As If You Were Mine (Seriously Sweet St Louis #2) by Cindy Kirk

Chapter One





On a scale of one to ten, Sara Michaels decided James Smith’s kiss rated no more than a five. It wasn’t a great kiss; her pulse didn’t soar and her heart didn’t flutter like the heroines in the books she read. But it wasn’t bad, either. His lips were cool and dry, and though he kept his mouth firmly closed, he tasted like spearmint-flavored mouth-wash.

Impulsively she pulled James against her and returned the kiss with unusual gusto. Normally he kept a proper distance between them and she could sense his surprise when her body molded to his and her arms slipped up to encircle his neck.

He hesitated for only a second before his lips captured hers, more demanding this time. In that moment his rating rose to a six. Sara resisted a sudden impulse to run her fingers through his carefully coiffed hair or maybe even nuzzle his neck.

Sara stopped herself just in time. She could only imagine his response if she did something so foolish. He’d probably think she’d turned into a wanton woman. Straight-as-an-arrow Sara a wanton woman? Laughter bubbled up from deep inside and tugged at the corners of her mouth. Unexpectedly a giggle slipped out.

“Sara?” James broke the contact and took a step back. His brows pulled together and she could see the hurt confusion in his eyes.

Shame flooded Sara. He probably thought she was laughing at him.

“I don’t know what got into me.” She touched his arm with her hand. “I’m sorry.”

James was a wonderful man, an honorable man. A man any woman would be lucky to call her own. The dozen yellow roses sitting on the side table in the crystal vase were a testament to his generosity and thoughtfulness. Even though he knew red was her favorite color, he’d chosen yellow for friendship rather than be presumptuous and pick the ones that stood for love.

“Am I interrupting?” Meg Stanley, Sara’s manager, stood in the doorway, a knowing smile on her face.

“No, of course not. James just stopped by. With flowers.” Sara swept a hand in the direction of the coffee table. “Aren’t they lovely?”

“Beautiful,” Meg said. Though she’d once told Sara she personally didn’t care much for James, she graciously cast an admiring glance at the flowers. “You done good, James.”

James winced, and Sara knew even though he understood that Meg’s grammatical error was intentional, it had still hurt his ear. Sometimes his insistence on perfect grammar got tedious, but he meant well.

Sara’s once-abysmal grammar had improved dramatically over the past year, thanks to James’s tutelage. Of course, he insisted that, as her publicist, honing her image was just part of his job.

“What brings you by today?” James’s gaze narrowed. “I thought you were out of town this weekend.”

“I was.” Meg dropped her purse to the floor and settled into a nearby chair. “But I got a hot lead on a bodyguard for Sara.”

“Bodyguard?” His blond brows slanted in a frown. “I can’t believe you’re doing all this because of a few ridiculous notes. Don’t you think you’re overreacting?”

“I’m not overreacting and they’re not ridiculous.” Meg’s blue eyes snapped. “They’re threats against Sara. I would think you’d be more concerned. As her publicist, if nothing else.”

“That’s exactly why I am concerned, Meg.” James didn’t bother to hide his displeasure.

Here we go again.

Sara took a seat on the Queen Anne sofa and waited for the battle to begin. The two had been arguing steadily about how to handle the matter since the day that Meg had discovered Sara had been receiving threatening notes and called the police.

James had been furious because of the possibility of bad press. Sara had deliberately played it cool. No one could suspect she knew more than she was telling.

The police had said that although the notes were disturbing, they weren’t threatening in the legal sense of the word. And that, even if they found the writer, they wouldn’t be able to prosecute.

Sara had thought that would be the end of it and Meg would let the matter drop. Obviously she’d been wrong.

“C’mon, Meg.” Sara kept her tone light. “Having a bodyguard could cause all sorts of unnecessary talk.”

“I agree,” James added.

“I agree, too,” Meg said.

“You do?” Sara and James spoke as one.

“Of course.” Meg’s lips curved up in a slight smile. “That’s why I thought we’d say he was your new boyfriend.”