After Hours with Her Ex(5)

By: Maureen Child


 “I did bake, just for you,” she said, setting the basket in Bob’s lap and bending down to plant a quick kiss on the older man’s forehead. “Your favorite, cranberry-orange.”

 Bob took a whiff, sighed and gave her a grin. “Girl, you are a wonder in the kitchen.”

 “And you are a sucker for sugar,” she teased.

 “Guilty as charged.” He glanced from her to Sam. “Why don’t you sit down, visit for a while? Connie went off to get some snacks. Join us.”

 They used to all gather together in this room and there was laughter and talking and a bond she had thought was stronger than anything. Those times were gone, though. Besides, with Sam sitting there watching her, Lacy’s stomach twisted, making even the thought of food a hideous one to contemplate. Now, a gigantic glass of wine, on the other hand, was a distinct possibility.

 “No, but thanks. I’ve got to get out to the bunny run. I’ve got lessons stacked up for the next couple of hours.”

 “If you’re sure...” Bob’s tone told her he knew exactly why she was leaving and the compassion in his eyes let her know he understood.

 Oh, if he started being sympathetic, this could get ugly fast and she wasn’t about to let a single tear drop anywhere in the vicinity of Sam Wyatt. She’d already done enough crying over him to last a lifetime. Blast if she’d put on a personal show for him!

 “I’m sure,” she said quickly. “But I’ll come back tomorrow to check on you.”

 “That’d be good,” Bob told her and gave her hand a pat.

 Lacy didn’t even look at Sam as she turned for the elevator. Frankly, she wasn’t sure what she might do or say if she met those green eyes again. Better to just go about her life—teaching little kids and their scared mamas to ski. Then she’d go home, have that massive glass of wine, watch some silly chick flick and cry to release all of the tears now clogging her throat. Right now, though, all she wanted was to get out of there as quickly as she could.

 But she should have known her tactic wouldn’t work.

 “Lacy, wait.”

 Sam was right behind her—she heard his footsteps on the wood floor—but she didn’t stop. Didn’t dare. She made it to the elevator and stabbed at the button. But even as the door slid open, Sam’s hand fell onto her shoulder.

 That one touch sent heat slicing through her and she hissed in a breath in an attempt to keep that heat from spreading. Deliberately, she dipped down, escaping his touch, then stepped into the elevator.

 Sam slapped one hand onto the elevator door to keep it open as he leaned toward her. “Damn it, Lacy, we have to talk.”

 “Why?” she countered. “Because you say so? No, Sam. We have nothing to talk about.”

 “I’m—”

 Her head snapped up and she glared at him. “And so help me, if you say ‘I’m sorry,’ I will find a way to make sure you are.”

 “You’re not making this easy,” he remarked.

 “Oh, you mean like you did, two years ago?” Despite her fury, she kept her voice a low hiss. She didn’t want to upset Bob.

 God, she hadn’t wanted to get into this at all. She never wanted to talk about the day Sam had handed her divorce papers and then left the mountain—and her—behind.

 Deliberately keeping her gaze fixed to his, she punched the button for the lobby. “I have to work. Let go of the door.”

 “You’re going to have to talk to me at some point.”

 She reached up, pulled his fingers off the cold steel and as the door closed quietly, she assured him, “No, Sam. I really don’t.”





                       Two

 Thank God, Lacy thought, for the class of toddlers she was teaching. It kept her so busy she didn’t have time to think about Sam. Or about what it might mean having him back home.

 But because her mind was occupied didn’t mean that her body hadn’t gone into a sort of sense memory celebration. Even her skin seemed to recall what it felt like when Sam touched her. And every square inch of her buzzed with anticipation.

 “Are you sure it’s safe to teach her how to ski so soon?” A woman with worried brown eyes looked from Lacy to her three-year-old daughter, struggling to stay upright on a pair of tiny skis.

 “Absolutely,” Lacy answered, pushing thoughts of Sam to the back of her mind, where she hoped they would stay. If her body was looking forward to being with Sam again, it would just have to deal with disappointment. “My father started me off at two. When you begin this young, there’s no fear. Only a sense of adventure.”

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