Otherwise Engaged

Molly looked up from the television news as the security guard checked his watch, stood up and stretched.

“Shift change,” he told her, crossing toward the French doors that led to the back patio.

As he went out, another man came inside. He was dressed in similar black jeans and black T-shirt, and he wore a black baseball cap on his head. Molly barely even glanced up at him. “There’s coffee in the kitchen. Help yourself.”

“I will, thanks.”

The familiar voice got her full attention. It was Pres.

It was Pres?

Molly turned off the TV and followed him into the kitchen. “What are you doing here?”

“My security chief was low on man-power tonight.” He tossed his cap onto the counter, then poured himself a mug of coffee. “Dom and I came over to help out.”

Molly didn’t want to be glad to see him. But, dammit, every time he showed up, her heart beat with a new, powerful, exciting rhythm. He knew it, too. He knew it, and he was purposely making this as hard as possible for her. Molly tried to get mad, but she couldn’t even do that. Not after what she’d just seen on the television.

“I saw you on the news,” she said. “Today at the church — you told those reporters the truth.”

He’d made a statement, admitted that he’d fictionalized his marriage engagement in order to get out of being Fantasy Man’s Most Eligible Bachelor of the Year. He’d told the world that Molly Cassidy was not his mysterious fiancee, because he had no fiancee.

“I want you and Zander to be left alone.” Pres took a sip of his coffee, watching her evenly over the top of his coffee mug. Lord, he looked incredibly good in black.

“But you made the story up in the first place so that you’d be left alone.”

He shrugged. “My priorities have changed.”

Meaning her and Zander’s privacy was now more important to Pres than his own. Molly crossed her arms and leaned back against the counter, hoping he wouldn’t notice that she wasn’t as cool and calm as she was pretending to be. “That very sweet, but…I don’t think anyone believed you.”

He froze, his mug poised at his lips. “Why not?”

“There was a photographer up on the roof of Millie’s Market,” Molly said. “After we came out into the alley… There’s a picture…”

After they’d come out into that alley, he’d held her loosely in his arms and gazed down into her eyes and…

He was looking at her exactly that same way right now, with volcanic heat making his eyes a blistering swirl of green and yellow and brown.

“I didn’t kiss you,” Pres said.

“I know. But in the picture… They showed it on the news.” Molly swallowed. “It look like…”

“I wanted to kiss you.”

Molly’s eyes were wide. She looked about as old as Zander. “Yeah,” she said, nervously moistening her lips. She tried to smile. “That’s sure what it looked like in that picture.”

“No.” Pres put down his coffee mug. “That’s not what it looked like — that’s what it was. I wanted to kiss you.” He looked up at her and gave her a half smile. “I still do. Want to kiss you.”