Divine GraceBy: Heather Rainier
If you purchased this copy of in e-book format from Bookstrand.com or its official distributors, you have my sincere gratitude, and I hope you derive many hours of enjoyment from it.
Also, thank you for not sharing your copy of this book.
Regarding E-book Piracy
This book is copyrighted intellectual property. No other individual or group has resale rights, auction rights, membership rights, sharing rights, or any kind of rights to sell or give away a copy of this book.
I poured hundreds of hours into writing and refining this book. I write for the sheer joy of doing it, but this is also a way in which I make a financial contribution to the well-being of my family. My publisher and I worked very hard to bring paying readers high-quality reading entertainment.
If you downloaded this book from any source other than the ones authorized to make it available, you have violated my rights as an author and artist. I wouldn’t go to your place of employment and claim your paycheck, so please don’t hurt my ability to earn a living.
With deep gratitude,
To my husband. Just when I think life with you can’t get any sweeter, it does. Thanks for being my fantasy come true.
Thanks to Rebecca, Dana, Lisa, and Kayla for believing in me.
Thanks to Christi, Jennifer and Tonya for your contagious enthusiasm.
And a very special thanks to Diana and all the ladies and gentlemen at Siren Publishing for their patience, hard work, and belief in my manuscript.
Grace Stuart carried two pairs of men’s black trousers back to the dressing room where one of her favorite customers waited for her. Standing outside, she tapped lightly on the door and waited for him to open it. Jack Warner opened the door a crack and handed her the jacket, which was also too small.
“Darlin’, maybe I’ve put on weight. That coat’s too tight,” he said in his sexy Texan drawl.
Grace bit her lip. His voice, even speaking of something so mundane, was like a velvety caress to her senses.
I’ll get you whatever you want, just please keep talking.
“I think it’s just the manufacturer, Jack. The shirt I gave you to try on is the same size you always buy. You’re not gaining weight.” You’re just as fine as ever, handsome. “You’re going to look really sharp in your new suit.
Though I wish it was a happier occasion. Your mom was a really sweet lady. I’m going to miss talking to her every Saturday.”
“Thank you, darlin’. I’m gonna miss her a lot. Dad’s taking it pretty hard. She was his whole world. They were married over sixty years.”
“You’re so young. She must have had you later in life.”
“I was her late-in-life baby. All of my siblings are much older than me.
She used to say it was like having a firstborn all over again, but in a good way.”
“I’ll bet she spoiled you rotten.” Grace pictured Jack as a little boy trying to sweet-talk his mother. Thinking of him at all always set her heart beating a little faster.
“She did, I suppose, but I was just as likely to get my ear pulled or my butt whipped as the others if I misbehaved.”
She heard rustling around on the other side of the door, zippers zipping, and then he sighed softly.
“Jack? You okay?” She heard him sniff and felt like kicking herself for bringing up the reason for today’s purchase. Jack’s mother, Rose Marie, had passed away two nights before while she slept. She had been sick with chronic bronchitis, which had often turned into full-blown pneumonia for the last few years, and it had left her very weak.
Grace hadn’t seen much of her in the store the last few months and had missed their Saturday morning chats. Rose Marie always made a weekly shopping trip to Stigall’s department store. She was in the habit of stopping by the menswear department where Grace worked every Saturday. Grace would miss her dry wit and common sense advice. It was because of Rose Marie that Jack had become Grace’s regular customer.
“Grace, would you mind getting my size in that other suit you showed me? I should have listened to you and gone with it to begin with. Sorry.”
“Sure, Jack. I’ll be right back.”
After retrieving the other suit in his size, she returned and tapped on his door again. When he’d closed it before, it hadn’t shut properly, and she was witness to her own red-faced mortification as the mirrored dressing room door swung open. He was busy hanging the pants back on the hanger for her and didn’t notice at first. Evidently, underwear was optional today, and commando looked so good on him! He glanced up when she gasped, and his reflection made eye contact with hers. She slammed her eyes shut and quietly pulled the door closed.
“I’m so sorry, Jack. The door swung open when I tapped on it,” she whispered, afraid of drawing attention to her embarrassing predicament.
“Please forgive me?” She heard him chuckle behind the door. Her heart was pounding, and heat radiated from her cheeks.
“It’s my fault for not making sure the damn door closed all the way. If it’d been up to me, darlin’, I’d have at least taken you out for a nice meal before sharing that much information with you. I like that shade of pink
you’re wearing, though,” he said softly with a chuckle. Even now, in this embarrassing situation, his voice affected her, her body reacting in all sorts of inappropriate ways.
“Huh?” She was dressed in blue today.
“Your cheeks, darlin’,” he replied as he opened the door, now clothed in the dress shirt and pants.
His comment about the color of her cheeks made her blush even harder.
She wanted to slink off quietly and hide under one of the clothing racks and give herself a chance to cool off.
She’d just seen her favorite customer partially nude. He’d had the dress shirt on, but it had been unbuttoned, and she’d seen his entire torso, completely bare in the mirror’s reflection in the brightly lit dressing room.
The image of his physique was burned into her retinas now, every beautiful, glorious inch of him. Of course, the next thought to pop into her dazed mind was if he’s that long and thick when he wasn’t aroused, how big is it when he’s hard? There went her cheeks again! Hiding under a rack was looking like a better option all the time. She turned and put her hands to her burning face.
* * * *
“You okay? I’m sorry I embarrassed you, Grace,” Jack said quietly as he came up behind her. He wanted so much to reach out and touch her, even if it was only to put his hands on her shoulders. He could see how embarrassed she was, and he was worried that she would withdraw back into the shell he’d been trying to draw her from for months. “Nobody saw, I don’t think. It’ll be our little secret, okay? These pants will need a hem put in. How quick can y’all do that?” He tried to distract her and give her a chance to regain her composure before anyone else walked up.
He felt bad that she was embarrassed by what happened. He wished he could feel the same. He could have gotten by with his other suit, but being near Grace comforted him in a way that he wished he could put into words.
She had been close to his mom, probably not realizing just how much Rose Marie enjoyed visiting with her on Saturday mornings. This morning there were any number of things he could have done, but he needed to see Grace’s beautiful face and hear her soft voice more than he needed to keep busy.
Even if he could only interact with her as a customer, she still eased him with her sweet presence.
“Let me check real quick.” She picked up the phone at the sales counter and dialed the alterations department. They spoke for a moment, and she hung up.
“I’ll put in a rush order for you since you need them for tomorrow. It’s still early enough that we could have them ready by the end of the day, and you can wear them to the visitation at the funeral home tonight if you want to. Mona asked if you can you come by after five o’clock. We close at seven.”
“Sure, will you still be here?” he asked wishfully. Was it too much to hope he’d get to see her again later? Her sweet blue eyes sparkled at his question. Maybe that meant she’d like to see him again also.
“Yes, I should be. Just come back here and I’ll run and get them for you.” She fished around in a drawer behind the counter, looking for something.
Grace was dressed in a long denim skirt, a loose red top, and white sandals on her slim little feet. She squatted down, looking in a lower drawer, and when she did, Jack noticed how the skirt clung to her luscious derriere.
He could see how tiny her waist was as she stretched to reach the back of the deep drawer, muttering to herself. Grace tended to dress very modestly.
Grinning, he noticed there were little white daisies painted on her pink toenails. She was shy about everything but her pretty feet.
“You take good care of me, Grace.”
She finally found what she was looking for and stood back up.
“Don’t be so quick to jump to conclusions, Jack.” Grace smiled and then blushed a little more. “I still have to measure your inseam.” She held up her tape measure.
* * * *
His eyes twinkled back at her, and he gave her that devilish bad boy grin that told her she’d be blushing some more before they were done. She almost melted into the carpet at the effect his eyes had on her composure.