I comfort myself with the fact that they don’t have my Paris address, though; I don’t even have that yet.
Then I look up at Chris, feel that familiar punch of inti-macy between us, and correct that statement. Yes, I do know my address. It’s with Chris.
After an hour of being drilled by the border police, Chris and I have our bags on a cart and we’re ready to leave the airport. We halt at the sliding doors under a “taxi” sign.
“I’ll go ind us a private car and driver,” Chris informs me.
“You stay with the bags.”
I purse my lips. “Yes, Master.”
He arches a brow. “Why is it that I can only get you to say that sarcastically?”
“Because according to you,” I remind him, “you don’t want me to call you Master.”
“Are you saying you would if I wanted you to?”
Chris laughs, a sexy rumble and it is a soothing balm on my nerve endings. “On a totally diferent subject,” he says, pulling me close, a light in his eyes I see too rarely, “the area we’re headed to is the Times Square of Paris. You’re going to love it.”
He leans down and kisses me. “I’ll be right back.”
I stare after him, watching his sexy swagger and warming to the idea that I am here. And I know that no matter how much he fears the ultimate outcome of my being here, he’s also excited to show me Paris. I’m excited to see it with him, too.
I wait eagerly for his return, ready to share my excitement with him, disappointed when it becomes apparent that he’s going to be a few minutes. With a sigh, I snag my cell phone to set up an international plan. I’m almost done when Chris rushes back inside with a man I assume is the driver. Just watching the way Chris moves, all lean muscle and power, my heart skips a beat. I doubt if I’ll ever stop reacting to the irst moment I see him, and I smile.
“Ready?” he asks as I try to inish up with the cell company. The driver takes over our baggage cart and we follow him outside. I end my call and wait for Chris by the car door while he helps the driver it our bags inside the trunk.
When Chris joins me and holds the door open for me, I hug him, then tilt my chin up to meet his eyes. “I just want you to know that I understand why you needed to do this the way you did it, but I would have come anyway. I’m glad I’m here with you.” I kiss him, planning on a quick brush of my mouth over his, and, to my shock, considering how private a person he is, Chris slides his hand beneath my hair, around my neck, and slants his mouth over mine. I moan as his tongue caresses mine, stroking deeply into my mouth.
“I’m glad you’re here, too,” he assures me, pulling his mouth from mine and setting me away from him, as if he has to do it right now or he won’t be able to. As if he might take me right here. And only he could make this once-conservative school-teacher wish that were possible.
I wet my lips and his hot gaze follows, and just that easily I’m tingling all over, hot inside and out. Someone shouts out something in French and Chris’s head jerks toward the speaker, mine following.
I see the driver’s head above the roof of the car, as if he’d gotten inside and popped out to get our attention. Chris answers him in French and then shifts his attention back to me.
His lips quirk and his eyes dance with amusement. “He wants to know if we’re ready.”
We both start laughing. “We are deinitely ready,” I say and duck inside the car.
Forty-ive minutes later, I’ve canceled my credit cards and our driver has navigated us through morning traic to Avenue des Champs-Élysées, a famous street lined with imposing old white buildings illed with stores and cafés. When we drive past the Arc de Triomphe, I take photos with my cell phone. Its spectacular carvings are illuminated, aglow against the darkness of Paris’s shorter winter days. And while I’d swear I’m not a structure kind of person, much preferring paintings to steel towers, I gape as the Eifel Tower comes into view, twinkling with lights in the inky gray sky. There was a time when I thought I’d never see . . . well, much of anything.
We turn down a narrow side street lined with brownstone buildings and I frown at all the tiny cars lining the sidewalks. I cringe at how unsafe they look.
“Please tell me you don’t drive one of those,” I say.
“No,” Chris assures me with a bark of that rich laughter I adore so much. “My Harley is as close to that small as I’ll ever get.”
A sudden lashback of him showing up, after weeks of shutting me out of his life, and ordering me onto the back of his Harley, in a skirt of all things, is an unwelcome memory I shove away. I won’t let myself worry about him doing that to me again. Especially not today.
I’m alive, which is a gift I value more than ever before.
I’m with Chris.
I’m in Paris, which I’m experiencing because of Chris, when everyone else in my life has always kept me in a box.
I lean over and kiss his cheek.
“What’s that for?” he asks, his strong arm wrapping around my waist.
I can think of a million ways to answer, and a million things I want to say to him. I simply say, “For being you.”
The tenderness in his face melts the last remnants of my bad memory. “If this is the reaction I get to a little sightseeing, I can’t wait to see how you react when you see the art galleries.
You’re going to go nuts, baby.” His cell phone rings, and with the obvious reluctance I love, he lets go of me.