Read The Dating List Online

Authors: Jean C. Joachim

Tags: #love story, #contemporary romance, #romantic story, #sexy romance, #sexy love story, #spicy romance, #story about love, #contemporary love story, #spicy love story

The Dating List (7 page)

BOOK: The Dating List
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Colin undressed down to his boxers and slipped into
bed. After turning out the light, he lay sleepless for some time,
trying to figure out what Leah meant when she said she wasn't
interested in falling in love. He stared at the ceiling.

I've never shrunk from a challenge…and I'm not going
to start now. I don't care how much she says she doesn't want love.
Those may be her words but her actions say something else. She
flirted with me like mad today. The way she touched me at the
store. Looking into my eyes over ice cream…I could see it. She's
interested. Maybe she only wants a one-night stand. Could never
resist. But I'd have to find a way to turn it into more. Carrie
said Leah doesn't do one-night-stands, we'll see. I'm not giving
up. Grey didn't and he won Carrie. Full court press, lady. I'm
taking you down.

Chapter Five

 

Leah stood on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum,
wrapping her arms around her torso to keep out the cold. Though the
sun was shining, the air was chilly. Sunglasses hid her eyes,
enabling her to watch the people around her, undetected. A tall
figure of a man approached the museum steps.
Colin.
A
trickle of warmth entered her blood as he ascended the steps with
the grace of an athlete. His brief wave signaled he'd spotted her.
She flashed him a warm smile then enjoyed watching the way his body
moved up the steep stairs.
Such long legs.

Colin reached the top quickly. Taking her in his
arms, he surprised her with a sweet kiss, transferring more heat to
her body than she expected.

"Ever been here before?" She asked as he engulfed her
small hand in his.

"Not in a long time. My mom used to drag me here. She
had to promise to take me to the Natural History museum afterward
to get me here. I wasn't into art as a kid."

"We'll go there tomorrow."

"I know that place like the back of my hand."

"You can show me around then, but this is my museum.
I've been coming here every week for six months, studying the
clothing in the costume exhibit as well as the art. You can learn
so much about the way people used to dress from the old Masters'
paintings."

"Good thing you know your way around. This looks like
the perfect place to get lost."

"Not with me, babe," she said.

He shot her a dazzling grin as they pushed through
the revolving doors into an enormous entryway. Being two days
before New Year's, the museum was crowded.

Colin whipped out his wallet but Leah stopped
him.

"I'm a member and you're my guest."

She picked up a map and handed it to him.

"Where do you want to go first? Egyptian exhibit?
Armor? French Impressionist Paintings? Sculpture?"

"I'm at your disposal."

"Egyptian is right here. Let's go there first."

Leah flashed her membership card and they received
two metal buttons required for admission. They walked through the
archway and were immediately transported back to ancient times.
Colin pointed to a passage to a recreated tomb and steered Leah
there. Once inside he commented about the hieroglyphics while he
snaked his other arm around her and pulled her close. His lips
closed over hers, his tongue pressing lightly, requesting entry.
She opened her mouth and Colin's tongue took possession, gently
stroking her tongue, coaxing it out to play. He angled his head,
deepening the kiss. Heat coursed through her veins, her arms coiled
around his neck instinctively. All thought left her mind as their
tongues danced.

The sound of a throat clearing brought the couple
back to reality. Leah pushed against his strong chest and stepped
back. Blood rushed to her face as she lowered her eyes.

"Sorry…don't mean to interrupt," an older woman
said.

"Please, I'm sorry…got carried away," Colin mumbled,
making a sweeping gesture, moving back to make room for the other
couple.

"Easy to see why," muttered the man under his breath
with a sly grin.

Colin laughed while Leah's face grew hotter. She took
his hand and yanked him out of the passage, dragging him behind
her. After winding around through exhibit after exhibit on the
first floor, they turned the corner, landing in the Arms and Armor
exhibit. Leah saw the amused expression on Colin's face dissolve as
his eyes focused on the metal figures before him. He still kept her
hand firmly clasped in his as he stopped in front of each display
of armor. They were the only ones in the room. He turned to
her.

"Why not?"

"Why not what?" She raised her eyebrows.

"Last night you said you don't want to fall in love.
Why not?" Colin moved closer to her, forcing her to face him.

"I thought we were here to see the exhibits…"

"We are. Can't I ask a question?"

She eased her hand from his.

"That's not just a question."

"I want to know."

"I don't owe you an explanation…" she turned her back
to him.

Colin grabbed her elbow as she attempted to evade
him.

"Right, you don't owe me anything. Answer the
question. What do you have against love?"

"I'm not interested in falling in love, that's all,"
she cast her gaze down to the floor.

"I don't believe you."

Leah snapped her head up. "You don't believe me?"

He shifted his weight. The bravado slipped from his
face replace by a look of uncertainty.

"It's just that…well, yesterday…when we were
shopping…and at the ice cream place…"

He swung his gaze from her face to the exhibit in
front of them.

"Look at me. What about yesterday?" Leah grabbed his
arm and planted her feet wide apart.

"Yesterday you flirted with me…"

"So? I flirt with a lot of men. Hell, I flirt with
Lance, the doorman. Doesn't mean I want to have his baby." She
tried to look defiant, flash her eyes at him but he became amused
instead of angry.

"Really? Do you kiss a lot of men in an Egyptian
Tomb?"

His eyes twinkled as a smile played with his
lips.

"
You
kissed
me
." Leah corrected before
she folded her arms across her chest.

"And you kissed me back." He stepped so close to her,
she could feel the heat from his chest. It warmed her, stirring
feelings long dormant. He tipped her chin up and gazed into her
eyes. Her arms dropped to her sides. His concerned, loving look
blended with a spark of desire, held her gaze. Her guard slipped a
notch as she lost herself in his gorgeous hazel eyes.

"What happened to you?"

She tried to move away but his lips closed on hers
before she could. His kiss was so soft and easy, her body relaxed,
falling against him. His arm held her to him, steadying her. A
sense of lightheaded giddiness, as if she had had too much to
drink, shot through her body. A tingle rocketed along her nerve
endings all the way to her fingertips before she eased away from
him.

"I…I…still don't want to fall in love." She
stammered.
I don't, do I?

"And I still don't believe you. We have a
stalemate."

A group of five people strolled into the room
removing the couple's privacy.

"I could use a cup of coffee," Leah said, heading
toward the exit.

"How about I buy you some lunch?" Colin took her hand
in his. "Which way to the café?"

 

****

 

Colin couldn't believe how beautiful Leah looked,
shivering on the steps of the museum in her cream-colored sheepskin
coat which matched her boots. Her unsophisticated fuzzy pink hat
looked cute in a little girl way, striking a chord in his
heart.

He bolted up the cement steps easily, a lightness in
his step and in his heart. While the art museum wasn't his favorite
place, he preferred science museums, he was looking forward to
learning from her and about her. What Leah thought of this painting
or that sculpture suddenly seemed to be the most important opinion
on Earth. He knew he'd become more cultured under her tutelage.
Another step closer to her world.
He wanted that. For the
first time, Colin was embarrassed about his lack of knowledge about
art.
Grey will be impressed.
He chuckled to himself as he
bounded up the steps to join his muse.

He meant to listen intently, take mental notes of
everything. But watching her talk, his eyes focused on her lips,
the tantalizing pinkness, shape and softness called to him.
So
kissable.
When she guided him into the tomb, he seized the
chance to kiss her. The heat from having her pressed against him,
the power of that kiss almost knocked him on his butt.

Now he wanted more, needed more. Colin had to find
out why she didn't want to fall in love. He followed her into the
café at the museum. Leah led him to the Petite Court and Wine Bar
on the first floor.

After they ordered, she opened the conversation.

"I don't want to talk about falling in love."

The waitress brought their coffees. Colin sat back.
She's tough.

"Then let's talk about dreams. Did you always want to
go to Paris and design lingerie?"

Leah laughed. Her lips curved up in the most charming
way, her eyes sparkled. "I grew up in a small town in Connecticut.
Mattan Ridge. I was a change-of-life baby. Mom was forty-seven when
she had me. Because I was the last child left at home, I was always
close to my parents. They had a wonderful life, but being a lot
older, they died before I graduated college. My dream was to have a
big farmhouse like they did and a couple of kids.

"What happened to that dream?" Colin took a sip of
his coffee.

Leah added sugar and milk before answering.

"My last year in college I met Hank Golden. Before we
got married, I agreed to stay in the City while Hank pursued his
dream of success on Wall Street."

She stopped to take a breath and taste her
coffee.

"Go on." Colin sat back in his chair.

"Chasing success was harder than we thought. It kept
being one more year, one more year. Two years turned into ten.
While he was building our fortune, I became a buyer at Franklyn's,
a women's clothing store, where I met Delia, Carrie's Aunt."

She took a sip of her coffee when the waitress
arrived with their food.

"What happened…to
your
dream, I mean," Colin
said after the waitress left.

Leah stopped her fork in midair, a small sigh escaped
her throat.

"Hank died, taking my dream with him." She paused to
chew, lowering her gaze.

Colin placed his hand over hers. She forced a
smile.

"Now I have a new dream. Go to Paris and become a
famous designer."

Silence fell on the table. Leah focused on eating her
salad while Colin's appetite went out the window. Pain stabbed
through his stomach in a flash and was gone.
Leah…so much
loss.

"What about your dreams?" Her gaze connected with
his.

Colin took a halfhearted bite of his sandwich before
answering.

"Teaching and coaching at Kensington State would be
my dream."

"Is that all? No family?" She gave him a flirtatious
glance.

"Add a spectacular woman plus a couple of kids to the
mix and it's complete." His gaze returned to his sandwich.

"Oh? Spectacular? She has to be spectacular? What
mortal female can fulfill that?"

"I'm looking at her." Colin put down his sandwich to
stare at her.

She spit coffee into her cup and started to choke.
The waitress rushed over to their table to pound Leah on the back.
Colin waved the overzealous woman off while Leah cleared her
lungs.

"You hardly know me," she choked out.

"I've known you for several days…I'd like to get to
know you better, a whole lot better." His gaze caressed her
body.

"I've heard that before." She wiped her mouth with
her napkin.

Blood rushed to Colin's face.
Caught leering. Grey
would have my head.

"Not just like that." He covered his embarrassment by
eating.

"What exhibit do you want to see next?"

You, naked, in my bed.
"Doesn't matter. I'll
follow your lead."

"I love the French Impressionist paintings. Let's go
there."

Colin wiped his mouth with his napkin and picked up
the check. Leah sat back, grinning at him while he pulled a few
bills out of his wallet and dropped them on the table.

"Thank you for the lunch. It was delicious," she
said.

Not as delicious as you.
"You're welcome." He
stood up and offered her his hand while his gaze rested on her
breasts.

She led him through the archway toward the huge room
filled with beautiful paintings.

"Any favorites?" She asked, turning to face him?

"Don't know enough yet. Which are your
favorites?"

"I love Van Gogh, Renoir, and Monet," she said.

"Then they are my favorites, too."

His thumb caressed her hand as they walked through
the exhibit. Leah explained the use of light and shadow, color and
texture to him. Gradually the great works of art captured his eye.
As he listened to her words, he studied the paintings, finally
understanding how they reached out to her with their beauty.

After an hour they sat on the bench in the entry,
their coats on their laps.

"Can we go somewhere for coffee?" Colin asked,
standing up to hold Leah's coat for her.

"How about back to Nina and Clint's? They have some
fabulous coffee from Zabar's there."

Oh, yes. Alone with you in that apartment. Wishes do
come true.

"You've twisted my arm. Let's catch a cab."

Leah received a text from Carrie:
Making chili.
Come for drinks now.

"Carrie and Grey want us there for chili…cocktail
hour starts now."

"Damn! I was looking forward to some alone time with
you."

BOOK: The Dating List
4.19Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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