FORTY-FIVE

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Virginia woke up alone. She bolted out of bed to stand naked and motionless in the middle of the room-until the aroma of bacon and coffee made it through her not-enough-sleep brain fog. Relief flowed through her, mollifying the surge of anger. "Relax," she muttered as she headed to the bathroom.

She lingered under the warm spray of the shower. Thoughts of the night before had her grinning ear to ear. It's no wonder I'm tired. Spinelli certainly had skills and stamina and-

Comes with experience, came out of nowhere, interrupting all that bliss. She slammed the shower off, refusing to think about it. After throwing on sweatpants and a baggy shirt, she made her way out to the kitchen.

He was standing over the stove, stirring something in a frying pan. Hearing her walk in, he looked over at the doorway and smiled, causing that same old flip in her stomach. Stubble shadowed his normally clean shaven face, giving him a more ominous look. Dangerous, remember that? Not your type, remember that?

He was wearing what looked like gym clothes, black shorts matched with a slim fitting grey shirt. The T-shirt was sleeveless, showing off all the hard lines and ridges that shifted along his arms with each of his movements. Gorgeous. Not that she needed further confirmation of that.

And here she was in her couch potato outfit. She suddenly felt ill at ease in her own kitchen. The morning had a way of changing a person's perspective of the actions of the night before, as if sunlight brings sensibility flowing in with it. She wondered if he had any regrets.

"Did you go work out?" Her voice had that first-thing-in-the-morning croakiness, and she mentally cursed her inability to ooze sexual charisma the way he did.

"No, I had these in my car. I didn't want to go to the grocery store in my tux." He gave her a mischievous grin. "Your neighbors might start talking."

"You went shopping?" She walked to the stove to see what was cooking.

"You didn't have any eggs. This is my breakfast specialty. Basically, it's eggs, bacon, and onions, but you can't overcook it or it loses its moistness. You ready to eat?"

"Sure." She glanced around for something to help with, but he already had toast, butter, knives, and forks set out. She spotted their discarded clothes from the night before, neatly folded and placed on the chair at the end of the table. That chair. Her cheeks warmed. Would she ever be able to look at that seat the same way again?

With nothing else to do, she headed to the coffeepot to pour herself a cup.

Spinelli doled out two helpings of his egg dish and put the frying pan back on the stove. He came up behind her and gripped her shoulders, turning her toward him. "Good morning." He studied her face for a few seconds before placing a quick kiss on her lips. "You okay . . . with everything?"

She only nodded at first, but in a moment of weakness she closed her eyes and let loose with, "I'm glad you're still here." Inwardly she cringed. Don't be so needy.

"You can't get rid of me that quickly." He leaned down to kiss her again, lingering this time. There was a reluctant groan before he pulled back. "Time to eat. You need nourishment before I drag you back to bed." Giving her a swat on the behind, he pointed to the table.

A few bites into it, she found herself bested yet again. "You know, it's kind of annoying, but this is delicious."

His distracted smile had her holding her breath. Something's wrong. As he covered her hand with his own, her heart raced. When his throat cleared, she swallowed hard, expecting a sex-was-great-but-let's-be-realistic speech.

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