RELEASE DAY: SEPTEMBER 9, 2015
What? Wanted to know about her, he meant. Out of curiosity. Like you might want to know about your waiter or your mailman. But you didn’t want to know them.
“Good grief,” Matt said, then softened his exasperation with a smile. “What’s your favorite color?”
Really? Abby’s heart was pounding, so intensely aware of his nearness, and he was talking colors? “You’re serious?”
“Yes.” He sat back, closed his eyes. “And that’s an easy question.”
She bit at her nails. Okay, she could do this. She could be relaxed, or pretend to be, sitting inches from the most amazing man she’d ever met. She cleared her throat. “Blue.”
“When’s your birthday?”
“March third.” Not a day she celebrated. “If we’re playing twenty questions, we can at least take turns.”
“Okay. Dogs or cats?” she asked.
“Dogs. Real tree or fake?”
“Real.” And one of her very favorite things about Christmas. “Doughnuts or cookies?”
“Mmm, that’s a hard one. Are we talking homemade cookies?”
She smiled at the question. “Yes, homemade.”
“Then I’m going with cookies. Han Solo or Luke Skywalker?”
“Neither,” she said sweetly. “I’d be Princess Leia, of course. Which one did you want to be?”
“Solo,” Matt said with a sexy grin. “He got the girl.”
Like I bet you do.
Not a pleasant thought, Matt getting the girl. She imagined he left a string of heartbroken women in his wake. “Did you have the costume and everything?”
“I did, but my older brother, Tony, always got to be Han, and our next door neighbor, also older than me, was Luke. I had to be Chewie. I’m pretty good, though. Want to hear it?”
He did such an impressive impersonation of Chewbacca, she laughed until tears squeezed out of the corners of her eyes. She waved off Jack when he came over to see what was so funny, then she sat back, getting her breath, with a hand on her belly and a smile on her face. He was cute. Not a word you’d think applied to him at first glance, but . . .
“Okay, now that you’ve gotten the hang of talking about yourself, tell me something no one else knows.”
Would it sound too pathetic, she wondered, to say no one knew any of what she’d just told him?
He leaned in close. “And make it good.”
He’d meant it to be funny, but he didn’t understand how hard this was. In the world of foster care, you either tried to get noticed or you tried desperately to disappear. She’d gone with the latter.
“Come on.” Matt gave her a playful shoulder bump.
“I’m not that interesting.”
He rolled his head against the back of the lounger and shot her a get real look.
“Okay,” she huffed and pursed her lips trying to think of what to tell him. His attentiveness when he listened to the kids was endearing. Not so much when directed at her.
“There’s a time limit.”
“All right. Jeez.” She took a deep breath and let it out. “I hide Lucky Charms in my closet. And I eat them,” she added. “In the closet.”
“You,” Matt began, pulling his sunglasses down enough for her to see his brown eyes twinkling with laughter, “should not tell people that.”
Her answer was automatic. “I don’t.”
“You told me.”
Abby blinked, absorbing his words. Why had she told him?
Their eyes locked in a grade-school staring contest. He was too big, too intense, too . . . She didn’t know, but something cut below the surface of wherever they’d been just minutes before. She caved first and looked away. “It wasn’t that interesting.”
“Wrong.” His voice was so definitive she looked up. “Everything about you interests me.”
She sat, pinned like a butterfly, weighed down under his intense gaze. Had she ever been the object of anyone’s undivided attention? And Matt wasn’t just anyone.
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