Immortal Nights by Lynsay Sands Read Online (FREE)
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Abigail Forsythe had just stepped inside the country-and-western-themed bar when she heard that shout. Finding the owner of the deep baritone wasn’t hard. Jet was six foot six when barefoot. In his cowboy boots he stood more than a head taller than pretty much every other person in the bar. Hell, he was a head taller than most of the people everywhere, she thought.
Spotting her dark-haired friend standing by two empty stools at the end of the bar, Abigail found a real honest-to-God smile tipping her lips. It was the first time that had happened in at least three months, and she immediately headed in Jet’s direction, suddenly eager for the affectionate hug that she knew awaited her.
“Ahhhh, baby girl,” Jet groaned, bending to wrap his arms around her the moment she reached him.
It was all he said, but a lump was suddenly lodged in her throat and Abigail couldn’t speak, so she merely hugged him back silently. As usual, the hug went on longer than was perhaps normal between friends, but Abigail didn’t mind. She simply rested her head on his chest and released a long drawn-out sigh.
“Let me look at you,” Jet said after a moment, and grasped her upper arms to move her back a step.
Abigail tilted her head up to peer at him. Her eyes traced the fine lines of his familiar face with affection. He looked older. But then they both were. Although they’d written each other faithfully each week, she hadn’t seen Jet in three years now. He’d been off in foreign lands, flying fighter jets for the navy, while she’d been here in Texas, nursing her mother to the grave.
“I was so sorry to hear about your mom, Abs,” Jet said suddenly, as if his thoughts ran along the same lines as her own. “She was always good to me. I thought the world of her. You know that.”
“I’d have been right there at your side for her funeral if I hadn’t been overseas, but I was only released from the navy and got home the week after,” he said with regret.
“I know,” she assured him, managing a smile.
“She was the best, Abs.”
“Yeah, she was,” Abigail agreed, her voice going husky and tears glazing her eyes. Afraid that if they didn’t soon change the subject she’d be bawling like a baby, she glanced to the bar and forced another smile. “I need a drink.”
She glanced back to find Jet watching her. There was concern in the depths of his eyes and she turned away with discomfort, knowing exactly what he saw. Her skin was pale and blotchy, her eyes bloodshot with dark circles under them, and she was carrying a lot of extra weight that hadn’t been there the last time they’d seen each other. All were the result of spending the last year inside, doing little but watch over her mother as she faded away under the ravages of cancer. Abigail had always carried around an extra ten or twenty pounds. She’d been more round than society liked, but the three years since her mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer had done her few favors in that department. Others might have wasted away under the strain, but Abigail had gained a good thirty pounds, going from rounded to just plain round. She was terribly self-conscious about it at the best of times, but with Jethro Lassiter looking her over and taking it in, Abigail was painfully aware of just how bad she must look.