“Yes.” She straightened and faced him. “He’s got that huge old warehouse on Pier 39. I both work and lived there.”
“With Jake.” Wow, listen to him all casual, when his stomach had literally just hit his toes.
“He’s got a lot of space. Not all of it is used for business. It’s residential too.”
Not, Finn couldn’t help but notice, exactly an answer. He knew Jake. Knew too a little of the guy’s reputation, which was that maybe his legs didn’t work, but everything else most certainly did. That guy saw more action than Finn, Archer, Spence, and Sean all together.
“You and him . . .?” he asked calmly, while feeling anything but.
Somehow this didn’t make him feel better. He was still holding Thor and the box. Pru came back toward him and took Thor, setting him down, unhooking his leash. Then she turned back to Finn and reached for the new box.
Their hands brushed but he held firm, waiting until her eyes met his. He let his question stand. He had no idea why it mattered to him so much. Or maybe he did. In any case, he was usually good at letting things go, real good, but for some reason this wasn’t going to be one of those things.
Finally, she blew out a sigh. “Did you think I’d kiss you if I was with someone else?”
“Do you always answer a question with a question?”
Making an annoyed sound, she tugged the box from his arms, her momentum taking her on a half spin from him but at the last minute she whirled back with something clearly on the tip of her tongue.
Problem was, he’d stepped in to follow right behind her. Which was how he ended up with the corner of the box slamming right into his crotch.
Pru felt the impact, took in where the box had hit Finn, and staggered back a step in horror. “Oh my God, I’m so sorry! Are you all right?”
He didn’t answer. He did however let out a whoosh of air and bent over, hands on his knees, head down.
Good going, Pru. Since you didn’t kill him the other night, you went for unmanning him and finishing the job. She quickly set the box down and hovered close, hands raised but not touching him, not sure where to touch him. Which was ridiculous. She’d had her tongue halfway down his throat. He’d seen her lose her collective shit over the photograph of her mom and dad . . . “Finn?” she asked tentatively. “Are you okay? Say something.”
Head still down, he lifted a finger, signaling he needed a moment.
Going gonzo with all the agitation in the air, Thor was on a yipping spree, running in circles around them both, panting in exertion.
“Thor, hush!” she said, eyes on Finn.
Thor didn’t hush, but she couldn’t concentrate on the dog. “I’m so sorry,” she said again, finally giving in to the urge to touch Finn, running her hand up and down his back, trying not to notice that under her fingers he was solid muscle. And thanks to his low-riding jeans having slid down his hips when he’d bent over, she could see an inch of smooth, sleek skin and it made her stupid. “I didn’t mean to crush your . . . er, twig and berries.”
He stilled and then lifted his head. He was pale. No, scratch that, he was green, and maybe sweating a little bit to boot. But he had a funny expression on his face.
Thor was still losing his mind, barking so hard that his upright ear bounced up and down and his floppy ear kept covering his eyes, freaking him out all the more.
“Shh,” Finn said to him firmly but not unkindly.
Shockingly, Thor “shh’d.”
Finn straightened up a little bit more, but not, Pru couldn’t but notice, all the way.
“Twig and berries?” Finn repeated.
“Yeah, um . . .” Pru strained for another reference so that she didn’t have to spell it out. “You know, your . . . kibbles and bits.”
The corners of his mouth quirked but she wasn’t sure if he was mad or amused. “Frank and beans?” she tried.
At that, he out-and-out smiled. “I’m torn between giving you a break and stopping you, or making you go on.”
Oh for God’s sake. She crossed her arms. “I suppose you have better words.”
“Hell yes,” he said. “And when you’re ready, I’ll teach them to you.”
Breaking eye contact, she—completely inadvertently, she’d swear it on a stack of waffles!—slid her gaze to where she’d hit him. Did it seem . . . swollen? “I’ve got an icepack if you—”
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