Free Skintight by Susan Andersen

Book: Skintight by Susan Andersen Read Free Book Online
Authors: Susan Andersen
her heart thundering like crazy, she agreed, then qualified it by adding cautiously, “But only if I can catch Carly before she leaves to run her dogs.She’s often in and out and hard to get a hold of. Either way, I’ll see you tonight. Same place by the elevators in the main salon.” She hung up before she could change her mind, then wondered if she was making a huge mistake.
    If so, it was too late to do anything about it, so she put it out of her mind, and she was finally starting to settle down again when her doorbell rang. She went to answer it, smiling to see her petite next-door neighbor Ellen Chandler on the other side.
    â€œHello, darling,” the older woman said. “I’m sorry to show up unannounced like this. Have I come at a bad time?”
    â€œNot at all.” Charmed as always with the retired librarian’s manners, she stood back to let her enter, happy for the distraction. “Please, come in.” She found Ellen’s company soothing, and she loved the way the fifty-nine-year-old often spoiled her with some of the best home-baked goodies she’d ever tasted. She gave the foil-covered plate in Ellen’s hands a covetous glance.
    Ellen caught her at it and extended the plate. “For you.”
    â€œThank goodness! For a second there I feared I was just a pit stop on your way to deliver it to someone else.” Grinning, she took the plate and headed for the kitchen. “I’ll put the coffee on. What did you make me this time?”
    â€œNothing special.” Ellen followed her around the breakfast bar that divided the small, cheerful room from the main living area. “Just a few snickerdoodles and chocolate drops.”
    Treena guffawed. “Nothing special, she says.” Pulling off the foil, she breathed in the rich, home-baked aroma. “Ohmigawd, Ellen. I think I love you.”
    â€œThat’s why I keep baking for you, sweetheart. You’re so easy.”
    â€œYes, ma’am. But I’m not cheap.”
    When Ellen laughed it was a deep, rich, surprisingly bawdy sound at odds with her short salt-and-pepper hair and neat-as-a-pin gray tank top, trim belt, and walking shorts. “Some might say that’s debatable if I can buy your affection with a plateful of cookies.”
    â€œHey, I’ll have you know it’s a cumulative effect. It took a lot of platefuls to get me to this point.”
    â€œWell, that’s a relief—I’d hate to think you were selling yourself short.” She straightened a magnet on the refrigerator, then looked over at Treena. “So tell me about this new man in your life. A hottie, I believe is how Carly described him.”
    The smile slid from Treena’s face and her hands stilled over the coffee fixings she was assembling. “Carly talks too much.”
    Ellen’s brow wrinkled. “Oh, dear. Was I not supposed to bring him up?”
    â€œNo. It’s fine. I’m being rude—I’m sorry.” That seemed to be her favorite new phrase. “It’s just that I’m a little confused about my feelings for Jax at the moment, and I don’t think I’m quite ready to talk about it.”
    â€œThen we won’t. Did I tell you I’ve been debating joining a tour for that trip to Italy I’ve been wanting to take?”
    Treena studied the petite older woman for a moment, then released the tension that the introduction of Jax into the conversation had settled in her shoulders. She shot Ellen a smile and resumed getting their coffee ready. “You have got to be the politest person I’ve ever met.”
    â€œYes, well, what can I say?” Ellen shrugged. “Early training digs its roots deep.”
    â€œIt’s very nice. I’ve never known anyone quite like you. So what’s the debate?”
    â€œI don’t want to go to Italy by myself. But I’m not sure I care to travel with a bunch of strangers, either.

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