He had to make a quick stop at his apartment to change into his chef’s clothes, and as he circled the block to the alley that ran behind Daphne’s shop, he noticed the professor’s car parked at the front curb. What the hell was he doing here? Instead of trotting up the back steps to his apartment, Tyne meandered into the shop. Business was brisk. Tyne spotted the professor lurking around while customers chose items and paid for them. Tyne decided to stall around, too.
Daphne, he noticed, offered stiff smiles to her customers and glanced nervously at the professor between transactions. Why was the guy here? How did Daphne feel about it? If he’d left his wife again, would she take him back? Anger simmered, and Tyne tried to shrug it off. That was Daphne’s decision, not his. But the thought still rankled. Surely, Daphne was smarter than that. Besides . . . His thoughts pulled up short, then he forced himself to be honest. He’d been about to admit that he’d miss Daphne if she hooked up with Professor Plum again. The good prof was such a waste, Tyne would like to strangle him in the library with the handy dandy rope.
A woman came to look at a stained glass piece and Tyne backed away to give her more room. She stepped to look at the piece where he stood. When he moved again, she followed. Duh! She wasn’t interested in the glass, she was invading his personal space. She turned her head and smiled at him. “These are beautiful, aren’t they?”
He nodded. “Almost as beautiful as the artist who makes them.”
Her expression crumpled. “You two are hooked up?”
“We’re seeing each other.” It was true, just not in the way she’d interpret it. But that gave him an idea.
She gave him a rueful sigh. “Sorry, can’t blame a girl for trying.”
“Hey,”—he held up his hand.—“No ring. I look like fair game.”
“No, you look like a good time. If you and your artist break up, give me a call.” She reached in her purse and handed him a business card.
He grinned and jammed it in his back pocket. “Enjoy your stay in Mill Pond.”
She glanced toward Daphne. “Oh, I will, but not as much as she does.” Then she went to her friend, and they left the shop together.
People started clearing out, and Daphne had a minute with no one at the cash register. When the professor started toward her, Tyne hurried to swing behind the counter first. He threw his arm around her shoulder and tugged her close. “I have to leave for work soon, but thought I’d better remind you about our date tonight.”
She blinked up at him. “Date?”
“You promised to stop by the kitchen to keep me company, remember? I’ll be looking for you.” He bent to drop a kiss on her nose. “Nope, you forgot. Thought you would.”
The professor stood at the counter, glaring at him.
Tyne smiled and focused on Patrick’s empty hands. “Nothing to buy? Sorry. You must want to ask her a question. I’m Tyne, and I’m leaving. She can help you now.”
“I’m a friend of Daphne’s,” Patrick said stiffly.
Tyne narrowed his eyes to size him up. “You’re the professor she used to see, aren’t you? So happy you and your wife worked things out.”