Not For Sale

Rebecca Williams

 

Chapter One

Olivia Maigret hustled through the foyer of the Grand Hyatt hotel in Melbourne. Searching out a bathroom in which to check her looks, she strove for the nonchalant strut usually associated with the people who stayed here. Fortunately, she was early for her appointment. How that had happened would remain one of the unsolved mysteries of the universe. Not that she was complaining. She would need every spare minute to get herself together. Since beginning work for Charlotte’s, her best friend’s escort agency, Olivia was fast becoming the queen of impromptu poise. An hour’s notice, however, was pushing even their friendship a little too far. Especially when at the time Charlotte had called Olivia’s nose had been buried in an engineering materials textbook and her mouth around the first biscuit of an entire packet of mint slice biscuits, the determination to eat all of them firmly implanted in her tastebuds.

Sometimes life just isn’t fair.

After the mad dash she’d made to get here on time, leaping on and off trams all across town, Olivia was surprised to see not too much tweaking was needed. Smoothing the long layers of her auburn hair, she simultaneously checked her creamy complexion for flaws in the bathroom mirror. Men didn’t pay good money to be escorted by women with mascara on their cheeks. The fall of the jersey fabric that her black, backless, halter-neck dress was made of remained uncrushed. God bless synthetic fabrics. Her newly exfoliated skin was smooth and fairly glowing with good health. All in all, she wasn’t doing too badly.

Using a paper towel in preference to the hand dryer, Olivia decided that she looked as good as possible, considering the circumstances. Unlike so many other patrons, she had neither a personal stylist to create her image nor an air-conditioned limousine to ensure she arrived at the hotel door completely unruffled and immersed in champagne. Straightening her shoulders, she exhaled hard. This job never got any easier, but she was as ready as possible. The door swished closed behind her and Olivia entered the foyer a full minute early for her meeting.

Trying to appear as though she knew what her appointment looked like, she surveyed the foyer. The man was a new customer. Usually Charlotte did her internet magic, emailing a scanned photograph prior to meetings, so her escorts would know who they were looking for, thus eliminating embarrassing oversights. This guy, though, was not some media mongrel who appeared in gossip columns or newspapers every second week, the way quite a few of Charlotte’s clients did. In fact, neither Olivia nor Charlotte had ever even heard of Cain Warner.

Apparently he was in gold. Mining, that is. According to Charlotte, his company vouched for his employment with them, and his credit card must have checked out or she wouldn’t be waiting for him now. Crossing to a stand of tastefully displayed brochures, she began looking for interesting “about town” information. In the face of its reputation for dreadful weather, Melbourne had developed a reputation as Australia’s cultural center. The latest news regarding the shows at the NGV International, which housed the country’s largest collection of international art, had just hit Olivia’s fingers when a smooth voice and delicious smell made instant impressions on her senses.

“Excuse me, would you be Olivia Maigret?”

She tilted her head and gave a half smile in his direction. My, my, my … why is this man paying for company? Women should have been swarming about by now. “How did you guess?”

Almost inadvertently one corner of her mouth tipped a little further up, while the rest of her body began a gentle tingling response to the handsome man’s presence.

Here was Adonis in a business suit. He was tall. At five foot nine in her bare feet, standing beside him in her heels she was still a head shorter. Dark hair, cropped close and styled, begged for the mess her fingers might make. Broad shoulders encased in a well-cut suit coat appeared to need no padding, and the crisp, pale blue shirt beneath served only to emphasise the unique colour of his eyes. His eyes couldn’t be described as either dark or light blue, rather they were ocean blue—cerulean blue, her mother would have said. They sparkled too, as if he spent his life containing a quirky sense of humour. The rest of his face was all male. Despite smelling of a recent shave, his jaw was darkened by an inkling of stubble. His lips, now smiling down on her, were firm and smooth despite their fullness. The grin creasing his cheeks revealed dimples that cut grooves to his jaw.

All combined—the beautiful face, divine aftershave, and the fact she loved men who could wear suits well—Cain Warner succeeded in giving her a giant case of the jitters.

“Your agency told me to look for a natural redhead reeking French.” His eyelids lowered, letting her know she was being inspected. She couldn’t help but wonder if he was taking a personal interest or if he was just making sure he’d gotten his money’s worth.

“Well, despite their rather vague description, you appear to have sniffed me out rather nicely.” Olivia offered her hand. Cain took it, before doing the very European cheek kiss. Right, then left. With each touch of his lips to her face, the gently citrus, unobtrusive scent of his cologne filled her nostrils. Olivia inhaled him. It was not often a man smelled as good as he looked, or vice versa for that matter. Either way, Cain Warner was an entirely impressive specimen.

“Shall we go to our table? I’ll fill you in on all the necessary details over a drink.”

Taking her elbow, he led her, weaving through tables, before stopping at the one allocated to them. Tiny tremors erupted under her skin at the touch of his fingers on her. She couldn’t help but wonder how he managed to emanate such vibes. He could have led her straight to hell with the sparks those fingers generated and she wouldn’t have cared one little bit. She really was out of practise. Either that or the man was electric. Maybe both.

With all the magnetism Cain Warner exuded, Olivia was amazed the hotel wasn’t experiencing electrical difficulties. Then again, even if there were a complete blackout, this particular hotel would probably find a way to market their problems. The Grand Hyatt had won half a dozen awards and received numerous positive reviews for its new décor. Olivia could see why. Overdone, the cream, gold and dark burgundy colour scheme should have been tacky, but instead spoke of discreet opulence. The lighting was perfect. Wall sconces shimmered, providing enough light for the perusal of menus, as well as enough shadow to soften the lines in women’s faces.

The chance to dine in luxury was one of the reasons Olivia enjoyed being an escort for Charlotte’s. Initially, her employment had been a method of paying off some of her ever-increasing study debt and a favour to Charlotte. Best friends in high school, due in part to their shared heritage, she’d not even blinked before offering to help her friend out of a bind. Charlotte’s escort agency had boomed almost from the beginning. and Business had expanded to the point where Charlotte simply couldn’t find enough women to fill appointments. Charlotte, now more boss than friend, was booking her more often than they’d originally agreed, partly because of the sheer number of appointments and also because Charlotte was very particular about the women she hired. They had to be classy, intelligent, at least bilingual, and not prostitutes. Indeed, sleeping with clients was forbidden. Charlotte was aiming for a very select niche—the one with all the money.

Most men who made appointments with Charlotte’s were well-paid executives too busy for real relationships yet in need of a partner for social or business occasions. Despite the latest trends toward equality, a man who couldn’t produce a woman as needed wasn’t much of a man. At least that appeared to be the general consensus within the wealthy business elite.

Enter the escort.

Nowadays, Olivia had come to appreciate the money—which was extremely good—as well as the lifestyle, which offered more than the usual opportunity to dress up, eat good food and at least listen to interesting conversation. She also enjoyed the lascivious power of being able to pretend for an evening. On the job she could “play” at being sultry, whimsical, intellectual or funny, depending on necessity. Then she could go home to be herself with no one the wiser. It was great fun. Escapism at its best.

Settling into her seat, Olivia listened carefully to the rundown Cain was giving her. She was trying hard to think of him by his name rather than as “the appointment.” It would be best if his name tripped easily from her lips when talking to company.

“These are a group of men also employed by my company. They are the hierarchy of our Turkish mining endeavours. Mostly we’re going to be swapping details regarding the environmental issues related to mining and how we do it here. From what I can gather, Turkey doesn’t have much in the way of environmental legislation, but in order for our company to retain its ‘social license,’ we need to upgrade the calibre of the environmental standards maintained at the mine. Probably boring for you, but I’d appreciate it if you would at least try to appear interested and attentive.”

Au contraire! Despite currently being embroiled in relatively tedious materials and drafting subjects, her major was environmental engineering. This whole dinner would be right up her alley. Perhaps something more than a cordon bleu meal would be salvaged from the evening. She’d certainly learn more here over good food than she would have at home with a packet of biscuits and a textbook. A few contacts, a little insight, and plenty of up-to-date information never went astray when presented in assignments.

“As I said, the men are Turkish. Despite equal opportunity laws for women in their country, they generally expect them to sit quietly and pay attention. The quality of the woman indicates the status of the man over there.”

Well, so much for my intellectual persona. Olivia managed to keep her frustrated shrug to a mental level. Such a shame, he’d started so well, speaking to her as if she had a brain, touching nothing but her elbow when he led her to the table, then he’d ruined it all by expecting her to be seen but not heard. Still, it wasn’t really his fault. Just another social requirement. Tonight she would be the silent but sexy type … Again!

“Any questions?” The terse query jolted her from her assessment of her current assignment.

This time she actually raised her shoulders. “Not really. Do their wives speak English? If so, do you want me to talk to the women or just be quiet and subservient?” She found it difficult to keep the taint of irritation from her voice.

Cain considered this, frowning slightly while he rubbed a lean, strong hand along his jaw. “I’m not sure about the women. The men definitely speak English, or I would have brought an interpreter with me. If they do speak English, I think you should talk to the wives. After all, they must have discussions at home. Even if they don’t take their wives’ opinions seriously, they’ve still heard what’s been said.”

Olivia breathed deeply, nodding in the direction of the door. An exotic-looking group of people entered the restaurant and were led in their direction by a tuxedoed waiter. Cain lowered a hand below the table. As though understanding her nerves, he took her clammy fingers in his grasp. Used to men behaving as though she was their partner or girlfriend, she paid little attention to the gesture, brushing it aside as part of the charade. They certainly hadn’t reached a level where kindness was required of him, so there could be nothing but pretence in his touch.

When small shocks of awareness sprang from his fingers to hers, winding their tickling way about her palm and wrist, she was forced to take notice. She stretched her hand, attempting to release the tingles the circular movements of his fingers against her palm created. Dear Lord, if this was how he caressed a woman’s hand, imagine what he could do to her body!

Cain rose, bringing her with him as their visitors approached. The two men were exactly what she’d expected—medium height, very dark colouring and heavily moustached. They shook hands with both Cain and herself. She noticed the way he avoided offering an explanation of their relationship, choosing instead to introduce her by name only. His verbal side-step probably counted as lying by omission, but really, who cared? Herself, she couldn’t have been less concerned, not when his warm hand rested on the exposed skin of her back while he made introductions. Light circles along her spine had her standing straighter, trying very hard not to close her eyes and savour the sensation.

The women of the Turkish party were stunning. With large dark eyes rimmed in kohl, perfect olive skin, and smiles that lit their entire faces, Olivia found it difficult to believe their husbands might not pay attention to them. Dressed in bright silk and heavy gold jewellery, these petite little females certainly packed a punch. Notably absent were the headscarves she’d expected on women of Middle-Eastern origin.

Typical of the good service for which this restaurant was renowned, the drink waiter arrived just as the party settled in their seats. Olivia ordered a scotch on the rocks, noting the sexy half-smile that came her way as Cain requested the same thing. Both Turkish men ordered beer, their women champagne. When their drinks arrived, the men fell automatically into business talk, ignoring the women who had been rather obviously grouped together at their own end of the rectangular table.

Olivia took her cue and began a conversation with the women. Commenting on the heavily inscribed, very ornate bracelet on the arm of the exotic female immediately opposite her, she began in English only to see the confused, slightly embarrassed expression on the woman’s face. Flipping to French, her next most comfortable language, she was met with raised eyebrows and a clucking sound, which obviously indicated a negative response.

“Sprechen sie Deutsch?” At this question, a rush of heavily accented German met her grateful ears. Glad she wouldn’t have to spend the night smiling nervously at the women and practicing her charades technique, she smiled happily and began again with her comment on the first woman’s bracelet. The woman, whose name was Neslihan, Nes for short, explained that the bracelet was part of a traditional Turkish courtship process. During the months before a marriage, the groom to be extols the high esteem in which he holds his fiancée by presenting both the girl and her family with many different kinds of gift—bracelets, silk, underwear and porcelain. The more expensive the gifts, the more valued the bride, the wealthier and more generous the husband appeared.

While trying to pay attention to the eager explanation Nes offered, Olivia couldn’t help but notice the sideways glance and raised eyebrow Cain flicked in her direction. The same brief appraisal followed when the women introduced themselves and a rapid-fire German conversation ensued. Naturally, having explained their own courtship routines, the Turkish women asked after her marital status. Smiling, Olivia let them in on her supposedly liberating outlook regarding men.

“We are not married,” she explained. “I like to keep my independence. I like to keep him on his toes. When I tire of the chase, I might settle down.” She shrugged to ensure the women understood her lack of enthusiasm for the final prospect.

Nes giggled in response, holding a hand over her smile as she did. “Be careful of that one.” She rolled her big dark eyes in Cain’s direction. “I think he is a wolf. The hunt could be over quickly unless you run very fast.” It was the eastern woman’s turn to shrug, a sexy nonchalant movement accompanied by a conspiratorial smile at her friends. “Of course, being caught by a wolf could be enjoyable also.”

Olivia coughed, almost choking on a mouthful of scotch. The other women exploded into wicked laughter. She fought down the blush threatening to rise up her neck into her cheeks, while the raucous good humour attracted attention from the men at the table. With a tilt of his head in her direction, Cain ran teasing fingers up over her spine, until his hand came to rest at her neck. Goosebumps chased along her shoulders while shivers ran the length of her body. This man is something else.

“I do believe our wives may have embarrassed your lovely partner, Mr. Warner. They think perhaps she is a little…” the man sought the right word, “naïve, I think is the correct description.”

“Ah well, perhaps there will be a lesson in tonight for all of us,” Cain rejoined, not taking his eyes from hers as he spoke. His dark blue gaze shimmered disbelief into her blinking, embarrassed expression. His smooth bottom lip curved sardonically upward.

Thank goodness the men hadn’t translated the conversation directly for him, or she might well have died from embarrassment. Olivia opened her mouth and drew deep breaths. Between Cain’s intense inspection and the gentle press of his fingers at the pulse points at the base of her throat, her body felt afire. Another time, another place, and she would have leaned forward to brush her lips against his. But not tonight, when he was a client. Instead, she remained still while his fingers stroked along her throat. They came to rest just beneath her ear lobe, caressing the soft skin there. The gesture was both possessive and tender.

The arrival of their food called attention back to the table.

Relieved at the distraction from Cain, Olivia began demolishing her heavenly seafood laksa, intermittently conversing with the women in German while listening to the men in English. This duality wasn’t new to her. As a child, her parents had often spoken to her in French, but with friends or at school she’d spoken English. She and Charlotte frequently slipped between languages, depending on the topic of conversation and their moods.

Sometime over the course of the meal, Olivia forgot to be invisible, her brain engaged before she had a chance to gag her mouth. Looking to the men, she enquired after the processes by which they treated the cyanide and arsenic waste that was obviously problematic when processing gold. Surprise flickered briefly in the foreign men’s faces, but they went on to explain current processes employed in Turkey. From the sound of their procedures, which mostly involved burying everything, Olivia presumed this was the reason the men were currently in Melbourne.

“Can you tell me please, Ali bey, about the submarine tailings placement program currently undertaken by Turkish gold mining companies? What have been the environmental results of this process so far?” Olivia asked.

All of the men at the table, Cain included, sat back dumbfounded and silent. Very few people outside the industry had ever heard of this method by which large quantities of “tailings,” the waste soil that resulted from the mining process, were buried at sea. Tailings in this case were a considerable environmental worry, due mostly to the fact they contained trace levels of cyanide, arsenic and other residual reagents, which easily contaminated their surroundings unless well encapsulated and properly monitored. Olivia had done a case study on these methods and the general lack of rigor exhibited by some companies responsible for monitoring these tailings over long periods of time.

The hand at the back of her neck tightened. Looking up to catch the warning in Cain’s eye, she smiled blithely, attempting to overcome what must have been a faux pas with a small apology and an admission of ignorance. “I am very sorry if I sound stupid. I have heard of such things and was curious to learn more. If this is privileged information, you must ignore me, of course.” Doing her best imitation of a vacant expression, she fluttered her eyelashes and tilted her head shyly. The men at the table relaxed noticeably.

“You must be very work focused, Mr. Warner, if such a beautiful woman hears only business words from you.” The elder of the gentlemen chided the man who was currently running negligent fingers along the course of her upper arm. Another shiver of excitement went coursing across Olivia’s nerves, suppressed only by her gritted teeth and ruthlessly clenched shoulder muscles. She was still trying to focus when Ali bey offered her another scotch.

“Another scotch and all my languages will run together,” Olivia explained her restraint, then repeated her response in German for the women. Laughter followed and the meal continued in a more casual vein.

The evening drew to a close when the Turks explained they were desperately jet-lagged. It was long past their “real” bed times. Following their departure, Cain kept a hold on Olivia’s arm. “Stay a while. Have another scotch with me. I’m sure you’ll manage to stick to English if you concentrate hard enough.” His rough request was accompanied by a truly wolfish grin. Perhaps her eastern friends had been right after all. With a light smile, she accepted, loath to end the delicious quivers swimming about in her body.

“So, you’re bilingual.” Cain opened their conversation while she sipped on the warm golden liquid in her glass.

“Multi, actually,” she corrected in her best matter-of-fact manner. In Europe being multilingual was a necessity. Almost everyone spoke at least two languages and she didn’t find her language skill exceptional at all. At his querying eyebrow, she listed them for him, “I speak French, German, Italian and English fluently. I can swear in a few extras.” She smiled cheekily at him, enjoying his appraisal.

“Then why do you work as an escort and not as an interpreter?” The blunt question hinted at artfully disguised antipathy toward her current line of work. Why was it that men rarely saw the hypocrisy in hiring an escort while simultaneously denigrating the occupation?

“Have you seen any advertisements for interpreters in the papers lately?”

“Certainly most multinational companies employ permanent linguists on their staff. I would employ you in the blink of an eye.”

“And were I to be employed by your company, would I be required to comply with the dress code, behavioural code, live where I was told and uphold company values with which I may not agree?” The immediacy of her rebuttal evidenced the amount of thought she’d actually given her current career. Ultimately, though, interpreting held no challenge for her. There would be no thrill in such a job, only the daily grind of doing something she already knew how to do.

His eyebrow quirked at her response. She watched him recalibrate, trying to decide what to do with an articulate bimbo. To his credit, he found his balance quickly. “Isn’t that the case no matter where you’re employed?” He blatantly inspected her outfit, making unspoken reference to the fact she’d appeared here only at the will of her employer, wearing clothes deemed appropriate for their encounter. She’d not had any real choice in the matter.

“Not if you work for yourself, consulting to others.”

“I see. You are for hire, but not for sale.” He sounded insulting.

Instead of taking the bait, she smiled at him. It was a battle of wit and will … her favourite kind. “Does that upset you, Cain?” In that moment, she realised this was the first time since the beginning of the evening she’d used his name. It felt good on her lips.

“Not at all, but it does surprise me. Most women prefer more … security in their lives.”

“I’m perfectly secure as I am,” she reassured him, calmly rolling her scotch inside the heavy crystal tumbler.

“So I see.” His heavy-lidded eyes scanned the plunging cowl neckline of her softly clinging dress. She stood still, letting him get a good look. If he was trying to make her uncomfortable it wasn’t going to work. She was used to men looking at her and was paid well to let them. He wouldn’t find any of her insecurities on the surface. “How is it you know so much about the environmental impact of gold mining?” he asked.

“Oh, you know…” she waved a hand nonchalantly, her third scotch going down rather nicely, “I escort all the gold mining execs.”

“Really? There aren’t that many of us around.” He chuckled, obviously enjoying calling her bluff.

Frowning, she shook her head. “Well, then it must have been on Oprah.” She brushed off Cain’s question, like lint from a skirt. No way was she telling him more about her life than necessary. If he wanted to think she was nothing but a tasty treat with no more to offer than soft skin and a generous smile, who was she to argue? “Some nights I have trouble knowing what to say. I thought I recovered quite nicely though, didn’t you?”

“I’m sure you do everything very nicely, Ms. Maigret.” The response rumbled past her ear, his breath warming her skin while his fingers returned to drawing more delicate circles along her shoulders.

Here it was, the moment she’d known was coming all evening, now she just had to decide what to do. What was she thinking? She had to leave … fast! Fast enough to counteract the melting sensation swamping in the pit of her stomach every time he looked into her eyes.

She sneaked another appraisal of his torso. His face was good certainly, but his body was to die for. And he smelled sooo good. Olivia almost grimaced at the pangs of longing he sent rocketing under her skin. If she didn’t get out of here in a hurry, she’d be in terrible trouble.

“I should really be going.” She put her glass down and stood to leave. Cain rose with her and walked, his hand at her waist, out to the lobby.

“How will you get home?”

“The tram that brought me here runs in the opposite direction also.” At least catching a tram and going home was her intent—until his hand moved to her neck, lifting the weight of her hair away from it, letting the breeze from the street outside kiss her skin.

Not knowing why, she turned to face him. It would have been easier to run if she hadn’t looked at him. Gently, he pressed her closer, his forehead resting lightly against hers, their noses almost touching. Lips barely a finger width apart, he was near enough for her to feel his breath against her cheek. Anyone else she would have knocked to the floor by now, but oh dear, he was so beautiful. And he was the first man in a long time to twist up her insides like this. Perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad to break the rules, just this once. To make some memories while she had the chance. His lips lowered slowly to hers until they barely touched; his hand still at her neck.

Standing there, in the foyer of the Grand Hyatt, he kissed her so that she forgot the people milling about at the reception. Piano music rippled from the jazz bar and traffic roared past the sliding doors. She was rippling and crashing at once. If her heart wasn’t hammering in her chest, she might be able to think. To hear her thoughts. Feel the fears that usually clung and strangled initial flashes of excitement. But blood roared in her ears, and she thrilled at the quiet force in his touch. Logic drowned in the cacophony of unreasoned responses.

* * * *

Even if she hadn’t introduced herself, Cain would have known who Olivia was immediately and for more reasons than one. The woman emanated sex appeal. Long legs, long body, smooth skin the colour of cream. Every facet of her had his body paying attention. Never having hired an escort before, his phone call to Charlotte’s had been based on sound reason. To hold any sway with the Turks, who judged manhood by the number and quality of wives, he’d needed to produce a woman … a stunning woman. Save his sisters and mother there wasn’t a woman in his life at the moment. Despite his love for the five women related to him, they really weren’t in the same league as Olivia. When she’d swung her head, heavy hair sweeping across her shoulders as she inspected the foyer in search of him, the cold logic in his decision had melted on impact. From that moment on, all he’d wanted was to touch her.

He couldn’t help but smile a little at the thought of the way she’d strutted through the lobby like she owned the place. Her clothes screeched Chapel Street, Melbourne’s hot spot when shopping for designer couture … clearly she was a well-paid escort. She wore her dress well, too. Catlike, she was all long slow movements and graceful gestures. He’d gotten the feeling she was acutely aware of her surroundings. It wasn’t until she’d moved to the brochures regarding Melbourne’s cultural precinct that he’d made his decision. Anyone actually interested in the museum of modern art had more than enough class for his taste.

When she’d quizzed the Turks on their method of dealing with tailings, he’d nearly choked on his scotch. Outsiders generally knew less than nothing about mining methods, never mind the experimental, sometimes hazardous processes of waste disposal. Her lame excuse didn’t wash either. Oprah wouldn’t touch anything as boring as engineering with a barge pole. So who the hell was she to know so much about his job? She certainly wasn’t a spy from another company—their executives could never look so good in such a slinky dress. Maybe a reporter? Whoever she was, she was obviously more intelligent than her current place of employment would lead a man to believe.

Later. He’d deal with her deception later. Now he needed to uncover her current behaviour.

All his life, Cain had been fascinated, awed and completely confused by women. This one was no exception. What was a woman working as an escort doing quivering like a frightened deer over some something as simple as a kiss? Her big green eyes looked to him for a sign, waiting for him to make the move. Something told him the choice needed to be hers. Maybe it was her indecision tugging at his heart, making his chest swell and his pulse beat faster. In direct contrast to her almost brazen self-confidence earlier in the evening, now he was watching her waver. Stay or go, she seemed to be wondering.

Clearly she needed some encouragement. If she left, he was going to spend the rest of his life weaving her into his fantasies. Much better to have the real thing.

“Stay here with me, Olivia.”

He could taste her on his lips already. Enticed, he felt drawn into her with each soft breath that hushed from her mouth to his. How could she take so long to decide? The world disappeared from his senses—no porters, no tourists, no clinking cutlery in the restaurant. Nothing. She was all that was left.

Somewhere in the back of his head, recognition clanged loudly—she was the one. This was not the average “good time only” seduction. This was big.

He waited, balanced on a knife edge.

She made her decision. He felt her body soften, leaning into him. Her eyes were closed when she bridged the last breath of distance between them. His entire body leapt to greet her. Groaning, when he felt her tongue slide delicately along his bottom lip, he struggled to keep his reactions in check. What he wanted to do was wind his hands into all that glorious rust-coloured hair and lose himself in her.

God, she’d be so easy to love.

The thought never became words.

Instead, he opened his mouth and kissed her back.

 

 

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