Home > All Things Pretty (Pretty #3)(15)

All Things Pretty (Pretty #3)(15)
Author: M. Leighton

Tommi leans down and presses a kiss to the woman’s cheek. She lingers for a few seconds and then straightens, lovingly stroking the woman’s face before she walks out of the room, cutting the overhead light off as she goes.

I think back to what I know about Tommi, about her mother who draws disability checks. I didn’t give it much thought, but this is more disabled than what I would’ve expected. From the looks of it, the woman needs more professional care. Yet Tommi is providing it. All by herself. But why? Why, when I’m sure Lance would give her as much money as she wanted or needed, would she do this to herself?

I back up to follow her through the house. She passes the kitchen and disappears into another room, one without a window. She’s in there for five or six minutes–maybe starting the laundry?–and then she comes out again, her arms empty.

After she gets herself a yogurt and a bottle of water from the fridge, Tommi heads for a room toward the front of the house. I walk around, sticking to the deeper shadows of the yard, away from the windows, until I see the blue flicker of the television pour out into the night. The sheer curtains in the living room are pulled shut, but they’re so thin they provide little in the way of privacy. Of course, if she doesn’t turn on the lights, it’s pretty hard to see in unless you’re right on top of the place, like I am.

I watch her pull her feet underneath her, covering her legs with a blanket as she delicately spoons yogurt into her mouth. Even in the low light, I can see her tongue trail across her upper lip to clean it off. My mouth waters as I think about licking those lush lips and then tasting the flavor of the yogurt on her cool tongue. I’m guessing that not even the most decadent variety could compare to the taste of Just Tommi.

I stifle a groan.

After half an hour, she’s fast asleep on the couch, obviously having meant what she said about staying in. As much as I’d like to stay and watch her, I’m too restless. Instead, I walk back to my house to get my truck. Maybe I’ll stop back by Tonin’s place under the guise of just reporting to him about Tommi’s activities over the last couple of weeks. See what he’s up to.

What I find when I get there, while not really valuable to my investigation, pisses me the hell off!


I straighten my black sleeveless blouse and slim, short black skirt as I give myself one last glance in the mirror. I try to ignore the longing for relaxed fit jeans and a comfy tee. There won’t be any of that today. Maybe not until all this is over, considering that I now have a shadow.

I walk by Travis’s room and knock again. “If we don’t leave now, you’ll be late. Let’s go!”

I know he’s tired. He didn’t get in until almost 1:30 last night. I could’ve fussed, but I didn’t. I was just glad he came home in one piece and that I didn’t get a call from the police or the hospital. Those are always my two biggest fears when he leaves at night. But my hands are tied, so…it’s a fear I’ve learned to live with.

Travis finally comes out of his room, hood flipped up, hat pulled low. He doesn’t meet my eyes again this morning, just brushes past me and flings open the front door.

I follow him out, my eyes traveling immediately to the spot across the street that Sig occupies. It’s empty.

I’m surprised and disappointed. Very disappointed. Much more than I should be, which should be not at all. I should be relieved to have a few minutes to myself. Only I’m not. I like seeing him each morning. And throughout the day. For the first time in years, I’ve felt a little less lonely. Despite my brother and my mother and Lance with all his goons, I never feel quite like I’m not alone. Maybe it’s because the game I play is a solitary one, whether anyone else knows it or not.

After I drop Travis off, I pull back out into the street. That’s when I see him. Sig, slumped down behind the wheel of his big, intimidating truck. I have to resist the urge to smile when I see him nod. I don’t know if he can see me looking at him in my mirror or if he can feel it, like I often feel him. Either way, he knows I’m looking.

Even from this distance, I can see the sparkle in his eyes. It’s like he has the inside track on a private joke. He’s the first of Lance’s men who has had a shred of personality, much less this much of one. Most people in his line of work are very hard and unpleasant. Sig is anything but hard and unpleasant.

I study the big hand draped over the steering wheel. I recall the long fingers and wide palm from when he helped me on the side of the highway, the way he handled those tires. I bet those hands could wreck a man’s face if he used them in such a way. But I also bet they could be incredibly gentle, too. On a woman’s body, for instance. I remember all too well the way they felt at my waist when he lifted me into his truck. And then the way they slid slowly from around me, like he didn’t want to let me go.

Of course, it won’t do me any good to think of things like that. He was forbidden before. He’s flat out dangerous now. He could ruin everything. Get people hurt, himself included. And that’s a risk I can’t take, no matter how tempting he is.

I refuse to look behind me again until I pull into the parking garage and find that Sig is no longer back there. I get out and walk to the side entrance that leads to the lobby. Just as I’m reaching for the door, warm fingers–the very same warm fingers that I was thinking about only minutes before–cover mine and I feel Sig’s big presence behind me. I stop, turning to look over my shoulder, his palm still pressed to the back of my hand.

His eyes are dark and intense, belying the half grin that tugs at his lips. The look sums up this man perfectly. He’s playful and flirtatious, but at the same time something about him threatens to consume me. He leaves me feeling breathless and off kilter when he’s close like this.

“Good morning,” he offers in his deep, smooth voice.

I don’t respond; I just attempt a smile. Both of us remain perfectly still.

“I trust you slept well.”

“I did, thank you.”

He watches me. I watch him right back. Knowing I should move. Yet I don’t. I like being close to him, breathing in his clean, manly scent, seeing the way the gold flecks in his eyes seem to spray out from his dynamic pupils like lava spewing forth from an active volcano.

“Thank you again for the chocolate pie last night. I went to sleep with that sweet taste on my tongue.”

Oh god! Why does that sound so dirty?

“I’m glad you liked it.”

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