“Okay, here are the important things,” Zach said as he studied the design. It was cute and sexy as hell. If he found out another guy was the one who got to press his lips to that dragonfly where it curved low over the flare of her left hip, he thought he just might go insane. “I’ll send you home with some instructions on how to care for it, but you need to make sure you keep it clean. No scrubbing at it or anything—you need to be gentle when you wash it. I’ve got some ointment I’ll send home with you and I’ll go into detail about using that, too.”
She was still staring at it over her shoulder in the mirror. Worrying her lower lip with her teeth and eyeing the dragonfly like she expected it to take flight or something.
“I need to get the bandage on,” he said softly.
She continued to stand there and he reached up, pressed his hand between her shoulder blades. “Lean forward a little.”
Hunger screamed, jerking on the leash inside him as he eased the waistband of her skirt just a little lower so he could get the bandage in place. Bent over the table like that, he could so easily imagine pulling the hem of the skirt up. Slipping his hand between her thighs. Would she sigh? Moan?
No. This was Abby and she’d freak the hell out and then she’d run away and he’d lose her—
A soft, shaky sigh caught his attention as he smoothed the bandage down. Keeping his head bowed, he checked the mirror from under his lashes and his knees almost buckled.
Abby was staring at their reflection and her face was flushed.
What. The. Hell.
Abruptly, he stepped back and moved away. If he didn’t move away immediately, he was going to grab her and do things he should never do to his best friend. The woman he loved. That was the problem. He’d loved her for too long and he was misreading the signals and—
“Do you really think all that’s true? About Roger?”
Hearing that shithead’s name on her lips snapped his temper. He turned around and glared at her. “If I didn’t think that was the case, Abs, I wouldn’t have said it. He’s an egotistical, arrogant piece of work and he never loved you. You deserved a hell of a lot better and I knew it all along. But he was what you wanted so who in the hell was I to say any different?”
“You’re my best friend,” she said quietly.
“Shit.” He went to pass a hand over his face and stopped. He still had his gloves on. Stripping them off, he tossed them into the red trash can near the door and headed over to start cleaning up. “Yes. I am. You asked me what I thought and I told you. But I can’t tell you what is in that fucker’s head. You can always ask him when you call him to tell him off, although I doubt he’ll tell you the truth. He doesn’t even see the truth anyway.”
“Have you ever been in love?”
In the middle of gathering up his supplies, he paused. Zach closed his eyes and started to mouth every single foul, nasty curse he could think of. He had four brothers. He could think of a lot of cuss words. Halfway through one that involved anatomical improbabilities and a goat, a hand touched his shoulder.
Damn it, he couldn’t do this. Moving away, he started grabbing his supplies at random. Dumping trash, slamming the tools here, there. Being fucking careless with them, but he couldn’t look at her yet. If he did, she might see—
He went to dump the trash and turned around.
Abby was right there, dark brown eyes locked on his face, her shirt still knotted just under her breasts, leaving her belly bare.
“What is this?” she teased. “You make me play twenty questions all the time.”
Edging around her, he focused on cleaning up. “I’m thirty-two years old, Abby. Yeah. I’ve been in love,” he said, keeping his voice flat and his eyes on the task at hand. “It didn’t work out.”
“She never seemed to notice that I was staring at her when she walked into the room.”