Heat of Passion
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Shelby laughed again. “Um, okay. Care to elaborate?”
Although she didn’t know Shelby at all, Holly couldn’t help but spill everything, from her first encounter with Carson to the fight they’d had two nights ago. “He was just trying to help,” she finished, “and I called him selfish and asked him to leave.”
“Don’t worry, he’ll come back,” Shelby said. “Trust me, if Carson wants a relationship with you, he’ll fight for it. He never gives up. It’s actually very annoying.”
Holly gave a brief smile. “Let’s hope he still wants a relationship when he gets back.” Her smile faded, a quivery breath leaving her throat. “Because of he doesn’t, I’ll kick myself for the rest of my life for letting him get away.”
Two weeks. He’d been gone for two weeks. And Holly was beginning to grow more than a little worried. She’d called Shelby every day since her visit to the café, and the other woman hadn’t been able to provide her with any details. Apparently someone from the base had called Shelby to tell her John had been in radio contact and should be heading home soon, but other than that, Holly had no clue if Carson was okay. She hoped he was, because if he didn’t come home in one piece, she was going to have a nervous breakdown.
At least one good thing had come from all the worrying. She’d tried so hard to distract herself that she’d ended up cooking up a storm, and she’d impressed the hell out of her teacher with her dishes. He’d told her he would give her a glowing recommendation letter to any restaurant she applied for, but at this point, Holly wasn’t sure what she wanted to do. Shelby had told her a restaurant a block from the café was up for sale, and Holly was seriously considering getting a bank loan and taking the place over herself after she finished school.
But before she made any decisions about her future, she needed Carson to come home already. She missed him. Cooking dinner for him, watching those awful action movies, having mind-blowing sex. If he didn’t come back soon, she didn’t know what she’d do.
“Holly, are you listening to me?” her sister’s voice snapped, jerking her out of her thoughts.
She absently walked around her kitchen, holding the cordless phone to her ear as she opened a few cabinets and tried to decide what she would make to eat. “Sorry, Caroline, what were you saying?”
“The computer course Dad is taking,” Caroline said impatiently. “He wants us to go over there this weekend so he can show us all the stuff he’s learned. I know it’ll be boring, but he’s really excited about it.”
Holly tried not to laugh. Ever since that dinner two weeks ago, her family had truly been making an effort to give her space. Todd had hired himself a tutor, Kyle hadn’t locked his keys in his car once, Caroline had stopped dyeing her hair, and their father was learning how to use the computer to pay his bills online. So far, none of them had called her with any emergencies, which was a huge relief, since the only thing she was capable of concentrating on right now was Carson and when the hell he would come back to the States.
“Don’t worry, I’ll be there,” she assured her sister.
“Good. I’ll see you Saturday then. Oh, and let me tell you about this guy I met at Hot Zone last night. Hol, he was soooo cute! He—”
The phone beeped in her ear, cutting off Caroline’s sentence.
Holly’s heart skipped a beat. “Car, I’ve got to go. Someone’s trying to be buzzed up.”
She hung up before her sister could object and pressed the button that would open the lobby door. Then she tossed the phone on the counter with an excited yelp and dashed toward the front door. Carson! It had to be him.
Flinging open the door, she stepped into the hallway and glued her gaze to the elevator at the end of the hall. One second…two…three… The elevator doors swung up, and a wave of joy slammed into her. There he was, wearing khakis and a green T-shirt, his jaw covered in thick blond stubble. His blue eyes narrowed with wariness when he saw her lurking in the corridor.
He took a step forward, then stopped. “You’re not going to ask me to leave again, are you?” he called out.
“Not on your life,” she called back.
A smile filled his handsome face. “Thank God. Because I missed you like crazy.”
With urgent strides, he crossed the hall and made his way toward her. He’d barely reached the door when she launched herself into his arms and wrapped her arms tightly around him. “I’m so glad you’re okay,” she murmured into the crook of his neck. “You were gone so long. I was worried.”
He stroked her back with his big, warm hands and pressed a kiss to her temple. “Don’t worry. We just extracted a CEO and led him through the jungle for ten days. Piece of cake.”
Holly laughed, then pulled him into the apartment and closed the door behind them. “Please tell me nobody shot at you.”
Carson shrugged. “There might have been a bullet or two aimed in our direction,” he said vaguely.
Alarm coursed into her. “Were you hit? Are you hurt?” She immediately began running her fingers over his body, searching for a hidden bandage.
Chuckling, he trapped her hands between his. “Quit doing that.”
“Why?” She stared accusingly at him. “You were hurt!”