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Authors: Kathryn Shay

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BOOK: Risky Business
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Magdalena laughed aloud. “It sure is,
Matka
. It sure is.”

 

Chapter 4

 

Logan’s eyes sparkled like tanzanite as he and Magdalena entered the photography studio on the top floor of a building in Brooklyn. Over his shoulder, he’d hooked a garment bag. “I hope I brought the right things.”

“We coordinated, Logan. I know you did. Besides, you’d look good in sackcloth.”

“What a nice thing to say.”

The photo consultant asked
for grays and peaches and whites and would decide the combination before the shoot.


Matka
was tickled by the news. Was your father happy about this?”

“In his own way. Positive PR for business.” He scowled. “Thomas wasn’t.”

“Poor Thomas.”

“I know. I try not to flaunt how great I am at everything.” He gave her a sexy wink. “How fame and fortune are attracted to me.”

“You’re
so modest, too.”

He laughed unself-consciously at himself
.

They were met by a meticulously dressed man in the outer office of Lank Photography. The business had a stellar reputation, which was why
TIME
often used them, despite the fact that they were outside Manhattan. “Hello, I’m Martin Lank, your handler.”

“Handler?” Logan asked.

“Yes, I coordinate the shoots and my brother Jonathan
is the artist. He’ll take your photos.”

Lank showed them into a large open space with small dressing rooms at one end. “May I see what you brought so I can decide which ones might go together the best?”

“Yes, of course,” Magdalena said easily
.

They each hung three suits on the bar, all in varying shades of gray or black. White and peach shirts and blouses were added, and Magdalena
had also brought the Hermès dip-dyed silk scarf Logan had given her last Christmas. They stood back as Martin analyzed the clothing. “We’ll start with these.”

Magdalena wasn’t surprised. The suit he chose for her was slim fitting, and the jacket had ruffles at the bottom. It was feminine, and out of principle, she never hid her femininity in her job. Logan’s suit was black with a light pinstripe.
“Are you sure you want us both in peach?” she asked. It was a bit too
matchy-matchy
, as her niece called it.

“Let’s try the peach blouse peeking out and then one with the scarf tucked inside the lapels. Peach is a good color on you two, with good contrast.”

Logan made quick work of donning the clothes, and he and Magdalena came out of the dressing rooms together
.

“Ah, very nice. But
Jonathan will have the final say.”

“I’m here.” A man in jeans and long-sleeved green shirt came inside the room and his eyes widened. “Wow!”

“You like the clothes?” Martin asked.

“And what’s in them. You two look like Ken and Barbie.”

Magdalena sighed. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Jonathan crossed to her. “You are perfect, Ms. Ludzecky. May I call you Magdalena?”

“Yes, of course. And thank you for the compliment.”

He turned to Logan. “Great cheekbones.”

Logan bit the inside of his mouth to keep himself, Magdalena knew, from laughing out loud
.

“Let’s get started.” They went into the studio, which was set up with huge lamps and a gray background. A woman was placing two stools in the center. “Ah,” she said when she saw them—and focused on
Logan. “This’ll be fun.”

He shot Magdalena a sham look. She nodded. And hoped it
would
be fun.

The session took three hours. Three hours of…

“Come on, Magdalena, baby. Smile. No, no, like you’re in love.”

“I am in love—with the business.”

“Think of a man.”

She tried.

And from Porter, his assistant, “Arch a brow, Logan. Oh, man, that’s sexy….Yeah, yeah, yeah, I like
the angle of your shoulders. Magdalena, move in so yours touch his.”

They had to have taken a hundred photos—some back-to-back, some facing each other, some of him sitting, some of them around a desk. When the shoot was over, Magdalena was exhausted, and even Logan, who rarely showed fatigue, seemed tired.

“Oh, Lord,” she said to him as they got on the elevator. “I could never be a model.
That was tedious.”

“I agree, I’m dead on my feet. You could be one because of your appearance, though.”

“Thanks. You, too. Porter was drooling over you.”

“You noticed?”

“Gimme a break.”

“I’m glad it’s over,” Logan commented as they walked toward the door. “And that the shoot was in the afternoon. Buy you a martini?”

“I’d love one.”

They found a place near the studio
and went inside. Small and dim, a few people gathered at the bar. They snagged a table, ordered drinks. She’d started to speak when she was distracted by something behind him.
“Skurwysyn!”

“I know that’s a Polish swear word, but why are you using it?”

“Take a look.” Her eyes narrowed. “Of all the gin joints…”

Logan turned to see who had come into the bar
.

“Huh. What a coincidence.
Ana’s ex-husband.”

“I should have realized we might bump into him so close to the college. Ana said that toward the end of their marriage, he was drinking heavily.”

Jared spotted them immediately and left his girlfriend at a table and approached them. Tall, broad-shouldered, with classic features almost as angular as Logan’s, Jared’s expression was somber. “Hello, Magdalena. I didn’t want
to be rude and ignore you.”

She lifted her chin. “I’d rather you were rude, Jared.”

He recoiled, then recovered. “Hello, Logan. Good to see you again.”

Taking his cue from Magdalena, Logan nodded and said, “Hello, Jared,” but didn’t offer his hand. The man was smart enough to leave.

Bracing his arms on the table, Logan leaned in. “I have never, in the seven years I’ve known you,
seen you be so overtly, purposely mean to someone.”

“I know. I’ll go to confession. I can’t tolerate the man.” She took a bead on Logan. “You know, he did just the opposite of what you did.”

“What was that?”

“You were there for me, not just during the whole, awful week that Pete and Donnie died, but since then. For almost four years. I love you for it, Logan.”

He grinned. “
Kocham
ciebie
, too, Magdalena.”

As he’d known it would, the use of the Polish term pulled her out of the dark place she always went to when discussing Jared Creswell’s betrayal of her sister.

oOo

Logan poured over the resumes of the last of the employees at The Natural Life. His eyes were crossing by now. He’d been at this a week, while Magdalena worked on numbers across the hall.
They’d spent most of their waking hours here, ordering lunch in and eating together, going out for dinner to get away for a bit. They’d strolled back to the office, even though it was cold, and stayed till after midnight each day
.

Thomas appeared in the doorway. “Still here?”

“Yeah.” He held up a resume. “Almost done, though. You shouldn’t be here this late.”

“I have work to do, too,
Logan.” His tone was sharp, making Logan cringe.

“Of course you have work, Thomas. You’re an important part of this business. But you have a family. I thought you’d gone home for the weekend.”

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to snipe. I should have left hours ago.”

Needing a break, Logan stood. “How about a Scotch? I could use one and am about done here.”

They sat on his butter-soft light
brown leather couch. Thomas put his feet up on the coffee table. “So, I see your girlfriend is still here.”

“I wish you wouldn’t use that term. I’ve told you a thousand times there’s nothing like that between us.”

“Yeah I know. I just can’t believe you’d be able to spend so much time with her without landing in the sack. I’ll bet she’s great.”

Uncomfortable with the discussion, Logan
tried to change the subject. Often, it bothered him to think of Magdalena making love with someone else. “Seriously, Tommy, what’s going on with you?”

“You haven’t called me that since we were little.”

“Hmm. Answer the question.”

“I might as well tell you. I’m not going home. I’ve rented a place not far from here.”

Logan leaned forward so fast some of his drink spilled over on
his shirt. “When did this happen?”

“Last month.”

“Why did you keep it to yourself?”

“I don’t want to be seen as a loser. Again.”

“Don’t berate yourself, Thomas. You’re a whiz at financing for our projects. You brokered this deal we’re working on right now.”

“But we both know I wanted operations.” He took a hefty swig of liquor. “How’d we get on this? We were talking about the
beauty queen in the other office.”

Logan shook his head. “I shouldn’t have to tell you to watch out for sexual or physical innuendo.”

“Ha. I’m not the one who sleeps at her condo.”

At Logan’s dark expression, Thomas sighed. “Okay, I’ll lay off. In all seriousness, though, I’m going to tell you what I think. That you’ll never settle down with anyone else, either of you, with this kind
of friendship. You’re closer than Ella and me.” He stood. “Think about it. Who are you the happiest with?”

Logan didn’t answer
.

Thomas stood. “Hell, what do I know about women? It’s the liquor on an empty stomach.” Setting the glass down, he smiled weakly at Logan, said, “Take care,” and walked out the door.

Logan stared after him. Thomas was his own worst enemy sometimes. He had more
money than God, he was handsome as hell, but he couldn’t be happy. Resting his head back on the couch, Logan thought of what his brother had said about him and Magdalena. He was probably right. Teresa thought so, too. But Magdalena had become part of him, and he didn’t know what he’d do without her.

Despite that and because of Thomas’s comment, Logan’s mind conjured a picture of what she’d
look like naked. He’d bet she was perfect in every way. The last time he saw her in a bathing suit, it was one-piece but showed every curve. And everything she wore fit perfectly
.

Shit, now he was edgy. He rarely let his mind wander to her as a sexual being. But Thomas had planted the thoughts tonight. And he was more tired than he realized. It was time to leave. Go home and sleep. He glanced
out the door. Her lights were still on. He could go without saying good-bye
.

Nah. She’d wonder if something was wrong. And it wasn’t. His and Magdalena’s relationship was fine.

oOo

Magdalena sat at her desk analyzing profit-and-loss statements for The Natural Life. Across the hall, Logan would be wading through management assessments. They’d both been working on this from
morning to night since they’d toured the store. Though numbers fascinated her, by now, every muscle in her body ached and her eyes were gritty. Leaning back in her chair, she closed them for just a minute…

Magdalena stared up from beneath Carl. His body was hard, his muscles pulsing as he thrust into her. Soon she lost the ability to think. He came, too, in a cataclysm of sensation.
He was
heavy on her until he braced his hands on the mattress and lifted his chest. She looked into his sky blue eyes and at his messy hair. “I knew it would be like this.”

She was shocked to see Logan’s face.

But not too shocked. “I did, too. Why did we wait so long?”

“We didn’t want to ruin a perfect relationship.” He winked at her. “I lost the battle when I saw you in that scarf I bought
you.”

“I’ll drape it over my bare body, Logan.” She kissed his ear. “You can arrange it.”

She felt him rise against her. “Again, so soon? Your girlfriends were right about how you are in bed.”

“No, Magdalena. I’ve never been like this with anyone else.”

And then he started to move…

“Wake up, honey.”

“Yes, Logan.”

“Oh, okay.” A pause. “You’re not rousing.”

“More,
please, more.”

A harder shake, enough to make her open her eyes. Logan was above her again, dressed this time, though his suit coat and tie were off.

“I…” She licked her lips. “I fell asleep. I was dreaming.”

“You said my name.”

“I, um…” She didn’t know how to get out of this one. “Could you get me some water? I’m thirsty.”

When he left to go to the office cooler, she sighed
with embarrassment. What the hell? She’d been dreaming about her old boyfriend, which was odd in itself, but then the man she was making love with turned into Logan
.

He appeared at her desk again. Studied her as he handed her the cup. “Are you sure you’re okay? You’re flushed and seem overheated.”

“I’m always hot when I wake up.”

He seemed a bit startled. “Come on. Get your stuff.
We’ve both been here way too late, and we have to come in tomorrow to finish up. We’re going home.”

“Let me pack my briefcase. I might want to work from home this weekend.”

“That’s probably wise. Maybe I will, too.”

oOo

Magdalena fell asleep in the cab on the way to her condo. Her head nestled on his chest, filling his nose with the lemony scent of her hair. Once, when
the car bumped, the strands tickled his face
.

As she barely woke up when they reached her home, Logan decided to help her inside. He took the keys from her and opened the door.

“Want me to put you to bed?” he asked jokingly.

She looped her arms around his neck. “Sure. I can’t keep my eyes open.”

When he scooped her up into a carry, she didn’t even react to the unusual nature of
the contact. He crossed to the back of the condo to her bedroom and set her on the bed. She kicked off her shoes and lay down. She was asleep when her head hit the pillow. Should he try to undress her? Once or twice during the horrible week of the guys’ deaths, when she couldn’t put one foot in front of the other, he’d gotten her down to her skivvies and led her to bed. But tonight, he didn’t feel
comfortable doing that. So he covered her with a throw, turned off the lights in the foyer and left, closing the door behind him. When he got to the waiting taxi, he realized he still had her keys in his hand. Jesus, it would be 2:00 a.m. before he got to bed. He noticed their briefcases. Hell, why not?

BOOK: Risky Business
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