It was raining and I had to walk on the grass. I’ve got mud all over my shoes. They’re brand-new, too.” “I’ll carry you across the grass on the return trip, if you like,” Colby offered with twinkling eyes. “It would have to be over one shoulder, of course,” he added with a wry glance at his artificial arm. She frowned at the bitterness in his tone. He was a little fuzzy because she needed glasses to see at distances. “Listen, nobody in her right mind would ever take you for a cripple,” she said gently and with a warm smile. She laid a hand on his sleeve. “Anyway,” she added with a wicked grin, “I’ve already given the news media enough to gossip about just recently. I don’t need any more complications in my life. I’ve only just gotten rid of one big one.” Colby studied her with an amused smile. She was the only woman he’d ever known that he genuinely liked. He was about to speak when he happened to glance over her shoulder at a man approaching them. “About that big complication, Cecily?” “What about it?” she asked. “I’d say it’s just reappeared with a vengeance. No, don’t turn around,” he said, suddenly jerking her close to him with the artificial arm that looked so real, a souvenir of one of his foreign assignments. “Just keep looking at me and pretend to be fascinated with my nose, and we’ll give him something to think about.” She laughed in spite of the racing pulse that always accompanied Tate’s appearances in her life. She studied Colby’s lean, scarred face. He wasn’t anybody’s idea of a pinup, but he had style and guts and if it hadn’t been for Tate, she would have found him very attractive. “Your nose has been broken twice, I see,” she told Colby. “Three times, but who’s counting?” He lifted his eyes and his eyebrows at someone behind her. “Well, hi, Tate! I didn’t expect to see you here tonight.” “Obviously,” came a deep, gruff voice that cut like a knife. Colby loosened his grip on Cecily and moved back a little. “I thought you weren’t coming,” he said. Tate moved into Cecily’s line of view, half a head taller than Colby Lane. He was wearing evening clothes, like the other men present, but he had an elegance that made him stand apart. She never tired of gazing into his large black eyes which were deep-set in a dark, handsome face with a straight nose, and a wide, narrow, sexy mouth and faintly cleft chin. He was the most beautiful man. He looked as if all he needed was a breastplate and feathers in his hair to bring back the heyday of the Lakota warrior in the nineteenth century. Cecily remembered him that way from the ceremonial gatherings at Wapiti Ridge, and the image stuck stubbornly in her mind. “Audrey likes to rub elbows with the rich and famous,” Tate returned. His dark eyes met Cecily’s fierce green ones. “I see you’re still in Holden’s good graces. Has he bought you a ring yet?” “What’s the matter with you, Tate?” Cecily asked with a cold smile. “Feeling…crabby?” His eyes smoldered as he glared at her. “What did you give Holden to get that job at the museum?” he asked with pure malice. Anger at the vicious insinuation caused her to draw back her hand holding the half-full coffee cup, and Colby caught her wrist smoothly before she could sling the contents at the man towering over her. Tate ignored Colby. “Don’t make that mistake again,” he said in a voice so quiet it was barely audible. He looked as if all his latent hostilities were waiting for an excuse to turn on her. “If you throw that cup at me, so help me, I’ll carry you over and put you down in the punch bowl!” “You and the CIA, maybe!” Cecily hissed. “Go ahead and try…!” Tate actually took a step toward her just as Colby managed to get between them. “Now, now,” he cautioned. Cecily wasn’t backing down an inch. Neither was Tate.
Topics : Paper Rose Quotes