Sweet Liar (Montgomery/Taggert 18) - Page 50

Born in the city, the merchant thought. “Is there anything else in the store you like?”

Thinking that was a very odd question, Samantha didn’t try to understand it but pointed to some garnet earrings that she liked and the merchant took them out of the window so she could look at them.

She thought the earrings were lovely, but she refused to allow herself to covet them. It was better that she bought something for Mike to say thank you for all he?

?d done for her. “They’re nice but I’d rather have the statue, but it costs too much,” she said honestly.

“How about five fifty for both of them?”

Again Samantha looked startled, but she was beginning to understand. On impulse, she said, “Three fifty.”

“Four twenty-five,” he said, taking the earrings off the counter.

“Three seventy-five for both of them. Cash.” She held her breath, for that was every penny she had on her. She couldn’t go up even a nickel.

“Four hundred and that’s all I can do.”

Sam’s face fell again, and she looked as sad as she felt. “I’m sorry but three seventy-five is all that I can spend.” Slowly she turned toward the door.

“Okay,” the man said in disgust. “They’re yours. Three seventy-five. Cash.”

When Samantha left the store, she was feeling a little stunned, as though she’d just done the strangest thing of her life, and she walked for half a block before she realized that it was beginning to rain. Looking at her watch, she saw that it was nearly six o’clock. She knew without a doubt that Mike would be home waiting for her and he’d be furious.

Having learned about bargaining, Samantha now learned about taxis: At the first drop of rain, all New York cab drivers headed for shelter. At least that was the theory proposed to explain why there were never any vacant cabs on the street when it rained, or maybe the rain might wash the cars, then they’d no longer deserve the name of New York cab. Standing at the curb side, she held her hand up, but no cab stopped for her. Well, she thought, perhaps New York isn’t perfect after all. Readjusting her grip on her shopping bags, she put her head down against the rain and started the long walk back to Mike’s town house.


As soon as she turned the corner onto Sixty-fourth Street she began to run. The rain was coming down hard now and she was getting wet, but that had nothing to do with her hurry—she was hurrying toward Michael. He might be angry that she’d left without telling him where she was going and he’d rant and rave a bit, but she knew that he’d be waiting and he’d be glad to see her. He’d be glad that she was safe and he’d want to hear about what she had been doing, what she had seen, what she’d bought. He’d want to know everything. She didn’t know how she was sure of this, but she was.

He opened the door before she was on the top step. Obviously he had been watching for her. In spite of his immediate blustering, she was grinning at him.

“Where the hell have you been?” he said, sounding angry, but she could hear the underlying relief in his voice. She also detected something else: curiosity. “If you’d been gone another minute, I’d have called the cops. Don’t you realize that this city is dangerous?”

“Oh, Mike,” she said, laughing and running her hand through her wet hair. “There are thousands—millions—of women out there without a big, strong man to protect them.”

She could see that he was partially mollified by her calling him a “big, strong man.”

“Yes, well, they know what they’re doing, but you—”

He stopped because she sneezed and the next minute he took her by the arm and led her to the bathroom they shared. “Out of those wet clothes. Now.”

“Mike, my dry clothes are upstairs. I need—”

“After today I’m afraid to let you out of my sight, even to go upstairs. I’ll get you something to put on.” He shut the bathroom door.

For a moment Samantha stood looking in the mirror. Even to her, she looked flushed and happy, which is how she felt. Quickly she began to undress, hesitating over whether or not to remove her underwear, then, on impulse, she took it off too and rubbed herself with a towel. There was a knock on the door, and Mike opened it enough to hand her a bathrobe. Taking the robe, she saw right away that it had never been worn. The robe was too new, and it wasn’t something that Mike would wear. It was navy blue silk charmeuse with burgundy piping, the kind of robe a woman would buy a man, then become frustrated when he wouldn’t wear it. Only David Niven could wear something like this robe and feel comfortable in it.

Slipping her arms in it, she hugged the silk to her. It was Mike’s and it felt good.

When she left the bathroom, she was toweling her hair dry. Mike met her in the kitchen, a drink in his hand.

“No,” she began, but he pushed the drink toward her and she took it.

“Now,” he said sternly, “I want to know where you have been. What caused you to run off like that and scare me half to death and—?”

She took a deep swallow of her gin and tonic. “If you don’t stop complaining, I won’t show you what I bought you.”

That statement made his eyes widen.

Tags: Jude Deveraux Montgomery/Taggert Historical
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