Her heart was breaking, but she would not give him the satisfaction of knowing it. Her resolve faltered as he took her face in his hands.
“My darling,” he rasped harshly. “I can hardly bear to leave you-”
“Then don’t,” she sobbed.
“You know I have no choice.” A look of pain fleetingly distorted his stern features. “I must go – but I will count the seconds until we are reunited once more.”
“How much counting is that?”
“I don’t know,” he husked. A frown crossed his noble features. “I have not booked my return flight. I may be deceptively unfeeling and ridiculously passionate bordering on volatile, but I am totally disorganized. Do you-” His voice faltered momentarily. “Do you hate me for that?”
Her heart melted in the face of his despair. “How could I hate you when I- I love you?” she breathed helplessly.
“Fair enough,” he muttered thickly. With an inaudible groan, he drew her savagely into his arms and crushed his lips against hers in a bruising kiss.
He thrust her from him abruptly, roughly. As she watched him walk away, she pressed her trembling fingers to her mouth in a futile attempt to keep from crying aloud.
He stubbed out his cigarette with the sole of his shoe. How had he ended up in a crime noir? He must have taken a wrong turn along the way. Just the latest in a long line of goddamn wrong turns.
Last thing he remembered, he was in a romance. He vaguely recalled some broad with heaving breasts. Unsettling effect.
He missed his ripped six-pack and savage, cruel good looks. Apart from that, this genre suited him better, he thought. For one thing, the clothes were more comfortable. Those goddamn breeches were tight as hell. Cut off circulation. He had not felt his legs in months.
For another thing, all that husking and rasping played hell with his throat. He lit another cigarette, narrowing his eyes against the smoke.
Something stunk worse than a barrel of dead hoods. If someone had given him a nickel for every barrel of dead hoods he’d seen – wait. It WAS a barrel of dead hoods. His hand reached for his revolver. Crouching, he surveyed the scene of carnage.
It was only a pineapple.
Returning his gun to its holster, he thought of the broad with the heaving breasts, felt a pang of regret. He stubbed that out with the sole of his shoe too. Dames like that were a dime a dozen. Any other guy would have smacked her into next Tuesday. If naked emotion was illegal, he’d bust that lousy broad faster than she could say ‘gimme a nickel for the jukebox, Slick’.
He could tell you something for nothing: he would show her his revolver soon as look at her – and use it if he had to.