She wasn’t used to having someone pay for a cab or open the door of the small cottage
she hadn’t shared with anyone else in three years.
The young lieutenant had barely closed the door before pulling her into his arms and
kissing her-hard, as if he’d wanted to imprint his mark for all time instead of forty-eight
hours. She pushed the thought away. He’d made his intentions very clear. Lulu had come to
terms with the fact that forty-some hours with Jack Howland was worth more than a lifetime
She hadn’t been kissed in a very long time or been pressed against a wall while large,
masculine hands swept over her bare flesh. His mouth tasted of cigarettes and coffee,
unfamiliar and delicious. His touch, tender and demanding, sparked a need she barely
remembered but knew, after this night, she’d never forget.
Her experience had been limited to a young husband whose enthusiasm often over-
shadowed anything she might have desired, if she’d been brave enough to ask. Much like
their dance, she followed where he led and was surprised by the stray tear he kissed away
and didn’t ask her to explain. He’d glanced at Toby’s picture on the fireplace mantel and held
her while she explained her two-week marriage and being widowed when the Arizona sank.
Jack was tender and passionate and she had to keep reminding herself that their time
together was temporary, but she’d never been kissed so intimately or devoured so
As much as he gave she couldn’t help but feel that there was part of himself he held back
and she found herself wishing that might come before their time together ended. If it didn’t,
she couldn’t fault him. He hadn’t made any promises past forty-eight hours and she didn’t
expect any. He attended to her protection without comment and she was alternately grateful
and sad. A child would have been impractical.
She thought she’d convinced herself that the last thing she needed in her life was the
complication of a romance during this damn war until at the end of their time together, he
kissed her goodbye and climbed into a cab while the radio played Jo Stafford singing “I’ll Be
Seeing You” in the background.
He didn’t look back until she turned to go inside. One last glimpse found their gazes
locked as they had been only hours ago. If she lived to be one hundred, she was never going
to forget the desperate sadness he’d refused to explain.
It would have made a great movie scene. A real tearjerker, if her reaction was anything
to go by.