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Online Romance Novel -- Chapter 12
Haley tried to collect herself as Jeff returned to his desk chair. When he was seated, she opened her briefcase and pulled out a thick folder then slammed it down on the desk in front of him.
"Here are your lousy notes. I certainly wouldn’t want you to file a lawsuit against me."
"Haley, let me explain."
"What’s to explain?" She interrupted, letting the anger she felt obscure the pain.
"But, the letter. I sent the letter just to...."
"Just to what? Add insult to injury?"
"No." Jeff rubbed the back of his neck. He stood. "You sit. Let me get you some coffee. Let me explain...."
Haley remained standing. "I don’t want to sit down, and I don’t want any coffee. And I certainly don’t want any of your explanations. Let’s just call it even, and I’ll be on my way." She turned as if to leave, all the while hoping he would say something to stop her.
Jeff leaped to his feet and raced to the door. Arms and legs outstretched, he barred the in dramatic fashion. "No. If I let you walk out that door, I'll be making an even bigger mistake. And so will you."
Haley’s eyes narrowed. "Don’t make me hurt you, Jeff. I know karate."
"Go ahead. Hurt me." His eyes gazed deep into hers. "Whip me, beat me. Make me listen to techno music," he joked. His gaze darkened as he searched for a sign, any sign, that she had some feeling for him. "Do whatever makes you happy as long as you love me."
Abruptly, Haley turned. Stiffly, she walked away, back toward his desk.
Jeff followed. When she reached his desk, unable to go any farther, he reached out and clasped her shoulders with his hands. Gently, he turned her to face him. Tears sparkled in her eyes. Pain stabbed him. "Sweetheart, what is it?"
"Don’t joke. Not about love."
"I’m not joking, Haley. Sweetheart, I sent that stupid letter of demand in hopes you’d call me to bawl me out, and I could tell you how I felt. It was dumb, but I was desperate. I didn't know what else to do. I don’t want your notes, no matter how brilliant and detailed they probably are. I want you."
She raised her head. Her gleaming eyes met his. In a husky whisper, Haley asked, "What are you saying?"
His phone buzzed. His eyes never left hers as he punched the intercom button. "Yes, Marge?"
"I have that reservation to Montana. Do you still want it?"
Haley’s eyes widened. Jeff smiled. His gaze never left hers. "No, Marge, why don’t you change it to a reservation for two to Las Vegas."
Haley’s heart seemed to swell inside her breast. If she lived to be a hundred, she’d never forget this moment. "You were coming back to me?" She couldn’t stop the tears from falling now, but they were tears of happiness.
Jeff caught them on the tips of his fingers and brushed them away. "Yes, sweet Haley." She offered no resistance when he pulled her into his arms.
"Why?" she breathed, wanting to hear the magical words. She wanted to hear them, and she wanted to say them to him.
Jeff understood. "Because I love you. And I think you love me."
* * *
By the time, Haley and Jeff had checked into their private villa in Acapulco, she was severely jet lagged and completely exhausted. In the space of a day, she’d flown across the country. Twice. Been married in Vegas. Then caught a plane to Mexico.
Once their bags had been unloaded at the glistening white-walled villa, Jeff had kissed her and ducked out on some mysterious errand. She’d waited a bit, but when he hadn’t returned in an hour, she’d been a little miffed. After all, this was their wedding night. Or was it wedding day? The sun was already baking the golden sand when they’d arrived at the resort. She shrugged, certain Jeff had a good reason for leaving her. She smiled when she realized the old insecurities had lost their power over her.
Perhaps, Haley decided with amusement, Jeff was being considerate. He knew how tired she was. She decided to take a shower then turn in until he came back to her.
The hot water soothed her travel aches. Haley stayed under the rain-shower stream of water until it began to run cool. She turned the water off and stepped out onto the pale green bath mat. All she really wanted was sleep, she decided. Yawning, she lazily applied the thick luxurious towel. A flash of red caught her attention.
"Oh, how beautiful." Lying on the velvet-covered vanity bench was a filmy red negligee. So that was Jeff’s mysterious errand!
Smiling happily, she picked up the gossamer creation and slipped it over her head. Lace straps supported a lace bodice that hugged her breasts. The length of delicate flame-colored silk drifted to her ankles. Haley stared at her reflection. She felt incredibly sensuous. And beautiful. She twirled, eyes closed, admiring her reflection in the mirrors and enjoying the glide of silk on her skin.
When she opened her eyes, she noticed a neat stack of one dollar bills on the vanity. "What on earth?"
Puzzled, she picked up the money. Looking down at the bills in her hand, she opened the bathroom door and called out, "Jeff?"
As if on cue, a slow, jazzy song, heavy with saxophone, began playing. Startled, Haley looked up from the money in her hand and saw Jeff. Her husband. Clad in his suit trousers and with a red bow tie around his neck. He began undulating toward her, doing a pretty good bump and grind dance routine.
Giggling, Haley watched him rock his lean hips side to side to the beat of the drums in the song playing in the background. When he stopped in front of her and pulled her close, Haley peeled off a couple of the dollar bills and tucked them into the waistband of his trousers. She loved this man. She could look ahead and see a future bright with love and passion and companionship. But she planned to live it one day at a time, savoring her life with Jeff.
"Tired, Dr. Gant?"
"That’s Mrs. Talent to you," she said, tossing the rest of the dollar bills over her shoulder. With his eyes on her, admiring her, loving her, Haley knew she wasn’t that tired.
"So, tell me, Jeff." She kissed his lips lightly. The music ended. Her mouth curved into a smile as she slid her hands down to his belt buckle.
"What do you do for an encore?"
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