“You don’t know how to read, do you?”
Belle’s head snapped up. Max leaned against the doorway, watching her. Gladness welled up from her stomach to her throat, plugging words from coming out. She’d missed him. After dinner last night, Max disappeared into his office and was still there when she went to sleep in his bed.
For four years, she’d slept with him and now she was sleeping by herself. She didn’t like it. Not at all.
Where was Sorcha? She wanted her cat body back.
“Can you read?” he asked again.
She swallowed too fast and tuna caught in her throat, though it was nothing compared to a hairball. She coughed and grabbed the glass of milk she’d poured for herself. For a moment she’d forgotten she was expected to answer when he spoke to her. “No.”
He straightened and strolled into the room. “Tuna? For breakfast?”
Belle nodded. Why did everyone think tuna for breakfast was odd? It was delicious.
“Is this a craving? You’re not pregnant, are you?”
Belle choked. “No!”
“You honestly can’t read?” He flattened one palm on the table and leaned over her.
She nodded. Did he think she lied? Well, when necessary, of course.
“If you’re here long enough, I’ll see that you get help.”
“I’ll be here.” Forever. She’d be here forever.
Max continued to gaze at her face. Unblinking, she stared back into his blue eyes, the same color of the sky when the sun was the highest.
“What else can’t you do?”
She shrugged. Admitting she couldn’t do something soured the tuna in her stomach.
“Do you remember how to drive a car?”
Belle blinked several times. The only time she went in the car with Max was to the vet, imprisoned inside a carrier, yowling the whole time. But she’d seen people drive on TV. You stuck a key in a hole, turned it, stepped on a pedal on the floor, and the car moved forward.
She’d learned how to use the can opener. How much harder could driving a car be?
“What about—” His lips clamped together, and he moved backward.
Why did Belle have an idea he was going to say “sex”? Maybe because the people in The Love Chronicles talked about it a lot. In fact, they talked about it a lot on all the TV shows she’d seen. When she was a cat, sex was boring. Now she looked at Max and thought hmmm.
She rose from her chair and stepped toward him. Was that what those tingles were about yesterday morning when he saw her in the bathtub? His gaze lowered to her breasts now, as if he were remembering too, and the tingles started again, like fireflies dancing over her skin.
Did she want to have sex with Max?
But cats didn’t have sex with humans. Humans had sex with humans. If she had sex with Max, it could change her. Not her body, but the essence of cat that remained inside this human shell.
She stopped and wrapped her arms over her breasts, not liking this. She was used to doing whatever she wanted whenever she wanted. Now she wanted Max. But she couldn’t have him.
Being human was awful. How did they stand it?