The window rolled down a few inches.
“Molly?” He pushed open the door. “What the hell?” He reached out and grabbed her arm. “Get in here.” He moved across to the middle of the seat and pulled her in beside him. He closed the door and slid the window up before any more rain slanted in.
The cool air inside his car, along with her damp blouse, chilled her. She pushed her keys into her pocket and crossed her arms over her chest and rubbed her shoulders.
“What are you doing here?” He brushed a damp, springy curl off her forehead. “Your hair is wet.”
“I was on my way home.” She blotted some of the moisture off her cheeks with the back of her hand.
“Shouldn’t you have been heading north? You’re going in the opposite direction.”
Yes, but I was obeying this crazy impulse …
“I got turned around in the rain.” At least it sounded plausible.
“I’m glad.” His smile lifted the night gloom. “I’m sorry you got wet on my account.”
“I spotted your car and wondered if maybe you were inside the apartment building.”
“Why would I be in there?”
“Uh … ” Should she ruin their cozy chat and confess her earlier suspicion he might have nudged his tenants toward a quick exit date? “I thought maybe you had … uh … reinforced the rules with Mr. Serk.”
“He left an hour ago.”
Steam smudged the windows. Sitting so close to Nick dissipated the coolness inside the car. They nestled in the quiet gloom, with their thighs and shoulders close enough to touch. A lick of heat burnt through Molly’s clothes. Why did she have to feel so damn comfortable with him? So comfortable, she could have spent the rest of the night there and rubbed body parts with him while he waited for … what? Who?
“Are you expecting someone?” God, what if it was a date? But then, wouldn’t he have stayed inside his trailer? Maybe not. A woman could hop from her car into his and not get too wet. Just like she had.
“You might say that.” He checked his watch, one with a large glow-in-the-dark face and a batch of dials. An awkward sensation settled in Molly’s chest and sent her comfort zone into a downward spiral. After she barged in on him, she could wind up looking like a fool. Those nasty impulses were bound to cause her all kinds of trouble. “I’m keeping you from something.” Someone? “I guess I should head home.” She reached for the door handle.
“Don’t leave yet.” He covered her hand with his. “Though, if I’m going to keep an eye out over there, we have to switch positions.”
Positions? The last one with Nick had subsequently turned her brain to goo.
“The security I hired to keep tabs on the site after dark didn’t work out. I’ve had to do my own surveillance off and on for the past week.”
“You’re still having problems?”
Molly peered across Nick to the construction site. “Do you think it’s Serk?”
“It’s possible. But whoever it is can’t delay the construction indefinitely. It’ll take something really big to shut it down.”
“Like a major collapse or a fire gutting the place.”
“If Serk’s responsible, shutting down your project almost guarantees he’ll keep his apartment.”
“Not forever. I’d rebuild and post more security down here.”
Molly smiled. “I’ll bet about … eighty thousand a unit could solve everyone’s problems.” She gave a vigorous nod as if she expected him to jump at her proposal. “I wondered if maybe you were inside negotiating with them.”
“Eighty thou?” He laughed. “I love the way you squander money I don’t have.”
“Well, admit it, it has almost as nice a ring as a hundred. I’ll bet they’d come down off their original demand if you proposed eighty.”
He shook his head. “They and you have to show a lot more flexibility than that.”
“I think they could be flexible.”
“Well, maybe not him. But he’s only one vote.”
“How about you?” He fingered the collar of her blouse. The pulse at the base of her throat began to throb even though he hadn’t made contact with her bare skin.
“Me?” She tried for a laugh but instead gave a good impression of a woman being strangled.
“Yeah, you.” He took his hand away and rested it on the seatback.
It took a few moments for her heart rate to settle down. “Oh, no question.”
“Okay, then. How does forty sound?”
“Tell them I’m willing to go that high.”
Molly frowned. “Haven’t we been through this before? You can tell them. If you think that’s a way to get your project built … ”
“The project will happen, Molly. Believe it.”
Oh, she did. Like she believed the heat that spread along her thigh had everything to do with its proximity to his.
“I’ll be as fair as possible.” He glanced across the street. “If I’m going to catch someone monkeying around in there tonight, I have to face the other direction.”
“I’m in the way. Maybe I should go.” The “maybe,” spoken halfheartedly, said she didn’t want to leave and hoped he didn’t want her to.
“No, don’t go. At least not yet. We just have to change positions.”
She couldn’t remember the last time she’d gotten so close and chummy in the backseat of a car. In spite of the rain, warmth and contentment spread through her body. Because of Nick. She gave a quiet, blissful sigh.
“Are we going to flip-flop, or what?”
She gave her head a mental shake. “Sorry.”
“Okay, then. Are you ready?”
Rain, heavier than before, pelted the car roof.
“You’ll get wet out there when you come around to this side.”
“Who’s talking about leaving the car?” He put one arm around her back and his free hand on her hip. “Here, climb over me.” He opened his legs.
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