About Together Again
Deputy DA Margo Keyes is looking forward to this trip with as much enthusiasm as she'd have for a root canal. There’s the Philly summer heat, the high school reunion she’d rather avoid, and the speech she’s to give as a last-minute stand-in for her boss. Mostly there’s facing high school crush Tony Alessandro. When she’d last seen the Philly cop, he’d danced her out of his sister’s wedding reception to a dark room where he’d kissed her senseless. If his nephew hadn’t interrupted they’d have…well, who knows? He disappeared on some family errand. She went home to Portland, Oregon and she hasn’t heard from him since.
However, her homecoming turns out better than expected. The reunion and the speech work out. Even better, she and Tony pick up where they left off in that dark room and the only heat that’s unbearable is what they generate in bed.
Margo returns to Portland relieved she’s put a whole continent between them to give her breathing room to sort out what they’ve started. Then his work with a federal task force investigating industrial espionage brings him to Portland. And an accidental swap of messenger bags on her flight home puts her in the middle of the investigation.
Tony wants her out of the way of the bad guys and focused on him. She wants to use a secret from her past to wrap up the case. And maybe avoid having to think about what’s happening between them. They can’t both win.
Or can they?
Excerpt from “Together Again”
The sound was annoying. How could she stop it? She had to swim up through the music and leave the dance and…
Oh, hell. The bedside clock came into view as she woke. It was ten o’clock. She’d overslept. Again. And she didn’t have to guess who was at the other end of the ringing phone.
After she apologized to him and hung up, she grabbed her robe and drew it on as she ran to open the door where she found Tony putting a cell phone into his jeans’ pocket. From his damp hair, he wasn’t long out of the shower and the clean-guy smell of freshly laundered shirt, some kind of sandlewoody soap and maybe his shaving gel was almost as sexy as last night’s cologne. A carrier holding two paper cups was on the floor.
He picked up the carrier and walked in. “I brought you a latte. Figured you’re now one of those West Coast coffee snobs. But from the look of you I should have brought Theresa instead.”
“I’m so sorry, Tony. I don’t know what’s going on. This is the second morning I’ve overslept and I never oversleep. Never.” She took the cup he offered and inhaled a slug of coffee. “Thank you for this. It just what I…” She stopped. “Bring Theresa? Your sister?”
“Yeah, the one who owns a salon.”
She put a hand up to her hair and realized that she desperately needed a brush.
“Oh, God, I’m a mess. Here,” she handed the cup back to him and made for the bedroom.
“I’ll be ready in half an hour, I swear.”
“Half an hour would be great. I said I’d be in before eleven to finish up some paperwork from last night before we eat. Hope you don’t mind.”
“Of course not. Make yourself at home. TV’s over…,” she said gesturing towards an armoire, which he was already opening. “Oh, good. You found it.”
As she pushed the door shut, she heard the crack of a bat hitting a ball. If he’d found a Phillies game, she had lots of time.
Fifteen minutes later, out of the shower and wrapped in a towel, her hair brushed and twisted up with a clip, she was pulling clothes out of drawers, trying to decide what to wear. There was a tap on the door and Tony said, “Coffee’s getting cold. Want it while you get ready?”
“Yes, but hold on a minute,” she answered and looked around for her robe. She had only just found it under a pile of rejected outfits when the door swung open and he walked in, her cup of coffee in his hand. She clutched at the front of the towel, holding it close to her breasts.
He stopped halfway across the room. “Sweet Jesus, Margo,” he said. But after looking at her for a few seconds, he crossed the rest of the way to where she stood and set the coffee on a table. He’d apparently seen what he wanted to see on her face because he drew her close. As their mouths met, her hands slid up his arms and around his neck.
Margo had tried to confine her memory of kissing Tony to that inaccessible place in her mind where she kept the details of the periodic table of elements and the family tree of Elizabeth the First of England, things she needed out of her consciousness for one reason or another. She always failed. The symbol for plutonium or the name of Henry the Seventh’s mother she had to work at recalling. But not Tony’s kisses.
He started soft and slow and let the kiss build in intensity seemingly without any effort on his part. When he persuaded her to let him explore her mouth with his tongue, her knees slowly melted and sparks showered through her, burning away the memory of any other man she’d ever kissed. By the time he ended the kiss—and it was always Tony who ended the kiss—she would have temporarily forgotten how to breathe on her own and would need his arms to hold her upright.
He had just hooked his fingers into the top of the towel she was wearing when his pager beeped.
This time he swore only in English. “Damn it to hell,” he said under his breath. He shook his head, kissed her forehead and walked out of the room to answer the page, firmly closing the door behind him.
Margo stood in the middle of the floor for a long moment, apparently incapable of movement. Eventually feeling returned to her limbs and she was able to gulp down the coffee and get dressed. Ten minutes later she stood at the closed door of the bedroom ready to go out to the living room. A couple deep breaths and she opened the door.
About Peggy Bird
Born in Philly, I’ve spent most of my adult life in the Pacific Northwest where I have happily grown webs between my toes and moss behind my ears. I pursued a number of careers—nurse, legislative staffer, lobbyist, public affairs consultant, non-profit association executive, workshop teacher, oh, and mother and wife—before deciding to leave it all for what I’ve loved through every stage of life—writing. I've been published in anthologies, magazines, newspapers and in the brochures, newsletters and reports of my consulting clients and employers. Unless you count speeches for politicians, I'd never written fiction until a cast of characters began inhabiting my daydreams. A glass artist and a gallery owner were there. So were a sculptor and a jewelry designer. When some dead bodies showed up, a couple of cops and a deputy DA arrived. Soon they began to fall in love with each other and work for their happy ending. Bingo. I was a romance writer.