Sorry, no book review again... So in lieu of a review, I've done a quick short free read. Hope you enjoy.
Maggie Campbell let herself into the foyer and climbed the six floors to her apartment. As always, the elevator was on the fritz. She had removed her suit jacket around the third floor, and flung it over her arm. By the time she unlocked her deadbolt, sweat had beaded across her forehead, and her blouse stuck to her back.
She tossed her brief case on the credenza turned and flipped the locks on the door. Bending, Maggie placed her hand under Tabby’s belly and pulled her up into her arms. As she continued to the kitchen, she ran a loving hand over the cat’s head receiving a loud appreciative purr in return.
“Did you miss me today?” Maggie checked the food dish and found it empty. “Are you a hungry girl? Oh dear, it looks like you’re probably thirsty too.”
Another lonely night loomed. Tabby was her only companion, no dates, no prospects, all she did was work, come home and talk to her cat. Description of an old maid her father would have said.
Maggie put the cat down, grabbed the water bowl, straightened and went to the sink. Twisted the knob and waited for the water. Now what? No sooner than the thought ran through her mind, moistness soaked through her nylon stockings. She looked down at the water making a widening puddle around her feet.
“Oh great!” She bent to swing open the cupboard under the sink, water sprayed from the pipes directly into her face. “Time to call the building manager, Tabby.”
After making the necessary call, Maggie glanced at the kitchen clock. “What do you think, should I start dinner while we wait? I’m starving. You, lucky girl, have had your Meow Mix.” Tabby purred loudly in agreement.
A brisk knock on the door interrupted her preparations. Looking in the Judas hole the only thing she could see was the back of someone’s head, full of thick wavy brown hair.
Flipping the lock, she pulled the door open and stared. She inhaled, her breath lodged in her throat, for a moment she didn’t think she could breathe. Golden brown eyes stared back at her, his head, full of rich sable hair, tilted in inquiry.
The handsome man cleared his throat, bringing her out of her stupor. She quickly stepped back for him to enter and did what she normally did when she was nervous. She babbled.
“Please come in. I don’t know what came over me. I’m so sorry.” Maggie turned and led the way to the kitchen. “Tabby be a good girl and stay out of Mr…”
She stopped. Before she could turn, he ran into her back almost knocking her to the floor. His toolbox dropped to the floor with a clatter, strong warm arms came around her to save her from the same fate. Tingles ran through her body at the contact.
“Mr. Tate. You can call me Sage.” The words spoken lightly next to her ear caused a delicious shiver to scamper down her neck.
Quickly disengaging herself, she swallowed and continued to the kitchen, turned and held out her hand. “Nice to meet you Mr. Tate, I’m Maggie.”
Strong fingers gently closed around her hand, his golden eyes intent on hers, “Sage.”
He let her hand drop and turned toward the sink, swung open the cupboard, and crawled half way in, “I’m glad you turned the water off under here.” Clangs and an occasional grunt followed.
She watched him work a moment. His touch had scorched. She’d be branded for life. Had he felt it too? Giving a small shrug of her shoulder, she stepped over his feet and went to the stove to stir the sauce and prepare the pasta. All the while, she worked on dinner he worked under the sink. He inched his body back just enough to look at her.
“Maggie.” The sound of her name coming from him in that deep baritone made her knees weak.
“Excuse me what did you say?” She hadn’t even heard his question, he was causing all kinds of havoc with her system.
“Could you turn on the tap?” Amusement laced his voice. He probably had this effect on all the women.
The water ran out easily enough, down through the drain and into her cabinet again. He jerked back, but not before he got a face full. Maggie grabbed a towel from the drawer and handed it to him.
“That wasn’t very smart of me.” He gave her a quick boyish grin as he ruffled Tabby’s fur behind her ears. “I have a replacement part out in the truck. I’ll be back in a moment.” He was out of the apartment before she could reply.
Maggie bent to pick up the cat, “Tabby, what do you think? Do you think it was fate that brought him to us, just when I was feeling so lonely?” Tabby rubbed her head on her arm purring contentedly.
Maggie heard his footsteps on the stairs and rushed to open the door. Locking up behind him, she followed and watched him disappear under her sink.
Dinner was done by the time he had her sink repaired. Sage stood and wiped his hands on his work rag. Took an appreciate sniff and announced, “Something smells awfully good.”
“It’s pasta, and it’s done.” Maggie felt a tremor in her tummy. “Would you like to join me for dinner?”
His head tilted as he regarded her. “I wasn’t angling for an invite, just stating a fact.”
Swallowing her nerves, “I know. I made enough for an army, a habit from growing up in a large family. I really would enjoy your company for dinner.”
Her breath stopped as she awaited his answer. He didn’t say anything at first, bending he gathered his tools together, snapped the box shut and stood.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve had a home cooked meal with a gorgeous woman.” He smiled the same boyish grin. “Where can I wash up?"