Love Captures the Heart (Sully Point, Book 3) (6 page)

"Holly, come in. Have a seat. Is bottled water okay
with you for lunch or do you want coffee?"

"Water is fine, thanks." She took off her jacket
and laid it on the leather couch that stretched along one wall. As she turned
around to walk to the table, she saw Jason staring at her.

"You really are beautiful," he said quietly. His
green eyes seemed to have darkened with lust.

"Okay now, don't look at me that way. We aren't having
sex in your office."

"No, but I think we should have it somewhere."

"Funny, I had an idea about that."

"So did I."

"You did?"

"Yes. I think we should see each other for sex. But
not--"

"For a relationship. Exactly. That was my thinking this
morning."

He smiled at her. It was an absolutely devastating smile
that made her blush. She sat down at the table and he joined her. "I hope
the salad is all right with you."

"Yes, fine," she said, not caring in the least
about the salad.

"The thing is, we have this--"

"Chemistry. Yeah. It's intense."

"And my thinking is that we're both too busy to be
dating, and having to deal with people wanting more from us than we have to
give at this point in our lives. We're adults, we're mature, we know what we
want, why not help each other out?"

She laughed. "Help each other out? That's a different
kind of euphemism for it."

"You know what I mean. By the way, and speaking of you knowing
what I mean, I hired Mrs. Stone. You were absolutely right about her. She's
perfect."

"I'm so glad. I just knew you two would fit."

They both ate some salad.

"So how would it work?" she asked. "We'd just
arrange times when we are both free? Or call each other when we're in the
mood?"

"I'm not sure...I hadn't gotten quite that far in my
thinking."

"Well, speaking simply on the basis of good health, I
think once a week might be good."

"Only once a week?"

They both laughed at his plaintive tone. "Okay, how's
this," she said. "We have a standing 'date' on a night we choose.
Then if either one of us wants to, we can call."

"That sounds good. And at any time we can talk about
changing things or ending our arrangement," Jason said.

"Agreed."

They reached across the table and shook hands.

"Tonight then?" she asked, feeling excited.

"Oh yeah," he said in a very definite voice.

They finished the meal in silence.

Suddenly Holly said, "We forgot something."

"What?"

"Where? Whose place do we go to?"

"We could trade off I suppose."

"Yes, that would work. Do you want to come to my place
tonight?"
It's good the maid comes today,
she thought.

"All right. You said you're in the Helix?"

"Yes, apartment 3205."

"That's a nice view."

"What time? I mean, do we do dinner? Or will it be
later?"

"I think it may vary depending on how the day has gone.
Let's play that by ear. Tonight I'll come over around eight-thirty, and I will
have eaten so you don't have to feed me."

"And if something comes up, just call and let me
know."

"Yes, I will. But nothing is going to keep me from your
place tonight," he said with a grin.

She stood up and walked over to put on her jacket. Before
she could, he took it from her hands and helped her into it, one hand lingering
on her shoulder and giving it a gentle squeeze.

"Tonight then," he said in a low voice.

"Yes, tonight." She left his office feeling a
quivering inside that had everything to do with anticipation.

* * * *

The rest of Jason's day dragged by. Every time he glanced at
his watch he checked to see if it had stopped working.

He couldn't stop thinking about what was to come. By the
time five-thirty rolled around he couldn't stay another minute in his office.
He was out the door and on his way home at the earliest time of the whole year.
Reaching his apartment he realized there was nothing keeping him from calling
her to change the time.

His phone rang. He recognized Holly's number on the screen
and smiled. He answered the phone saying, "How about now?"

"Yes," was all she said. They both hung up.

As he raced to the elevator he reminded himself that this
feeling of need was not a sign of any involvement. How could it be after they'd
made such a practical agreement?

Halfway to the Helix he remembered that there was a Chinese
restaurant around the corner from the entrance. He'd been there many times
during work on that building. Scrolling through his phone he found the number
and called in an order. By the time the cab had made it through traffic, he
knew it would be ready.

He paid his fare and darted from the cab to the restaurant,
then headed to the front doors. The doorman recognized him and gave him a
salute. While he rode the elevator to the thirty-second floor he noticed just
how heavy the bag of Chinese food was and realized he might have ordered half
the menu. He shrugged.

When Holly opened the door to her apartment, Jason felt time
stop. All the rushing and urgency ended as he saw her smile. "I brought
food."

"It smells divine."

He walked in and set it on the kitchen counter. Turning to
her, he said, "I don't want food. I want you. Now."

She moved closer and molded her body against his. "Then
take me."

His lips met hers and as he wrapped his arms around her, he
had a moment only to think,
'Home'
before picking her up and carrying
her to the bedroom where all thought vanished.

* * * *

Holly sat at her dining room table and gazed across a sea of
take-out boxes to Jason. "Who were you planning on feeding, an army?"

He laughed, relaxed and easy with her. They were both
wearing heavy silk robes. Hers was in a gold that matched her hair, while his
was black. She'd tossed him the robe when they got out of bed to eat. She'd
kept it in her closet for anyone staying over.

"I wasn't sure what you liked. I figured, get some of
everything."

She shook her head. "Well, let's dig in. Did you get
any chicken with cashews or General Tso's chicken?"

"I'm sure they're in here somewhere," he muttered.

Holly was surprised at how comfortable they were together
eating dinner like this. She'd expected there might be some awkwardness, but
there was none. She realized that those kinds of feelings usually happened with
a regular date, but Jason wasn't a regular date. Their practical agreement took
away any clumsy attempts to act as if you cared more than you did.

The truth was that she and Jason enjoyed each other's
company. They got each other's jokes and understood work-related issues. He was
asking her now about Mrs. Stone.

"How did you know she would be right for me? What's
your secret at matching people up?"

"No secret really, just observation. And in this case,
I thought how you reminded me of, well, me. With your work ethic, and long
hours, and I thought about my situation. I have a Mrs. Stone of my own, you
see. Same age, same type of personality. Lana--that's her name--keeps me on
track. I'd be lost without her. Once I put that together with you, Mrs. Stone
jumped to the forefront of people who might fit with you."

"I guess we'll see if you were right. She starts
tomorrow. I have a good feeling about her."

"You know what's funny is that my Lana recommended her
to my agency. It seems that she and Marla Stone are friends."

"That is funny. Did you want any of this sweet and sour
pork?"

"No, thanks. I'm getting full."

"What are we going to do with all this?" he wondered
aloud.

"How about you take part of it home and leave some here?
That way we both have breakfast in the morning."

"Chinese food for breakfast?"

She laughed at his horrified look. "What, you never eat
leftovers?"

"Not for breakfast!"

"Oh right, I was forgetting about the protein
shake."

"It's healthy."

"Sounds awful to me." She grinned at him.
"You try some moo goo gai pan for breakfast and then let me know what you
think."

He laughed. "Fair enough. I guess I should go
home."

"Or you could stay. I'm not telling you or asking you
to stay. I'm just putting the offer out there."

"Hmm. Let's put this food away and I'll think about
it."

She knew that he was probably more comfortable in his own
space. She would have said she was most comfortable here by herself. Until now.
There was something quite satisfying about seeing him in her space. He filled
it up, like he belonged.

"I still can't believe you turned a bedroom into a
closet. I didn't know it was possible to have so many clothes," he said as
she wiped down the table. "Although, this robe turned out to be
convenient."

"Feel free to leave something of yours here to wear, if
you want."

"I'll think about it."

He sounded distracted and she looked over her shoulder to
see his eyes on her body and realized she was bent over the table.
"Oh," she said. "I'm clearly not getting to bed on time."

* * * *

Jason woke up and stretched--and was startled to feel
someone snuggled up at his side. He shook his head with eyes closed.
I'm
still at Holly's. Oh boy.
He felt her move against him, silky skin smooth
against his body.

"Good morning," she whispered. "What time is
it?"

"Early. My internal alarm clock always wakes me up at
five."

"What?" She raised her head to look at him, brown
eyes blinking rapidly. "Why so early?"

"To get my workout done before I go to the
office."

"Ah. Well I do that too, here on my elliptical trainer,
but not so damn early."

"I didn't expect to sleep here last night."

"You didn't have a choice. We wore each other
out," she said and laughed softly.

"Yeah, I'm thinking I don't really need my workout this
morning," he said with a grin.

"I'm for a nice hot shower followed by nice hot coffee.
Should we dare sharing a shower?"

"No dares either way this morning. I think I should get
back to my place. I'll shower and change there."

"Sounds like a plan. Would you mind terribly if I
didn't get out of bed to see you off? I can get another hour of sleep before my
alarm goes off."

He laughed and ruffled her hair with his hand. "You
know, you're kind of cute when you're all sleepy like this."

Her dark brown eyes popped open wider and stared at him.
"Kind of cute? Wow, talk about the morning after. Last night you said I
was--"

Embarrassed he stopped her. "Yes, yes, you're gorgeous.
I'm leaving."

She laughed delightedly. "Call me if anything comes up
with Marla Stone."

"Will do. See you later, Holly."

She was already snuggling into the covers.
"Later," she mumbled.

He gave a soft laugh and gathered up his clothes. He shut
her door and headed for the guest bathroom to get dressed. As he was leaving he
remembered the Chinese food and grabbed the bag she'd prepared last night out
of the fridge to take with him.

In the cab home his mind was overwhelmed with images from
last night. He couldn't believe how well-matched they were. He'd never had this
kind of compatibility with anyone else. And he appreciated her sense of fun.
Sex didn't have to be a serious business, which he recalled was how his last
girlfriend had approached it.

All in all he thought this agreement of theirs was going to
work perfectly. They each got what they wanted, nobody got hurt, nothing could
go wrong. He sighed with contentment.

The cabbie looked at him in the rearview mirror. "Good
night?"

"The best."

When he got to his office it suddenly occurred to him to
send flowers to Holly--then he stopped because he wasn't sure. Wouldn't that be
more like a regular relationship? Flowers were out, he decided. But he did have
an urge to send her some token of his thanks for a great night. Finally he
chose not to give in to the impulse. Even though they seemed to be on the same
page about this arrangement, he didn't want to start anything.

Mrs. Stone arrived on time and began setting herself up in
the outer office. By the time he'd thought of it, she'd already gone around and
introduced herself to all the employees. She took one look at the coffee
machine in his office and declared it was antiquated and that she would order
him a single-serve brewer. He smiled, remembering how Holly raved about hers.

By ten in the morning he already felt comfortable with his
new assistant and they were on a first-name basis. She came into his office
carrying a vase filled with brightly colored gerbera daisies.

"What's this, Marla? Have you decided I need flowers in
my office?"

"No, these just came for you. Here's the card."

Puzzled, he took the card and opened it, scanned it and
burst out laughing. "That woman!"

Marla raised one eyebrow at him.

"Ah, a friend, playing a joke. But let's leave them in
here. Brightens the place up."

Marla looked like she wanted to ask questions but held back.

Jason glanced at the card again. 'I knew you'd be wondering
if you should send me flowers. These flowers have no meaning except to say
thanks for a wonderful time. Sometimes a flower is just a flower. P.S. Did you
have Chinese for breakfast?'

How had she known that he would have gone back and forth
over the question of flowers? And he had, in fact, eaten some Chinese food for
breakfast instead of his protein shake. He had to admit, it tasted much better
than his normal fare.

He glanced at the flowers and chuckled. She was some woman.

* * * *

Holly spent her time in between clients daydreaming about
the night before. Jason was an incredible lover. Today she felt relaxed and
happy and well-satisfied with their agreement. She thought he'd enjoy her
sending him the flowers. Basically, they were making this up as they went
along. There were no rules, except one--no deep involvement. And one other.
They'd decided last night that what went on between them stayed between them.
Or in other words, the rule was you don't talk about the arrangement. She had
let him know that her sister Anna had guessed about the day in Sully Point but
that Holly had no intention of discussing anything else with Anna about the two
of them.

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