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  On the other hand, Michael was.

  She studied herself in the mirror, not sure she wanted red-cashmered cleavage with Michael. Michael looked as though he hadn’t had a sexual thought in his life, but maybe he came alive at night. Maybe incredible breasts were not a good move in Michael’s case. Maybe nondescript was better for a first date. No sense promising what she had no intention of delivering.

  She stripped off the sweater and the Incredibra, dropping them both on the bed, and started for her dresser to get a regular underwire. Fred put his paws on the bed, grabbed the bra and trotted to the door, and Nina ran after him and grabbed it back.

  “Just like a guy,” Nina said to him and tossed the bra farther up on the bed as she went to change.

  The regular underwire was much better, and the blue sweater she put over it was pretty without being a come-on, and her black skirt was knee-length, no slit. The outfit made her look attractive and responsible. It in no way said, “Yo, come jump my bones,” which was the message Charity said a good date outfit should send. The last thing Nina needed was a good date outfit that sent messages. The Incredibra was definitely going back…

  Nina looked at the bed. The Incredibra was gone.

  “Fred!” She took a quick lap through the apartment—kitchen, bathroom, living room—and stopped in front of the open window. Fred had found his own way of paying her back for putting off his walk. “You’re in big trouble, Fred,” she said and climbed out the window.

  She spotted him down beside the Dumpster, the bright red bra in his mouth. “Fred!” she yelled again, and he ducked behind the Dumpster. “You’re dead meat, Fred,” Nina told him as she ran down the fire escape. “You’re yesterday’s news, boy.”

  She trapped him behind the Dumpster, so he crawled farther behind it, into the cavern made by the open lid against the brick wall. She got down on her hands and knees and peered into the cave and saw Fred sitting there, morose as ever, her Incredibra at his feet.

  “Give me that,” she said to him. “Right now.” She crawled a little way under the lid, and Fred lowered his head and growled at her.

  Nina stopped. “You’re growling at me? You’re growling at me?”

  “Let me guess—De Niro,” Alex said from behind her, and she straightened in surprise and banged her head on the Dumpster lid.

  “You’re going back to the pound,” she told Fred as she backed out, rubbing her head.

  “Is your head all right?” Alex said when she was standing. “Let me see.” His hand was firm against her cheek, tilting her head down so that all she could see was the clean white T-shirt stretched across his broad chest. It was an extremely good chest, but she’d already been staring at it with lust for five weeks, so she closed her eyes to keep her concentration and to keep from grabbing him. He explored the incipient bump on the back of her head, and she drew a deep breath as his fingers moved through her hair and sent inappropriate chills down her spine. If she leaned forward another inch, she could lick his neck.

  That would be bad.

  Alex tilted her head back up to him. “The bump’s not too bad. We can still go jogging.” He let go of her chin and rested his hand on her shoulder. “I saw you streak past my window. Why are you down here braining yourself on a Dumpster?”

  “Fred,” Nina said, trying hard not to visibly enjoy his hand on her. “He’s going through a Stage. It’s the Terrible Twos. Or in his case, the Terrible Fourteens.”

  Alex let go of her and stooped down on his haunches to peer behind the Dumpster. “Fred? What’s wrong with you? Get out here.”

  Fred came trotting out and dropped the bra at Alex’s feet.

  “The hell with the pound,” Nina told Fred as she snatched for the bra. “I’m going to kill you right here.”

  Alex was too quick for her. He stood, holding the bra by one end, and squinted to read the tag. “The Incredibra.” He raised an eyebrow at Nina. “I’ve heard of these, but I’ve never seen one.”

  “Well, now you have.” Nina made another grab for it, but he moved it out of her reach again.

  “I mean, I’ve never seen one on an actual woman,” he explained. “In the flesh. It’s probably something I should experience. For my professional advancement.” He smiled at her encouragingly, and it took all of Nina’s self-control not to smile back and leap on him.

  He was a rat. He was waving her bra around in public. He was gorgeous and she wanted him.

  “You want me to model my underwear for you for your professional advancement,” Nina said, trying not to think about it.

  “It’s all right.” Alex stopped smiling and made a pathetic effort to look serious and adult. “I’m a doctor.”

  “I’m going to take you back to the pound with Fred,” she told him. “You’re both completely un-train