“I want to see him again. I think he’s the one.”

She beams. “I believe that too. But you’re going to have to make it clear you’re not a runner. That you’re a stayer. Because I’m pretty sure he wants you to stay.”

“Does he?” Tingles sweep through my body.

“The two of you are meant to be.”

I quirk an eyebrow. “Do you believe in that? That people are meant to be together?”

“I do. Now you need to do what you should have done last night.”

And I don’t wait. I whip out my phone at lunch, dial his clinic, and ask to speak to Dr. Smith.

Evie beams the whole time, the proud matchmaker.

“He’s with a patient right now. May I take a message?” The man on the other end of the phone asks.

With a smile, and a belly full of nerves, I give him a message. “Can you please tell Dr. Smith that it’s Olivia and I would like to know if he would want to work on my checklist at Madison Square Park tonight?”

“I’ll give him the message.”

Evie claps.

I set down my phone, catching a glimpse of a message icon in the status bar. With butterflies fluttering, I click it open. It arrived fifteen minutes ago.

* * *

Herb: Hey, Olivia, so I’m not really sure what went wrong last night, but I’d like to try again with you. If you’re up for it, maybe we can meet at Madison Square Park after work.

* * *

He must have sent it before I even called him. Oh God, I think I’m falling in love. My fingers speed through the fastest reply in the world.

* * *

Olivia: YES!!!!!! I’m there!

We arrive at the same time.

He walks toward me. I walk toward him. I stop in front of the bench, nerves and hope clogging my throat.

“I’m sorry I freaked out last night.”

He sits and I sit next to him. “Are you a runner? Because once I have you as mine, I’m not going to want you to run away.”

I take a deep breath. “I had a bad relationship. He cheated on me with a ton of other people, and sometimes I sabotage dates when it seems like it might work. I especially do when it’s too good to be true.”

He smiles and runs his thumb over my jawline. “So you think I’m too good to be true?”

“You said it yourself last night. Everything seemed that way.”

“And that scared you?”

“It did. But that’s no excuse.” I reach for his hand. When he threads his fingers through mine, I swear all is right in the world. “Maybe it’s too soon. Maybe it’s too much. But I want to know what we can be.”

He sighs, but it sounds like it’s full of happy relief. “Look, I was hurt too. I was in love with this woman, and she took off around the world. I keep waiting for someone to pull the rug out from under me again.”

My heart aches for him. “I don’t want to pull the rug out from under you.”

He sweeps his thumb over my jaw. “And I don’t want to hurt you. All I want is to make you feel good.”

And my heart—it soars to the sky. “That’s the past. This is the present.” I smile, and the way he smiles back at me, all crooked and sexy, sends heat through my body.

“There’s only one way to find out if this thing is too good to be true,” he says, his voice low, husky. His hand slinks around my neck, into my hair, sending shivers down my spine.

“To do this thing.”

“Let’s do this thing.” He dips his face to my neck then kisses me there. “You know what escape room I’d like to go to right now?”

“Which one?” I’m trembling with desire.

“There’s one in my apartment.”

I moan. “If you take me there, I’m not going to want to escape.”

“That’s the plan.”

I plant a kiss on his lips, and it’s better than last night. It’s wonderful and magical, and I feel it everywhere. Everything else fades away but the absolute magic of this man and me. Maybe I’m crazy, but I swear I can taste forever in his kiss.

I make a choice.

To break my habits and make brand new ones.

Starting with the hot, dirty sex I’d hoped for.

8

Herb

When we make it to her apartment, my sweet guy side takes the back seat. Once the door closes I whisper filthy things in her ear.

Want to strip off all your clothes.

Spread you out on the bed.

Eat you, taste you, have you.

“Who knew that you had such a dirty mouth?” Olivia says, trailing her fingers over my chest. “You’re quite naughty.” She grabs my shirt, tugging it over my head as we stumble to my bed.

I wiggle a playful brow. “Guess you bring out all the naughty in me.”

She laughs as she drags her nails along my abs. “Grooves. You have traceable grooves. Yes, definitely too good.”


Tags: Lauren Blakely Romance
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