“Hey, Maisy?”

“Yeah, Mum?”

“I’m going out to Mrs Smith’s – can you do the vacuuming while I’m gone?”

“You pay me Aussie dollar?”

“You know, once upon a time you begged me to let you vacuum.”

“Uh huh – we’re all naïve sometime, Mum.”

“Usual amount.”


I toss the magazine I was reading on my desk, grab my mp3 player and headphones, and head for the spare room. Not like I had anything interesting to do anyhow.

Ten minutes later I’m dancing the vacuum around the lounge to Fat Boy Slim on loud. I’ve done the actual work and I swing the nozzle around for an extra flourish – and I see Mark standing in the hall looking very, very amused.

“Shades of a young Tom Cruise, I think,” he says when I tear the headphones off.

“Bastard! Who sneaks up on a gal when she’s cleaning?” I say, grinning.

“Hey, are you home all alone?”

I get where he’s going with this, and grin.

“She’s at a friend’s, she’ll be gone for a couple of hours more, I’d say…”

He raises an eyebrow.

“Help with the cleaning first – just the hall to do?”

He makes a face.

“Do I have to?”

“You could leave…”


“Just move the stuff off the floor so I have a clear run at the carpet.”

He sighs and does what he’s told.


“You’re worth the cleaning.”

I snort.

“You’re such a romantic!” I say sarcastically.

He slides a finger lightly down my side, over my hip and down to my knee. Cripes, it feels like every single nerve on the path of that finger goes nuts. I’ve never had that sort of reaction to a guy before. OK, so the few experiences I have had were mostly idiots who didn’t realise that I wasn’t into it because I hadn’t kneed them in the crotch yet, but… still, wow. I tilt my face up to his and he takes the hint to kiss me again.

“Yup, much better when you don’t say anything,” I say, grinning at him.

He tickles me, which just leads to more kissing.

“Crap, Mum’s due home soon for dinner,” I say eventually.


“Come on, let’s go and do something wholesome-looking.”


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