In return, she got one more flash of a smile, a hint of dimples embedded in hollow cheeks, and warmth in his remarkable eyes.
“You’re not going to invite me along on your day trip, are you?”
She withdrew her hand slowly. “No. But I’ll take a picture for you.”
“I’ll look for you this evening, then. In the bar, right over there?”
“I have no idea what time I’ll be back. Maybe. We’ll see.” She gave him a wistful smile and stole a glance athis expensive cotton shirt, but she really only noticed how nicely his shoulders filled it out. “Sorry for walking right into
you like that.”
She laughed softly. “You’re good at that,” she volleyed back, still not moving from the magic of his eyes. “But you’re not
getting the invitation.”
“Then I’ll work harder next time.”
Like he was so sure there’d be a next time. “Bye.” She turned away and headed to the door, the reason she’d come to the hotel
and the successful outcome of her discussion with the concierge momentarily washed from her mind.
It had been a long, long time since a man had made her feel… alive.
Outside, the sun met her mood, threatening to break through a gray sky, underscoring a sense that she’d just breathed clean,
sweet air and wanted more. More warmth. More flirting. More… of a man like that.
After the last few years of ice and misery and daily disappointments from the man she’d married, that little shot of flirting
with a stranger was like downing a tumbler of Irish whiskey.
And it left her just as warm.
Hesitating at the curb, she looked for one of the London-type cabs she’d been using to get around Belfast. She was already
used to the hum of the city and the open-air feel of the low-rise buildings, although the Europa and the few modern buildings
in the little square were taller than most. In the past few days, she’d become familiar enough with the main streets and some
of the neighborhoods that renting a car and taking a trip seemed like a brilliant and beautiful plan.
Speaking of brilliant and beautiful… She glanced behind her through the glass doors, somehow not surprised to see the man
she’d just met doing the same thing from the front desk. Their gazes met and he zapped her with a smile again.
She was about to say yes, but then shook her head. The B and B wasn’t that far, and for the first time in a while, she didn’t
feel like hiding in the back of a cab, cornered and considering her options. She’d found Sharon, sort of; she had time and
a place to go; and she maybe had a semi-sort-of rendezvous that night.
Was it too soon to talk to a man, too close to Josh’s death to think about being with someone else? No. After four years of
marriage to one of the coldest cheaters in the world, it wasn’t too soon to at least think about having a drink with Marc
Rossi. Great name, too.
He was probably in town on business, she decided as she headed around the building toward Great Victoria Street. Lonely, looking
for company… married? Undoubtedly a charmer like that had a wife and three kids back in New York. He didn’t look too young,
mid-to-late thirties, with a sexy kind of fierceness under that charm, like he could slam you up against a wall and pin you
there—right before he kissed the living hell out of you.
She almost stumbled on the uneven sidewalk. Was that why she’d turned him down so quickly? Because what was wrong with a little
distraction? Assuming he
married and really was just a friendly guy from New York looking for company.
Maybe she’d have that drink with him. It couldn’t hurt, and it might feel… really good.
She paused at an intersection, orienting herself to the left-side drivers, when a dark sedan slowed down, inching over to
where she stood. She stepped back, and the window rolled down and the driver smiled at her.
Delivering the same little bolt of