The Redemption of Roan (The Syndicate #2)(10)

By: Kathy Coopmans

I cannot relive her childhood for her, but I sure as hell can give her the time of her life today.

I pull a fifty-dollar bill out of my pocket, tossing it on the table. It’s over double what I owe. I’m not one to flaunt my money, but when I love a place as much as I do this donut shop, I do everything I can to help it thrive.

We arrive at the zoo a little before eleven. After paying, I place my hand at the small of her back and lead us to the sea lions by way of the map she has.

“We can feed them,” she squeals.

This is how our entire day goes: stopping and feeding the animals. Petting them. Talking casually. I’m waiting for her to ask why I’ve been following her. She never mentions it once. Both of us enjoy the animals, letting them eat out of the palms of our hands. She talks to them as if they understand her. They look at her as if they do. She laughs when the rough tongue of a giraffe licks the food out of her hand. She’s even more stunning when she smiles and laughs. I need to make her do both of them as much as possible. Given the chance, I will be able to take her out again.

Even Hugo has a grin on his face when we acknowledge him a few times throughout the day.

There is so much more to this woman than she lets on. She’s like one of those stubborn jars you try to open. Once you pry the lid off it, you can’t seem to get enough.

We answer each other’s questions about our schooling with enthusiasm, steering away from every topic about our childhood and our teenage years, of growing up the way we both did.

When I stop in front of her apartment, it’s then that she shocks the living hell out of me by leaning up and placing a kiss on my cheek.

“Thank you for today. It’s been a long time since I’ve had fun like that. It was refreshing.”

“Does this mean you’ll go out with me again?” I’m staring at her like an idiot, watching her chew on her bottom lip. Trying not to let my thoughts go straight to the damn gutter.

“Under one condition.” She offers me a curious smile.

“What’s that?” I ask, trying to fight back my own smile.

“You never told me why you’ve been following me around, Roan. I’d like you to tell me now.”

And here I thought she would never ask me. No such luck.

“Not out here. Have dinner with me tomorrow night and I’ll tell you everything.”

Chapter Three


In less than twenty-four hours I have gone from hating men to not being able to tear my thoughts away from Roan. I don’t want to be known as one of those indecisive, wavering people who cannot make up their mind. I should have never approached him last night. Now I feel as if I’m stuck between what I want and what I don’t want. One thing I know for sure, I enjoyed every bit of my time with him today. It’s been way too long since I’ve let go of the demons of my past, to feel free. To just have fun.

What is it that enables us to be able to see so much in another person’s eyes? One look last night and he had me caving when kindness and compassion stared back at me. And then again today. If I were truly honest with myself, I’d have to admit that he’s nothing like the man I made him out to be.

I open the door to my apartment expecting Deidre to be sitting on the couch from wherever she ended up going last night. After talking to Roan at the bar, I went and found her to tell her I was leaving. Both her and the guy she hooked up with stood outside with me as we all waited for a cab. They took one and I took another. I should just catch a ride with Hugo since he follows me everywhere I go. How boring his job must be for him. I work then come home during the week. I may go out a few times a month, but otherwise I’m basically a boring homebody. And Hugo goes wherever I go. I know he’s only doing the job he was hired for. Today must have been a shocker when I told him I was going to the zoo. He’s a hard man to read., He can be playful at times; other times he is stoic and stone cold. He seemed to be enjoying himself today at the zoo. The few times I caught his eye, his smile turned up. I’m glad I made at least one day of many fun for the guy.

“Deidre,” I call out after closing and locking the door. I make my way into the kitchen, where she’s making a mess.

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