Sweet Liar (Montgomery/Taggert 18) - Page 83

She sighed. “You know, that did occur to me a few times. I learned to tell him only of my setbacks and my frustrations. He’d listen to my account of something that had gone wrong, then lecture me about how I should have done so and so, and afterward he’d be nice to me for days. I kept promotions to myself, but he saw them reflected in my paychecks.”

“Maybe this other woman looked up to him, thought he was her big, strong hero.”

“Jackrabbits would seem brainy to that woman. I used to spend Friday afternoons trying to help Richard by teaching her how to run the office, how to answer the phone by saying something other than, ‘Yeah, what’d’ya want?’ She was stupid, plain, thick-waisted, thick-ankled, and never washed her hair. She was rude and tasteless and couldn’t comprehend a joke—and she took my husband away from me. When we were getting the divorce, Richard said she was a great deal better in bed than I was. He said that plastic dolls were better in bed than I was.”

“And he knew that from experience?”

Samantha giggled. “Maybe a doll would give him someone pretty to look at now and then. Oh, Mike, I don’t understand it. Why would someone want to hear of the failures but not the successes of someone they loved? I knew Richard was frustrated in his job. That’s why I agreed to support us and give him a chance at big-time success, but he never even tried writing. I don’t think he so much as wrote a single chapter. He used the two years to ski and play tennis and…and…”

“Bang his secretary.”

“Yes! If he disliked me, why didn’t he just ask me for a divorce, then have an affair? Why did he have to make me so miserable?”

“Maybe he thought it was fair to make you unhappy since you were making him wretched.”

“Me? But I did everything for him. I supported him, cooked for him, cleaned for him, ironed his shirts, hand-washed his sweaters—”

“You did all that and still managed to be a success at two jobs? It’s a wonder he didn’t kill you.”

“You’re taking his side!” she half shouted as she started to move away from him.

But he pulled her back to him. “Your ex-husband was a stupid, frightened coward, and his lifelong punishment is that he lost you.”

She hugged him, kissed his shoulder. “Oh Mike. I tried so hard to be what he wanted me to be.”

When Mike spoke, there was a definite whine in his voice. “You don’t try very hard with me. You haven’t hand-washed anything for me, and I didn’t even know you could iron.”

She didn’t laugh in return but was utterly serious. “As far as I can tell, all you want from me is laughter and sex.”

“Found out at last. Meet Michael Taggert, the personification of shallowness.”

Looking up at him, her eyes were filled with what she felt for him. “No, Michael, you’re not shallow. Richard was shallow. Shallow and superficial and petty. You…you know how to love.”

As he kissed the top of her head, he put his hand on her bare breast. “Especially right now. Wanta play ‘sit on the tent pole’?”

“Not again?” she said, giggling. “I don’t know if I’m ready again so soon.”

“Want me to talk you into it?”

“Yes, please,” she said politely, sounding as though she were asking for a second watercress sandwich. “If you wouldn’t mind, that is.”

But Michael had his mouth full and couldn’t speak.


Samantha woke after only about an hour’s sleep, but she’d never felt better in her life. She had to pry her body from under Mike’s, lifting his sleep-heavy arms and legs from over her body before slipping out of the bed. Taking the robe she’d appropriated from the back of the bathroom door, she slipped it on and started to leave the room. But she turned back to stand beside the bed, looking down at him as he slept, limbs sprawled across the sheets, relaxed.

Her life was changed now, she thought. Changed forever. Irrevocably changed.

Last night with Mike had changed her, had made her feel freer inside than she had ever felt. Smiling down at him, she realized that she had been changing from the first moment she’d met Mike. The prim, frightened little mouse who’d ridden in her first cab was not the same woman who had done the incredible things she’d done with Mike last night.

It was odd that she was one way with her ex-husband and another with Mike. Richard had not approved of Samantha when she’d laughed too loud or been exuberant about anything, whether she was happy about a promotion or a book she was reading or anything at all. Maybe Mike was right and her being anything but sedate frightened Richard.

For a moment Samantha leaned over the bed and touched Mike’s hair. She didn’t frighten Mike because he was sure of himself, sure of who he was and what he was, and Samantha’s vitality pleased him rather than scared him.

A curl of his hair twined about her fingers. If angels were real, she thought, they’d have hair just like Michael’s.

Smiling at her own sentimentality, she left the room to go upstairs to her apartment to get some clothes.

Tags: Jude Deveraux Montgomery/Taggert Historical
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