Chapter Nine

Logan was true to his word. The few remaining people had left within ten minutes, and after he’d walked the last person out, he joined her in the living room.

“Let’s have a drink by the pool while the maid service cleans the house. It’s nice out tonight.”

Sam stood to join him and he took her hand in his, lacing their fingers together. She followed behind him, allowing him to lead her through the large, open kitchen and out the back door. On their way out, she noticed another woman had joined the original two in the kitchen and they were working furiously, not wasting any time.

Logan stopped at the outdoor wine refrigerator and grabbed a bottle of white wine, his one hand still holding hers. Her stomach churned with burning anticipation.

This was bad. No, this was beyond bad. This was a recipe for disaster.

“Have a seat.” Logan gestured toward one of the lounge chairs by the pool as he took the one on the other side.

“It was a lovely party. Everyone seems to enjoy these little get-togethers.” Sam stated.

“I like to get everyone together outside of work to remind them there is life outside of the office.”

“I think I was surprised to see how many significant others there actually were.” Sam admitted, not sure where she was taking the conversation, but she didn’t want the silence to linger. “I can’t imagine how they manage to make their relationships work, with the stresses of work and all, but clearly it can be done.”

Sam had watched everyone during the afternoon, noticing the couples and the way they interacted. It was actually sweet in many cases and she found herself envying them at times. At others, she found herself wanting to run out of there as fast as possible.

“I think there’s a delicate balance. You have to give 100% to your job, and you have to give 150% to your relationships. It’s the only way to make them work.”

“You sound as if you’re speaking from experience. Have you been married before?”

“No.” Logan said almost too quickly, but then he took a sip of his wine. “I was almost engaged at one point, but I backed out just in time. Turns out I didn’t know as much about her as I thought I did. How about you?”

“Nope. Never married, never engaged.”

“Anyone serious in your life?”

Sam recognized they were venturing into very personal territory, but the warm breeze and the wine were giving her a chance to relax, so she gave his question some thought before answering.

“At one point, I thought I was serious about someone, but he proved me wrong. Unfortunately, I had already invested myself in the relationship just to find out he was sleeping with other women. I learned my lesson fast and hard, but not before the damage was done.”

“What sort of damage?”

Sam watched with an intense fascination as he took a drink and swallowed. His huge hands held the delicate wine glass with such ease, but it appeared he could break it in half with little effort. She had to force herself to focus on what he had asked her. “Trust issues.”

“I can see how that happens. I’ve probably been that guy; with the exception that I don’t make promises I can’t keep. It doesn’t stop some women from finding promises that aren’t there. I’m sure there’ve been some pretty nasty rumors about me.”

“Is that right? But you seem like such a charming guy. Couldn’t imagine any man thinking a woman might just assume anything.” She smiled facetiously and took a sip of the wine.

“Sam, I get the impression that you’ve got a vicious, mean streak.”

“A mean streak? What would give you the impression I’m anything but sweet and innocent?”

Her comment elicited the laugh she hoped for, and Sam let the sound of Logan’s deep rumbling voice wash over her. Maybe she could do this. Sitting here, like this, with Logan was almost natural. He was easy to talk to.

And that they did. For the next two hours. Laughing, joking and learning more about each other. Finally, Sam glanced at her watch and couldn’t hold back the yawn. When she met Logan’s gaze, he simply smiled.

“Tired? Why don’t we go inside and watch a movie?”

“I really should be going.” She said as she sat up from the lounge chair trying to avoid his eyes.

“Like I said before, I’m not above begging. I enjoy having you around. Just one movie?”

Over the last few hours, Logan had been a perfect gentleman. He hadn’t attempted a single move, and she enjoyed the conversation. Part of her wanted to run, but the more prevalent part of her wanted to stay. The other part, the evil part, won out.