One Breathless Night(82)

By: Jo Leigh



“Hey,” Rick said.

He was in jeans and a T-shirt, wearing the leather jacket she liked so much, and of course, his Nikes. A carry-on bag was next to him.

“What are you doing here? Is Boston going to have a tornado?”

He grinned. Shook his head. “No, Boston’s safe. I hope I’m not intruding, showing up like this. I would have called, but I was afraid I’d chicken out.”

“Well, then, you’d better come in.”

He picked up his case and walked inside, doing a full sweep of her tiny, boxlike apartment.

“Do you want something to eat? Or drink?”

“Not yet, but thanks.”

“Want to sit down?” she asked, and she could hear the tremor in her voice. This could be monumentally bad. Or something else, but she’d better be prepared for monumentally bad.

“Sorry I didn’t bring chocolates. I should have. Knowing how much you like them.”

Jenna blinked again. Wondered if she should sit. Probably. Because she could barely breathe.

“First of all,” he said, looking more uncomfortable than she’d ever seen him, “I wanted you to know that I finished unpacking. Every last box.”

“Congratulations,” she said, starting to think this might be a dream. A weird one at that.

“But I also want to tell you that I remember a lot of things you said. Like how you wanted someone who loved you. Who couldn’t shut up about you. Who, damn it, what was the third—”

“Who couldn’t stop thinking about me.”

He grinned. “Yeah, that’s the one. But you also want someone who’s steady. Who you can count on.”

“Rick, are you—”

“Please, wait. I need to get this out before... Anyway. You also wanted to have the upper hand. And you do. You really do. Because I love you so much. It’s actually kind of scary. You remember when you asked how was I going to top being swept away by a tornado? The answer is you, Jenna.”

“What?”

He took her hand and walked her over to her couch, where they both sat down. “I’ve been looking in the rearview mirror for twenty years. Watching that old tornado. I don’t want to anymore. Not when I can look ahead and see a future with you.”

“But—”

“Nope, not done yet. That picture of me running from that EF 5? I don’t keep it there because I’m proud of it. It embarrasses me that I was so stupid, but I keep it there as a reminder that I was really lucky. By all rights, I should have been killed by that monster. And I’m finally listening to my own advice.

“I can’t promise I’ll never go out chasing again, but the reason would have to be damn good. I’ve trained too many people to think I’m the only one who can storm-chase right. And I can’t promise I won’t get home late during the season, but I’ll try not to. Because, damn it, Jenna. I love you. I can’t stop thinking about you. I can’t shut up about you.”

Bewildered by his confession, and shaking from head to toe, she said, “My turn?”

He nodded, looking so scared that she had to let him know the truth right off. “I love you, too. And the man I fell in love with is a storm chaser, among other things. I can’t ask you to give that up for me. I don’t want you to resent me or anything. I’ll bear it. I’ll be scared to death, but you can’t help who you love, and for me, that’s you.”

“Thank God,” he said. “Not the part about me chasing storms. I want you much more than that. I— Shit. I mean, wait.”

He hurried over to his carry-on and opened it up. He took two wrapped boxes from on top of his clothes and gave them to her.

Jenna unwrapped the first one. Guerlain body milk. The second one was the Hermès. “The smart apartment.”

He nodded. “I changed my mind about Ladyhawke. It was totally a romance. Even with the magic at the end. We had ours in the beginning, that’s all.”

She pretty much climbed into his lap, she wanted to kiss him so much. He kissed her back, held her so tight, she’d never fall. He was almost right. Their magic wasn’t just in the beginning.

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