Leslie paced the floor, wondering what the heck possessed her to agree to this dinner date with Jake. She unfolded the piece of paper and looked at the scrawled numbers again then folded it back up. She could call that number and cancel this ridiculous date. It was ridiculous, wasn’t it? How many women accepted a date from a man in a coffee shop parking lot? But no matter how many times she passed the phone or looked at the number, she didn’t call. Couldn’t bring herself to cancel, because she knew deep down that she needed this.
A firm knock on the door drew Leslie from the kitchen table where she finally managed to sit and wait for this moment. She had cleared her mind with one of the techniques she’d learned from a CD that John Brown had given her. It worked. She definitely felt calmer than she’d been.
Leslie opened the door and smiled up at Jake. “Hi.” Her stomach did a flutter as her eyes took in the sight of how well he filled out his tan shorts and dark blue t-shirt. She couldn’t help but notice that his white jogging shoes didn’t have a lick of dirt on them.
“Hey,” he returned. “Are you ready?”
“Yeah. Let me grab my purse.” She did and slipped her sandals on.
Together they walked to his car, each of them taking their seats. “I had to do some quick research of places to eat around here. I’ve been here less than a month, so I’m not too familiar with where things are.”
Leslie smiled nervously at him. “I’m sure I’ll like where we go.”
The restaurant turned out to be a small, cozy place settled near
After they ate, Jake asked, “Would you like to go for a walk? The lake, the moonlight, it’s a beautiful night.” He looked at her hopefully.
“You’re a romantic,” she said over her glass.
They both laughed then Leslie added, “I’d love to go for a walk.”
Jake held her hand in his as they strolled through the grassy park that overlooked the lake. “You know, I never did ask if you were married before I asked you to have dinner with me. You agreed so I assume you aren’t.”
“No, I’m not married. I was, but…” Not married? That was a first for her. Usually, her explanation regarding her marital status always remained as married but that her husband died. In her mind she still thought of herself as married. But now, with Jake… “My husband died two and a half years ago.”
Jake walked in silence for a moment. He squeezed her hand. “I’m sorry for your loss. The parting wasn’t your choice. I was married but we divorced. It wasn’t pleasant.” He cleared his throat. “I haven’t been on many dates in the year we’ve been divorced.”
“You are the first man for me,” she said softly.
He looked at her with incredulity.
“I know.” She chuckled. “It’s been a while. My sister has been hounding me since last summer. She thought my mourning should have ended then. But I wasn’t ready.”
He stopped them and brought his hand to her cheek. With gentle fingers, he traced down her temple, her cheek. “Are you ready now?” Jake asked.
Leslie stared, mesmerized by the desire darkening his eyes. “Yes,” she finally whispered.
“I’m going to kiss you, Leslie. Is that okay?” Jake’s husky voice caressed over her.
Her throat tightened. She yearned to feel the heat of his lips. She placed her hands on his waist and her heart pounded erratically. Her blood heated in her veins, waiting for him to lower his head and meld their lips together. He cupped both her cheeks, angled his head, and touched his mouth to hers. She whimpered at his gentleness. He deepened the kiss. Their tongues danced with such intimacy.
Her body sizzled hotter and hotter with each dip and swirl of his tongue. He tasted of wine and spices from his meal. She wanted to wrap herself around him, get as close as she could and the thought frightened her. She hadn’t been touched by a man in almost three years. And she realized with shocking clarity that she liked it, wanted it. With Jake.
He pulled away and wrapped his arms around her, their breathing rough as they held each other close.
They lingered like that for long moments. Leslie rested her cheek against his chest. The pounding of his heart eased her fears of letting him touch and hold her.
“I would very much like to see you again,” Jake said, nuzzling her hair.
“So would I.”
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