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Too Hot To Handle
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Too Hot To Handle
by Deanna Lynn

Chapter Eighteen

Luis could practically feel the tension in Sher as he pulled into the driveway and parked his truck in front of the main house. She hadnít said much on the drive over and he hadnít known what to say so heíd just let the silence go. Now he felt guilty. He remembered the look of horror on her face as he told her that her parents were waiting for her and he wondered if it was because she had stayed out all night with him or for another reason. From the little things, sheíd said and done since sheíd come to Harmony and from what Ethan had told him before, he wasnít exactly sure that she had a good relationship with her parents. He remembered Ethan telling him that Sherís parents were a little strict on her and he wondered if thatís what her had caused her sudden trip to Harmony. Neither she nor Ethan had really said what she was doing here other than the fact that she wanted to have some fun. What was life in New York that bad that she had to come to Harmony to get away and have fun?

He shook his head then jumped out of the truck and walked around it to open Sherís door. She looked up at him with those bright blue eyes and he felt his heart constrict with the sudden need to make sure she would be okay. "Hey, do you want me to come in with you?"

She shook her head no and he felt a sudden sense of disappointment. He couldnít for the life of him figure out why though. Why would he care that she didnít want him to meet her parents? It wasnít like they were a couple or anything. "Itís probably better if you donít come in. It might make things worse than they already are."

He nodded in understanding then gave her a rueful smile. "This is not how I pictured our date going, you know. I mean I donít regret what happened between us, I could never and will never do that, but I do regret that this happened. I donít like knowing you might get into trouble with your folks because of me."

"Itís not your fault, Luis. Iím big girl and I knew what I was doing last night. Besides that, it was well worth whatever my parents will say when I walk through that door. I donít regret it. In fact, I canít wait to do it again." She finished the admission off with a too bright smile and he knew she was putting up a front - for him. And that fact touched him more than he was willing to admit.


Sheridan waved goodbye to Luis as he hopped back in his truck and drove off. Last night had been more wonderful than she could have ever imagined and she meant what she told Luis. It was worth whatever her parents were going to say. It was more than worth it actually. She didnít care how badly she got yelled at, she would never regret spending the night with Luis last night. She knew her parents just worried about her but the last few months it seemed as if they were more worried about their social image than the fact that she had just broken up with the guy she had been dating for over two years.

Granted, it wasnít like she was nursing a broken heart or something. He would have had to have had her heart to break it and he didnít. That was one thing Mike had never been able to reach. She hadnít trusted him enough to give him her heart. Their relationship had only come about because he was the son of her fatherís friend. It hadnít been anything more than that. At least, it hadnít been for her. She couldnít really speak for him. She knew he cared about her, but she wasnít at all sure he had loved her.

She didnít regret sleeping with him because that had been what made her realize she wasnít in love with him. They had developed this comfortable relationship but there had been no passion between them. It had not been remotely like what she and Luis had shared last night. God, she thought running a hand through her short blond curls, would her folks be able to tell sheíd spent the night having the best sex of her life? She wouldnít doubt it. She felt different somehow. She felt as if Luis had left a mark on herÖ a mark that everyone could see a mile away.

Sighing, she reached for the doorknob and slowly turned it. She pushed the door open with her left palm then stepped inside and shut the door. The moment she turned around and saw her fatherís angry glare and her motherís shocked look, she wanted to turn around and run. She knew she was really in for a lecture and she wondered if she could hold her temper long enough to listen to it. Something told her today was the wrong day for her parents to get on her case.

She took a deep breath then walked into the living room, ready to face the firing squad. As she walked further into the room, she saw Julian and Ivy sitting on the couch. They must have gotten in last night too. Ethan and Theresa were also there. They were standing in the doorway to the kitchen. All of them wore disappointed looks and Sheridan wondered if all of them were going to lecture her. She had a feeling her father would be the main one to do that. The Judge was very good at lecturing people.

"Just where the hell have you been Sheridan?" Her fatherís angry voice echoed throughout the house. Her father was in his Judge mode. She knew the lecture was fast going to get out of control. Every time he thought sheíd done something wrong he immediately went into judge mode. She could tell by the tone of his voice that this was one lecture she was not going to be able to ignore. Usually when her father, Judge Donald James Crane, went into Judge mode she could tune him out but this timeÖ this time she knew she wouldnít be able to. "Do you know that you worried your mother to death? We had no idea where you were or who you were with! And god knows what you were doing! And why the hell are you dressed like that! Go upstairs and change right now and then when you come back down we can discuss your behavior."

That did it, she thought as her temper started to climb. Those familiar words had lit the fuse she usually kept carefully hidden. We can discuss your behaviorÖ ha! She wasnít in the mood to discuss anything with him. Not anymore. Not when she knew he would do the discussing and she would do the listening. He would sweep her feelings under the rug and she wasnít about to let that happen this time. This time she was going to tell him exactly what she thought! "Iím not your little girl anymore! Iím twenty-four years old. Iím not little miss innocent and I donít have a set curfew when I have to be home! If I want to stay out all night I will and if I want to spend the night with some guy I will!"

"Sheridan Ė" Ethan started to say.

"No, Ethan." She said shaking her head. "Itís time they learned Iím not who they think I am. Iím not even close to the perfect little daughter they want me to be. I wonít apologize for that and Iím certainly not going to apologize for staying with Luis last night."

"You mean youÖ?"

"Thatís right daddy! I slept with him and nothing you or anybody else can say is going to make me regret it!"

Theresa gasped. Ethan knotted his hands into a fist. Her father looked like he was ready to explode. Julian and Ivy looked as if they couldn't believe what theyíd just heard and her mother... Her mother looked as if he was going to faint. Sheridan shook her head then turned around more than ready to go upstairs, but when she turned her eyes connected with a pair of angry brown eyes and she froze. "Luis."



Luis stood frozen as all eyes in the room landed on him. He felt as if he were a bug under a microscope being picked apart by preying eyes. He did not like the feeling. He did not like the feeling at all. In fact, he felt damned uncomfortable and that annoyed the hell out of him. He hadnít felt this uncomfortable since his mom caught him and Sue Tucker making out behind the house when he was sixteen.

"Luis" Sher started to say only to be interrupted by her father.

"So youíre the lowlife that took advantage of my daughter last night? You actually have the nerve to come into this house and face her family?"

Luis averted his eyes only to find himself looking into Julianís disappointed gaze. He could see the sadness in the older manís eyes and Luis suddenly realized he had made a grave error in judgement. He should have stuck to his guns and stayed away from Sher. He should have realized the trouble getting involved with her would cause. But how was he supposed to know she was going to announce the fact that they had sex to her parents and to Ethanís? There was no way he could have known that.

"Luis," Julian said shaking his head. "This is not what I would have expected from you. We have always thought of you as a son and for you to take advantage of SheridanÖ well I never would have thought that of you. I think under the circumstances it would be best if your father sent someone else to finish up the pool house."

Luis nodded. "I understand. Iíll get him to send Marty, heís the only other one I would trust to do a good job."

"Uncle Julian! " Sher yelled causing him to glance at her in surprise. Her eyes were flashing blue fire. "Luis did not take advantage of me! Itís not his fault!"

"Save it Sher." Luis said walking toward her and handing her the purse heíd come back to give her. "I think youíve said more than enough for one day."

Her blue eyes rounded in surprise and her mouth dropped opened then closed again. She started to say something but he didnít stick around to listen. Instead, he turned his back on her and walked out the front door. Heíd just opened the door to his truck when her hand on his arm stopped him. He jerked his arm away from her then turned around and looked at her. He could see the sadness in her eyes and he refused to let it affect him. Heíd just lost his job because of her. But more importantly heíd lost the respect of the people that had been like a second family to him.

"IÖ Iím sÖ sorry, Luis." She said in a quivering voice.

"Youíre sorry?" He asked incredulously. "From the time I was in preschool until now, Ivy and Julian have been like second parents to me. Ethan is more like a brother than just a friend and in one fell swoop you manage to make all three of them look at me with disappointment and loathing. And all you have to say is youíre sorry? You are un Ė freaking Ė believable."

"Luis." She said reaching out to touch his forearm. "IÖ I can fix this."

He jerked back away from her and pierced her with a glare. "Donít touch me, Sheridan. In fact, donít come near me again. In the span of four days, youíve managed to turn my world upside down and make the people I care about most in this world turn their backs on me. Did you see the way they looked at me Sher? Did you? Because I donít think Iíll ever forget it and I know nothing you can say will change it. Nothing you can say will change anything that happened here today. And the only thing I want you to do for me right now is to just leave me the hell alone!"

With that he slammed his truck door shut, started the engine, and tore out of the Crane driveway. It took all the strength he had not to glance in the rearview mirror and look back at her. He knew if he did, he would feel guilt that he didnít particularly want to feel right now.

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