The Obsession Page 72

She reached for the door, glanced at him. “Can I?”


She opened it, brushed her hand over the seat. “It still smells new. That’s some detailing. Oh, it has the push-button radio.”

“My dad talked about getting an eight-track put in, in his day. My grandfather nearly disinherited him.”

“Well, it’s blasphemy, isn’t it? Your grandfather would be pleased at how well you’ve kept it.”

“He is.”

“Oh, he’s alive?”

“And well, and living with my grandmother—well, stepgrandmother technically, but they’ve been married close to forty years—in Florida. Sanibel Island.”

“Gorgeous place.”

“How do you know about classic cars?”

“I only know some. I did a shoot—one of my first on my own. A friend of a friend of Harry’s and Seth’s.”

She circled the car as she spoke. It really was absolutely perfect. And if Xander maintained it, she imagined it ran just as beautifully.

“He had classic cars and wanted photos of them,” she continued, “inside and out. I was so nervous about the shoot, especially since I didn’t know anything about cars, especially classic cars. I got a list of the cars he had, studied them—actually had Mason quiz me. And one of them was a sixty-seven GTO—not the convertible—but factory red, like this. A beauty.”

“Want to take a ride?”

“Oh. I would.” She sighed it. “I really would, but I have to get back for the dog.”

He recognized lust, and knew how to use it.

“How about this? We take a ride in it to your place. You leave your car here, I stay there. Tomorrow, we load your equipment in her, come back so you can do what you do.”

She shouldn’t. She shouldn’t. Shouldn’t sleep with him two nights in a row. It was the next thing to a commitment.

And the car shined under the garage lights, luring her.

Xander stood, hipshot and sexy, finishing her off.

“I can agree to that, but only if you put the top down.”



There had been a time in his life when Xander had been more apt to fall into bed at five in the morning than stumble out of it. He really hoped that time wasn’t completely at an end.

But when part of the reward for early rising equaled pancakes—and not from a box mix like his mother made—he could see the benefit.

The bigger benefit sat beside him on the old glider smelling of summer while the stars went out.

“So those are the chairs and the table for out here.”

“They will be.”

Xander studied the old spring chairs. Even in the dark he could see the rust. “Why?”

“I’m going for a theme here, and they were a bargain. And because I have vision. I also dropped off a chest of drawers and a coffee table at Jenny’s. Cecil’s holding a couple more pieces I want her to look at.”

“He must love you, Slim.”

“I’m going to pay for this patio furniture, and more, with the pictures I took over there yesterday. I got one of his barn. God, the light was perfect, and the clouds—just a roll of gray. And I talked him into standing in the open barn doors, in those bib overalls he wears. He’s leaning on a pitchfork. He grumbled about it, but he liked doing it—and he signed the release in exchange for a print. Good deal all around. Then I— Wait!”

She jumped up, ran inside. Xander exchanged a look with the dog, shrugged, and went back to his pancakes as the first light bloomed at the edge of the world.

She ran back, with her camera and a bag.

“Stand over by the rail,” she ordered.

“What? No. I’m eating. It’s too dark for pictures anyway.”

“Do I tell you how to overhaul an engine? Come on, be a pal. Stand by the rail—with your coffee mug. Come on, come on, I don’t want to miss the light.”

“Isn’t any light,” he muttered, but rose and went to the rail.

“Call the dog over.”

Since otherwise Tag might take too personal an interest in the plate he’d left on the glider, Xander called the dog.

“Just drink your coffee, watch the sunrise. Pay no attention to me. Just look out—no, turn a little more to your right—and lose the scowl. It’s morning, you’ve got coffee and a dog. You just rolled out of bed after spending the night with a beautiful woman.”

“Well, that’s all true.”

“Feel it a little, that’s all. And watch the sun come up.”

He could do that, he supposed. It was a little strange doing it while she moved around him with the camera. But the dog, apparently used to it, leaned against his leg and looked out over the water with him.

It was a hell of a show, those first trickles of light, the promise of them, the slow blur of rose hitting the water. Then the shimmer of gold rising up, edging the clouds.

Plus she made damn good coffee in that fancy machine of hers.

He’d just enjoy it, ignore the way she muttered to herself, pawed through her bag for something.

Oh, it was perfect. He was perfect. Hardly more than a silhouette, the tall, sleep-rumpled, barefoot, sexy man with the loyal dog at his side, watching the new day whisper over the water.

Long legs, long arms, big hands, white coffee mug, dark stubble on a sharp profile at the break of dawn.

“Great. Great. Thanks. Done.”

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