“You’re right,” he acknowledged. “But if you had answered my calls, there wouldn’t have been any need for me to come over here to check if you were okay.”

“Come on, Gabe,” she derided. “Last week you would have tried to reach me, failed, and thought nothing of it.”

“Yeah, well, last week was before I’d had you pinned down and writhing beneath me in desire. Last week was before I’d had my tongue in your mouth, your breasts in my hands, and your breathless voice in my ear begging me for more.” His voice rose with every word until he was practically shouting and she frantically shushed him.

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“Fine, okay.” She held up a placating hand. “But after today I’d appreciate it if you stopped contradicting yourself. It’s confusing the hell out of me.”

“Noted,” he murmured, feeling confused himself. He leaned forward, trying to catch her eye again. She was downright cagey this morning and still hadn’t told him if she was okay or not. Despite that magnificent glow she had about her, she still looked somewhat strained around the eyes and he wondered if she had managed to get any sleep the night before. He certainly hadn’t—he had been turned on and miserable because she had left him before he had had his fill of her.

“Will you come over tonight?” he asked softly, but she didn’t seem to hear him, keeping her eyes glued to the order form on her desk and her attention focused on the telephone receiver clamped to her ear. Gabe wasn’t used to being ignored by women, and he now discovered that he didn’t like it at all. But he swallowed down his anger as he reminded himself that Bobbi wasn’t just any woman and that she habitually ignored him when it suited her. She was just being . . . Bobbi. He had wanted things to remain the same between them but hadn’t counted on the status quo being frustrating as hell.

“Bobbi?” he prompted, and she lifted her eyes to his. They were so damned pretty they literally took his breath away and he struggled to form the words for a brief moment. “Will you come over tonight?”

She chewed on her lower lip, plumping it up invitingly, and he coughed to cover up a groan. God, this was torturous—he wanted to kiss her so badly he had to curl his hands into fists to prevent himself from dragging her across the damned desk and into his lap.

“I don’t know,” she responded at last and he nearly swore in frustration. She was clearly trying to drive him insane. “Maybe.”

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He had to content himself with that vague response and pushed out of the chair.

“Call me if you change your mind about getting something to eat.”

“I won’t,” she said, with a brief shake of her head. He was about to respond to that when her body language changed and she looked away from him again. Effectively dismissing him. “Yes? I’m Roberta Richmond from Richmond’s Auto Repair Shop and I received the wrong goods . . .”

He gave her one last glance but it was as if she had forgotten he was there. Feeling rather despondent, Gabe left.

Bobbi watched as he gracefully made his way back out of the shop, exchanging a few laughing comments with Craig as he left. She listened to the dial tone in her ear—her call had been dropped about three minutes ago but she had clung to the handset like it was a shield, knowing that if she put it down she would have to give him her undivided attention and she hadn’t been quite ready for that. She replaced the handset carefully. She would have to call them back but she didn’t have the energy just yet.

Suddenly the weight of problems the day had dumped onto her shoulders felt unbearably heavy and she slumped in her chair, wanting to do nothing more than bury her face in her hands and weep.

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The day had seemed interminable; after several more frustrating phone calls, Bobbi had finally managed to sort out the shipment error but the setback had cost her valuable time. Pieter’s measles would put him out of commission for at least a week and the loss of manpower would result in a forfeiture of revenue that she really couldn’t afford.

The only good thing about the seemingly insurmountable heap of complications was that it had pushed the situation with Gabe firmly to the back of her mind. But by the time she closed shop after seven that night, thoughts of him came creeping insidiously back into her head.

By the time she made her way home, all she could think of was heading over to his place. God, she was so tempted. So what if she felt awful afterward? She could work around that . . . what he made her feel during was pretty damned spectacular. If she rationed her time with him wisely—maybe she could keep her already broken heart shielded from further harm?

She bargained with herself all through the late dinner that Faye had left in the microwave for her. She had had a stressful day and needed something to help her relax . . . just a couple of hours to help her take the edge off. They had already had sex after all; so one more time wouldn’t make that much difference, would it?

God, she sounded like an addict! She laughed bitterly when she recognized that that was exactly what she was and that Gabe was her drug of choice.

She barely tasted her dinner and trudged upstairs afterward to grab a shower. She took extra care with shampooing her hair and shaving her legs and armpits, telling herself that she was just doing it because she needed to pamper herself a bit. She brushed her teeth and used the expensive body lotion that Theresa had given her for Christmas. She hadn’t even opened the bottle before now but she applied it generously, relishing how smooth her skin felt afterward. Why hadn’t she ever used the stuff before? It felt and smelled amazing.

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