Home > Heart Strings(8)

Heart Strings(8)
Author: Melanie Moreland

“I don’t.”

He arched his eyebrow, and I had the grace to look ashamed. “I’m sorry.”

“I think we need to get to know each other better.”

I smiled at him, relief tearing through my body. “I’d like that.”

“You look so tired.”

“I didn’t sleep well last night.”

“Me either. You looked so upset when you left the coffee shop that I almost buzzed up to your place.”

“What?”

“When you walked home.”

“You saw me? You stormed away. You left.”

“I did, but I was outside around the corner. Did you really think I would let you walk home alone? I stayed back and made sure you arrived safely.”

“Why didn’t you come talk to me?”

“I needed to cool off, and I thought you would be too angry with me to talk.”

“I would have. I was sorry I upset you.”

He studied me for a moment. “Lottie, I know we’re different. I know our goals and the way we achieve them are polar opposites. But I think we suit each other on so many levels. I want to explore this further—whatever we have—with you.”

I hesitated.

He held out his hand. “Come with me. Spend the day with me. Come see my world for a few hours. You can show me yours. Maybe we can figure out a way to mesh them.”

“I have to go to work.”

He wrapped his hand around mine, his warmth seeping through the wool that covered my hand. “One day. All I’m asking for is one day. Work will be there tomorrow.”

I was tempted. “Why?” I breathed out.

He hunched down, meeting my gaze. “I lost my father to the rat race of the corporate world. I’ll be damned if I don’t fight to save you from it.”

“Logan…”

His lips touched mine. Featherlight, gentle, and sweet. His touch filled me with yearning. Warmth. Desire. He drew back, and I followed, wanting to feel his touch again. He gathered me into his arms, holding me close. He kissed me harder, passion simmering with his caress.

“Please, Lottie. Come with me. All I want is a chance.”

I rested my head on his chest, feeling the way his arms encircled me so naturally. I felt cherished, and for the first time in many years, safe.

I glanced up into his warm eyes, seeing his care and worry. His rich, whiskey gaze was intense, soulful, and real. Logan looked at me. He saw me.

I wanted to see that gaze every day. I wanted to hear his voice murmur my name. I didn’t want to feel alone anymore.

I wanted to feel alive.

Logan made me feel that way.

I met his golden, anxious gaze.

“Yes.”

 

 

Chapter 5

 

 

Lottie

 

 

Logan released me from his embrace and wrapped his hand around mine, tugging me down the steps. I faltered, and he stopped with a frown.

“No, don’t change your mind, Lottie. Please.”

“I’m not.” I indicated my business clothes. “I thought I would change into something a little less formal. And I have to call the office and tell them I’m not coming in. My father will worry, and I can’t simply abandon my responsibilities.”

He shook his head. “Of course not. I wouldn’t expect you to.” He rested back against the wrought-iron railing. “I’ll wait.”

I smiled, feeling shy. “Why don’t you come up? It’s warmer inside.”

He frowned. “You shouldn’t be inviting strange men into your home, Lottie. For all you know, I’m as psycho as you thought I was last night.”

I arched an eyebrow at him. “Are you?”

His grin flashed, lighting his face. “No. But still…”

“Maybe you should be afraid of me.”

He threw back his head in amusement. His laugh was loud and boisterous, cutting through the cold air and uplifting me with its infectious sound. “I think I can take my chances,” he stated once he stopped chortling.

“Okay, then.” I held out my hand, and he took it in his much larger one.

“Show me your place.”

I was nervous as I opened my door. My condo wasn’t big or fancy, but it was mine. It took all my savings to get the down payment, but it belonged to me. It overlooked the street, and I liked to sit and watch the snow fall in the streetlights from the big chair I had placed by the window. The building was older and still had the charm of gumtree moldings and chair rails, and the floors were all hardwood and creaked everywhere you walked. There were two decent-sized bedrooms, one I currently used for an office. It had a day bed for the occasional night that Brianna would stay over. There was a small dining area, and the kitchen had been done before I bought it, so it was in good shape. I had decorated it slowly, buying pieces as they went on sale or that I found in secondhand shops or antique markets. My mother had been aghast at my decisions, but it was all mine, and I loved every piece.

Logan looked around the room with a smile on his face. “Exactly how I pictured it.”

“Yeah?”

He nodded and ran a finger over my cheek. “I knew you weren’t a big-box kind of girl, and I couldn’t see you surrounded by stuffy furniture. You have an old soul, Lottie, and this place suits you.”

My breath caught. His words described how I felt to perfection. My parents never saw that about me. My father pushed for me to be a modern businesswoman, and my mother wanted my place to be a showcase like their condo. But Logan saw underneath all of it and into the person inside.

“How?” I asked. “How do you know me so well already?”

“It’s just my observations. Your clothes, your handbag, even your briefcase. Nothing showy, no labels screaming ‘Look at me!’ You carry a book, not an e-reader. You’re not glued to your phone. You’re always elegant and classy. You’re kind to people.” He smiled ruefully. “You were certainly kind to me when you thought I was a street musician and needed to eat. I saw you give sandwiches to homeless people several times. I saw the trays of coffee you would leave.” He paused, meeting my gaze. “I saw the softness in your eyes, the caring gestures you made when you thought no one was looking. That is what tells me the type of person you are—the person I thought you to be.”

The air around us hummed. Logan stepped back with a sigh. “I think you’d better go get changed and make your call, or I might not live up to your expectations.”

“Do, ah, you need to call anyone?” I asked. Macy had told me he was a teacher. Was she wrong?

He frowned. “I do work, Lottie. I’m a teacher. Well, at the moment, a substitute teacher. Full time is hard to get now. I wasn’t needed today.”

I studied him. His gaze was intelligent, and he was articulate and smart. I had already figured that out. “I bet you’re a great teacher.”

He shrugged off my compliment.

“I’m waiting,” was all he said.

I hurried away, shutting my bedroom door behind me. I leaned against it, my hand on my chest.

What was I doing? I had never once taken a sick day, and now, because Logan asked, I was going to pretend to be ill and spend the day with him. And I wanted to do it. I wanted to spend today with him. For the first time since I could remember, I was choosing myself and what I wanted over what I felt I should do.

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