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The Temptation of Savannah O'Neill Molly O Keefe 2022/8/3 13:52:50

Utterly and totally still. Composed. Even though she seethed.

He was in there. Sitting at the piano.

Wearing those damn freaking glasses!

Her head hit the wall with a quiet thunk.

“Slightly overdressed, aren’t you?” Margot’s voice accompanied a hand at her shoulder and Savannah shrugged it away.

Just as she tried to shrug away memories of his hands and lips, his kiss.

“I’m cold,” she said, pulling the edges of her cardigan around her waist. A cardigan over a turtleneck was overkill for summer in Bonne Terre, but there was no way she was showing that man an inch of her flesh.

“Your hair—” Margot reached up to touch the tight bun at the back of Savannah’s neck but Savannah stepped away.

“It’s fine. Everything is fine. Let’s get this done with.”

Savannah stepped toward the door, ready to face down the devil if it meant Matt whatever-his-name-was would be leaving, but Margot put a hand on her shoulder.

“You want to tell me what happened?” Margot asked.

“No.” She laughed. “I definitely do not.”

“You slept with him.”

“Who do you think I am?” she asked. “Juliette asked me the same thing and no, I did not sleep with him.”

Savannah snorted. “Liked, maybe.”

“After Eric— Don’t glare at me, Savannah.”

“I don’t want to talk about this, Margot.”

“You never want to talk about this,” Margot snapped.

“Lower your voice, for crying out loud.”

“You didn’t want to talk about Katie’s father when it was happening, or when he left, or when you got pregnant or—”

Savannah whirled to find both Katie and Matt standing in the doorway.

“Honey?” The word sounded like a croak. Savannah hoped the expression on her face was a smile, she wanted it to be, but judging by Katie’s confusion and Matt’s horror, she wasn’t quite hitting the mark.

“What are you talking about?” Katie asked, her voice so small, her eyes so worried as they darted between Margot and Savannah.

Savannah glared hard at Margot. This wasn’t something they talked about. Ever. Katie had never even heard the name Eric.

“Ah—” Her mind was a wilderness, nothing but bears and dark and fear. Lots of fear. She didn’t want to cry, or scream, or slap the glasses off Matt’s handsome face, but she felt dangerously close to all three.

At some point this conversation was inevitable, she understood that. She wasn’t stupid. But in the few times she’d been brave enough to imagine a scenario, Katie was older, Savannah was more prepared and it didn’t take place in front of another man who’d lied to her.

When her world fell apart, it really fell apart.

“Me,” Matt said, quietly, his eyes dark and serious behind his glasses. “They’re talking about me.”

Katie’s gaze darted to him, fury sending out sparks.

Savannah didn’t—couldn’t—say anything. Looking at him, at his sympathetic eyes, she had no words. He had proven he was no knight in shining armor, he no longer needed to act the part.

Regardless, he’d given her a way out of this much-dreaded conversation.

Perhaps she’d thank him by not smacking him blind.

“Why don’t you go play games on my laptop,” Savannah said to Katie—a rare treat the girl would never be able to resist.

“Okay,” she said warily, knowing something was up.

“Go on,” Savannah urged. “It’s in my room. I’ll come up and play with you in a few minutes.”

They all watched Katie climb the steps.

“We should go inside,” Margot said, as if inviting everyone to tea.

“Absolutely,” Savannah said and stormed past Matt, determined not to smell him or feel his heat.

Juliette stood inside, milky sunshine splashed across her face as she stared down at a framed photo in her hand, picked up from the table chock-full of family pictures.

“What are you looking at?” Margot asked.

“Nothing,” Juliette said quickly, practically throwing the picture back on the table. “Old pictures.” She turned with a bright smile. “Are we ready for the lynching?”