Read McDonald_MM_GEN_Dec2013 Online

Authors: Donna McDonald

Tags: #Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy, Humor

McDonald_MM_GEN_Dec2013 (5 page)

BOOK: McDonald_MM_GEN_Dec2013
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Eve blinked. “Date? You coming over tonight is a date?”

“You invited me in for a glass of wine. What did you think it was?” he asked.

“I—I guess I hadn’t put a label on it. We have coffee together nearly every morning. How is a glass of wine different? I mean—well, I knew it was sort of different. I just hadn’t thought of tonight in terms of an actual date. Damn it, Sam. Stop laughing at me.”

“Let me shut off the water before I get any more distracted,” Sam said.

Eve decided that Sam’s true intentions about the evening were revealed by his laughing eyes, but he also was trying to be his typical nice, helpful self despite them. If she wanted to be truthful, she had thought Sam was coming to her house tonight expressly to have sex with her—being a nice helpful guy beforehand had been optional in her mind. But his question did get her thinking.

What constituted a date to him? She honestly didn’t know. “For your information, the last time I dated, I was twenty and going out with David. Do you think I’m being dense on purpose?”

“No. Probably not on purpose, or at least I’m hoping that’s the case. You sound like you know what you’re talking about on the air. Or at least you’ve have me convinced all this time. Maybe I could pretend to be a caller and you could tell me how to talk you into the idea of us as a couple,” Sam advised, grinning at her middle finger saluting him. “You’re not nearly as nice as you sound on the radio, Evelyn.”

“And you’ve been hiding the truth of your feelings from me,” Eve accused.

As he conducted his investigation of her broken pipe, Eve nervously gathered her long hair into a knot behind her head as she talked. But with nothing to constrain the heavy strands, she had no choice but to let it fall behind her down her back.

“For your information, I read a lot to keep my counseling degree current. Understanding is easier when it’s a random stranger reciting their story over the air. It different when it’s a actual friend trying to proposition you.”

“Well, we are friends, but I think we are still a bit like strangers too. So here’s a random, and perhaps strange fact for you to consider. I definitely think of your invitation tonight as being our first real date.”

Sam smiled wide at Eve’s widening gaze. Bending until he could reach the plumbing at the back of the sink, he turned the shut-off value until the spewing of the cracked pipe slowed to a trickle. Straightening, he turned on the water at both faucets, relieved when they drained out and took the pressure completely off the pipe. “There. Leak has stopped for now. All that’s left for us to do tonight is clean up your wet floor.”

Eve’s sigh of resignation was loud. “Maybe Rick can fix the pipe when he gets back in town. He said he’s learned to do all sorts of house repairs since he and Jill started renovating their condo. They’ll be back two days after Christmas. If he can’t do it, I’ll call the plumber. Thanks for shutting it off. I wouldn’t have known to do that.”

“I’m lousy at doing plumbing repairs, but I know how to stall problems. Got a shop vacuum to suck up the water from the floor?” Sam asked.

“I’m not sure. It’s nothing I’ve used before if I own one. You’re welcome to check the garage. It’s like Christmas out there whenever I need a tool. Every few months I discover something I didn’t know I had,” she said.

“If you don’t have one, I’ll run to the house and get mine. A shop vacuum will make for a much faster cleanup than towels or mops.”

Eve watched Sam trudge back through the water and disappear into the garage. Moments later the door lifted. She surveyed the damage in her kitchen and sighed at the mess. “Guess I should have asked Santa to bring me a shop vac instead of a sexy next door neighbor who has decided he wants to date me.”

Splashing through the water, Eve headed to change out of her skirt and into work clothes.

Chapter 5

Still dressed in a flannel shirt long enough to cover a pair of David’s old sweats she had confiscated when they were still newlyweds, Eve carried two glasses, a small cola, and a bottle of good bourbon under her arm. She kicked her wet house shoes off at the door of the living room. Hopefully by the time she had to walk through the kitchen again, the floor would be completely dry.

The Christmas tree lights twinkled in the background, casting soft blue throughout the room. Always helpful Sam had a small, steady blaze going in her fireplace. She had to admit that the sight of him stretched out in the floor by her hearth was a very appealing one. There was no denying that he was a good looking man. She’d always thought so. Now she wondered why she’d never voluntarily made the jump to thinking of him as someone she might one day take to bed. Since he’d kissed her yesterday, she had hardly thought of little else.

“I’m so glad I ordered in all that wood now. Mostly I did it because the kids always want a fire when they spend the night,” Eve said, unloading what she carried onto the coffee table next to the cheese and cracker tray she’d hastily made earlier. She dragged the edge of the table with her until she could lower her body onto a pillow near Sam.

“Angeline always hated the mess of a wood fireplace, so I had a gas insert installed years ago. It’s very useful for extra heat, but not nearly as nice as having a real fire. I love the smell of real wood burning,” Sam said.

Eve breathed out a sigh of relief to get prone at last. “Me too. Thanks for helping me tackle my water crisis. It was not a fun thing to come home to tonight. Can I offer you some bourbon to chase the chills away?”

“Sure,” Sam said. “Is it okay if I hang around for a bit? I’m not keen on going home to an empty house yet.”

“Of course. I was hoping you would stay.”

Eve bit her lip as she lifted her drink and took a bracing sip.

“You’re probably going to think I’m crazy, but since you’ve kissed me, I don’t know what to say to you. Everything seems a little odd and awkward between us now. Part of me wants to run change back into my work clothes and pretend this really is a date. The other part wants to pretend yesterday never happened. I’ve had a mini-war going on inside me all day.”

“Well that explains why you’re wearing those God-awful sweats. Fortunately, it’s your company I want above all else. Maybe I wouldn’t mind if you bent over again and let me stare at your ass in appreciation for a while. I am a guy after all. I’m hoping like hell you’re going to be okay with that soon,” he said, grinning as he sipped his drink.

“See? You’ve been saying those kinds of things to me ever since you kissed me. I don’t know how to react to them. Flirting with you just feels too surreal to me to be happening.”

“Actually, I’ve been saying those kinds of things to you since you kissed me back and moaned in my ear like you were about to climax. Call me crazy, but I took that as a positive sign. You have a pretty throaty moan for a woman who’s been celibate for years. And our more-than-friends connection has been simmering under the surface for months now.”

“No. I simply don’t believe that. I think I would have known. Now please stop teasing me. I’m nervous enough around you as it is,” Eve admitted.

He reached up to the coffee table and grabbed some crackers and cheese while he watched her expressions in the firelight. “If you truly don’t think that’s true, then why are you wearing David’s clothes? I could take that as a big hint you’re not interested in being intimate with me, but frankly I can’t afford to. So my plan is to ignore the reminder about your dead husband until I can talk you out of those ugly clothes later. Your poor fashion sense is not going to be the thing that scares me away from trying to get closer.”

Eve looked down at herself. “What are you talking about? These are just the clothes I wear around the house when I’m cleaning. I didn’t think I could help clean up the water mess in my skirt.”

“With you trying so hard to stay in denial, I’m going to argue that I’m probably more aware of why you’re wearing those clothes than you are,” Sam said.

“I don’t think so, Mr. CPA. I’m the one with the Psychology degree,” Eve said.

Sam looked at her over his glass as he took a sip. “David and Angeline are both gone for good, Eve. They’re not coming back. The two of us have to make the best of life. As bad as her illness was, maybe I had things easier because Angeline died slowly and it gave me time to say goodbye. David’s heart attack was an abrupt loss for you, but if you haven’t dealt it yet, it’s really time you did. It’s been three years now. Haven’t you ever thought that you might find someone else to love some day?”

Eve sipped her drink and stared at the flames. She hadn’t thought of it because she had been avoiding it. The only time she thought about dating and falling in love again was when Hilde brought it up.

Finally, she turned to look at Sam. “Just because I have chosen not to replace him yet, doesn’t mean I’ve been living shut off. Men ask me out all the time. I just haven’t gone because I’ve never been interested enough to go. Dating just never seemed worth all the trouble.”

Sam stared back. “Am I worth the trouble?”

Before she answered the sexy demand, Eve downed the rest of her drink, letting the fire and the bourbon both warm her. “Okay—time for some honesty. I’m not sure about us dating. But I would go change my clothes right now if you asked me to because I don’t want you to think I don’t want your company. Does that answer your question?”

Sam laughed softly, pleased to get that much out of her. “Why don’t you crawl over here and climb into my lap? Let’s see if I can kiss a better answer out of you.”

“That’s asking too much,” Eve said. “I still haven’t recovered from the pantry incident yesterday.”

Sam laughed loudly. “So let me get this straight. I turn you on, but you aren’t ready to accept any responsibility for your attraction to me yet. How about I crawl over there then and climb into your lap instead? Being over fifty doesn’t mean I’m not a progressive thinking guy. Nathan has coached me. Just tell me which kind of man you want.”

Eve snorted at his silly explanation. “My lap would never hold you, no matter what kind of man you pretend to be. Honestly, I never noticed how big you were until yesterday. I can’t believe I never saw that until you kissed me.”

“Maybe I’m no Prince Charming, but I think my kiss truly may have woken you up whether you wanted it to or not. It sure felt like that to me,” Sam said.

“I can’t believe what a large ego you have about your effect on females. Have you always been this arrogant about your charm?” Eve demanded.

“Pretty much,” Sam said, grinning at her flashing eyes. “But being a CPA, I mathematically run my life. I only act on assumptions when I’m ninety-nine point nine percent sure I’m right. Since I’m a whole lot more than that about you, the arrogance is more like a gut reaction to knowing how good we could be together.”

Eve groaned and turned to make herself another drink. She snickered when Sam put his glass next to hers.

“Another for you too?” she asked.

“Sure. Let’s get completely sloshed. You can blame everything on the alcohol then. That should take all the pressure off when I seduce you.”

“Shut up,” Eve ordered, her hand trembling as she poured another generous helping of bourbon into each glass. “We’re not getting drunk. We’re just toasting Christmas Eve. Two drinks won’t make us drunk.”

“I’m a realist, Eve. You poured enough bourbon in those glasses for six drinks. Let’s not lie about it. We’re going to be toasting ourselves if we drink the ones you just poured,” Sam said.

Eve laughed at his joke and passed him the second drink. “It takes me a while to relax. I’m a slow starter in the bedroom.”

“Alcohol is definitely going to be a bad idea if that’s the case. It will render me useless to you,” Sam said.

He sipped his strong drink, swore aloud about the amount of bourbon in it, and went back for another cracker to aide the next swallow. He watched Eve take a few sips without even flinching. “Hell woman. Are you Irish or something?”

“No. Bourbon was medicine in my home when I was kid. I seem to have a natural tolerance. Even the burn is comforting to me,” Eve said, smiling at him over the glass.

Sam chuckled. “Hell. You really are trying to get me drunk, aren’t you? Why? I’m here and willing to do most anything you want.”

Eve sighed and lowered her glass. “That’s my problem, Sam. I don’t know what I want.”

“Well
I know
,” Sam said firmly. “I want you. All of you. I want to be in your life more than I am already.”

Eve shook her head. “Yes, so you’ve said, but yesterday morning we were still just friends and prospective in-laws. How did you make such a large relationship jump after one tiny kiss under the mistletoe? Explain this to me, because I don’t get it.”

“You are determined to beat this dead horse again, aren’t you? Are you always so skeptical of your own feelings?” Sam asked.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Eve said.

“Just because you didn’t know I was lusting after you doesn’t mean I wasn’t lusting after you,” Sam exclaimed, trying not to be offended at her ongoing confusion. “I’ve been lusting after you for months, Eve. Yesterday, our children forced me to act on my feelings. Today I want to act on them again. That’s why I’m sitting here with you despite the fact your wearing another man’s clothes.”

“Lusting after me—God—I can’t believe you’re saying things like that after all the time I’ve known you,” Eve said. “We just cleaned up my kitchen floor. I’m dressed in the worst clothes I own—no, don’t start. They just happen to be clothes I confiscated from David a very long time ago. Regardless of what I’m wearing, playing hero over my kitchen mess is still not a situation that incites lust, Sam.”

He set his glass on the coffee table and crawled the short distance between them. He sat facing her and put an arm across her body until his hand was on the floor beside her legs. Using the hand not trapping her in place, he took the too strong drink from her nervous fingers and set it aside.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but I could solve the clothes problem in less than a minute by just getting you naked. I’m nearly desperate enough to try it without your full permission. However, I also would like you to look at me tomorrow in the cold light of day when we’re having coffee. That’s why I’ve decided to settle for just another kiss tonight. All I ask is that you make it a good one this time and not pretend you don’t want to kiss me back. Because I know damn well you do.”

BOOK: McDonald_MM_GEN_Dec2013
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