Excerpt from Cindy's Prince

     She expected him to turn and walk away. But he didn't. His step faltered. She watched him raise a hand to his face, running it across his eyes, as if in indecision. Was he shy? For an instant, he reminded her of a hesitating teenager, trying to muster courage to talk to a girl.
     "It's not all that far, you know, to the Main Line," he said. "Not like it's another planet or something."
     She wrinkled her nose. "It's another universe. And not my universe."
     "Can I see you again? I'd really like to see you again. Dinner? A show?"
     Her stomach twisted. She was standing there, enveloped with kids and emotions, and he was talking about dinner. What part of this scene made her look like date bait?
     She had to be forceful. "No. No way. I am absolutely and totally not interested." By the look on his face, he was not used to this reaction.
     "Hey," he protested. "I don't have horns on my head. Or spinach in my teeth. In some circles, I'm considered even acceptable. Can't you give a guy a chance? Geez." He grimaced. "My self esteem is taking a beating here. Just a dinner?"
     "I don't like him," growled five-year-old Morgan at her side. He tightened the already tourniquet-level hold on her leg. Now it resembled a Ninja death grip. "Make him go away."
     She reached down and loosened his fingers, and wiggled her leg to get the circulation flowing again. "It's ok, Morgan," she said, tousling his hair. "The nice man is going. Now." She put Hannah down, and shooed them both back into the living room.
     "Boy, everybody's a critic today," he said wryly.
     "This is what I get for talking to a stranger on a bus. Let that be a lesson to me. I'm just not interested." But even as she spoke, she was hit with a pang of regret. She wanted him to go. But the thought also made her sad. Mostly, though, she wanted all the disturbing feelings that had washed over her to disappear.
     When she'd opened the door to find this handsome stranger on her steps, she'd opened the door to unsettling memories that she'd rather forget. Could she close the door, and return to the peace and calm of her life? For a fleeting second she closed her eyes, hoping that when she opened them he would be gone.
     But he wasn't.
     Instead, with no warning, and no words, he took a step forward, closing the gap between them. His arms went up, one to her shoulder, one reaching behind her head. With one smooth and swift movement, he moved his head forward toward hers.
 
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