“Good night, Kit.”

“Good night, Noah.” Why can’t you see me like I see you?

Kit was both surprised and not when her phone rang at ten the next day. “Want some company for that shopping trip?” was Noah’s response to her hello. “I’m about to reach the gates to your house.”

Her fingers clenched into her palm. “You really want us plastered all over the tabloids?”

“Nobody believes we’re a couple, not after we so totally debunked the last lot of rumors.”

Those rumors had begun when a very smart reporter picked up on the edgy chemistry between Noah and the soap actress Kit had been at the time. However, when Noah made it clear he was dating everyone but Kit and Kit started dating a costar, the rumors had died a quick death. Their demise had been helped along by the fact she and Noah had both laughed it off, as had the other members of the band.

In one memorable quote, Noah had said, “Date Kathleen? It’d be like dating my sister.”

So yes, he was probably right about the tabloids not making a big deal of it. “Since when do you like shopping?”

“I’ve been watching that show with the designers. I can make it work.”

Her lips twitched at the well-known catchphrase. That was the thing with Noah—he could charm, but he also had a great sense of humor. Sometimes it was wicked, other times sarcastic, occasionally quiet, but the only people who ever saw it were those he trusted. That list was very short.

Stop it, Kit. Stop trying to make yourself special to him.

Only she knew she was special to him. He might not want her as a lover, but he valued her friendship. Maybe what she needed to do was desensitize herself to his presence, really beat it into her head that all he wanted was to be friends—if she didn’t avoid him, if she repeatedly exposed herself to his indifference to her as a woman, sooner or later, her heart and her body would get with the program.

“Fine,” she said on that pragmatic and painful decision. “I’ll tell Butch to buzz you in.”

Having been about to head out anyway, she was waiting for him when he rolled up in that black Mustang that was all grunt and swagger. “Do you know how much gas this car guzzles?” she asked when she slipped in, not waiting for him to come around to open her door. “I thought you were going to sell it?”

“Turns out I can’t part with her.” Turning the car around after giving the steering wheel an affectionate pat, he drove back toward the gate. “I happen to know that you buy perfume that costs as much per spritz as a tank of gasoline.”

Damn it, he knew too many of her vices. “My taste in expensive perfume is all my mom’s fault.” Adreina had given her the specially blended perfume on her eighteenth birthday with the instruction that she was now a woman and should have a signature scent.

Kit hadn’t expected to like it—her mother’s taste in perfume ran to the sultry and voluptuous—but Adreina had surprised her with a clean scent that carried just a touch of the earth. It fit Kit perfectly. “And anyway,” she added, “I’ve never actually had to buy it. Mom gives me a bottle every birthday.” It delighted Adreina that even after all these years, Kit preferred that perfume to all others.

“Talking about your mom, does she know you’re not rolling in it after your house purchase?” Noah zipped through a yellow light that changed to red halfway through. “Since she’s asking you to spend up for her luncheon.”

“Neither of my parents have any idea, or they’d throw so much money at me I’d drown in it.” Undependable Parker and Adreina might be, but loyal and protective they most certainly were; it was a duality Kit had accepted long ago.

Noah’s glance was perceptive. “You won’t tell them though, will you?”

“I won’t be in such a tight spot as soon as the cosmetics deal is finalized. Another big movie or two, and I’ll be home free, no pun intended.”

“Would you have gone to your folks anyway?”

“You know I wouldn’t.” Noah came from money, as did Abe, but Kit knew the two men hadn’t used any family money to build Schoolboy Choir. No, Fox, Abe, David, and Noah had done it on their own from the ground up. All four men equal and all four men proud of what they’d achieved.

Kit had always been envious of their since-childhood friendship. She’d had friends in school, of course, but no one with whom she’d bonded deeply enough that they’d stayed in touch after graduation. Not anyone’s fault, just the roll of the dice. Becca was her longest-standing friend. They’d clicked at their very first meeting on the set of Primrose Avenue, been close ever since.

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