The Obsession Page 47

He knew when a woman wanted—and she did. He knew it by the way her mouth responded, heard it in her throaty hum, felt it in the quick, sexy quiver.

Another woman? All this heat, the mesh of needs would lead them straight up and into that excellent new bed.

But she drew back. Still, she kept her eyes, that deep, fascinating green, on his.

“You make an excellent point,” she said. “And I can’t argue it, but . . .” She looked directly into his eyes. “Like I told the dog, that’s how it goes.”


For the moment he contented himself with the food, the view, the mysteries of the woman beside him. Somebody handed him a puzzle, he thought, he just had to solve it. He’d figure her out, sooner or later.


She went back to work. Since work ranked high on her list of reasons not to sleep with Xander, she had to make her own point.

When she went out to shoot in the morning, the dog tagged along. For a few days, if she headed into woods or along shorelines, she rigged the leash to her belt. They both disliked the solution intensely.

After those few days, she realized the dog wasn’t going anywhere and usually left him off the leash. He explored nearby, chased squirrels, barked at birds, sniffed at deer tracks—and scat—while she composed studies of wildflowers, trees, long channels of water in sunlight and in shadow.

And she ended up with an entire series of dog shots.

He snoozed by the fireplace—gas logs installed and fabulous for cool, gloomy days—while she worked at her computer. Now and again, he’d go down, hang with the crew or with Molly if she’d come to visit, but he always came back in, gave her a long look as if checking if she’d finished. If she hadn’t, he curled up again, usually with something in his mouth.

Sometimes the something was a stray work glove, and once it was a hammer.

Steady, focused work paid off. She received a satisfying check from the gallery in New York, and watched her PayPal account blossom.

People, it seemed, really liked pictures of dogs.

Jenny stopped by, as promised, and took the tour. When they got to the master suite, Jenny sighed.

“I don’t know which is more impressive, the view or the bed.”

“I like having the view from the bed.”

“It must be wonderful, waking up to that every morning. Xander said your uncles shipped the bed all the way across the country.”

“They did. And if I don’t find some pieces to go in here, they’ll start finding them, and shipping them.”

“Come shopping with me!” Bouncing on her toes, Jenny slapped her hands together. “Let’s go.”

“What? Now?”

“It’s my day off, kids in school. I’ve got . . .” She pulled out her phone to check the time. “Five hours before I have to pick up Maddy, then Ty. I know it’s a workday for you, but you have to have more furniture, and I know a couple of places—especially if you’re not afraid of refinishing or having something refinished—that should have pieces that will really suit that bed.”

“I really . . .” She thought of the income she’d just banked, turned the automatic refusal on its ear. “Should do that.”

“Yes! Maybe we can find your dishes.”

“I ordered them. Wait. I’ll show you.”

They both studied her computer screen as she brought them up. “They’re recycled glass, which appealed, and I went with some white serving pieces for the bump. I think—”

“They’re wonderful. Perfect. Oh, they’re going to look fabulous in that kitchen. And on the table once you get a table.”

“The table can wait awhile. Not planning any dinner parties. But I do need stools. Stools, and a dresser. It’d be nice to put my clothes in drawers rather than cardboard boxes.”

“Let’s go bag one.”

The dog came. Naomi had no intention of taking him, but he followed them out, hopped right in her car, then crawled into the back to sit, tongue hanging out in anticipation.

“He’s so sweet. A dog’s a good thing to have living out here alone, and a sweet dog’s a good thing anywhere. Kevin says he and Molly get along fine. What’s his name?”

“He doesn’t have one.”

“Oh, Naomi, you have to name him.”

“His owners could still—”

“How long since you brought him home?”

“We’re into week three.” Naomi sighed, rubbed the back of her neck. “He’s going in for neutering tomorrow. If you’re looking for a dog . . .”

“We have one, thanks. We are thinking of a puppy, a friend for Molly. And we want the kids to have the experience. Besides, Naomi. That’s your dog.”

Naomi looked in the rearview mirror, and the dog unquestionably smiled at her.

“He’s just living here for now.”

“Sure he is.”

Naomi narrowed her eyes, put on her sunglasses. “Which way?”

“Just head toward town, and I’ll guide you from there.”

She couldn’t think of the last time she’d shopped with a friend—or allowed herself a friend. For the most part she didn’t go shopping so much as go, hunt up what she needed, buy it, and take it home. Which baffled and disappointed her uncles.

Plus, she could hunt up and buy almost everything she needed online.

But since she was out and about, she’d stop by the hardware and buy the paint for Mason’s room—a warm mossy green—on the way back.

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