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.She hadn’t allowed the conversation to get any more personal, except to make it clear that she was a career girl.A career girl who accepted the fact that he was a career man.The rules had already been set.A few weeks.No strings.“I thought a little privacy might not be a half-bad idea,” he said and then scowled.That had sounded better in his head than it did out loud.Aloud it sounded like he was making a play for her.Like he’d been thinking about it, planning for it.Which, he reminded himself, you are.“What I meant was—”“I think privacy is a good idea.”Chase sucked in a breath.At another time, with another woman, he would have anticipated that response.He’d feel pleased.He’d begin to envision the rendezvous, but in a relaxed, even lazy way.He might not think about it again at all until the moment was at hand, except perhaps to pick up a bottle of champagne.So why, now, was his heart hammering and his brow starting to perspire?When he realized he was starting to sweat all over, Chase dropped his hand and shook his head.This was the damnedest thing.“What?” Nettie asked, tilting her head.“What…what?” Ah, you are an articulate son-of-a-gun, Chase applauded himself.You’ve been a journalist for how long?“You were shaking your head,” Nettie answered him.“Right.” He wiped his palm on his jeans as discreetly as he could, then swiped the perspiration from his upper lip.Where was his will? He was a fighter by nature.He possessed a strong mind.If he wanted to be casual, then, dammit, he ought to be able to make himself be casual.“I know you’ve got a work schedule,” he began.She nodded.“But I’m due for a vacation.”Chase swallowed.That’s it.He was a goner.“I’m picking you up tomorrow at nine.Nick’s driving into Minot.He’ll be gone until early afternoon.I make great French toast, so be hungry.”Nettie groaned.“You dare say that while I’m still digesting a Giant Dakota Burger, fries and a chocolate shake? After those calories, we women tend to stick to salad and grapefruit for the next couple of meals.”The confusion and ambivalence Chase had been feeling dried up in a flash.He bent over her.“Not my woman.”With a quick, hard kiss, he was back at his car, leaving Nettie open-mouthed, dewy-eyed and slightly off-balance as she stared after him.“Nine o’clock.” He winked.“I hope you like lots of syrup.”Chapter EightNettie awoke at quarter past six the next morning.She had also awakened at three-thirty, four-ten and five-eighteen.Plunging her feet into the soft, cushioned slippers at her bedside, she moved by feel to the chintz-covered chair where she’d tossed her robe the night before.There was something private and, yes, romantic about the early-morning darkness—lavender sky, pale hint of a moon and birds beginning to arise and sing.She didn’t want to lose the mood by turning on a light.Slipping the robe around her, she tiptoed to the bathroom, trying not to waken Sara, then made her way downstairs to the kitchen.Might as well start the caffeine drip.Not that I’m the least bit tired, she thought.Nope.Not at all.She let her fingers dance lightly along the banister.Singing a little something from the Dixie Chicks as she scooped Otto’s finest French Roast—five twenty-nine a pound; buy one, get one free—into a paper filter, she wondered what Chase was doing right now.“Probably sleeping.” She grinned, knowing she hadn’t been this anxious to start a day in longer than she could remember.Dropping the coffee scoop into the can, Nettie snapped the filter unit into place and hit the start button on the coffee machine.Searching a cupboard for corn flakes, since breakfast with Chase was still a good three hours away, she marveled at her own appetite.Excitement did that to her, she guessed—woke up all her senses, taste included.She’d felt like this last night, too.Craving music, she’d turned on the radio and blared country and rock.She’d gone back to work and painted with bold strokes and splashes of the most brilliant colors she’d ever used.Later in the evening she’d lit an aromatherapy candle, climbed into a foamy tub and shaved her legs for today, slathering them with moisturizer and then putting on the softest cotton leggings she owned [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]