Part 7

"I'm all ears," Judy said, smiling at Tom's enthusiasm. "How did the meeting with Fuller go?"

"It wasn't just Fuller. The Commissioner and the Mayor were there." Tom shrugged out of his black sports jacket, tossed it on a chair and pulled Judy into his arms, all without batting an eye. He kissed her soundly and thoroughly. When his lips and tongue left hers, his cheeks were flushed and his eyes were liquid pools of chocolate. "I've been needing that all day."

Judy's breath caught in her throat. She barely managed to whisper. "You sure know how to greet a woman."

"Not just any woman." He gave her another quick kiss. "How much time do I have before we have to leave?"

"It's two hours before dinner is supposed to start. If you don't want Dorothy to have a fit, we'd better arrive on time."

He laughed. "Dorothy likes me."

"She does." Judy couldn't deny that. Very few women disliked Tom Hanson. Besides being incredibly sexy, he was a very nice guy. She noticed that almost immediately. "Stop beating around the bush. Are you taking the job?"

"Maybe." He stripped as he headed down the hall. "Thanks for getting my clothes from my place."

"No problem." She followed him, stopping short of joining him inside her bathroom. The dangers of stepping inside were twofold. The steam could ruin her hairstyle and passionate waterworks could make them late. She was already dressed and ready to go.

"You're not coming in?" he asked with a cocky jut of his chin.

"Not this time so hurry up. Tell me what maybe means."

He laughed as he stepped into the shower. A few minutes later, he stepped out. While he slowly toweled off, he resumed their conversation. "Maybe means I like their ideas, but I'm not sure how committed they are. We come so close to entrapping these kids, you know? I have nightmares about it sometimes."

"We go in after the crime has been committed. We don't make the choices for them."

"But what about that guy who had a crush on you? He stole jewelry to impress you. Didn't that make you feel weird?"

Her chest tightened. That was one of the few times she felt guilty about an arrest. "You know it did."

"We walk a fine line, Jude. Sometimes, I worry about crossing it." He hung up his towel and pulled on a pair of boxers. Then, he reached for her hands. "It's like how I think about us. We're in the early stages of a very special relationship. I know that telling you I love you scared you a little--"


He smiled. "Yes, it did. You don't have to pretend it didn't. Maybe I shouldn't have said anything, but I had to let you know that I don't see us as casual lovers. When you told me about you and Doug--"

"There was never a Doug and me. We realized it wasn't right so nothing happened."

"But it almost did and I admit I still think about it."

"How will that affect this dinner?" She looked down at their joined hands. Even that simple gesture felt better than right. Their hands were a perfect fit. "I never wanted to come between you and Doug."

When he didn't say anything, she raised her head to read his eyes. The expression on his face revealed nothing. He kissed her cheek and headed to her bedroom where she could hear him getting dressed.

His lack of response filled her with dread about the upcoming dinner.

Part 8