Chapter Fourteen

Fifteen minutes later, I sit at a table on the balcony, drinking coffee and sampling an enormous amount of food Liam ordered to be sure I had something I liked to eat. What I like is him bare-chested and relaxed in his pajama bottoms, with sexy, mussed-up morning hair. And me, in his shirt, with his scent teasing my nostrils. I have never worn a man’s shirt and that somehow makes wearing his shirt all the more intimate.

I pluck a grape from a basket with a variety of fruits and laugh as he argues his claim that the Fast & Furious movies are of cultural importance. “And you support this claim how?”

“The movies were released over the course of a decade. One could say they are a historical biography of the evolution of muscle cars.”

“One such as you.”

He smiles, and I swear his eyes are as perfect as the bright blue sky shadowing him. “One such as me.”

I cover my now-empty plate that once held a fluffy cheese omelet. “Is there a collection of muscle cars to go along with this interest?”

“No muscle cars in my garage. Too impractical. I’ll live vicariously through the movies.”

“And here I thought you were a Bentley kind of guy.”

“I’m not a flashy guy.”

“But you love Fast & Furious.”

“All men love Fast & Furious.”

“But you are not all men, Liam.”

His shoves his empty plate aside and leans close, his elbow on the table. “And why is that, Amy?”

“Oh, come on. You know you aren’t like other guys. You’re a prodigy, protégé, and billionaire.”

“If I let those things become who I am, then they are all that I am. Judge me by who I am outside those things. Who would I be if those things were suddenly stripped away? A man who loves hamburgers, Fast & Furious, Thirty Seconds to Mars, and the History Channel, which we’ve determined we have in common.”

I laugh at the way he sums himself up, charmed by his lack of arrogance and by the unexpected randomness of his interest. “And some violinist—”

“David Garrett.”

“David Garrett,” I repeat, “who you swear will seduce me into loving his music. All these pieces of you are not what I expected.”

“Is that good?” His voice is softer now, rougher.

“Yes. Yes, it’s good.”

“Unexpected and good. Much like us.”

I suck in a breath, surprised, pleased, warmed by this man in a way the morning sunshine cannot begin to touch. “Yes,” I say, sealing my decision to weed through all the history I have to hide, to have just a few weeks with this man. “Unexpected.” So very unexpected.

“And good,” he prods.

I smile. “And good.”

His cell phone rings. He grimaces and hits decline, glancing at me and answering my unasked question. “Derek, the guy I was talking to when you woke up. He’s an investor in the building project and the only reason I entertained the idea of being involved. He gets me and what I do.”

“Do you need to go meet with him? Because I’m fine if you do.”

“No. They’ll wait until tomorrow.” He changes the subject. “Do you have a passport?”

My unease is instant; a fizzle of fear over his motives sparks into life. I laugh nervously, feeling as if I have been on a casual fun drive and just got sideswiped. “My travels have been as ambitious as sampling the various cupcake shops around Manhattan.”

He smiles, and it is as devastatingly sexy as his tattoo. Well, almost. “Sweet tooth?”

“Mammoth-sized, though I don’t indulge often or I’ll be mammoth-sized.” I sound halfway okay, I think, but all I can think is why did he ask about the passport?

He lifts the cover of a plate to display some sort of gooey chocolate waffle concoction. “I do, too.” He hands me a fork. “I’ll dare if you will.”

I take a fork and my hand trembles. Liam gently shackles my wrist and I inhale and look at him. “What’s wrong, Amy?”

I want to scream at my complete inability to mask my emotions with this man. I’ve always handled myself smoothly. Okay, well, after that first year of melting down. “I feel like I’m keeping you from work.” Lie. Lie. Lie. You are such a liar.

His eyes narrow and I swear he knows what I am, if not who I am. I think he will call me on my reply, but he does not. His hand slides away and he motions to the chocolate goo on the plate. “Shall we?”

“Yes,” I breathe out, and I want to know why he asked about a passport—but at this point, it would be too obvious a question and invite more from him. I spoon up the sugary treat and take a bite.

Liam does the same, watching me as he tastes the dessert-like breakfast item. “Good?”

“Yes. Delicious.”

“Now we have two things on our to-do list,” he says, referencing my confession about list-making I’d shared while avoiding other personal things, like my dead family, both the fake one and the real one.

“Two things?”

“The doctor,” he reminds me, and when I should be worried about the passport reference that seems so bizarre, I instead remember last night. Until then, I’ll be fantasizing about the moment the only thing wrapped around me is you.

Somehow I am now both warm and cold at the same time. “ And the second to-do item?”

“David Garrett is touring in Europe the rest of the year. That’s why I asked about the passport. I’d like to take to you to a concert.” His lips quirk in that sexy way they do. “He’ll seduce you with his music and I’ll seduce you in another country.”

Tags: Lisa Renee Jones The Secret Life of Amy Bensen Romance