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Smart, Sexy and Secretive(8)

By:Tammy Falkner

“Next time, let’s take the subway,” I toss out. I scrub a hand down my face.

“Not at this time of the night,” she scoffs.

“I’d keep you safe.” I tip her chin up. “The Emily who left here was fearless. What happened?”

“The Emily that left here was dirt poor. I didn’t have any choice but to ride the subway at all hours of the night. Now I don’t have to.” She looks into my eyes.

I nod my head. I forget sometimes that she comes from privilege. And I don’t. We used to be equal, and now we’re not.

She reaches up and flattens the space between my eyebrows with the pad of her thumb, and I realize I was scowling at her. I squeeze her hand in reassurance.

Her scent wraps around me, and I want to bury my face in her hair and drink her in. She looks so damn pretty and smells so fucking good that I can’t help but pull her legs across mine so that she’s almost in my lap. She lays her head on my chest and snuggles into me, her head beneath my chin. I take in the scent of her again and revel in the feel of her in my arms.

I lift the hem of her shirt and slide my hands against her skin. She squeals and grabs for my hand, clutching it still against her belly. “Your hands are freezing,” she says over a laugh.

“I know,” I admit. “And you’re warm. So, warm me up.”

Truth be told, I’m so hot right now I could explode. Her bottom is resting on my thigh, and I want so badly to be inside her that I can taste it. She lets my hand go and presses it flat against her stomach, then hitches it higher. I see the cab driver watching us in the rearview mirror and pull my hand back down. She groans. I can feel the vibration of the noise in her belly.

“Patience,” I tease.

The cab finally stops, and I pull out a twenty, handing it to the driver. Sorry, no tip. My wallet is now empty since I paid for the pie and for the cab. I’m just glad I had enough.

I stop and look up through the falling snow at her apartment building. It’s nothing like where I live. The walls are shiny glass, and there’s a doorman who rushes from the front of the building with an umbrella. “Good evening, Miss Madison,” he says, as he covers her head to protect her from the snow.

“Good evening, Henry,” she replies. She smiles at him, and the old man grins even wider. “Did you have a good day?” she asks.

His smile grows even larger and he says, “It’s even better now that I’ve seen you again.”

Emily chucks his shoulder. “Are you always an incurable flirt, Henry?” she teases. His face gets all rosy.

“My wife would kick me out, Miss Madison, if I ever flirted with a single woman.”

“How long have you been married, Henry?” Emily asks.

He scratches his chin. “About thirty-six years?”

“Are you asking me?” Emily banters.

He shakes his head and opens the door for her. “It was 1978. I just can’t do the math in my head the way I used to.”

She stops in the doorway and lays her hand upon my arm. “Henry, this is my friend, Logan Reed.”

She signs while she talks, and Henry looks me up and down. But then he sticks his hand out to shake when I offer mine. I take it and appreciate the firmness of his grip.

“Henry,” Emily asks, “can you see about getting a key made for Logan? And be sure he’s on the list of people who can come and go freely?”

Henry frowns. “Are you certain your father would approve?” he asks.

The whole time he’s talking, Emily’s translating for me. I really don’t need it, unless the man turns away.

“I’m certain my father would not approve,” Emily says with a laugh. She wraps one of her arms through mine. “But I plan to marry this man.”

His eyebrows arch. “Are congratulations in order?”

She leans toward him like she’s going to tell him a secret, but I can see her lips as plain as day. “He hasn’t officially asked me yet, but I’m stating my plans up front so he’ll know how I feel.”

Henry smiles. “I see.” He leans toward me this time. “She’ll have you walking the straight and narrow in no time.” He motions to Emily. “Just look at her. She’s gorgeous.”

“She’s mine,” I say, wrapping my arms around her. “So, don’t get any ideas.” I smile at him and look down into her brown eyes. She blinks up at me. God, she’s so pretty.

“If I were one day younger, I would have to fight you for her,” he warns. But then he chuckles. He looks at Emily and winks. “I’ll get that key made for you. And I’ll add him to the list.”