Skintight

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Book: Skintight by Susan Andersen Read Free Book Online
Authors: Susan Andersen
Then there’s the being-at-the-mercy-of-a-tour-group’s-schedule factor.”
    â€œYeah, it’s that last thing that would stop me,” Treena agreed and asked the other woman to grab the cookies. She poured two cups of coffee and carried them to the small dining room table. “Strangers, you can always get to know. But I’d want to be able to explore all the sights on my own timetable.” She reached for a cookie. “Don’t any of your friends want to go? I know I’d go with you in a heartbeat if I had any vacation time coming.” She smiled ruefully. “Well, that, and if it were even remotely in my budget.”
    â€œI took an early retirement and most of my friends are still working. And the only one of them I can actually imagine living with day in and day out for three straight weeks is Lois. In fact, we’ve sort of dream-planned this trip for years, and this fall was going to be the time when we actually took it. But her daughter in Minnesota found out two months ago that after years of trying she’s finally pregnant, so Lois is saving up her vacation time instead to go help out after the baby is born.” Ellen raised one delicate-fingered hand and sipped her coffee. “I’ll probably just postpone the trip until next year when she’s free to join me.”
    â€œYou must be so disappointed, though. I’m sorry.”
    Ellen flashed her an affectionate smile and reached across the table to pat her hand. “You’re a good girl.”
    â€œCan I have that in writing? My parents are positive my job is a one-way ticket to hell.”
    â€œAh.” The older woman nodded wisely. “I imagine it’s hard for them to realize their baby dances topless in one of the shows.”
    â€œUm, no, that would merely be the clincher. They’ve pretty much reserved my handbasket for the trip without ever having learned that part.”
    Someone pounded on the front door and they both jumped. Treena got up to answer it, stopping to peek through the peephole first to see who it was. “Ah, Mack,” she said. He was the neighbor who lived on the other side of her.
    Ellen made a small hissing sound of disapproval, but Treena ignored it and opened the door. “Hey there,” she said to the burly man on her threshold and cocked an eyebrow. “Is the building on fire?”
    â€œNope. But rumor has it your libido is. Hear you’ve got yourself a hot new guy.”
    â€œBoy, that Carly’s sure been a busy little beaver, hasn’t she? I can see I’m going to have to talk with her.”
    â€œNow, don’t be mad, sweetheart. She’s just excited for you.” He sniffed the air. “Is that coffee I smell?”
    â€œIt is. And some truly divine cookies to go with it.” She opened the door wider and stepped back. “Come join us.”
    â€œUs? Who’s us?” He stepped over the threshold, five feet nine inches of raw energy that stopped dead when he saw Ellen sitting at the table. “Oh, hell. It’s you.” He thrust a weathered hand through his curly gray hair and glowered. “I should have known. Don’t you have a home?”
    Ellen took a dainty sip of her coffee and gave him a bland look. “I could ask the same of you, Mr. Brody.”
    â€œMack,” he snarled. “How many times do I have to tell you to call me Mack ? Is that so fricking hard to remember?” He hooked his thumbs in the back pockets of his Levi’s and muttered, “Hearing myself called Mr. Brody makes me feel like a goddamn old man.”
    She looked him up and down and raised perfectly groomed eyebrows.
    â€œYeah, so, big deal,” he growled. “I’m no spring chicken.” He crossed to the table where he pulled out a chair, spun it around, and straddled it. Stacking his sinewy arms upon the top rail, he propped his chin atop them and returned her perusal. “But then

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