Operation Prince Charming(82)

By: Phyllis Bourne

He knew he’d be poor company tonight, and it was no use ruining everybody else’s evening. All he wanted to do was get in his car and go home.

You should have asked her to stay.

The thought had echoed through his head ever since he’d said good-bye to Ali last night. How could he have let her go without telling her he loved her?

He already knew the answer. He could never ask her to turn down the opportunity she’d already lost once for him. That would make him no better than her ex-husband.

Hunter knew now, as he had known last night at the airport, he had to love her enough to let her go.

He turned down the street that led to the Spencer School. He rationalized he was only going that way to get coffee at the nearby shop, not because he already missed her like crazy. The fact that tonight would have been his last lesson wasn’t lost on him.

Just as he signaled to make the right turn into the coffeehouse parking lot, Hunter thought he saw Ali’s red Honda parked in front of the school.

No, it couldn’t be, he thought.

He abruptly braked, causing the driver behind him to honk his horn.

Hunter told himself not to get his hopes up. It could be that her aunt had simply borrowed the car. However, his heart felt as if it were about to leap out of his chest.

He parked his car, jumped out of it, and ran to the door of the school. Closing his eyes briefly, he took a deep breath before pulling the door handle.

Relief mixed with joy flooded him when he saw her standing by the reception desk rifling through her tote. She looked up and smiled brightly. “Hunter,” she said. “I was just about to drive over to your place.”

“Why are you back here so soon? I thought you’d be down in Florida getting ready to launch the television show.”

She shook her head. “I turned it down.”

“What?” Hunter asked incredulously. “I don’t understand. You’d been waiting for that opportunity to open up again. It was your dream job.”

Ali shook her head. “No, I had it all wrong. It was just a job. Somebody else’s job that they can fill on a whim,” she said. “My new dreams are here with this school and with—”

Hunter rounded the reception desk and pulled her into his arms. “With me,” he finished for her.

She nodded. “Yes, with you.”

Hunter raised her chin with his finger and lowered his mouth to her. His kissed her until they both had no choice but to come up for air. He wanted there to be no doubt in her head that she was the woman he wanted.

“So, you never did say why you came by the school,” she said.

“I believe you owe me a dance lesson.”

She smiled. “But first, I think we need to talk about reversing my no-sex policy.”

“How about we head back to the airport and catch the next flight to Las Vegas?” he asked. “Then we can reverse it on our honeymoon.”

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