“A little over seven years.”
She started to ask if he’d been plagued with the legendary itch but didn’t want to destroy her honorable-man image. “I’m sorry to hear that. I’m sure the divorce process can be tough.”
“Ours was pretty contentious. But it wasn’t anything compared to losing someone to death.”
He almost sounded as if he’d had experience with that as well. “They’re both losses, and they both require navigating the grief process. I was somewhat lucky in that respect. I had Cassie to see me through the rough times.”
“How old was she when your husband died?” he asked.
“I was five months pregnant, so he never saw her.” She was somewhat amazed she’d gotten through that revelation without falling apart. Maybe her grief cycle was finally nearing completion.
“At least you were left with a part of him,” Logan said gruffly. “I assume that did provide some consolation.”
A good-looking and intuitive man, a rare combination in Hannah’s limited experience. “I’m very surprised by your accurate perception, Mr. Whittaker. Most of the time people look at me with pity when they learn the details. I appreciate their sympathy, but I’m not a lost cause.”
“It’s Logan,” he told her. “And you’re not remotely a lost cause or someone who deserves pity. You deserve respect and congratulations for moving on with your life, Hannah.”
Somewhat self-conscious over the compliment, and oddly excited over hearing her name on his lips, she began to fold the corner of the cocktail napkin back and forth. “Believe me, the first two years weren’t pretty. I cried a lot and I had a few serious bouts of self-pity. But then Cassie would reach a milestone, like her first steps and the first time she said ‘Mama,’ and I realized I had to be strong for her. I began to look at every day as a chance for new opportunities. A new beginning, so to speak.”
The waitress came back to the table and eyed Hannah’s empty glass. “Sure I can’t get you another?”
She glanced at the clock hanging over the bar and after noticing it was nearly 10:00 p.m., she couldn’t believe how quickly the time had flown by. “Actually, it’s getting late. I should probably be going.”
“It’s not that late,” Logan said. “Like I told you before, I’ll make sure you get home safely if you want to live a little and have another vodka and tonic.”
Hannah mulled over the offer for a few moments. Her daughter was at a sleepover, she had no desire to watch TV, and she was in the company of a very attractive and attentive man who promised to keep her safe. What would be the harm in having one more drink?
* * *
“I should never have ordered that second drink.”
Logan regarded Hannah across the truck’s cab as he pulled to a stop at the curb near her driveway. “It’s my fault for encouraging you.”
She lifted her face from her hands and attempted a smile. “You didn’t force me at gunpoint. And you had no idea I’m such a lightweight when it comes to alcohol.”
Funny, she seemed perfectly coherent to him, both back in the bar and now. “Are you feeling okay?”
“Just a little fuzzy and worried about my car. It’s not much, but it’s all that I have.”
He’d noticed the sedan had seen better days. “It’s been secured in the valet garage, and I’ll make certain it’s delivered to you first thing in the morning.”
“You’ve done too much already,” she said. “I really could have called a cab.”
In reality, he hadn’t been ready to say good-night, although he couldn’t quite understand why. Or maybe he understood it and didn’t want to admit it. “Like I told you, it’s not a problem. You don’t know who you can trust these days, especially when you’re an attractive woman.”
She gave him a winning grin. “I bet you say that to all the women who refuse a five-million-dollar inheritance.”
“You happen to be the first in that regard.” Absolutely the first woman in a long, long time to completely capture his interest on a first meeting. A business meeting to boot. “I’m hoping you haven’t totally ruled out taking the money.”
“Yes, I have. I know you probably think I’ve lost my mind, but I do have my reasons.”
Yeah, and he’d figured them out—she was refusing on the basis of principle. He sure as hell didn’t see that often in his line of work. “Well, I’m not going to pressure you, but I will check back with you tomorrow after you’ve slept on it.”
She blinked and hid a yawn behind her hand. “Speaking of sleeping, I’m suddenly very tired. I guess it’s time to bid you adieu.”
When Hannah reached for the door handle, Logan touched her arm to gain her attention. “I’ll get that for you.”
“Whaddya know,” she said. “Looks like chivalry is still alive and well after all.” She followed the comment with a soft, breathless laugh that sent his imagination into overdrive.
Before he acted on impulse, Logan quickly slid out of the driver’s seat, rounded the hood and opened the door for Hannah. She had a little trouble climbing out, which led him to take her hand to assist her. Weird thing was, he didn’t exactly want to let go of her hand, but he did, with effort.
He followed behind her as they traveled the path to the entry, trying hard to keep his gaze focused on that silky auburn hair that swayed slightly with each step she took, not her butt that did a little swaying, too.
Right before they reached the front porch, Hannah glanced back and smiled. “At least I’m not falling-down drunk.” Then she immediately tripped on the first step.
Logan caught her elbow before she landed on that butt he’d been trying to ignore. “Careful.”
“I’m just clumsy,” she said as he guided her up the remaining steps.
Once they reached the door, he released her arm and she sent him another sleepy smile. “I really enjoyed the evening, Logan. And if you’ll just send me what I need to sign to relinquish the money, I’ll mail it back to you immediately.”
He still wasn’t convinced she was doing the right thing in that regard. “We’ll talk about that later. Right now getting you to bed is more important.” Dammit, that sounded like a freaking proposition.
“Do you want to come in?” she asked, taking him totally by surprise.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea.” Actually, it sounded like a great idea, but he was too keyed up to honestly believe he could control his libido.
She clutched her bag to her chest. “Oh, I get it. You’re afraid you’re going to be accosted by the poor, single mom who hasn’t had sex in almost seven years.”
Oh, hell. “That’s not it at all. I just respect you enough not to put us in the position where we might do something we regret, because, lady, being alone with you could lead to all sorts of things.”
She leaned a shoulder against the support column and inclined her head. “Really?”
“Really. In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve had a hard time keeping my eyes off you tonight.” He was having a real hard time right now.
She barked out a laugh. “I’m sorry, but I’m having a difficult time believing you would be interested in me.”
She couldn’t be more wrong. “Why wouldn’t I be? You’re smart and savvy and pretty damn brave to raise a child on your own and finish college at the same time.”
He could...all night. “You’re a survivor and very beautiful, although you don’t seem to know that. And that’s not only hard to find in a beautiful woman, it’s appealing.”
“Right now I’d like to kiss you,” he blurted out before his brain caught up with