The Obsession Page 36

She’d never been into town this late—no reason to—and saw that Friday night hopped a bit. She imagined that those strolling along the boardwalk by the marina were tourists, but it was likely a mix with those on the street, poking into shops open late, sitting out with heaters at outdoor tables.

She knew Loo’s sat a block off Water Street, tucked between a seafood restaurant and a snack shop. She spotted Kevin’s truck, found a parking spot half a block down from it.

She needed to come back at night with her camera, get night shots of the marina, the old character homes, the bold red door and the blue neon curl of LOO’S over it.

Music pumped against the door before she opened it.

She’d pictured a little bar, but it proved bigger—even boasted a small dance floor, packed now as crowd-pleasing rock beat out. She smelled beer and fried food, perfume, sweat. The bar itself dominated one wall in dark, aged wood backed by more than a dozen taps. She heard the whirl of a blender and immediately decided on a foamy frozen margarita. As she scanned, Kevin waved from a table near the dance floor.

She wound her way through, found her hand caught in Jenny’s.

“I’m so glad you came! Kevin didn’t think you would.”

“Couldn’t resist.”

“Sit, sit. Kevin, get Naomi a drink.”

“What’ll you have?”

“I hear the song of a frozen margarita—with salt.”

“I’m going to get that going for you. It takes a while for them to get to the tables. Jenny?”

“I’m still nursing this one.”

As Kevin moved off, Jenny swiveled in her chair. “God, you’re so beautiful.”

“I . . .”

“I’m on my second glass of wine. I get loose easy. It’s just I always wanted to be tall, and look what happened.”

“I always wanted to be petite. What are you going to do?”

“I looked up your website, your photos. They’re wonderful, really. There’s this one of a water lily, just one water lily with these ripples around it where it floats? I felt like I’d been on vacation just looking at it. And this one of an old gravestone in a cemetery, and you can see the shadow of the church. The dates? She was a hundred and two when she died, and it still made me tear up. I can’t remember the name on the stone.”

“Mary Margaret Allen.”

“That’s right.” Jenny’s eyes, nearly the same soft doe brown as her hair, smiled. “What I’m saying—I take a good snapshot. Slices of life, the kids and all, I mean. And it’s important to have the record, those memories. But what you do, it just grabs emotions right out.”

“Best compliment ever.”

“It’s a true one. Kevin said you needed dishes and glassware and such.”

“I do. I was thinking white and clear, and done.”

“Well, going that way you can jazz it up with napkins and so on. The thing is . . . He took some pictures of the kitchen with his phone, and showed me. I just love the soft green of the cabinets, and the pewter tones of the hardware, the gray of the walls. It’s like you’re pulling the tones and colors from outside in.”

“I can’t resist that either.”

Jenny sipped her wine, gave her long, loose hair a push back. “I think it’s just right, if that matters. And it struck me how if you went deep, deep blue with the dishes, like cobalt blue, you’d have that pop behind the glass, and keep with that scheme.”

“Cobalt blue. It would look great.”

“I think it would, then you go for color in the glassware, softer, like blues and greens—a mix, just tie it in. I can give you sites to look at, and I’ve got a stack of catalogs. And before Kevin comes back, because I’ll embarrass him, I’m going to ask you to ask me to come over and look at the place, at his work, and what you’re up to. I know he said you took this old glider and chair and redid them. I love doing that kind of thing, finding something someone’s gotten rid of and making it new.”

“Sure you can come by, have a look.”

“I swear I won’t be a pest or take advantage.” She beamed at Kevin when he came back with a jumbo margarita.

“I’ve talked her ear off. Stop me.”

He set the drink down, sat, kissed his wife’s cheek. “Shut up, Jenny.”

“I will. Plus I love when they do this number.”

“I could take a bath in this,” Naomi commented. She took a sip. “But I’ll drink it instead.”

She angled to look at the band as she recognized the Springsteen classic—and the voice lit the suggestive lyrics of “I’m on Fire” like a slow-burning match.

He wore black—jeans and a T-shirt, worn motorcycle boots. He stood, the guitar slung low, his fingers working the frets and strings while that voice wrung every drop of sex out of the words.

She should’ve known.

“Xander and the band play here every few weeks,” Kevin told her. “They’re the Wreckers.”

She said, “Oh.”

And deep inside as those bold blue eyes met hers, as that voice sent out lures and warnings, something inside her said, Oh damn.

She figured she’d need every drop of that margarita to cool off.


He came over on the break with a bottle of water and an easy swagger. Jenny pointed a finger at him.

“You know what that song does to me.”

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