Morgan stood there grinning. “So, can I get coffee, or do I have to wait for IT to brew it?”

Scowling, she grabbed the carafe from the burner behind the counter and poured him a full-to-the-brim cup. No cream this time. “Here you go.”

The nearly empty restaurant was filled with silence as he stayed there, sipping his coffee, making her conscious of his presence. She kept trying to focus on the computer. Morgan didn’t move away. Slowly, the world around her filtered in—soft murmurs from the table where the men were finishing their meal, the clatter of metal on ceramic drifting out of the kitchen as Wade worked on his magical biscuits, the distant sounds of the passing traffic.

Morgan came to stand beside her. “Stop glaring at it. That won’t help.”

“Are you sure?” She knew he was right, and she was wasting her time, but it frustrated her too much. Giving in was not an option.

“Let me look at it.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

“Does this face look like I’m kidding?” He grinned at her.


“Move over.”

Playfully, Morgan shoved her aside with his shoulder. His broad, solid shoulder. She stepped back, startled by the warmth of his body against her. His hands, wide and flat, looked huge against the tiny keys. But despite their size, they flew over the keyboard.

Suddenly, the screen stopped squiggling and the image she’d been trying to bring into focus—the quaint photo of the restaurant where they stood right now—filled the screen. Clear and as pretty as she’d hoped. Ready to take a new order.

“You did it. I thought it was impossible.” She stepped closer to him and the computer. “That’s perfect. How’d you do that?”

His smile was wide—and smug. “Magic.”

Great, a smart-ass. She sighed. “How’d you know what to do?”

His left eyebrow lifted. “Just because I drive truck doesn’t mean I’m an idiot.” He stepped back, grabbed the coffee cup to take a healthy swig.

“I didn’t say that,” she called after him.

He pushed open one of the doors. “Where’s Wendy anyway?”

“Home sick.” She pulled the neatly printed bill from the printer and smiled. “Why? It’s okay for her to take abuse from those types of moron customers, but not me?” She didn’t bother looking up at him.

“Did I say that?” he growled. “No, I did not. Nor did I mean that.”

“I know.” She followed him, needing to get by but not wanting to step too close to him. “Go sit down, Morgan. Finish your dinner. I have work to do.”

The big man didn’t budge. He was so close that, even over the heat coming from the kitchen, she felt his body’s warmth reaching out to caress her. Morgan faced her, blocking her escape. “Tara—I’m not here to hurt you or ignore you or any of those things. I just want—”

He fell silent. She could only stare. She swayed, her body reaching for him even as her mind screamed that she had to get away from him. “Morgan?”

He didn’t answer.

“What do you want?” she asked. The instant the words left her mouth, she regretted them. Not because of the answer she knew she wouldn’t get, but because of the anguish that filled his face.

“Don’t ask me that,” he said through clenched teeth. “I don’t dare answer.”


“Why? Because I’m—” He swallowed. “I’m this close to not giving a damn about what I’m supposed to do.”

“What are you supposed to do?” Why did she continue to prod him, like picking at a sliver until it came out—except all she did was drive the hurt deeper?

“I’m supposed to be responsible. I’m supposed to behave.” That last word held a note of disdain. “I’m not supposed to want…” He cupped her chin with his palm, dwarfing her jaw with his size. “This,” he whispered. He dragged his thumb across her lips. On reflex, her tongue reached out and followed the path his thumb had taken. Could she taste him there?

Morgan groaned. “Don’t do that.”

“Don’t do what? This?” She turned her head, just barely, just enough to put her lips in the center of his palm. She softly kissed his touch, letting her eyelids drift closed as his heat slipped along the length of her body. He’d leaned into her.