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“Thank you.” She pushed away the remains of her coffee, suddenly losing her taste for the sweet drink and took a deep breath. “This is very nice, your compliments are wonderful, the dinner was great and I’m enjoying the evening. But I have no idea what’s on your mind. What’s going on here, Reno? What’s so important you had to ask me to dinner?”
Reno swallowed the last of his coffee and set his cup down with careful precision.
“You’re right. It’s time I got to it.”
Sarah waited, forcing herself to sit quietly, even while her pulse began to accelerate. Something was definitely up, and something about Reno’s attitude unnerved her.
He cleared his throat again. “I know that you lost a child when your husband was killed, and I can’t tell you how sorry I am.”
How the hell did he know that? It was carefully guarded information. I wanted a child, but not Mike’s. Not something I can tell a stranger.
“What I wondered…that is, I wanted to know…” He shifted uncomfortably in his chair. “If the opportunity to have a child were presented to you, would you take it? Would it interest you?”
Sarah stared at him. Now, she was really confused. What did this have to do with work?
She blinked. “Excuse me?”
The air between them was suddenly so thick a saw couldn’t have cut it.
Sarah dropped her napkin on the table and pushed back her chair back. “I think I’d like to go home now.”
“Wait, please.” Reno reached across the table and placed his hand on her arm. “I’m doing this badly. Just hear me out, okay?”
She nodded but withdrew her arm, the heat of his hand searing her skin through the silk fabric of her blouse.
“You know I have a two-month-old infant,” he began. “I haven’t done very well with her since Maggie’s death. The circumstances are somewhat difficult.”
What could be so difficult about raising a child? she wondered. Not to mention the fact she had a hard time imagining this sexy as sin man with a child to begin with.
“My fault, nobody else’s,” he continued. “I can’t seem find a housekeeper, and my situation’s desperate.”
Sarah frowned. “Did you want me to check out some agencies? Really, Reno, you didn’t have to take me to dinner to ask me that. I’d be happy to help.”
Reno shook his head. “No, that’s not it at all. I know people who’ve had really serious problems hiring through an agency. I don’t really trust strangers, and I don’t think I’d be comfortable having one live in my house. It hasn’t worked so far.”
“Reno, please. Enough. Just get to the point here.”
“I’m sorry. I don’t usually botch things this badly. Okay, here’s the deal.” He took a deep breath and exhaled. “Sarah, I’m asking you to marry me.”
Sarah stared at Reno, speechless. If he’d asked her to take off her clothes, she couldn’t have been more shocked. Of all the things she might have expected, this wasn’t even on the radar. Cold liquid dripping on her skirt startled her, and she realized she’d knocked over her water glass.