Home > Close to You (Fusion #2)(9)

Close to You (Fusion #2)(9)
Author: Kristen Proby

“This is the house,” she says confidently as she follows me out and back to the car.

“We have one more to see.”

“No.” She shakes her head and hands me my phone. “You don’t need to see more.”

“What if it’s better than this one?”

“It won’t be. You’re sick of looking, Landon, and this house isn’t too big, isn’t too small, and is newer. And it’s not haunted.”

“I don’t think that other house was haunted,” I reply, agreeing with her. I like this house. I pull away and head back to the restaurant.

“Why are you renting instead of buying?” she asks.

“Because I don’t know where I’ll end up,” I reply immediately, and slam on my brakes as we’re almost T-boned in an intersection. “It’s a four-way stop, asshole!”

“Nothing wrong with your reflexes,” she says, and pushes her hair off her face. “So you don’t plan on settling down in Portland?”

“I probably will,” I say, and shrug. “I mean, the family is here, and I don’t have any job offers elsewhere, but I want to keep my options open for a while, you know?”

“No, not really,” she replies, and I glance over at her. “I like it here. I’ll always be here.”

“Well, especially now that you have the restaurant, I can see that.”

“With or without it, this is home.”

I shake my head. “Haven’t you ever wanted to live anywhere else? I mean, you’ve been here your whole life. Now that you don’t have family here—”

“Steven is here.”

Her voice is hard as she reminds me of her nephew and when I glance at her again, her face is taut and lips pursed. I’ve pissed her off.


“I’m sorry, Cami.” Shit, I don’t know what else to say. I should know that Cami’s always done what feels safe to her.

“You can drop me off at home,” Cami says, and blows out a breath.

“You don’t need to get your car?”

“No, I rode in with Riley this morning.” She sighs and crosses her legs. “I think I’ll actually take tonight off.”

“Good for you,” I reply, and drive the short couple of miles to her house, pull in her driveway, and glance over to see that she’s fallen asleep. Her face is relaxed, her breathing even, and her lips—those amazing, plump lips—are slightly parted. I want to kiss her so bad I ache with it.

Instead, I get out of the car, and before she can climb out herself, I open the door for her and take her hand, helping her to her feet.

“Sorry I dozed.”

“You’re tired.”

She nods and leads me into her house. “It’s been a busy week.”

“How many hours a week do you work?” I ask as she plops her bag on the table inside the door and toes off her shoes, instantly shrinking at least four inches. She looks so small.

So sexy.

“About sixty,” she replies, and shrugs as if it’s no big deal. “It’s better than the eighty I was working before I stopped working for my other clients. I’ll make dinner.”

“No.” My voice is calm, but firm. The thought of her working herself to the bone sets a fire in my stomach that I can’t explain. “You worked your ass off this week, and I just dragged you all over Portland to look at houses.”

“It was two houses,” she says, and rolls her eyes.

“I’ll order in Chinese.”

Her eyes sharpen at that suggestion.

“That got your attention.” I grin and reach out to tug a lock of hair, and this time she doesn’t move away.

“You know it’s my favorite.”

I grin. “Of course I do. Sit.” I point to the arm of the couch where Scoot has just jumped. He’s sitting, his tail flicking back and forth, his eyes narrowed, watching us.

“I’m not a dog.”

“Not even close,” I agree. “Have a seat. Please.”

“Since you said please,” she says primly, and sits next to Scoot, who curls up next to her. “He won’t get in my lap, at least not like he does you, and if he does, he won’t let me pet him. He’ll sit next to me like this, and he purrs, but he still won’t let me pet him. He’s the weirdest cat.”

“He likes you,” I murmur as I sit at the opposite end of the couch and dial the number for Cami’s favorite Chinese place. After I order, I glance over to see that Cami’s eyes are heavy. Her head is tilted back, leaning on the couch. Her bare feet are on the ottoman, crossed at the ankles.

I need to get my hands on her. But when I move to scoot closer, she flinches and eyes me warily.

I hate this. Did I fuck up that badly? Did I hurt her feelings that morning so bad that she’s placed me directly in the friend zone? And I’m talking the don’t-touch-me friend zone.

I hate that place, especially with Cami. I know that we’ll never be like we were when we were kids, and hell, I don’t want to be. I want to be close to her. I want to get to know her again.

“How is Steven?” I ask, trying to fill the silence. She smiles sweetly.

“He’s great. He’s living with his girlfriend, but he checks in with me often, and we try to get together for dinner once a week. He’s a good kid.”

“You’re close.” It isn’t a question.

“Well, given the age difference between me and Steve’s mom, he’s more like a brother to me. He’s nineteen going on thirty. Were we that eager to grow up?”

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