She melted against him. No other words for it really. He was real. He was solid and whole. He was everything she wanted and couldn’t have, no matter how badly she ached for him. She’d already wandered way off the track she’d set for herself, a fact that was now coming back to bite her hard because . . .
Because she was falling for him.
And what made it even worse; her day, her life, this situation . . . was that she not only wanted him in her life, she was desperately afraid and increasingly certain that she needed him as well.
She almost cracked at that. Almost but not quite.
But God, she couldn’t seem to let him go.
Finn tightened his arms on her, pressing his cheek to the top of her head. “It’s okay,” he whispered. “Whatever it is, it’s going to be okay.”
But it wasn’t. And she didn’t know if she’d ever feel okay again so she pressed her face into his throat and let herself take another minute. Or two.
Or whatever he’d give.
Finn cuddled Pru into him, alarmed by her pallor, by the way she trembled in his arms, the tiny little quivers that said she was fighting her emotions and losing. Her dress had plastered itself to her delicious curves, her long damp hair was clinging to her face and shoulders.
Pulling back, he took her hand and led her to the bar so he could grab a fresh towel. He started to dry off her wet face and realized it was tears, not rain. “Pru.”
“No, it’s nothing, really,” she said quietly, head down, his fearless fun whisperer . . .
“It’s not nothing,” he said.
“I just . . . I need to go.”
Yeah, not going to happen. At least not alone. Finn turned and jerked his chin at Sean, wordlessly telling him he was in charge of the bar.
Sean nodded and Fin took Pru’s hand, leading her down the hallway, not in the least bit sorry for leaving Sean in the lurch. After that stunt toast Sean had just given, Finn was saving his brother’s life by leaving now.
“Finn, really,” Pru said. “Really, I’m fine. Really.”
“And maybe if you say really one more time, I’ll believe you.”
She sighed. “But I am fine.”
She wasn’t but she would be. He’d damn well see to it. He took her to his office.
Thor leapt off the couch where he’d been snoozing, immediately launching into his imitation of a bunny. Bounce, bounce, bounce while bark, bark, barking at a pitch designed to shatter eardrums. “Thor,” he said. “Shut it.”
Thor promptly shut it and sat on his little butt, which shook back and forth with every tail wag that was faster than the speed of light. The result was that he looked like a battery-operated toy dog.
Pru choked out a laugh and scooped him up. “Why are you here, baby?”
“He got done at the beauty salon and Willa had to go before Jake could pick him up, so I said I’d take him for you.”
“It’s not a beauty salon,” she said, face pressed into Thor’s fur, doing a bang-up job at keeping up the pretense of being fine.
“Babe, it’s totally a beauty salon,” he said. “When I walked in to pick him up, Willa was presiding over a wedding between two giant poodles, one white, one black. The black one was wearing a wedding dress made of silk and crystals.”
She slid him a look. No more tears, thank God, but her eyes were haunted even though she did her best to smile. “Wow,” she said.
“Impressed by the lengths Willa’s shop goes to make money?” he asked.
“No, I’m impressed that you can recognize silk and crystals.”
“Hey, I’m secure in my manhood.” He took Thor from her and tucked the dog under an arm. The other he slipped around her waist. “Let’s go.”
“I’m taking you home. You look about done in.”
“I passed done in about an hour ago,” she admitted.
They didn’t speak again as they crossed the courtyard. But Thor did. He started barking at a pair of pigeons and when Finn gave him a long look, the dog switched to a low-in-the-throat growl.
“They outweigh you,” Finn told him. “Pick your battles, man.”
The dog was silent in the elevator but that was only because Max, who worked on the second floor in Archer’s office, was in it. With his Doberman pinscher Carl.
When Max and Carl got off the elevator, Thor let out a long sigh that sounded like relief, which under better circumstances would’ve made Finn laugh. “You know your particular breed of mutt was bred to kill Dobermans, right?” he asked the dog.