“Yeah,” he said, stroking her shoulder. Her eyes blinked open wider at his firm answer. “I hate faking things.”

Of course he would, Lin realized. He’d grown to despise lying and façades from an early age.

“Why would I want to hide the fact that we’re involved from anyone?” Kam asked bluntly.

“I don’t know. I was just wondering if it would make you . . . you know. Uncomfortable.”

“No,” he said, and she heard the thread of familiar steel in his voice. “It’s you that’s uncomfortable with people knowing.”

“I’m not,” she whispered. His stroking hand on her spine paused. She lifted her head and met his stare. “Not anymore,” she said emphatically.

She leaned down to kiss his mouth. His arms slowly closed tight around her.

•   •   •

The next morning, she awoke before dawn, knowing she would have to get up very soon and reenter her normal life, and dreading it. These had been stolen moments with Kam. She was sad they were over. For a while, anyway.

She studied his face as he slept when the pale light of dawn peeked around the closed curtains. The vast, swelling feeling she experienced in her chest cavity amazed her . . . humbled her.

Maybe it was best she was going to be away for a few days. Something had happened to her this weekend. Something earth-shattering. Game changing. She had been a fool to ever think she’d been in love before. She’d never begun to fall until she’d seen Kam, never even knew what the words meant. Her feelings for Ian seemed like a shallow, weak facsimile now, a child’s idealistic fantasy.

Kam’s eyes were open when she came out of the bathroom several minutes later after washing and dressing.

“What time is your flight?” he asked, his deep, rough voice in the hushed room caressing her sensitive skin. She walked to him and sat at the edge of the bed. He ran his knuckles over her forearm, and Lin wished nothing more than to be back in his arms at that moment. It felt all wrong to be leaving him, even if it was for just two nights.

“It’s not until one o’clock, but I need to get into the office this morning.”

“Some caveman kept you from catching up on work this weekend,” he said with a small smile. “I have something I want to give you before you go to the airport.”

“You don’t have to give me anything else, Kam.”

“It’s related to the Gersbach demo on Wednesday. I would have given it to you earlier, but it’s not ready until this morning. If I have it delivered to Noble by say . . . ten o’clock, will I get it to you in time?”

“Yes, plenty of time,” she said warmly, touching his whiskered cheek. He grasped her wrist and pulled her down to him, his hand opening at the back of her head. “Thank you for this weekend,” she whispered against his lips a moment later.

“I expect more of your weekends.”

She swallowed thickly, a tingling sensation going through her as she carefully studied his sober expression.

“You’ll have them then” she whispered. She started to get up to go, but Kam paused her with a touch on her hip.

“When you get back, there’s something important I need to discuss with you,” he told her pointedly.

•   •   •

At ten fifteen that morning, Maria tapped on the door of her office.

“The limo will be here at ten forty-five to take you to the airport. And this just arrived.”

“Thank you, Maria,” Lin said, watching the admin place a pale gray box on her desk. Curious, she broke the tape seal and opened the lid. Inside were two identical jewelry boxes, one of black velvet, the other of red leather. Her heart started to throb in her chest as she opened one of them. She lifted out a message from Kam.

Yours is the perfect wrist for the first prototype of a Reardon watch. Jarvis Cooper, the jeweler from E, put it together for me this weekend. I thought you might like to get used to what it can do while you’re out of town. A tutorial will lead you through the instructions when you turn on the device, but call me if you have any questions about how it works.

Just call me period, or I’ll call you.


Lin smiled and set aside the papers, giving an ooh of amazement when she saw the specialized timepiece. It was silver and thin, the face of the “watch” a miniature display screen. She pushed a button and activated the device. Immediately the screen lit up. Welcome, Lin, hope you are having a good time. She smiled at the greeting and tapped the screen when prompted. When she hit the display that gave the time several minutes later, she realized she’d lost herself in playing with the fascinating device. She’d continue to work with it on the way to the airport.

She removed the Klinf watch that she wore, strapping on Kam’s in its place. Unlike most watches, the device went at her inner wrist. Jarvis Cooper, the jeweler, had given the mechanism a trendy, attractive black leather strap—not all that dissimilar from her cuffs. In fact, Lin realized with a small smile, there was a telling platinum loop sewn into the leather. The watchband could be used as a restraint. Despite that prurient purpose, it was a very chic piece. The buckle was a stylized letter R, which was made of platinum and worn at the outer wrist, where the face of a traditional watch went. It was really quite eye-catching, Lin decided with a thrill. She loved it. She ran her finger over the R in dawning amazement. A thrill of excitement coursed through her.

Kam was going to start his own company in the near future. He was ready now. She’d been suspecting it all along. That’s what this whole trip to Chicago had been about. He was trying to wet his feet, get experience with the business world. Not because he planned to sell his patent to a different watchmaker, but because he planned to begin his own business.

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