It wasnt until he was helping with the dishes that Jim realized how very domestic it all felt. A frisson of fear ran up his spine.
Kate smiled sweetly at her two men, or would have if shed known how. Would you like to spend the night, Jim?
Johnny tossed down the dish towel and wagged a monitory finger. I dont want to hear any noises, is that clear? He snatched up his book and shot down the hall, his bedroom door closing with unnecessary firmness behind him.
Kate laughed. It was the sexiest sound Jim had ever heard coming out of a womans mouth. It was also the most frightening sound hed ever heard coming out of a womans mouth. No, thanks, he said through suddenly dry lips.
She sauntered around the kitchen island and backed him into a corner, there to run a delicate finger down his shirtfront. Whatever can I do to change your mind?
He knew this was a bad idea and he tried desperately to remember why, but his brains had relocated somewhere south of his belt buckle.
He thought, ruefully, that this was his own damn fault. Hed been chasing after her for years, even before Jack Morgan died. Now he had a tiger by the tail and he didnt know what to do with her.
Wait a minute. Really, when he thought about it, it was all Kates fault. She was the one who had lulled him into a false sense of security, fooled him into thinking he could chase her forever with impunity because she had made it manifestly clear that there wasnt a hope in hell he was ever going to catch her.
The pattern was set, he thought indignantly. He chased. She ran. Then, last year, something had changed. It was hard with that finger fiddling with the buttons of his shirt to focus on exactly what had, and how, but there was a fuzzy memory somewhere in the back of his mind of him trying to do the right thing, of telling her that he was calling off his pursuit, that she was a one-man woman and he was neither capable of being nor willing to be a one-woman man and thatoh hell. Now she was tracing the brass bear on his belt buckle.
Somehow him telling her it was over had been the beginning of her chasing him, and while he hated to admit it, she had been far more successful at it than he had. The last time she had managed to seduce him had been two weeks before at the New Years potlatch, when shed lured him out of the school gym and taken him standing up in a corner he fervently hoped had been too dark to see into because there sure as hell had been a lot of foot traffic on the sidewalk not twenty feet away. He had held out for a nice long time before that regrettable if thoroughly enjoyable incident, which he assured himself was the only reason hed been such an easy target.
There was no such excuse this evening. He had a perfectly serviceable vehicle parked right out front, too, providentially positioned for a quick getaway.
What the hell did you put in that soup? he heard himself say as she led him up the narrow wooden stairs to the giant sleigh bed in the loft.
Not cognac, she said.
Copyright © 2007 by Dana Stabenow. All rights reserved.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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