Authors: Capri Montgomery
He loved the sound of her voice, soft, melodious, and sexy in its own way. She had a wide range of pitches, from downright sweet to sexy as hell. She had the kind of voice that could seriously become the phone voice of a major fortune five hundred company. He liked her voice—a lot. He was almost disappointed when she asked questions about him because he knew that meant she would stop talking and he would have to hear his own voice instead of hers.
“Will you excuse me for a moment?”
“Sure,” she smiled up at him. He loved her smile too. He was in trouble, big trouble, because he was starting to love everything about her. When he first saw her he felt an attraction to her, one he thought was based on lust, but now…now he wasn’t sure lust was all there was to it. He didn’t know this woman well enough to declare love; yet somehow he felt as if she were the one woman he was meant to spend forever with.
Eve flipped open her phone and smiled when she saw the caller ID. “Hello, Thomas;” she said with a smile on her face. Talking to Adam had calmed her considerably—and just in time.
“I saw that you called. Is something wrong?”
“No. Nothing’s wrong.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. I’m fine Thomas. Actually, I’m on a date, but Adam’s in the bathroom right now. I just started to call you earlier because I talked to Mr. Domer; my insurance adjuster, and he told me what you did.”
“And you want to tell me off?”
“No. I just want to say thanks.”
“Whoa,” he exhaled sharply. “You never take my interfering this easily. Where’s the other shoe.”
She laughed. “Well, before you thank me for not being such a total girl here I have to give the credit to Adam. We had a talk and I guess you can say he showed me the error of my ways.”
“You really like this guy. Should I tell mom to start planning another wedding?”
“Hey,” she snapped. “I didn’t say anything about marriage. We just met—kind of, and he’s, well we’re, we’re not there yet.”
“Yet,” Thomas chuckled. “I knew it. Eve’s falling for the fire guy.”
She bit her lip to keep from unleashing her currently growing anger. “I didn’t say that. Ooh! I should have known you would read something into my words.”
“You said “yet,” Eve and that tells me that you’re planning on getting there.”
She sighed in frustration. Why did the man have to be so observant? “What about you, Thomas? Thena seems like a phenomenally nice woman—marriage material wouldn’t you say?”
He growled. “Don’t you have a date to get back to?”
“Smooth, Thomas. Real smooth.” He was right. She did have a date to get back to because she was sure Adam wouldn’t be in the bathroom much longer. If it weren’t for the timing, she would gladly keep Thomas on the phone and push the issue more deeply. Clearly she had won—this round anyway.
“When do you move into your new place?”
“Friday. There was a leak with the roof and he wanted to get it fixed before I move in, so I get to move in on Friday.” She heard the low rumble in Thomas’ voice. “Would you prefer I move into a leaky place?”
“There wasn’t a problem with the roof when I secured the place.”
She shrugged, knowing he couldn’t see her. “Well, we did have some rain to come through here, not enough to put out the fires, but I don’t know…maybe there was just enough rain to expose a small leak or something. Look, I’m just glad he’s getting it fixed now and not later.” It wasn’t as if the date for move-in was pushed back significantly. She was only going to be three days late moving in to the new place, and the landlord had already gave her a three day credit on the month’s rent so she didn’t have to worry about getting Thomas’ money back for the unused days on the lease. She smiled just thinking about Thomas. Her big brother—the protector. He had come prepared, ready to plunk down cash to assure she had a safe home to live in. She hadn’t expected him to be ready to secure housing for her, although she should have known he would have. Thomas was always protecting her. Sometimes she wished she could return the favor.
“All right. Call me once you get settled in and let me know if the place is suitable. If it’s not I’ll get you out of the lease.”
She laughed. “Yes big brother.” She said her goodbyes and disconnected the call before slipping her phone back into her handbag.
“Perfect,” she smiled as he sat down in front of her. “I think we’re still in a holding pattern for our food.” They had long since ordered, and everybody around them seemed to be getting their meals, but the waitress had yet to bring their dinners.
“I hope you’re not in a hurry to get somewhere.”
She laughed. “No. I can’t think of any place I need to be right now.”
“So I have your undivided attention then?”
“For now; once the food comes all bets are off.”
“You’re going to ditch me for food?”
“Adam, I might be skinny, but I like to eat.” And at fifteen dollars for a plate of Alaskan Salmon and a bed a of baby spinach leaves, she planned to eat every ounce of food—even if she had to take it back to the hotel and eat it for breakfast.
“I think there’s something about me that I should tell you, Adam.” She turned serious. There was no time like the present, and while she didn’t want to ruin a good date, she knew if she waited any longer she was going to chicken out of having the conversation they needed to have.
“You’re an ax murderer,” he said jokingly. He started to laugh, but stopped the moment he saw she hadn’t started laughing with him. “Jesus! You’re not are you?”
“Of course not,” she frowned. She had been so lost in trying to find the right words that she hadn’t immediately reacted to his joke. Apparently he took that as a sign that she was an ax murderer.
“Okay, you had me worried for a minute there.”
“Seriously, do you think I’m that crazy?”
“No, but you know I see a lot in my line of work.”
“Well, no; not those.”
“I should hope not.”
“Okay, what do you need to talk to me about?”
“Well…how do I say this?”
“Just say it.” He leaned forward and took her hand in his. She exhaled slowly before taking another deep breath and exhaling it again, just as slowly as the first. She needed to calm her nerves. This was crazy. She wasn’t ashamed of her choice. She wasn’t afraid of it either. But she was afraid of his reaction to it. She was starting to wonder, based on things she had heard from Mitch and other people, if men were all the same. She was starting to wonder if any of them out there on the dating market would be willing to pursue a relationship even if they knew they wouldn’t get sex out of it. Wondering was starting to work her nerves.
“I’m…I’m waiting,” she shook her head trying to clear the fog. This part of the conversation went so much better in her head earlier today. Now that the words were trying to come out of her mouth the conversation wasn’t looking so good.
“Waiting? Okay, waiting for what?”
“Oh, Adam, I like you. I do, but...”
“You’re dumping me at dinner?”
“No, but you might want to dump me.”
“I doubt it.”
“I’m waiting until I get married to have sex.”
“I’m a virgin, Adam. And I’d like to be one on my wedding day, and I want my husband to be the only man I share that part of myself with. And I understand,” she felt herself rambling on, “if you don’t want to see me again. I mean it’s a lot to ask of anybody. And I’m not doing this for religious reasons, or any strong opposition to sex before marriage on a whole, but I want to wait. It’s a choice I made a long time ago and it’s very special to me.” She stopped talking, realizing he was just sitting there staring at her.
“And you think I wouldn’t want to see you if I knew I wouldn’t be getting you flat on your back with me between your legs?”
“Well, I…” she felt her mouth hanging open, but the words weren’t coming out. When he put it that way it did make it seem as if she were saying he was a jerk bastard who only had one thing on his mind, but that’s not what she meant—it wasn’t at all what she meant.
“Eve, if you want to wait I can respect that. I like you. I want to date you. I don’t know if we’ll head toward marriage, but sex isn’t a condition for my dating you. I’m not that kind of guy. You want to wait. We’ll wait. If we work, and we take that walk down the aisle then I’ll be a happy man knowing I’m your first, your only, but if we don’t, I won’t have any regrets.”
She sat back in her chair, realizing she had been stiff as a board on edge while waiting to hear his response. “Okay,” she nodded. “Good. I’m glad. I was worried, but…”
“But you didn’t need to be. I just have one question for you.”
“We can still make out right? I mean, I can kiss you and hold you; right?”
“Of course. Kissing isn’t off limits.”
“Good,” he sat back with a big sigh of relief. “Because I’ve been dreaming about tasting that sweet looking mouth of yours and I can’t wait to have a chance.”
“Oh,” she stammered. “Okay.”
“You’re so beautiful. Your skin is smooth and rich, and it makes me wonder if you taste as good as you look.”
She felt her breath catch in her throat. Adam was sexier than she thought he could be. He had the frat boyish good looks. The scar enhanced his image a little, but his mouth…there was nothing boyish about that. He was all man, all twenty-six years of him. He looked innocent, when in reality he was lethal.
“And when I get around to tasting you; I’d like to know you won’t have any regrets afterwards.”
“I won’t.” She heard the huskiness of her own voice. There would be no regrets at all when she and Adam did kiss.
Adam looked around at the other tables. “Eve, I’m real sorry about this, but I’m not sure we’re ever going to get our food.”
She laughed. “It has been a while since we ordered.”
“Yeah, and that guy in the corner came twenty minutes after us, yet he’s already eating.”
“Well, we could always ditch this place for Stake and Shake.”
“That’s a sorry excuse for a first date don’t you think?”
She shrugged. “I like their milkshakes.”
He laughed at her. “All right, Stake and Shake it is. Let’s blow this joint.”
“Oh,” she shook her head. “Don’t mention the word blow anytime soon. I’m still having flashbacks to my apartment complex going up in pieces.”
He snickered. “Sorry; I forgot about that.”
How could he forget about that? The bomb was the biggest excitement, outside of the fires, the city had seen in years. Everybody was still talking about it. Some were afraid it would happen again, while others were fascinated about the chaos and wishing it would happen again. “Well I can see how you would forget,” she teased him as they stood up to leave. “I mean, bombs are an everyday occurrence around here.”
“Absolutely.” Before leaving he cancelled the order they had placed with the waitress. Eve wasn’t sure why it was taking so long, but clearly they weren’t meant to eat at that restaurant—not tonight anyway.
Dinner with Adam had been relaxed, fun even. Neither one seemed to be trying to impress the other. She was so relaxed that she almost forgot that it was their first date. He told her about his brothers while telling her about his goal to become a smokejumper. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to go back home where his brothers were, or go west. He was planning on California, where he had done most of his research, or maybe Wyoming.
By the end of the date he walked her to her car, which was parked just a couple spaces from his, and he gave her a sweet, tender kiss that made her body tingle from the contact. There was nothing revealing to those watching, but the feelings pulsating through her were feelings of want and desire. She wanted a deeper kiss, a longer kiss, but she knew they shouldn’t. They were in public for one thing. And she wanted to wait for sex, so keeping kissing sessions to minimum arousal levels would be best for both involved parties.
She drove back to the hotel, thinking about Adam, the kiss, the night they had shared talking and laughing and just getting to know each other better. He had asked her out again. They were going to go to the beach after she got off work. Adam was off anyway, and she just had the meeting with Mitch at the mayor’s office to attend. She would take the pictures, and Mitch would do the interviewing. The mayor had specifically requested Mitch come to his office for an exclusive on what the city was doing to catch the arsonist. It was coming up to reelection so Eve was sure the mayor just wanted good press to help him come election time. Mitch seemed to be jumping at the opportunity to get an exclusive. After all, they were the only newspaper being allowed a behind the scenes with the mayor, and a behind the scenes with the firefighters fighting the Espanola fire, and the other fires. For some reason they seemed to be getting special treatment. Mitch was the biggest reporter in town. His previous work was award winning journalism, so she understood why the mayor would latch on to him.
What was good for Mitch usually ended up being good for her. If she hadn’t been assigned as Mitch’s photojournalist she might still be trying to work her way up the ranks as a freelance photographer. Working with Mitch gave her access to the big stories that he was working on. Her pictures got her byline just like Mitch’s story got his. Together, they were a team, and where his name went, her name was sure to accompany it. She wouldn’t complain that her success was coming in the shadow of a man who was a “famous” reporter because quite frankly she was making her own path. Her photos were talked about just as much as Mitch’s stories, which meant soon, even if she moved away from this city, she would be able to get a good job at a strong paper without worrying about trying to prove herself to anybody.