Page 12 of Lift

She smiles at me and there’s something close to pride in her eyes. “I’ve got a few talents.”

“I know,” I say as I reach out my hand and place it next to hers on the table.

My fingers graze hers and she doesn’t pull away. I’m sleep deprived and overworked, but right now I feel like I could run the Boston Marathon if she asked me to. I’ve never felt more alive with someone or more at peace. Her soft brown eyes look up at me and there’s a question there. I don’t know what it is, but it feels like she’s wanting me to make her a promise.

We stay like that for one long moment, each of us trying to say what we’re afraid to and both of us unwilling to break the moment.

Unfortunately my cell phone does it for us when it begins to ring. The song “Eye of the Tiger” begins to blare and I want to choke Simon. I reach into my pocket and pull it out and hit ignore.

“It’s okay, you can take it,” she says.

Just as I’m ignoring the call and telling her it’s fine, the song blares to life again. I sigh as I apologize and answer.

“This better be good,” I say before Simon can speak.

“The inspector from the city is here, where are you?”

“Shit.” I completely forgot.

“Yeah, shit is right. And where are my donuts? Don’t tell me you actually slept.” I can hear the disbelief in his voice.

“Of course not,” I say as I look into Sloan’s eyes. “I’m on my way.”

I hang up the phone and she smiles at me. “I guess we both need to get our day started,” she says, holding up her list of errands.

I reach in my wallet and put some cash on the table. Then I hand over my credit card to her, along with a business card and all the cash I have on me.

“Whoa, Harris, I don’t want all this.” She looks around like someone might see the cash she’s holding.

“It’s just in case. You’ll need money for some of the deliveries and some of them don’t take cards. If you have any problems, my cell is on there and so is my assistant’s Simon. I’ve got to run, but I’ll text you.”

We both stand up and I walk her out to her car. I open the door for her, but before she can get in, I take my chance and lean in close. I brush my lips lightly across her cheek and whisper in her ear.

“I’ll be thinking about you,” I say before I take a step back and walk away.

Everything in me wants to go back to her and wrap her in my arms. I want to turn around and look at her, but what if she’s not watching? What if she’s already gotten in her car and she doesn’t feel this thing between us? Doubt creeps in and it pisses me off. I’ve never been one to let anything stop me, and I’m not going to start now.

I stop and turn to look over my shoulder because I have to know. When I see her standing there with her fingers touching the same spot where I placed my lips, I can’t stop my smile. I wink at her as I turn back and keep on walking.

Soft snow begins to fall and I can smell the change in the air.

Chapter Seven

Sloan

I watch him go with my hand pressed to my cheek. The place where he kissed me tingles and I can feel my whole body warm up. When he walks away he takes something of me with him. I wanted to turn my head and press my lips to his so badly, but I chickened out. His big body moves from me and the snow begins to fall. Just when I’m about to walk away he turns to give me one last look. My breath catches as he smiles at me, and somehow I know he was hoping I would still be standing here watching him.

It took everything in me this morning to make myself get off his sofa and leave the comfort of his home. I knew I needed to be out of there before he woke up, and anyone else in the building for that matter.

Harris is the kind of man that would want to walk me to my car if he was awake; that was clear by how he treated me last night. I wasn’t some conquest he’d picked up and tried to get into bed. He hung on my every word when I spoke, and I could tell he was tired but refused to call it a night. I didn’t want to leave and I know he didn’t want me to either. I also wasn’t prepared to tell him no. He was too charming and sweet when he gave me everything he thought I might want. And all he seemed to want in return was my attention. How was I supposed to turn that down?

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