What Are Friends For?(3)

By: Lynn Lafleur

He heard her chuckle, which made him feel a lot better. She lifted her head from his shoulder and smiled at him. “You’re good for me, do you know that?”

“Hey, what are friends for?” He dropped a quick kiss on her lips. “Do you work today?”

Erin nodded, took a step back so they no longer touched. “From nine to two. I have a couple coming in the agency today who are planning an around-the-world trip for their twenty-fifth anniversary.”

“Wow. That should be a nice commission for you.”

“I can use it. My air conditioner isn’t cooling as well as it should.”

“That’s because you won’t let me replace it. Your unit has to be close to twenty years old.”

Erin frowned. “Luke, I don’t have an extra ten grand in my checking account for a new central air unit.”

“It wouldn’t cost that much.”

“However much it costs, I can’t do it. I can barely afford for you to fix my old one. Even though you don’t charge me for your time, I still have to pay for parts.”

“At my cost, which is what you’ll pay for the new unit. And you can pay it out for as long as you need to. No interest. It’s August in Texas. You can’t be without A/C. I can check the schedule for an open spot and install the new unit next week.”

He’d decided a long time ago that owning a heating and air conditioning company gave him the right to help his family and friends as much as possible. He took enough of a wage to support himself and left the rest in the company. He’d rather pay out bonuses to his employees than have a huge chunk of money in his personal bank account.

She wiggled her mouth back and forth. Luke recognized that gesture as one Erin used when she was trying to make a decision. “I’ll think about it.”

“It’ll pay for itself over time with what you’ll save in electricity—“

“Okay, I said I’d think about it.” Erin rolled her eyes. “Sheesh, you can be so bossy sometimes.”

“It’s part of my charm.”

Erin laughed. “Yes, it is.” She grabbed a paper towel off the roll by the sink. “I’m going to take some cookies with me.”

He knew she would. Erin couldn’t resist his mother’s homemade cookies. “Help yourself. Just leave me a couple, okay?”

She flashed him an impish grin. “Maybe.”

Grinning too, he watched her wrap four cookies in the paper towel. “Come back when you get off work for a swim. I’ll grill some steaks for supper.”

“Sounds great. I’ll pick up a bottle of wine.” She waved at him over her shoulder as she walked away. “Later, dude.”

Chapter Two

Erin straightened the colorful travel brochures on her desk. She’d collected several of them to show the Jeffersons when they arrived. They’d mentioned they wanted to visit Europe, Asia and Australia. When she showed them all the information she had about African safaris, she knew they would want to go to that continent too.

Erin would love to take the same trip she planned to recommend to the Jeffersons. Maybe not to all those places, but at least to Europe. England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Germany, Austria—her list got a bit longer every year. She kept telling herself someday.

She also told herself someday she’d find a man who would love her. That hadn’t happened yet, nor did it appear it would happen any time soon.

It had to be her. She had to be doing something wrong in bed. Maybe she was too clingy, or not clingy enough. Maybe she was too passionate, or not passionate enough. She loved sex—a lot—and once was never enough for her. She liked multiple orgasms and always wanted a second round, even when her lover wasn’t quite “up” to it yet.

Whatever she was—or wasn’t—in bed, she rarely got past the first sex session before she never heard from the guy again.

A relationship couldn’t be built if the guy never called her.

Erin considered herself a modern woman. At twenty-nine, she had a job she adored that supported her, even if sometimes money was a little tight. She called herself a homeowner, although the bank owned a lot more of her house than she did. However, she believed some things should be done the old-fashioned way, such as the man asking the woman for a date.

Her girlfriends told her sometimes she had to be the aggressor, to go after the man she wanted. That didn’t work for Erin. Besides, she hadn’t dated anyone in the last few years who made her heart pound with just the sound of his voice. That’s what she wanted—that breathless, flushed, have-to-touch-him feeling she hadn’t experienced since her first love in college.

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