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"What do you think, honey, ramps? Or did that pak choi look more interesting?"

Claire clutched her very large, very fair trade, very dark roast coffee to her chest and squinted through her sunglasses at something that looked like it might belong to the onion family. It was just so . . . bright. And early. And bright. And it wasn't that she wasn't a morning person, she was, or at least she had been, back in the days before Alex kept her up half the night doing very inventive, very, very enjoyable things to her. Not that she was complaining.


Claire blinked. "Oh, Alex, sorry. Those look good."

Alex grinned, and Claire watched his long fingers pull dollar bills out of his wallet, watched them wrap around vivid green stems.

He had a pile of brand new cookbooks on the coffee table in the living room, their spines uncracked, their pristine pages bookmarked with a flurry of pink and lavender post-it notes swiped from her desk drawer, and if he was going through some kind of domestic phase, she certainly wasn't going to discourage it (though if he'd also been moved to clean the bathroom, she wouldn't have minded).

And now Alex was standing in the warm, blinding Chicago sun and surveying the market tables, probably running over his mental shopping list to make sure he hadn't forgotten anything, scruffy-jawed (he'd crowded in the shower behind her this morning—and just thinking about that made her sway a little—and then insisted there wasn't time to shave) and boyish in his old jeans and t-shirt and holding a bag full of leafy things, their tops sticking out and dancing in the breeze as joyfully as his hair was.

He caught her staring again and sidled toward her (god, those hips), moving inexorably forward until he was right in her space. He leaned in, slid a hand around her hip and into her back pocket, pulled her even closer so that her coffee cup creaked between them and kissed her chin, her lower lip, made a happy little noise when she opened her mouth to his and licked his way in, hot and wet and tasting like espresso and herbs, bitter and fresh.

Alex pulled back, finally, and murmured right against her lips, "We should get this stuff home," and Claire was an expert in certain aspects of human behavior, after all, so she figured it was a pretty safe bet that neither of them was thinking about dinner.