The Obsession Page 73

He glanced back—and she couldn’t resist one more.

“Now done.”

“Okay.” He went back to the glider and his pancakes, and when she joined him, ignoring her own plate to view the shots, he held out a hand. “Let’s see.”

She didn’t give him the camera, but scooted closer, angled the screen, scrolled through.

He didn’t know how she got so much out of the light—or the lack of it—how she’d tossed him into relief, managed to make him look moody and content at the same time. Or how she’d managed to capture every shade of sunrise.

“You’re good.”

“Yes, I am. I’ll print out a release.”

“What are you going to do with them?”

Still scrolling, she stopped on one, did something that zoomed in on his profile. “I need to take a closer look at them on my computer, pick the one I think is best for the sexy, moody gallery print I have in mind, then work on it some. Pick another—probably the one where you started to turn, look back at me with the sunrise behind you—for a stock print. You’re going to end up on a book cover.”


“I know what sells there,” she said. “One of these days, you can add yourself to your collection. That’s a good, and unexpected, morning’s work.”

She leaned over, kissed him—something she’d never done before. And stifled his instinct to object.

“Are you going to start on that this morning?”

Now she zoomed in on the dog’s profile. “That and some other work.”

“Okay, I’ll get going on the yard.”

“The yard?” Distracted, she looked over at him. “My yard?”

“No, I thought I’d just drive around until I found one that appealed to me, and dig in. Yeah, your yard.”

“You don’t have to do that.”

“I’m up, and I like yard work.”

“Says the man without a yard.”

“Yeah, that’s a downside.” To Tag’s bitter disappointment, Xander polished off the pancakes. “But I give Kevin and Jenny a hand now and then. And Loo. Where are your tools?”

“I have a shovel, a fan rake, and this set of garden tools—you know, little spade, clippers, the fork thing.”

He sat for a moment. “And you expect to deal with that yard with a shovel, a rake?”

“So far. What else?”

“You need loppers, a wheelbarrow, you can use some of the empty drywall buckets around here, a pickax. You need both a fan rake and a garden rake, shears—”

“I need to make a list.”

“I’ll see what I can do with what you’ve got, and we’ll go from there.”

Since she’d planned on a full morning’s work, she settled down at her temporary station. He could play in the yard, she thought, though she imagined he’d get tired and bored with the sheer grunt work of it and come back in, nudge at her to knock off.

Have sex, take a ride, do something she didn’t have on her morning agenda.

That was the problem with having someone around. They so often wanted to do something you didn’t have time for.

She took care of some basics first, some bread-and-butter shots. Pleased with the barn studies, she uploaded them before spending time on the one she’d chosen of Cecil.

But since the pictures she’d just taken tugged at her, she shuffled back the other work she’d intended to finish and studied them—frame by frame—on the big screen.

She started on the last shot—the lucky, impulse shot where he’d been half turned toward her, with a half smile, good and cocky, on his face.

God, he was gorgeous. Not slick and polished—nothing slick or polished about him. It was all raw and rough, and only more so with that morning stubble, the ungroomed hair.

She went to work on the background first, burning in the clouds for a little more drama. Yeah, big drama for the backdrop—hot, sexy guy, half turned, looking over his shoulder at a lover.

No mistaking the half-cocked smile and smoky look aimed at anyone but a lover.

As a stock photo it would sell, and for years. In the short term, she calculated she’d sell dozens in under a week. For fun, and the mystery, she titled it Mister X.

Yes, an excellent morning’s work.

She fussed with it more, zooming in, refining small details, and then, satisfied, uploaded it to her site. Once that was done, she reviewed the two shots she’d come down to for the gallery.

She lost track of time. This work was more exacting, more detailed. She wanted to stress the moment where everything stilled between night and day, just the first hints of light, the drama still below the surface.

And the man, hardly more than a shadow, with the dog lightly leaning against him.

Bring out his eyes more, she decided, so the blue played hot.

She might do a second, she considered, black-and-white—with color pops. Yes, with his eyes boldly blue, and the growing light just as boldly red. The white mug.

She made a note of the number she wanted for that, went back to the first.

She toggled between the two, each time studying the previous work with a critical and fresher eye.

“They’re good. They’re really good,” she murmured, and sent both to the manager of the gallery for preview.

Then she sat back to study them both again.

“Really good.”

She rose, rolled her stiff shoulders, circled her head on her stiff neck—and reminded herself she’d vowed to do at least thirty minutes of yoga daily to keep loose.

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