Page 39 of An Amazon Affair

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Or five or six, I think to myself with a rueful smile. I’m getting used to Brazil and her relaxed ways. They don’t bother me as much as they used to.

With my cellphone still pressed against my ear, I open the sliding door from my 14thfloor apartment to the deck outside and lean my elbows on the railing. It’s been a month and a half since I rented this flat, and I’m still bowled over by the sight of the sun setting over the Amazon every night. I hope I never get sick of it. Especially since I’ve placed a bid on this apartment. Although I’ll still need to return to New York City every other month for a few days, I plan to maintain a full-time residence in Manaus, too. The foundation needs me.

“How about the logo?” asks Don. “What did you think?”

“I like it a lot,” I say, heading back inside to take another look at the mock-ups he sent. “I think the blue and white one is especially cool.”

“Awesome,” says Don. “Blue and white it is.”

“I’ll be back in September for the Board Meeting,” I tell him. “How about lunch on me?”

“Absolutely,” he says. “Will, um... your, uh, Mom be here, too?”

Huh.Don always asks after my mother, but this is the first time I’ve noted the change in his voice when he does. Does quiet, bespeckled Don Spiegel have a crush on my mother? I find I’m not opposed to his affections. Don’s a good man who’s become a reliable partner to me in my new venture. My mother could do a lot worse.

“Shall I ask her to join us?” I ask.

“Oh, well. Certainly. Th-that would be lovely. No pressure, of course.”

“I’m sure she’d love to,” I assure him.

“Well, that’s just terrific,” he says. After a beat, he clears his throat. “Well, Yara, I guess that’s all for today?”

“I think so,” I tell him. “Thanks for everything, Don.”

“Thankyou, Yara!” he cries. “And if you don’t mind my saying so, I think your dad would be incredibly proud of you. Miraflores Lingerie was important to him, of course, but I think the primary purpose of Miraflores—for him, I mean—was to fund CCM. Knowing that his daughter was continuing his legacy? Well, that would just...” His voice breaks. When he speaks again, it’s gravelly. “He’d be real proud of you, Yara.”

“Thanks, Don,” I whisper, swallowing over the sudden lump in my throat. “I couldn’t do it without you.”

When I hang up, I straighten out the papers on my desk, close my laptop, and smooth out the comforter on the bed behind me. This room serves as both my office and the guest room, and we have a very important guest coming to stay tonight.

Taking a mock-up of the new logo from my printer, I pull the door closed behind me, stepping into the living room just in time to hear Rio’s key turn in the lock. And the WOW I feel upon seeing the sunset’s got nothing on how I feel every time my boyfriend walks into my apartment. Wow. Wow. Wow. I feel it in my fingers and my belly and in the tips of my toes.

“Wow,” I whisper, drinking him in.

“Hey, baby,” he says, dropping two hot pink suitcases by the door, crossing the room in a few strides and pulling me into his arms. He kisses my neck as I look over his shoulder.

“Where is she?”

“She was dying to check out the pool. She’ll be up in a second.”

For the second time this summer, Rio’s teenage daughter Jacinda has come to visit, and I can’t wait to see her again. Last time, I was staying at a hotel and Rio brought her over for dinner and a swim. Her English was about as good as my Portuguese, but with Rio serving as our translator, we realized we had a lot in common, including a love of fashion. Since we wear the same size, I promised she could borrow anything she wanted from my closet the next time she visited.

“So that gives us a second?” I ask him.

He nods, lowering his head to mine, his lips stealing a sweetly possessive kiss.

When he leans away, he whispers close to my ear, his lips brushing my skin with each word. “Eu te amo muito, Yara Marino.”

“I love you, too,” I murmur back, holding him close.

We don’t yell these words yet. They’re still too sacred for shouting. We whisper them under the covers. We murmur them in stolen moments. We are in awe of them.

“You talked to Don?” he asks me, turning back to collect Jacinda’s suitcases and carry them into the guest room.


“And everything’s going well? With the new foundation?”

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