When Harris Jacobs visits the recently widowed wife of a former colleague, a condolence call turns into so much more.
Harris is drawn to Grace Abel in ways that override rational thought. He tells himself to let the beautiful widow grieve in peace, but he can’t force himself to walk away. When an innocent dinner leads to a night of passion, Harris gives into his desires and makes Grace feel alive for the first time since tragedy turned her world upside down.
Grace and I sat alone, the sound of clinking glasses coming from the kitchen, where the staff must have been cleaning up, and she squeezed my hand. “Stay here a minute, will you, Harris?” she whispered and then got up without waiting for an answer and headed toward the commotion.
The murmur of hushed voices filtered into the room and then Grace was back. She sat heavily onto her chair.
“God, Harris. I haven’t been out of this house since the funeral. Is it really Monday already?”
“Yes, Monday. How are you holding up?”
Grace nodded slowly. “I’ve had better weeks.” She dabbed at her tears. “What time is it?”
I looked at my watch. “It’s just short of eight o’clock.”
“Eight o’clock? I haven’t eaten since this morning.”
“If this sounds dumb, just tell me. But would you like to go out to dinner?”
She gave me a small smile. “That’s so sweet. I would love to get out of here for an hour or so. Give me a minute.”
She stood and so did I. In her slippers, she was my height. She squeezed my hand and then headed for the stairs. Her stride was powerful. I couldn’t help but stare at her terrific ass, the great pair of strong legs.
A need I hadn’t felt in a long time stirred. Adrian and I hadn’t had sex for at least three months before she’d moved out. I wasn’t one for one-night stands and never had been. But, hey, I was a normal guy and a set of legs like that got my motor running.
Slow down, Harris. She buried her husband less than a week ago. Don’t be an asshole.
She returned ten minutes later. She’d kept the black dress and added a long white scarf, some dark red lipstick and a pair of low heels.
Now, she was taller than me.
I stared a bit longer than I should have, confirming what I already knew—this was one spectacular woman. “Would you care for anything in particular for dinner?” I asked, looking directly into her eyes.
“Something substantial. I’ve just been picking since Morty…well.”
Her eyes began to brim over, and I took her arm. “Well, that sounds like steak and a good Shiraz. Does that work for you?”
For the first time since I’d arrived, a real smile radiated on her face. “Perfect.”
* * * * *
I drove downtown to Antonio’s, an open-grill steakhouse that served only free-range beef and had a great wine list. I knew George, the manager. He stood by the front desk as we walked in.
George recognized Grace right away. “Grace. Been a long time. I heard about Morty. I’m so sorry for your loss.”
George turned to me. “Harris, good to see you. Ready for dinner?”
“Yes, George, please. And a quiet corner if possible.” I turned to Grace. “I figure you can do without strangers coming over.”
“Yes. That would be nice.”
George led us to a table for two by the windows, our spot overlooking the small lake across the street. Grace sat, glanced around and sighed.
“You sure you’re okay with this?” I asked, leaning across the table.
She nodded and smiled. “Yes. Definitely. Life goes on. Your wife? Still going through the divorce?”
“Yes. Matter of fact, we signed the final papers today. We’re still friends, I guess.” I gave her a half smile. “We’ll see.”
“As I remember, Morty said she’s moving to London soon. Something about a promotion.”
“Right again. Good memory. She’s taking over the European division for Donnelly Sparks.”
“Oh. Do you have children?”
I nodded. “Two daughters. One lives in LA, the other in Nashville. Both married. A little too early I think. But their husbands are nice and on their way to success, so there isn’t much responsibility on my part.”
She held me with her gaze. “Sorry. I don’t mean to pry, but you have this aura of calm about you, something I really need this evening.”
“No. No problem. All the emotion’s out of it.” I covered her hand where it sat on the table. “I’m glad I can be of comfort tonight.”
Grace picked up the menu, and I grabbed the wine list. The server came by, and I ordered the Napa Valley Shiraz I liked. When the waiter returned with the bottle, he uncorked it and offered me the cork. I wasn’t a wine expert by any means, but the cork had a lovely aroma. He poured for each of us.
Grace raised her drink. “To the future. To looking ahead.”
I clinked my glass with hers and then took a generous sip.