Paula had taken her children to the Tivoli—a nearly two-hundred-year-old park—many times when they were younger. Now they preferred to come with their own friends. In the past, when she had taken Isabella and Emil, it had been about them.
She had never experienced the park like this.
There was an electric feeling of discovery as she and Noah explored together. They were like teenagers, dashing from ride to ride. Some of the rides were wonderfully nostalgic and others were for thrill seekers only.
Which Paula seemed to have become with Noah at her side.
Besides, the thrilling rides gave her the perfect excuse to burrow against him, to feel his reassuring arm around her shoulder.
They laughed until their stomachs hurt. Joy shimmered in the air around them. They found so many excuses to touch each other. They shared a candy apple, and the experience was nearly as sexy as kissing him had been. Afternoon faded into evening and the park lit up like a fairy tale sprinkled with illuminated dust.
Finally, exhausted, happy, arms wrapped around each other's waists, they came to a little restaurant. They stopped and watched as the chef slipped out the front gate and snipped a few herbs from a nearby garden.
"I think Denmark sets the standard for parks," Noah decided. "Let's eat. Imagine a French bistro in the middle of an amusement park."
They settled at the restaurant, across a small table from each other.
"I can't remember when I've had so much fun," Noah said, when they had finished the meal.
"I feel the same way. My cheeks hurt from laughing."
"I have to leave tomorrow. I have business."
"I don't want it to end."
Now, Paula faced the fact her time had run out. She had to tell him the truth. But before she could say anything, he spoke again, his voice low and pleading.
"This is my offer. I want you to come to Paris with me."
Paula felt her mouth fall open. "W-w-what?"
"You know how beautiful it is at this time of year."
"Actually, I don't," she said, sliding her hand out of his. There. She hadn't been to Paris. She wasn't wealthy. Or a world traveler. A jet setter. "Noah, I—"
"You don't? You've never been there at this time of year?"
"I've never been there," she whispered.
"But that makes it even better!" he said. "I have to be there for two days, a couple of short meetings. And then, I can show you that magnificent city, the way you have showed me this one."
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