Romance Fiction posted May 26, 2024 Chapters:  ...17 18 -19- 20... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Noah can't resist a hug.

A chapter in the book Willing Hearts

Chapter 12 B

by barbara.wilkey

Can Noah rescue Myra, close down the human trafficking ring, keep Sami safe, all while protecting his heart? Or did the love of his life appear in front of him?
Noah and Sami met 16 days ago.


Noah stood, went into the kitchen, and returned with a glass of water. After he sat and took a sip, he said, "I understand what you're saying. I know Sami was genuinely happy I returned safely. I'm the type of person who follows rules. Rules are made for a reason. What if we let a few hugs or kisses pass. Maybe down the road I do something to make her angry. I could have a sexual harassment charge thrown against me."

Shaking his head, Jose said, "Do you think Sami would do that?"

Blowing out air, Noah said, "No. But she could. I don't have the answer. I didn't stop her. The look on her face hurt when she realized she shouldn't hug me. I'll agree to think about it."

Nodding Jose said, "If you decide to allow a hug here and there, I'm not turning you in."

Both Bob and Sarah agreed they wouldn't either.

"Thank you for the support."

Sami came from her room and saw everyone sitting at the table. "I didn't know you were having a meeting. I'll start dinner when you're finished." She turned toward her room.

"Sami," called Noah. "We weren't really having a meeting. You don't need to start dinner. I brought dinner home. It might need reheating. It's been sitting here awhile." He pointed to a sack.

"Thank you. I'll check it and have dinner on the table in a few minutes."


Chapter 12 B

During dinner Jose asked, "Boss, after Wyatt heals are you letting him have his choice of vacation spots?"

Chuckling, Noah answered, "He's already asked about it. I told him I'd make sure it happened."

Sarah put her hand over Bob's. "We had fun at the Rocky Mountain resort while Bob finished healing."

Bob leaned over and pecked her cheek. "We sure did. It was perfect. It was quiet and peaceful."

"Wyatt's young, I bet he chooses a tropical beach with bikini clad babes." Jose faced Sami. "If you could take a prepaid vacation to anywhere in the world, where would you go?"

"That's a tough one." After a lengthy pause, Sami said, "I don't know. I've always wanted to see the Northern Lights."

Noah asked, "Did your family take vacations while you were growing up?"

She shook her head. "No. With Mom owning the restaurant and Dad the construction company, along with five children, family vacations didn't happen. This is probably the farthest I've been from the city." She smiled. "I take that back. I did go to away ball games. Anyway, if I got a chance like that, I'd have to really think about it."

Heads turned when Bob's computer dinged. He stood. "Excuse me. I need to check that."

Quiet remained until he returned.

When he did, he said, "Just Doc checking in. Everything's good."

"Are Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday really their names?" asked Sami.

Jose chuckled. "No. It's their undercover name. We don't want anybody knowing their real names. Boss is the only person who knows our uncover agents' real identities."

Tilting her head, Sami asked, "Do they chose their names or are they chosen for them?"

Noah sipped his water and then answered, "They chose it."

Sami stood. "There's blackberry cobbler and vanilla ice cream for either dessert now or later."

They indicated they wanted to wait until later to have the cobbler.

"Sounds good." Sami turned toward her room, but stopped and faced them. "I understand how busy Noah is. I feel somebody else should go out with Jasper and me." She went into her room and closed the door.

Jose motioned for Noah to go after her.

Noah mouthed back. "I'll talk with her later."

"What are you waiting for?" asked Sarah.

"Christmas!" Noah stood and went into his room.

Tomorrow's my laundry day. I'm betting whoever's day it is has already finished. I can get an early start. Noah checked the list and saw it was Sami's. "I'm sure she's done." He went into the laundry room. As he loaded the washer, he glanced at the dryer and a bra lay on top. I bet she either forgot it or misplaced it. He picked it up and headed toward Sami's room.

When Sami answered the door, Noah held up the bra. "I noticed you were the last person to do laundry. Is this yours?"

"It is. I set it aside because it doesn't go in the dryer. I forgot it. I'm sorry."

"Not a problem. No need to apologize."

"But you're a..."

"I've seen bras before," interrupted Noah. "They're on TV, in movies, and in magazines." He hesitated. "You're hiding in your room. I think Jasper needs out, and we need to talk."

She tossed the bra onto the bed. "Maybe."

"There's not a maybe to it." Noah walked to the front door.

Holding the door for Sami and Jasper to walk through, Noah glanced back at his team. "We may be a while."

They headed toward the pond, as Noah asked, "Where do you want to start?"

"How about not starting? We can walk in silence."

"Not going to happen. We'll start simple. The bra. I'm not so stringent that I don't understand how something like that happens."

"Yes, Sir."

"What's this 'sir' bull...?" Noah exhaled. "When did I become 'sir'?"

"When I realized..." She turned her back to him.

Noah put his hand on her shoulder. "When you realized what?"

Sami almost whispered, "I've become too comfortable around you."

"Is that why you don't want us walking Jasper together?" When she nodded, he continued, "What if I want to walk with Jasper and you?"

"But I could make a mistake and get you relieved from duty. I don't want to risk that happening."

"Like today when you almost hugged me in front of the team?"

She nodded. "I'm sorry."

"I'm not giving you permission to hug me, but if it accidently happens, it's okay." Noah swallowed. "But understand no matter how much I want to I can't return the hug." When her eyes met his, he continued, "I don't want you to think if I don't return it, I don't want to. I can't."

"Are you saying you...?"

"I've said too much already," interrupted Noah.

"I understand."

They walked in silence farther around the pond.

Sami said, "Thank you for bringing dinner tonight." When Noah nodded, she asked, "Besides being Trey Morgan, have you ever been undercover?"

"My first assignment was undercover. I rode with a motorcycle gang and investigated drugs and weapons."

"That sounds dangerous. How long did you do it?"

"They try to keep agents undercover for less than a year. Occasionally there's an exception but it's rare. I did it for almost sixteen months."

"What was your name?"


"That sounds mean."

"It seemed appropriate. I was in a bad place and was basically void of feelings."

"You must've been hurting."

"I'm not willing to discuss it."

"I'm not asking." After they walked a little further, Sami asked, "If you had a prepaid vacation, where would you go?"

Chuckling Noah said, "I guess I'm like you. I'd have to think about it for a while. It would have to be quiet and beautiful. I don't want to be around a bunch of tourists. Just someplace to relax."

Giggling, Sami asked, "Do you know how to relax?"

"What?" Noah stepped back and studied Sami. "You don't think I know how to relax. I'm relaxed here."

"This is you relaxed?"

"Yes. I think I'm nailing it."

Laughing, she continued, "I guess."

Noah suddenly got serious. "I know this isn't ideal, but are you at least partially comfortable here?"

Sami's eyes met his. "I'm okay, really, I am. Everybody's going out of their way to make me comfortable. I appreciate that. Thank you."

"I don't think anybody's going out of their way for you. You're making this easy. I've had some people in protective custody that were difficult to put up with."

"Thank you."

They started heading toward the house, and Sami stopped walking. "Noah?" When he faced her, she swallowed, hesitated, and then threw her arms around him and squeezed tight.

Noah stood there, before he said, "Ah hell," and returned the hug.

When the hug ended, Noah said, "I needed it too." He exhaled. "I doubt anybody will ask, but if they do, I'll admit it. I won't lie. I don't want you lying either."

Sami nodded and then asked, "Since this needs to last me a lifetime, can I have another one."

He chuckled. "Sure." As this hug ended, he kissed the side of her head and said, "We need to get inside."

"Noah?" When he faced her, she said, "Neither of those happened."

He nodded. "Sure."

When they walked into the house, Jose followed. "I think it's blackberry cobbler time. Anybody agree?"

Sami walked toward the kitchen. "I'll get right on it."

Jose called, "I didn't mean for you to get it."

"I don't mind."

Noah followed. "Sami, I need to ask. Are we all right?"

Her eyes met his. "I think so."


She studied Noah as he left the kitchen. I wonder what that was about.

As they ate the cobbler and ice cream, light conversation continued.


Sami Martinez - Twenty-five-year-old high school teacher, who's working to find a kidnapped teenage girl.

Noah Taylor. - Homeland Security team leader, who works in the Human Trafficking department. Alias - Trey Morgan

Jose, Bob, & Sarah - Agents who work under Noah. Bob and Sarah are married.

Laura Martinez - Sami's mom.

Jasper - Sami's Great Dane, a large breed dog.

Myra Rodriguez - Kidnapped teenage girl whom Sami was close to.

Julia - Teenage girl, who was friends with Myra and Sami works with.

Big T - Neighborhood pimp; not a friendly person

Numerous Team Members - They will show up periodically but not really important to the story, except they're there.

Chen - Charles Henry Edward Nichols - Human trafficker and into some really bad stuff.

Chief Galvin Baldwin - Noah's supervisor.

Ryan Brown - All around jerk. He thinks highly of himself.

Marc - Sami's old boyfriend.



Thank you, Google Images, for a photo of a couple hugging.

Today's post is the second part of Chapter 12. It's a short chapter. It only has a little over 1300 words.

Today I'm able to post. My two young granddaughters are napping, my son is working out, and my daughter in law is making blueberry scones. I'm trying to sneak in a post before they wake up. LOL I made huge changes as I posted. I wish just once; wish I could get a post even close to perfect. I'll be home Thursday so life might get back to normal, whatever that is.
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