Between You and Me(8)

By: Jennifer Gracen

Plain and simple, he’d been disappointed—both that he’d thought her to be different, and that he’d been wrong about her. Hell, she’d apologized immediately, and seemed truly mortified that she’d insulted him, and he believed her when she said she hadn’t meant to insult him at all. But the damage was done; it’d changed how he thought of her.

Now, as if on cue, he heard activity outside. Running a hand through his hair and over his beard, Logan went to meet his formerly favorite client.

Opening the front door, he waved as he made his way down the steps to the driveway to meet the sleek black Escalade parked there. The driver was already at the back, pulling suitcases out, and Logan heard the familiar yippy bark of Bubbles, Tess’s Maltese, from inside the truck. A grin curved his lips. He couldn’t help it, he liked that dog. She was spunky and cute as could be.

“How’s it goin’, Clay?” Logan said to the chauffeur with a quick handshake.

“Hey, Carter! Goin’ fine, thanks. You?” Clay asked as he grabbed another suitcase.

“Fine. Here, let me help you with those.”

“Nah, I’ve got ’em.” Clay hauled out the last bag. “I’ll take these straight into the foyer.”

“If you insist. Door’s open. Good to see you.”

“You too. Take care.”

Logan turned to see Tess emerge from the truck, and his breath caught. Damn. Seeing her never failed to stir something inside him. She was still the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen with his own eyes, anywhere, ever. Her dark corkscrew curls tumbled down the back of her red parka, almost to her very fine ass. Standing tall at five-foot-ten, her height may have intimidated other men, but since Logan was six-four, he liked that he didn’t have to look too far down to talk to her. Her willowy body was made to glide and strut down a catwalk, but she’d likely dismiss the notion. Those long, long legs were encased in black leggings and knee-high black leather boots, and he admired them as discreetly as possible. He’d always been a leg man, and her shapely, graceful ones were out of this world.

Finally he met her eyes. Those brilliant blues were sparkling, and she was smiling as she approached him. She always looked happy, or at least content—he didn’t think he’d ever seen her in a bad mood. To him, her friendly personality made her as beautiful as her physical appearance; women like that were rare.

He took a deep breath and shook himself mentally. This woman sometimes put him under a spell. Apparently, even though he hadn’t seen her in almost a year, and he didn’t think of her as sweetly as he once had, her magic over him hadn’t changed.

He cleared his throat and grinned. “Hi, Tess. Good to see you.”

“It’s good to see you too!” She went right to him, stopping only a few steps away. Her dog wiggled in the cradle of her arms, yipping and wagging her tiny tail. “Hope you had a good Christmas.”

“It was nice, thank you,” Logan said. “Quiet.” Just him and his mom, at her house. He’d made them dinner since she was too weak from radiation, and they’d watched It’s a Wonderful Life and White Christmas, as was their tradition. “You had a good Christmas too, I hope?”

“I did, thanks.” She turned at the sound of Clay slamming the trunk closed.

“All set, Miss Harrison,” he said, moving around the truck to climb back in.

“Wait . . .” she said.

Logan watched her walk to Clay, heard her thank him and discreetly slip him what Logan was sure was a generous tip. Clay smiled and laughed at something she said, raised a hand in parting to Logan, and drove down the long, winding driveway.

She went back to Logan and said, “I’m glad to see you here, but a bit surprised. Were you waiting for me?”

“I was,” he said. “Just to make sure you got settled in all right. You said it was a spur-of-the-moment trip when you called, so . . .” He lifted a hand to rub the head of the eight-pound dog squirming in her arms. “Hey, Bubbles. Hello, you tiny princess.”

The dog barked and licked his hand, squirming even harder.

“Thank you for waiting,” Tess said. “You didn’t have to. I’m sure you’re busy, I know it’s the busy season here.” Her breath escaped in white puffs.