“I was hoping you’d say that.” She reached over to give his hand a squeeze. “Thanks. Now, since you asked about ideas on this house, I’d suggest you start in the living room, which by my definition is an area where you’re supposed to live.”
“You’re going to insult my sofa again, aren’t you?”
“I don’t believe I have the skills to form the insult that sofa merits. But you might want to think about actual tables, lamps, area rugs, curtains.”
“I was thinking I could just order a bunch of stuff out of a catalogue.”
She sent him a very long, very dry stare. “You’re trying to scare me, but it won’t work. And since you’ve generously offered to help me out tomorrow, I’ll return the favor. I’d be glad to give you a hand with turning that space into a room.”
Since he’d all but licked his plate clean a second time, he resisted going for thirds. “Was that a trick, some clever ploy to drag me off to a furniture store?”
“It wasn’t, but it sure circled around to it well, didn’t it? I can give you some of my thoughts while we do the dishes.”
She rose to stack dishes, but he put a hand over hers. “Let’s just go in there now, and you can show me what’s so wrong with my simple, minimalist approach.”
“After the dishes.”
“Uh-uh. Now.” He began to pull her out of the room, amused at the struggle on her face as she glanced back at the table. “They’ll still be there when we get back. Trust me. It’s not going to hurt to do them out of the logical order.”
“Yes, it does. A little. Five minutes, then. The condensed consultation. First, you did a good job with the walls. It’s a good-sized room, and the strong color’s a complement, which you could enhance with touches of other strong colors in curtains and . . . What’re you doing?” she demanded when he began unbuttoning her shirt.
“Getting you naked.”
“Excuse me.” She tapped his fingers away. “I charge extra for naked decorating consults.”
“Bill me.” He swept her off her feet.
“This was just a trick, wasn’t it? A ploy to get my clothes off and have your way with me.”
“Sure circled around nicely, didn’t it?” He dumped her on the couch and dived on top of her.
HE made her laugh as he nipped along her jawline, playfully wrestled her down when she tried to squirm away.
“You taste even better than meat loaf.”
“If that’s the best you can do, then you’re the one who’ll be washing dishes.”
“Your threats don’t scare me.” He walked his fingers up her ribs toward her breast. “There’s a dishwasher somewhere in that kitchen.”
“Yes, there is. And you had a bag of dog food stored in it.”
“Is that where that went to?” He nibbled at her earlobe.
“It’s now in the utility closet, where it belongs.” She turned her head slightly to give him easier access to her neck. “You’re obviously unaware that there are very practical, even attractive, containers manufactured to store items such as dog food.”
“No kidding? Looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me, getting these domestic worries out of your mind. But I like a challenge after a good meal. Let’s just get this off.”
He tugged at her shirt, then made a throaty sound as he smoothed a finger over the salmon-colored lace of her bra. “I like this. We’ll leave that on a while.”
“We could take this upstairs, you know. I cleaned under the cushions and learned just what this monster can swallow. We could be next.”
“I’ll protect you.”
He replaced his fingertips with his lips, skimmed them over lace and flesh.
The enormous cushions gave under their weight, cradled them together as he sampled her. She wiggled and squirmed in mock resist