“Are you okay?” Gabe asked, envisioning bombs and snipers and IEDs. His hand tightened around the phone when he heard nothing but crackling.
“I’m on my way home,” Chase said after a moment. “Can you . . . can you pick me up from the airport on Tuesday? Not sure about the time . . . flying into Joburg. Getting the first available domestic flight from there. I’ll let you know when I know.”
“What’s going on?” Chase sounded off and it concerned Gabe. “Has something happened?”
“I’ve got to go,” Chase dodged his question. “Don’t tell Mum.”
“Wait, Chase . . .” The line was disconnected before he could say anything else and Gabe nearly tossed his phone in frustration. He immediately reached for the television remote and tuned into CNN. If anything out of the ordinary had happened, they would definitely have something about it. He skipped between the BBC and CNN, but there was nothing close to what his imagination had been conjuring up.
He was still urgently surfing news networks hours later when Bobbi walked into the den. It wasn’t unusual for her to let herself in. The light in the room had changed, dimmed somewhat, and Bobbi’s slight silhouette hovering in the doorway startled him.
“Bobbi? Shit . . .” He’d forgotten to cancel.
“Yeah, that’s what every girl wants to hear when she walks into a room,” she responded wryly before ambling in clutching a covered plate and wearing indecently short denim cut-offs that immediately sent his blood pressure soaring, combined with another of her ubiquitous tanks and a pair of trainers. Like the tiny black bikini that morning, what she was wearing wasn’t anything he hadn’t seen her in previously but he had never truly appreciated the golden glow of all that revealed skin before now. Every naked inch seemed to invite his touch, and he had to curl his hands into fists to prevent them from responding to that tempting invitation.
“Faye sent dinner; she’s convinced you’ll starve if she doesn’t feed you.” She held up the plate with a grin, referring to the Richmonds’ housekeeper. When Gabe did nothing but look at her from where he was seated in front of the huge TV, the smile slid from her face and was replaced with a concerned frown.
“Chase called,” he replied. Bobbi quickly placed the plate on the coffee table and sat down next to him.
“Is he all right?”
“I don’t know,” Gabe shrugged. “He says he’s coming home.”
“But that’s good, right?”
“Something’s wrong . . . he didn’t sound like himself.”
“Gabe.” She took his hand and he looked over at her. “He’s fine. You spoke with him. Focus on that. You’ll find out soon enough if something’s wrong. It’s better not to allow your imagination to run riot.”
He laughed softly.
“When did you get so wise, Roberta Richmond?” She winced at his use of her full name and he remembered that she had once likened it to a “superhero’s lame girlfriend’s name.” He hadn’t ever given it any thought before but he kind of liked the simple grace of the name.
“I’ve always been wise, you guys have just never appreciated my wisdom,” she scoffed. He smiled automatically and—while he was still worried about his brother—at that moment he was even more concerned with the way her shorts had ridden all the way up her smooth, taut thighs and he was pretty damned sure she wasn’t wearing a bra under that tank top. His eyes fell to her pert breasts and his breath hitched when her nipples tightened against the thin material.
Yep, no bra. She folded her arms over her chest, looking somewhat uncomfortable.
“Cold?” he asked. His throat had gone dry and had hoarsened his voice so that the word was barely a grunt.
“No,” she denied from between gritted teeth, keeping her arms tightly folded over her chest.
“You looked somewhat cold to me,” he pointed out.
“You were staring at me,” she hissed.
“And my staring made you respond like that?” She didn’t reply and he watched as gooseflesh broke out all over her body—with so much of her skin revealed it was hard to miss.
“I should go,” she said.
“I don’t want you to go,” he stated. She chewed on her lower lip, a habit that she’d had for years but had never before made him want to suck on that lip and lick the sting away until now.
“Then what do you want?” She asked, her voice laced with frustration.
You. He looked at her mutely for a moment, the word hovering on his tongue.
“I want to watch a movie and eat popcorn and forget this entire day happened,” he said instead.
“Then let’s do that,” Bobbi said, and he could hear the relief mingled with . . . disappointment? In her voice.
Well, damn. Could it be that Bobbi Richmond wanted him too? Well wasn’t that just frikken fantastic? Knowing that she may want him in return was going to make it so much harder for him to resist her. That was just one more complication he didn’t need. He needed to fix this fast.
Bobbi found herself outside her auto repair shop bright and early that Sunday morning. The men and Bobbi took turns taking weekends off and this was to have been hers, but she had too much invested in the business to stay away from it for a full weekend, so she usually headed in for a couple of hours on most of her days off anyway. Besides, after the confusing events of the past forty-eight hours, starting with that ill-advised drunken kiss on Friday night, she welcomed the distraction work would offer. Her employees were all at work; the shop was usually open seven days a week with the guys working shifts during the week. Weekends were their busiest times because most people couldn’t find the time to bring their cars in for minor repairs during the week.