Better Than Before ( Trilogy)
whirled to face her. “No? Then why did you tell me about this guy hitting on you? Why did you take the job if you know that about him?”
    “I explained why I took it. Truthfully, I was thinking out loud about the rest of it. I didn’t know I had to censor myself around you.” She straightened. “And I’d never try to make you jealous.”
    “Women do that all the time.”
    “I’m not just any woman.”
    Angry now, he ran a hand through his hair. “I don’t know you well enough to know that.”
    “Ah, now there’s where we differ. I thought we did know each other well enough for that.” She glanced at the salmon. “I think this is done.” Crossing to the grill, she slid the fish onto the plate and picked up her wine glass. “Dinner’s ready,” she said stiffly and disappeared into the house.
    He found her at the sink, staring out the window, the fish cooling on the counter. She didn’t face him as he came inside and approached her. When he placed his hands on her shoulders, she jolted a bit. He hated that.
    “I think we had our first fight.”
    “Our first?”
    “Uh-huh.” He drew her around. Her expression was conflicted. “I expect to have more.”
    “You do?”
    “I’m sorry. I overreacted. And you’re right, I do know you better than to accuse you of trying to make me jealous. I meant what I said about feeling close. I’m just gun shy, I guess.”
    She raised a hand to his jaw. “I told you earlier I wouldn’t play games with your emotions, Spence. I wouldn’t string you or the handsome professor along.”
    “He’s handsome?”
    “Yeah, but not sexy like you.” She sobered. “We should always be honest with each other. I hated that Keith lied to me for so long. I’m not interested in Todd Lucas at all. I am, however, very interested in Spence Brewer.”
    Brewer. Hearing his lie spoken aloud, especially after the exchange that had just occurred was like getting doused with cold water. He drew in a breath. He’d been about to tell her the truth. Earlier, before the professor called.
    But he wasn’t going to do it now. Especially when she whispered, “The salmon’s already cold.”
    She looped her arms around his neck. “We can heat it up. Later.”
    He smiled and forgot about lies and jealousy and the truth of their situation. He forgot about everything when her mouth closed over his.
    Annie strolled with her mother through the International Museum of Play in downtown Rockland, letting the kids race ahead of them. Alex had gone over to hang out with Julia’s son Mark, and Annie had picked up Lauren’s girls after Norma had suggested an impromptu morning at the fascinating downtown museum.
    “Mommy, can we go see the butterflies now?” Hope had scampered ahead but stopped and yelled the question back to them.
    “At two o’clock, honey. Visits there are by appointment.” Which they’d made after they’d arrived. The butterfly greenhouse was a huge draw and they were lucky to get tickets on such short notice.
    “Let’s go see the Barbies,” Cora suggested. “Is it okay, Mrs. Kennedy?”
    As they trailed the girls upstairs to the room which displayed every single Barbie ever made, Norma asked, “Mrs. Kennedy?”
    “Lauren’s and Julia’s kids still haven’t gotten used to my maiden name.”
    “What’s new with Keith?”
    “He’s been less hostile to me. God knows why.”
    “He’s probably jealous.”
    The mention of jealousy reminded Annie of Spence’s vehement reaction three nights ago. “That seems to be an epidemic these days.” She told her mother about Spence once they were seated in the Barbie area and the girls were fawning over dollhouses at the far end.
    “I’m starting to worry about that man, Annie.”
    “Because of what you just told me. And the fact that you still don’t know him well.”
    “I suppose. But we have so much in common.” She took her mother’s hand. “He loves his mother almost as

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