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Smart, Sexy and Secretive(7)

By´╝ÜTammy Falkner



“Just dummy will do,” I say quietly, and a smile breaks through my waterworks.

“What about you?” he asks. His gaze is intense.

My heart is so light that I can barely follow what we were talking about. “What about me?” I ask.

“You asked me if I was faithful to you,” he reminds me.

“I wasn’t really asking. I was just telling you that I could understand it if you weren’t. You didn’t even know if I was coming back.”

“I knew. But I would have done the same thing even if I hadn’t known.” His eyes narrow. “Are you avoiding my question?”

“What question?”

“Dammit, Emily.” He slaps his hand on the table again. “Did you or did you not fuck someone else?”

People in the nearby booths look in our direction, and I place a finger over my lips. “Turn your voice down,” I say.

He says it more quietly. “Did you?”

I lay a hand on my chest. “Oh, God, no,” I breathe. How could he even think that?

“I’ve seen your picture in the tabloids with the old boyfriend. A lot.” His gaze is intense again.

“My father’s publicity people set that up. They want the world to think we’re still happily engaged.” I wasn’t even aware it was happening when I attended the first event and Trip approached me. The photogs went mad taking shots of us. “I’m sorry you had to see that and wonder about it.”

“You’re not engaged to him, are you?” Worry furrows his brow, and I feel bad for all I’ve put him through.

“No. Not since before I left California the first time.”

“And he’s well aware of this?” Logan asks.

“Very well aware.” He knows. I’m not sure he cares, but he knows. “He knows I’m in love with you.”

Logan smiles innocently. “He knows about me?”

“He knows all about you.” I take his hand. “I love you, Logan.”

“Good. Because I plan to put a ring on this as soon as you’ll let me.” He draws my ring finger to his lips and kisses it gently.

My heart thuds. “A ring?”

He nods. “A ring.”

“Can you tattoo one on me?” I ask impulsively. “Because I don’t plan to ever take it off.”

He smiles. “I’ll think about it.” He points to my pie. “Eat,” he says. “I can hear your stomach growling and I’m deaf. Imagine how much you’re offending the other people. They just want to eat their soup, and your stomach sounds like an F-350.”

“How do you know what an F-350 sounds like?” I laugh. I have missed him like crazy.

“Tell me something that’s loud and groaning, then?” he asks.

“You will be later.”

He freezes. “Eat your fucking pie.”

I lift a forkful of apple pie to my lips.

I’m home.





Logan



Emily’s hand is tucked securely into mine, and that’s a good thing because I don’t want to ever let her go.

“Can you come home with me?” she asks for the second time. The snow is falling heavily now, and her hair is covered in white flakes as soon as we step out the diner door. I take my hoodie off and put it on her, pulling the fabric over her hair. I wrap a lock of it around my finger, letting the silk slide against my fingertip. I’m wearing a long-sleeve thermal shirt and jeans, but nothing else. I hunch my back against the wind.

Emily lifts my hoodie up to her nose so she can smell it. “You might not get this back,” she warns.

“I don’t care.” I’m just so happy she’s here.

“So, do you want to come home with me?” she asks. Her head is tilted to the side like an inquisitive puppy. There’s a question in her gaze, one that’s full of misunderstanding.

“Where’s home?” I ask.

“I have an apartment a few miles from here.”

“Why so far away?” I ask.

She shrugs. “My mother chose it. It’s near campus.”

“Would you rather go home with me?” I ask. I know my brothers want to see her. They’ve missed her almost as much as I did.

She shakes her head. “I’d rather have you all to myself.”

“You live alone?” I’m not sure that’s safe.

She nods and tugs on my fingers. “Come with me.” She holds up a hand to hail a cab. It stops, and she looks at me with a question in her gaze.

“All right,” I say. I help her into the cab with a hand at the small of her back and slide in behind her. She rattles off an address, but I can’t see her lips in the darkness.

Her few miles feel like twenty, and I watch the cab rate go up and up and up. I am not sure how much money I have in my wallet. Shit. This is bad.

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