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.“Okay, but when she doesn’t, you have to agree not to ask“Okay, but when she doesn’t, you have to agree not to askme out again.”He couldn’t believe the whole thing was up to the puppy.“Deal.”“Cuddles!” The puppy looked at him from where she wassprawled out on the grass and he gave the hand command a splitsecond before saying, “Come!”She immediately hopped up and sped over to him.“That one doesn’t count,” Heather told him.He shot her a look that said he already knew that.Hepaused, sent up a silent prayer, then said, “Cuddles, sit!”The puppy blinked up at him for several seconds and hethought it was al over.until her little ears went back and sheplopped her rear down on the grass as if she’d been waiting herwhole short life for him to tel her to sit.He reached into the treat bag on Heather’s belt — taking anyexcuse to touch her — and handed one to the puppy while telingher what a good girl she was.“How was that?” he asked Heather.She shot him a suspicious glance.“You played me.” Shelooked at Cuddles’s innocent face and then his less innocent one.“You were practicing before tonight, weren’t you?”“We wanted to impress you.” Which was true.“Stil,you’ve got to admit it was pretty close there for a while.”She sighed and said, “I know a great Indian place with apatio that alows dogs.”Chapter TenChapter TenThey settled into their seats with the dogs contentedlychewing on the plastic bones she’d brought for them.Heathertook a sip of her cold beer and couldn’t repress a sigh ofpleasure.She and Zach hadn’t talked much as they’d walked thethree blocks from her business to the restaurant, apart from hertrying to convince him that Cuddles could manage the trip on herlittle paws, while he made one excuse after another for why he“needed” to carry her.She’d never seen anyone get attached to a dog so fast, andfrankly, she was worried about how he was going to deal withgiving the puppy back to his brother.She’d actualy taken a fewminutes that afternoon to scan her list of Yorkie breeders to seeif any of them had a new litter coming soon, but she was verymuch afraid Cuddles was irreplaceable.The mischievous but loving puppy fit perfectly with themischievous but loving man who was holding her in his arms.Loving?Ugh.She took another gulp from her glass, while sternlyreminding herself that even though this was practicaly a script ofher vision of a perfect night out, it wasn’t a date.And she had nobusiness thinking of Zach as loving.not even if he was currentlylooking at her with more affection than desire.His eyes darkened as she stared into them and sheamended that thought to slightly more.amended that thought to slightly more.Just as the waiter came to their table, Zach’s phone wentoff.“Sorry, it’s my brother.” He gestured to the menu.“Go nutswith the meal.I trust you.” He stood up to take the cal awayfrom the other diners.Even after she’d ordered, the buzz was stil going throughher from his last casualy tossed-off words.I trust you.What would it be like to be able to say that to someonewithout pause, to give her trust to someone she’d met less than aweek ago?She tried not to stare at Zach where he was standing on thesidewalk talking with his brother, but when he laughed and hisgorgeous face lit up, she realized she wasn’t the only one whocouldn’t take her eyes off him.Every other woman on the patiowas staring, too.Amazingly, he didn’t seem to notice or care that he was thecenter of attention.Instead of soaking up the public’s adorationlike the vain man she’d once thought he was, he was utterlyfocused on what his brother was saying.“Is everything okay?” she asked when he’d sat back down.“Chase’s wife, Chloe, is a couple of days past her duedate.I left him a message earlier to make sure everything wasokay.She’s fine, but antsy.”Yet again she was amazed by how close he was to hisfamily, especialy given his outwardly footloose-and-fancy-freepersonality.Amazingly, the fact that he clearly wasn’t looking fora wife of his own didn’t stop him from appreciating — andworrying about — his siblings’ wives.worrying about — his siblings’ wives.She couldn’t put the puzzle of Zach Sulivan together.andit only added to her worries where he was concerned.If only hewere black and white, then she would know exactly where toshelve him in her head, rather than having the very real concernthat he was creeping into her heart by bits and pieces every timethey were together.“How many nephews and nieces do you have?”His excited smile made her go warm al over.“This wil bethe first.”A man who loved puppies and babies was hard to resist.Almost impossible, actualy.But she needed to keep doing just that, darn it.“Do they know if they’re having a boy or a girl?”“If they do, they haven’t told any of us.” He grinned at her.“We’ve actualy got a betting pool going.”“Your family is betting over the sex of your brother’schild?”He refiled her glass as he said, “It was my mother’s idea.”She laughed out loud at that, the feel of that spontaneousjoy bubbling up from her chest surprising her the same way italways did when she was with Zach.“She realy does sound like a remarkable woman.Stunning,raised eight kids, and now has her first grandchild on the way.”She shook her head.“A gambler, too, from the sounds of it.”She thought about the gorgeous man in the black and whitephoto who looked so much like Zach.“I’m assuming your fatherencourages al the Sulivan family madness?”encourages al the Sulivan family madness?”The laughter left his eyes.“He died when I was seven.Justa couple of weeks before my eighth birthday.”She gripped the stem of her glass tighter.He hadn’t saidanything during breakfast at his house when they’d been lookingat the black and white photo.“I’m sorry, I just assumed —” She tried to clamp her mouthshut, but stil the words, “That must have been so hard on you,”slipped out.He’d said before how much like his father he was,that he got his love of cars from him.A young boy who clearlyworshipped his father had to have been devastated by his death [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]