everything okay? It’s okay if you have to go.”

He moved closer to her laying his hand against her cheek, “Don’t worry, everything is fine and there’s no place I’d rather be than here with you.”

Aria blushed a little as a small shy smile spread across her face, “I feel like some chicken and fries, and thank you.”

Mason cocked his eyebrow at her a little, “For what?”

“Actually being nice to me.”

“I’d be pretty crazy and dumb not to be, you’re too sweet, Jeremy is just a stupid arrogant ass, not all men are like that, I’m not like that.”

A waiter came over to them and asked, “Are you guys wanting to get something to eat?”

“Yeah, two of your chicken and fries please,” Mason answered.

The waiter wrote it down and walked away to place the order.

Aria took a sip of her coke then broke the silence, “So Mason, you can’t really fool me anymore, between bringing me to a place like this, your truck and your clothes, what are you really doing here and where are you from?” she wasn’t going to let this go, he was just too different.

“I’m from Nebraska, the reason I’m over here I don’t think you’ll be ready to hear yet, we’ll just let that go, for now, let’s just enjoy each other’s company for now.”

Aria looked at him with another look he couldn’t mistake, it was a Mitchell look, there was no way. He was glad when the food came back, they began to eat, “So, why do you stay working at that place, why haven’t you found somewhere else to go?”

“Trust me I have been trying, no one’s been hiring, one thing though I wouldn’t have met you, I’ll find something else eventually.”

Mason hoped she would, she deserved better, once they finished eating Mason stood back up, “Another dance?” He held out his hand and Aria took it. He was getting used to the feel of her hand in his and he liked it.

As Mason led Aria back to the dance floor, “Leave the Night On” by Sam Hunt began to play. They moved together perfectly and with ease, Aria was a little surprised with it being only their second dance. Mason couldn’t help it anymore he pulled Aria close to him by her hips and captured her plump lips underneath his.

Aria slowly slid her arms around his neck as she kissed him back, once his lips touched hers she couldn’t control herself. They pulled apart slowly and they kept dancing, every song that came on Aria began to loosen up more and more.

***

It was after midnight before they called it a night. Aria was pretty tired as she climbed up into Mason’s truck.

About fifteen minutes into the drive Aria snuggled up close to Mason and began to fall asleep, she wasn’t supposed to feel this much at ease but it was nice for a change.

***

Mason glanced down at Aria and smiled when he saw she was asleep. She was definitely not used to any of this but he hoped she had fun.

He pulled up into her apartment parking lot, he put the truck in park and she moved closer to him. She let out a sigh as she clutched his shirt, her hair fell across her face. He slowly moved her hair out of her face, “Aria, Aria hey, time to wake up, we’re back at your place.”

Aria moved a little then sat up, “Oh shit, I’m sorry.”

“You’re fine, you’re just not used to having fun but I’ll change that, I’ll have you having fun every night.” He smiled at her.

Aria felt embarrassed, she couldn’t believe she fell asleep on Mason, literally, “Well thank you, I had a good time I’ll see you tomorrow.” She kissed him on the cheek, jumped out of the truck, and headed up to her apartment.

***

Well, that was a start, between just then and the kiss he got earlier, he couldn’t wait for those lips of hers to be pressed against him in a passionate kiss.

He watched her go into the lobby then he left after knowing she was safe inside the building.

He headed back to the hotel he was staying at, he had such a great time with Aria he couldn’t wait to do it again. He just hoped he had enough time to do it again.

Mason kicked his boots off and laid his hat on the couch. He wasn’t sure he wanted to see the picture he was sure that Richard sent him already.

He threw his phone on the bed and headed to the bathroom to take a cold shower. He definitely needed one after feeling Aria close to him most of the night, she made his blood boil that was for sure.

He’d just left her and he already couldn’t wait to see her at work the next morning. He stripped then jumped into the shower.

***

Aria couldn’t get to her apartment fast enough, she couldn’t believe she’d kissed him on just the cheek. She should have kissed him better than that, she just couldn’t get the courage to.

She leaned against the door as she started to remember what it felt like spinning around with him on the dance floor.

She felt like a flightless bird, they shouldn’t have been able to move so well together, it was like they fit together like puzzle pieces. She smiled as she locked her door then headed to her bedroom.

She changed into her tank top and pair of sweat pants then climbed into bed, it didn’t take long for sleep to overtake her for the first time in a year.

***

Mason got out of the shower, it hadn’t helped, he still was thinking of Aria. He headed to the bed and grabbed his phone, he took a deep breath as he checked to see if Richard had sent the picture.

Sure enough, there was a text message waiting on his phone, he opened it, and looking him square in the face was Aria.

There was no way, he didn’t know whether to feel happy or upset, he supposed Aria wasn’t as popular of a name as he thought.

Aria was Richard’s baby sister, now he really had to figure out how he was going to tell her. Plus there was no way he was going to be able to date Richard’s little sister.

Richard and Jake both would kill him, he laid down on the bed, sleep never came to him, he had a lot to figure out.

***

Five in the morning came too early for Mason and Aria. Neither one of them were ready to start the day but couldn’t wait to see each other.

Mason got dressed fast then went to get some breakfast and coffee then headed to Aria’s apartment. He’d surprise her he hoped, he knew he shouldn’t be doing this but needed to earn her trust.

***

Aria headed out the front door of her apartment building. She froze when she saw the blue Ford parked off to the left of the entrance. She couldn’t believe he was there waiting for her to come down.

Mason’s heart jumped in his throat when he saw Aria, he got out of the truck and headed over to her, “Good morning, are you ready to face the day?”

“About as ready as I’ll ever be, are you okay Mason? You look really tired.” Aria walked up to him, even with the sun barely skimming the horizon she could see the dark circles under his eyes.

“I’ll be fine, you look like you got a good night’s sleep though.” He took her hand and led her over to his truck.

“Mason, when are you going to tell me what’s going on, I’m smarter than you think.”

“Honey I know you’re smart, trust me you’re very smart.” He helped her up into the truck then headed over to the driver’s side, “I got you some coffee and breakfast.” He smiled at her.

“Mason, stop changing the subject.” She narrowed her eyes at him.

***

It was the Mitchell glare, he’d seen it so many times from Richard, Kelly, and Jake. It felt strange to know who this woman was and not be able to tell her yet, he couldn’t break her heart yet. Not that he wanted to break it at all but he didn’t think there was any way around it. He sighed as she continued to glare at him, he gave in, “Okay, you deserve the truth, I was sent here by my best friend to find his youngest sister, no one even knew she existed until recently.”

“So, you’ll be leaving.” Aria’s looked like her heart was just broke, she didn’t want him to leave, he could sense it.

Mason laid his hand against her leg gently, “Unfortunately yeah I will have to go back eventually.” He couldn’t tell her about the picture Richard sent him.

Aria couldn’t look at Mason, she never wanted to look at him again.

“Aria,”

“Just go.” She interrupted him.

Mason closed his eyes for a second, he knew he shouldn’t have told her. It was going to be even rougher on her once he told her it was her he needed to take back with him. He headed to the office, he hated himself so much, before she could escape his truck he grabbed her arm, “Aria, you wanted the truth so I told you, you can’t get mad at me for that, I gave you the respect you deserved by telling you.”

“I know that Mason, I just wasn’t expecting that, you can’t really think we can keep doing what we did last night when I know you are just going to up and leave.” Aria searched his eyes and looked away before she’d start to cry. She had had such a good time with him last night and didn’t want that to stop.

***

“I know.” He paused for a minute then looked back at her, “You could come back with me Aria, I know it sounds crazy but you hate your job, your boss is a complete jerk, it makes sense.” He slid his hand underneath her chin and tilted her head a little so he could look in her eyes. That’s when he saw the tears, “Aria, don’t cry, you can trust me, I wasn’t trying to hurt you or anything I promise.”

***

Aria shook her head and got out of the truck then headed into the office building. She had been so stupid to think she’d finally found someone.

She let anyone get close to her they always left no matter what she did.

***

Mason grabbed the coffee and food, he practically ran after Aria the best he could with a hot drink in his hand.

By the time he reached the lobby she had already gotten into the elevator and headed up to their floor.

He cursed as he waited for the other elevator, it came down and he got on and headed to the fifteenth floor. He couldn’t get to her fast enough.

When it finally stopped he rushed out, Aria was nowhere in sight. It made no sense, where did she go? He saw the elevator close with her in it.

He went to her desk and put the coffee and food down, he began to pace a little.

 

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