Yellowstone Deception(8)By: Peggy L Henderson
Even if it was an informal date, having dinner with Jana put his nerves on edge. The last time he’d asked her if she wanted to grab a bite to eat was on the spurt of the moment two months ago. From the first time he saw her, something had stirred in him, something he couldn’t explain. He’d singled her out from all the other people in the lobby immediately, as if she’d leaped in front of him. He hadn’t even given himself time to think about his actions when he sat down next to her on the couch by the Inn’s great big historic fireplace, asking her why she looked so sad. He certainly didn’t make it a habit of asking pretty park tourists out to eat. He definitely couldn’t have known that his impulsive behavior would change his life forever.
During their short time together, she’d abruptly told him she had to leave after dropping that bomb on him about his ancestors. He’d barely had enough time to get her phone number, and cursed his dumb luck that she lived so far away. If he hadn’t been on duty the following morning, he would have had a lot more to drink to help him swallow everything she’d told him. She offered him the journal of a woman whom she claimed was his ancestor, and how Aimee Donovan had time traveled to marry his mountain man ancestor, Daniel Osborne.
Dan had committed most of the pages of that journal to memory. There were descriptions and personal accounts about Daniel Osborne in that journal, bringing the man he’d heard family stories about to life more vividly than the tales his grandfather used to tell him.
Dan had always been proud of his family’s history here in Yellowstone. The fantastical idea that none of his family tree would be around if not for the impossibility that a woman from this time had traveled to the past was still something he couldn’t quite wrap his head around. He’d long given up wondering where that time travel snakehead could have possibly come from. He didn’t want to know the answer. What he really did want to know, what he needed to know – where was that device now?
Dan ran a hand through his hair, and headed out the door. Jana Evans was his key to finding that device. She had to be. His entire future depended on it.
Jana stood in front of the bathroom mirror, and ran her brush through her hair. She didn’t know whether to just let it hang free, or put it back in a ponytail. Dan hadn’t mentioned where they would be going for dinner. Not that she expected him to wine and dine her, but if he had plans to go somewhere other than the informal restaurants here at Old Faithful, she didn’t want to look like a bum, either. She hadn’t changed out of the jeans and simple cotton t-shirt she’d worn on her flight here. Casual dress was her preference, and if she didn’t have to leave the room anymore this evening, she would be lounging in her pajamas right now.
A loud knock on the room door broke the silence. She dropped her brush in the sink with a loud clank.
“Good grief, Jana. Get a grip,” she mumbled. Her heart sped up as if she’d just run a marathon, and her legs turned to jelly. She glanced at her reflection in the mirror one last time. Too late to gather her hair in a ponytail.
“Jana, you need to smile more. The world doesn’t always have to be so serious. You are beautiful, and I wish you’d stop thinking so negatively about yourself all the time.” Aimee’s words echoed in her mind. Aimee had always told her the right man would come along someday. For a fleeting moment, the thought entered her mind that Mr. Right stood outside her hotel room door this very minute. Ridiculous! You know nothing about him, other than he’s Aimee’s great great great great grandson.
Jana inhaled a deep breath and expelled the air slowly through parted lips. No matter how much she tried to relax, her heart would not stop hammering away against her ribcage. She raked her teeth across her lower lip, and opened the hotel room door. Dan Osborne stood before her, his hand held up in a fist, apparently ready to knock again.
“Sorry I’m late.” He lowered his hand, and his mouth widened in a grin that made Jana groan silently, as her heart fluttered in her chest.
“Oh, no problem,” she blurted out, and smiled nervously. She quickly took note of his clothes - jeans and a t-shirt that hugged the contours of his physique much too well. While his ranger uniform hinted at broad shoulders and a well-muscled chest, the green shirt he wore now left no doubt he was lean and well sculpted. Jana’s mouth went dry. Dan’s eyebrows rose and his forehead wrinkled as he sent her a questioning look when she didn’t say anything else.