Part 3

"Who was that on the phone earlier?" Judy smiled down at Tom as he painted her toenails a blazing hot red. The meticulous care he took with each toe sent a thrilling quiver throughout her body. He had a way of concentrating on her that made her forget about the rest of the world.

"You heard the phone ring?" He dipped the brush into the small bottle. Pausing, he fixed her with his trademark intense stare. "You were asleep. Hell, I was asleep."

"Well, it woke me up." She frowned. "Why are you dodging the question? Was it an old girlfriend trying to resurrect the past?"

He laughed. "Yeah, right. Nope. No old girls calling me. I put the word out. I'm taken."

"Oh, so you issued a challenge." She teased him by rolling her eyes. "That's a sure fire way to have them lined around the block."

"It wouldn't work," he said, instantly serious. "You're the only woman in my radar. They'd be invisible to me."

She smiled in spite of herself. "You're such a smooth talker."

He shrugged as he put another coat of polish on her big toe. "I'm being honest."

"So, tell me who called."


"What did he want?" She narrowed her eyes. "Is he trying to set you up with Dorothy's cousin again?"

Tom laughed so hard he almost painted her ankle. "No! He's just trying to get settled into the new routine with Dorothy. They're having a dinner party. He wants us to come. Ioki, too."

"He knows there's an us?" A cold rush of air swept through her. Her mouth dropped open.

"No! I mean, no. I haven't told him. We, you and I, haven't talked about how we want to let the others know."

She reached out and touched his face so that he'd look at her. "You want them to know?"

He set the nail polish on the night stand and carefully positioned her on his lap. "I'm not ashamed of us, Jude. I want the world to know."

His resolute assuredness shocked her. The words lodged in her throat. "But what if…?"

"What if what? Doug is one of my closest friends. You've been going to martial arts with Harry for weeks. Do you think they wouldn't like us together?"

Her blood ran cold at the mention of Doug. They shared a kiss and almost took their working relationship further. She wasn't sure how much Tom knew about that.

"What is it?" he asked. "Do you think they'd have a problem with us?"

"No, I don't think so."

He ran his finger along her bottom lip. "Then, what it is? Be honest. What are you so afraid of?"

Part 4