In Like Flynn
by Dorien Kelly
It was a perilous and slippery slope from kissing Annie’s hand to kissing her the countless other places Daniel had taken to speculating about. And he’d been fool enough to begin the slide.
Luck and schedule had been his allies yesterday. He’d had little time alone with Annie and thus little time to cave to temptation. But just now he’d love to throw the back cushions off that sofa and curl up with her in his arms, not really caring a dog’s arse about the B-and-B’s other customers. Because that would be wrong for Annie--and for him--it was time to move.
“Hungry?” he asked.
She nodded. “A little.”
“Let’s visit the Public Market, then.”
“Don’t you ever get tired?”
She didn’t know the half of it. Fighting the urge to have her was one bloody exhausting battle.
They left the B-and-B, then cut through Post Alley to the market itself. It was nearly eleven, and the place teemed with even more people than products.
“Let’s take a look, then try a restaurant,” he said to Annie.
She agreed, so on they walked.
Daniel was blissfully distracted by the color, scents and variety. Row after row of silvery-scaled fish bordering on produce and then into candles, honey, flowers, touristy odds and ends, and--hello, what have we here?--an entire store devoted to condoms. To be sure, they sold them in Ireland, but not with quite the same happy abandon.
“Can we please move along?” Annie said as he lingered at the display.
He glanced over at her. “So who do you think buys the striped ones?”
“And the glow-in-the dark?”
“The visually impaired.”
“And the giant one, any thoughts there?”
An unwilling smile tugged at the corners of her mouth. “Do you want to go inside and check out the stock? Think you could make me blush more that way?”
He brushed the hair away from her perfect shell of an ear. “That man in the room next to yours while we were in Chicago...the one you thought was me, Annie. What kind would he be buying?”
“Spiked,” she replied, then strolled away.
Daniel stood there, only the fact that the air had left his lungs stopping him from laughing. He’d been accused of many things in his day, but he’d never mistaken for a buyer of spiked condoms. Life around Annie Rutherford was a brilliant thing. He’d truly miss her when the time came leave.
When he’d earlier checked his e-mail, amid all the spam regarding miracle growth to parts he was already reasonably content with, there had waited some real news. The most alarming was a quick message from his friend Aislinn, telling him that James and Da had gotten in an argument and James had stormed off and taken a job at a hotel in Salthill, leaving the family short-handed at the pub.
Steps ahead, Annie was picking her way through a table filled with souvenirs, including, God help her kitchen, a selection of Space Needle salt and pepper shakers. He wasn’t sure what purpose the bizarre structure continued to serve in Seattle, let alone in Annie’s kitchen. For the sake of diplomacy, he took his time catching up to her. As he did, Daniel tried to ignore the market’s press of tourists that grew stronger as lunchtime approached.
“Flynn,” Annie called. “What do you think of these?” She held aloft a pair of the shakers.
“Grand,” he said, managing not to grimace too horribly.
His effort was worth the smile he received in return. Even tired, grumpy and frayed around the edges, Annie Rutherford was the prettiest woman he’d seen in some time. And since kissing her would be a fool’s act, he bought those howlingly ugly salt-and-pepper shakers instead. A fool’s act, too, but safer by miles than another kiss.
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