After Hours with Her Ex(7)

By: Maureen Child


 * * *

 Sam waited for hours.

 He kept an eye on Lacy’s classes and marveled that she could be so patient—not just with the kids but with the hovering parents who seemed to have an opinion on everything that happened. She hadn’t changed, he thought with some small satisfaction. She was still patient, reasonable. But then, Lacy had always been the calm one. The cool head that invariably had smoothed over any trouble that rose up between Sam and Jack.

 He and his twin had argued over everything, and damned if Sam didn’t still miss it. A twinge pulled at his heart and he ignored it as he had for the past two years. Memories clamored in the back of his mind and he ignored them, as well. He’d spent too much time burying all reminders of the pain that had chased him away from his home.

 Muttering under his breath, he shoved one hand through his hair and focused on the woman he hadn’t been able to forget. She hadn’t changed, he thought again and found that intriguing as well as comforting. The stir of need and desire inside him thickened into a hot flow like lava through his veins.

 That hadn’t changed, either.

 “Okay, that’s it for today,” Lacy was saying and the sound of her voice rippled along his spine like a touch.

 Sam shook his head to clear it of any thoughts that would get in the way of the conversation he was about to have and then he waited.

 “Parents,” Lacy called out with a smile, “thanks for trusting us with your children. And if you want to sign up for another lesson, just see my assistant Andi and she’ll take care of it.”

 Andi was new, Sam thought, barely glancing at the young woman with the bright red hair and a face full of freckles. His concentration was fixed on Lacy. As if she felt his focused stare, she lifted her head and met his gaze over the heads of the kids gathered around her.

 She tore her gaze from his, smiled and laughed with the kids, and then slowly made her way to him. He watched every step. Her long legs looked great in black jeans and the heavy sweater she wore clung to a figure he remembered all too well.

 Despite the snow covering the ground and the surrounding pines, the sun shone brilliantly out of a bright blue sky, making the air warm in spite of the snow. Lacy flipped her long blond braid over her shoulder to lie down the center of her back and never slowed her steps until she was right in front of him.

 “Sam.”

 “Lacy, we need to talk.”

 “I already told you we have nothing to say to each other.”

 She tried to brush past him, but he caught her arm in a firm grip and kept her at his side. Her gaze snapped to his hand and made her meaning clear. He didn’t care. If anything, he tightened his hold on her.

 “Time to clear the air,” he said softly, mindful of the fact that there was a huge crowd ebbing and flowing around them.

 “That’s funny coming from you,” she countered. “I don’t remember you wanting to talk two years ago. All I remember is seeing you walk away. Oh, yeah. And I remember divorce papers arriving two weeks later. You didn’t want to talk then. Why all of a sudden are you feeling chatty?”

 He stared at her, a little stunned at her response. Not that it wasn’t justified; it was only that the Lacy he remembered never would have said any of it. She was always so controlled. So...soft.

 “You’ve changed some,” he mused.

 “If you mean I speak for myself now, then yes. I have changed. Enough that I don’t want to go back to who I was then—easily breakable.”

 He clenched his jaw at the accusation that he had been the one to break her. Sam could admit that he’d handled everything badly two years ago, but if she was so damaged, how was she standing there glaring at him?

 “Looks to me like you recovered nicely,” he pointed out.

 “No thanks to you.” She glanced around, as if to make sure no one could overhear them.

 “You’re right about that,” he acknowledged. “But we still have to talk.”

 Staring into his eyes now, she said, “Because you say so? Sorry, Sam. Not how it works. You can’t disappear for two years, then drop back in and expect me to roll over and do whatever it is you want.”

 Her voice was cool, and her eyes were anything but. He could see sparks of indignation in those blue depths that surprised him. The new attitude also came with a temper. But then, she had every right to be furious. She was still going to listen to him.

 “Lacy,” he ground out, “I’m here now. We’ll have to see each other every day.”

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