“Here,” he said. “You hold, I torque.”
“Not going to work.” She leaned out from under the car. “Moose, you got a spot welder? We’ll be here ’til next week with this. Cutting it is the right call.”
“Yeah.” The guy glanced over from the tire he was splitting from its rim and nodded toward the table. “It’s there somewhere.”
“I’ll get it,” Danny said. “Hold this just in case?”
Anne braced her hand where his had been, and when he shuffled out, their bodies brushed. Heat, fickle, subversive, and unwelcome, rippled through her.
Don’t get hot and bothered, she told herself. This is an excuse to get out of the house and nothing more.
Deandra was actually not a bad cook, Danny decided. It was her ingredients that were for shit.
Okay, fine, maybe it was a case of both a crappy chef and weird components.
As he sat with a plate on his lap in the living room, he picked around the sweaty mess with his fork . . . separating the “noodles” from the watery sauce and the cheese that somehow managed to be crumbly even after it had melted.
Across the way, Anne was in an armchair, and everyone else was in the kitchen at the table. Deandra had insisted that people eat inside even though it was one of the last warm nights of the year. Then again, Danny had the feeling she was showing off her furniture—which was why she’d insisted Anne and he go in here.
Jack entered with a second plateful and sat down next to Danny. “Man. What a meal.”
“Do not tell me you like this stuff?”
“Oh, no. I’m just starved. The ‘man’ was for what’s doing in there.”
Anne’s head nodded in that direction. “Awkward?”
“You could fry an egg on Deandra’s forehead, and meanwhile Moose is hammering beer, Deshaun has his coat on like he’s already out the door, and Duff and T.J. look like they want to kill themselves.”
Danny kept his wince to himself on that one. “I don’t get why Moose puts up with it.”
“Have you seen the way she’s built?” The man glanced at Anne. “No offense.”
“None taken.” Anne smiled. “And she was not built like that at the wedding.”
“Too right.” Jack methodically took forkfuls and put them in his mouth, chewing only once before the swallow like he was on Fear Factor. “So what are you working on at Fire and Safety, Anne? I like arson investigation. It’s fun.”
“Only you would put it like that.”
Danny gave up and put his plate down on the coffee table. At this point, he was hankering for a cigarette, but there was no way he was giving Jack a chance to sweet-talk his Anne.
Not that Anne was his. And not that Jack was sweet.
Anne started to talk about the warehouse fires, and Danny watched everything about her under the guise of paying attention to what she was saying. He didn’t hear a word. He watched her lips move. Her breathing. The way she fiddled with the thumb of her prosthesis.
Her legs as they crossed and uncrossed.
All he could think of was getting inside of her again. It wasn’t right and it wasn’t fair and he didn’t care. Except this time, he wanted her totally naked. And, like, not on his couch for a quickie that she no doubt was determined to pretend hadn’t happened.
He wanted memorable that lasted a lifetime.
From out of the corner of his eye, he saw someone lingering just outside the room.
Deandra was in the shadows, and she was staring at him in the same way he’d been looking at Anne.
* * *
The funny thing about Jack was that he was so easy to talk to.