He continued to look around with growing interest. The pale green wall color and white subway tile fit her, though the regular stove and small counters did not.
He didn’t say anything, and he didn’t think he made any noise, but she turned her head. Their gazes met and held. Her eyes were pale blue, a color that fit with the light tone of her blond hair. Wisps fluttered in the air that wafted from the heat vent.
The image he’d seen of her on his computer where she’d been wearing the tank top and shorts flashed in his mind, reminding him that beneath that damp sweater were sweet curves and pretty, smooth skin.
Look somewhere else. He yanked his gaze to the surroundings, forcing his mind to think mundane thoughts.
This place told him more than he’d expected. He felt welcome here. She was relaxed and made her way around the kitchen table with ease.
“Can I get you something to drink?” she asked as she put the groceries away.
“Nah, I’m good.” Morgan shoved his hands into his pockets to keep himself from reaching out. He’d always learned by touching and feeling, not just looking. And this place was filled with things he was sorely tempted to pick up and feel, experience. Including her.
“Well, I’m cold.” She rubbed her arms, and he couldn’t tear his gaze away from her movements. “I’m making some coffee.” Her smile reached out to him. “I’ll share.”
Stretching, she opened some upper cabinets and pulled out a canister. He stood there staring like a fool when her shirt rode up, just a little, to expose her sweet, flat abdomen. He tore his gaze away from her again. The scent of fresh-ground coffee wafted in the air as she busied herself making a pot. What was wrong with him? He had to get out of here before he said or did something stupid. He looked around for an escape.
As he turned, nearly bolting for the door, a shelf above the kitchen table caught his eye. Polished wood, it overflowed with books. Cookbooks. These weren’t fancy, gourmet books. No, these were old, tattered—the kind he remembered seeing in his grandmother’s house. That woman could cook.
“You get ideas for your menu from those?” He tipped his head toward the shelf.
Tara looked up. “From…?” She followed his gaze and smiled as if she didn’t notice the tension thick in the air. “Some, yes.” She took a step toward the shelf. “Some I can’t use since they don’t even make the ingredients anymore. But I was able to modify a few of them.”
She pulled down an especially tattered book and flipped through the yellowed pages. Finally, she found what she was looking for and pointed to a spot on the page. “This is the recipe I started with to make my turnovers.” She looked at him and smiled. “The ones you liked so much last night.”
Morgan smiled back, and the sound of the clock ticking over their heads was loud in the stillness between them.
His mind wound around itself. She’d noticed how much he’d liked the turnovers? She paid attention. To him.
“Do you know all your customers so well?” Damn. His voice broke on the third word. He cleared his throat.
“Some.” She stepped back and, with deliberate movements, pulled thick coffee mugs from the cupboard. “Sugar, right?”
She grabbed a sugar bowl, a dainty cup with the same green color as the walls in the design on the sides. He focused on that, trying and failing to not focus on her movements.
Filling both cups, Tara took her time preparing them, his with sugar, hers with a touch of cream and sweetener. Her hands were delicate, the nails trimmed short and even. She didn’t wear any jewelry—no ring, no bracelet or watch. None of the glitz other women wore, but she didn’t need it.
He almost didn’t take the cup when she extended it to him. Almost.
Their fingers brushed. Where her skin was soft, the cup was solid. Both were warm. The scent of the coffee and something else—perfume—wafted between them.
Morgan leaned against the counter and cradled the cup. He had to do something with his hands or he’d try to touch her.
“So, tell me about Morgan Thane.” She leaned on the opposite counter and faced him. She took a deep drink from her mug and waited.