Five days until release day for Ghosts of Christmas Past! A little taste of the first chapter.
“Dinner smells good,” she said. “That’s the only good thing about it.” “It’s nice of you to cook.” “This is my uncle’s chili recipe. He makes it for the guys in the firehouse. Maybe you can tell me what’s missing.”
He offered her a taste on the edge of the wooden spoon. She tentatively flicked out her tongue over it and that gave him images not related to food at all. She wrinkled her nose. Yep, it was definitely awful.
“Needs more tomato,” she offered.
Unable to resist, he bent his neck and kissed her. All resistance melted as he pulled her close, the soft, honey scent of her filling his soul.
She drew back and put her head on his shoulder. “Right, I should close the curtains,” he said.
She laughed, a sound of joy so pure it made his heart ache. “I could care less about who sees us.” He brushed her hair back and kissed where her shoulder met her neck, caressing it with his tongue. She pulled away from him again. He got the right message this time.
“Still stuck on the phone call?” Family. Always a mood killer. But working through this was part of her recovery. Listen and support. He knew that part of the psych drill too.
“I don’t seem to know what to do with them lately, even though I’ve visited at least twice a month since…”
He stroked her back. She never liked finishing that sentence. “Since you regained most of your memories of being Lucy, you mean.”
She entwined their hands. Restoring all those lost memories had required the help of a trained telepath. They were damn lucky to have found one in Beth Nakamora. The bonus to remembering everything, including all those horrible things in her captivity, had been learning how to switch her invisibility on and off. Noir claimed dealing
with that pain all over again had been worth learning the control. He wondered. But he didn’t push. Listen and support. That had been the mantra Beth gave to him as Noir’s boyfriend.
“What do you want?”
“We’re throwing a huge holiday party at the artists’ collective. I want to be there. And I want to stay here in the Double C and spend Christmas with you.”
For that statement alone, he’d give her the world. Yet what if his world was too small for her? All he had was this small apartment and a job that never gave him much time for a private life. She had the talent to go places, and she had so much time to make up.
He caressed her neck with his thumb. “I love you.” God, I love you, Noir. But Lucy might well decide that while he was part of her present, he wasn’t her future. He had to face the possibility that their relationship was simply a step in Lucy’s recovery.
“Yes, we’ll get a tree, but whether it’s your parents’ house or the artists’ party, I can’t go with you. I’ll be on duty.”
She pushed his hand away. “You could take time off if you wanted. I’m not sure you do.”
“What? That’s crazy.”
“Is it? I mean, you want the sex—I want the sex—but you don’t seem to want much else out of this. Okay, sometimes you want help with a case.”
Crap, this was going to be a mess now, wasn’t it?