“I thought you didn’t have those feelings for me. We’re friends, that’s all, and now you’re saying—” She pressed her hand to her throat. “Since when?”
“Since the first day I saw you.”
“The first day? No! I would have known. I— Why didn’t you say anything?”
“Because you had enough going on.”
Eddie , she thought. He’d given her time to see if she could work things out with Eddie. And of course she couldn’t. She never would. Even if Eddie hadn’t walked away from her, she would never have chosen to be with a man who hated the fact that he’d made a child. She wouldn’t be with a man who treated her badly. “But Eddie was gone in the summer.”
“I needed time to work out how to handle things.”
“How much time? It’s been almost a year since we met!”
“Then I guess I needed almost a year.”
It didn’t fit. It couldn’t be right. “I didn’t think you had feelings. You didn’t— You never— If you’d had feelings I thought you’d—”
“You thought I’d what, Roxy? Slam you back against the wall and hurt you like Eddie did? Push my hand up your skirt when you bend over? That isn’t my way.”
She knew that. She knew it wasn’t his way.
And she loved his way.
He’d never scared her or made her jumpy. Never, not once in all the time they’d worked together, had she felt she needed to keep watch over her shoulder. At least, not for reasons of personal safety.
“I’m going to ask you something,” he murmured, “and if you don’t want to answer that’s fine.”
Her heart was beating like the wings of a butterfly. “What?”
“Is Eddie the only man you’ve slept with?”
She felt as if he’d slowly undressed her and was looking at her naked. “Yes.”
He nodded. “That’s what I figured. So you don’t have much experience.”
She certainly had no experience of this. “I’m definitely a “good guy” virgin.”
His eyes gleamed. “If I was that much of a good guy, I wouldn’t be doing this.”
“Why? Because you don’t get involved with single mothers? Too much baggage.”
“I love your “baggage.” I spent an hour on my hands and knees playing “horsie” while your “baggage” smacked her legs on me tonight. That girl has one hell of a kick, Rox.”
“Don’t ever use that language in front of her.” But her heart softened. She might be confused about his feelings for her but she had never doubted his affection for her daughter. “Sometimes I would see the way you looked at me and wonder—” She swallowed. “But you never did anything about it, so—”
“I’m doing something about it now.”
And he lowered his head to hers.
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