Long Time Gone(110)

By: Meg Benjamin

“Thanks.” Their fingers grazed as he took the coffee from her. Heat shot down her arm and her breasts tingled.

She dropped her hand and rubbed it up and down the fine wool of her dress pants. It was distressing how quickly her body reacted to Levi. It had been that way from the first moment she’d met him. All the man had to do was walk in the room and she felt her body temperature rise. She had to control herself. Levi was a friend, nothing more.

She didn’t know his entire story, but she knew he’d been in the army with Jonah—Special Forces. He’d left the military and had come to Jamesville to help Jonah about six months ago and had stayed. She figured he was entitled to take some time to figure out what he wanted to do with the rest of his life.

Besides which, he was the perfect tenant. He was quiet and he’d done more than enough work to pay for at least six more months’ rent. She had no idea how long he was staying and hadn’t worked up the courage to ask. The last thing she wanted to do was make him think she wanted him gone.

“I think you’ve got your first customers waiting outside.” Levi’s quiet voice broke the silence between them. She looked at him and he canted his head toward the door. Sure enough, through the huge display window beside the front door, she could see Cyndi, Shamus, Amanda and Jonah waiting to get inside. All her friends had come to her opening.

Smiling, she let all thoughts of her family and her sexual feelings for Levi slip away. Plenty of time to deal with them later. Or not. Taking a deep breath, she strode across the store and unlocked the door. “Welcome to Past Promises.”

Levi set his coffee on the counter the minute Linda’s back was turned. Whatever was in that letter had upset her. He’d stood in the shadows watching her for several minutes before he’d spoken. He’d seen the way she unconsciously placed her hand over her stomach, the way her shoulders had hunched forward.

He didn’t like it.

Reaching down, he plucked the letter out of the garbage and stuffed it in his back pocket. He’d read it later and decide if there was anything he could do to help her.

Some might consider it an invasion of privacy, but not Levi. He had skills that most people didn’t and if he could use them to help someone he cared for then that’s what he should do. Besides which, she’d thrown it in the trash without even tearing it up or shredding it. That made it fair game in his mind.

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