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“You might be the easiest woman I’ve ever met.” His eyes widen, and his cheeks are tinged with pink. “I mean . . .”

“It’s okay.” I let out an awkward giggle with a shake of my head. “I know what you mean. How long do you think all this will take?” I wave my hand down at the computer he’s still holding between us.

“My guess is about eight months. It might be a little longer if the contractors find anything they need to fix before they start putting up walls.”

“Eight months.” I sigh in disappointment. I know logically that this kind of work is impossible to do overnight, but I still wish it could be. “I guess since Rome wasn’t built in a day, I shouldn’t think my house will be, either.”

“It will all be worth it when it is done.”

“You’re right,” I agree. Then I ask, “So what now?”

“You just need to sign off on these. I’ll get in touch with the contractors and get them the plans. Once I have that done, we will go and pick out the appliances and finishes. I find that it’s best if a client actually gets a chance to see and touch the things they are purchasing.”

“Cool.” I smile, trying not to get too excited at the prospect of seeing him again.

“So John said you’re new to the city?”

“Yeah, I’ve been here about four months now,” I say, watching him get up and return to his desk.

“Where did you live before?”

“Boston, just outside the city.”

“What brought you here?” he asks, doing something on his computer that makes the printer next to it spit out papers rapidly.

“I got a job at a law firm in the city . . . and I needed a change.”

“You’re a lawyer?”

“No, I work as a paralegal.”

He picks up a stack of papers from the tray on top of the printer.

“I think John mentioned that you were new here as well?”

“Yeah. Well, I guess I’m still considered new, even though I’ve been here awhile now.”

“Do you like it?”

“It’s taken me time to get used to it, but I like it. It helps that my brother and his wife are here, so I have family close. What about you? Do you have any family around?”

“No, it’s just me,” I answer.

He nods, picking up a pen before coming back to take a seat next to me—right next to me—so close that his hard thigh rubs against mine through the light material of my wide-leg dress slacks. So close that I can smell the subtle scent of his cologne.

“These are the images we went over. I just need you to initial each page, along with the blueprint of the layout.”

Taking the papers and the pen from him, I sit forward and rest the stack of papers on the coffee table to start initialing each page. It doesn’t take me long to sign off on each one, but I can’t take more time since it would look like I was stalling. Reminding myself that I just got divorced and that the man I had planned to spend the rest of my life with screwed me over in a big way, I start to sign more quickly. Once I’m finished I hand him back the stack of papers and pick up my purse.

“Thank you so much. I really love the work you did,” I say, avoiding his eyes by looking at a space just above his ear. “I look forward to hearing from you.”

I move to the door, and my breath hitches when I feel his heat at my back and his hand brushing my arm as he reaches past me for the doorknob.

“Does Sam have your number?”

I turn and look at him. “I believe so.”

“Let me get it, just in case she doesn’t.”

I bite my lip as he pulls out his cell phone. I quickly give him my number, along with an awkward smile, before hurrying out of his office. I swear I can feel his eyes burning into my back.

“Did everything go okay?” the receptionist asks as I pass her desk.

“Great. Everything went great. Thank you again for the shoes.”

“No problem. Have a good day.” She smiles brightly, giving me a small wave.

“You too.”

I rush for the elevator and press the call button. Thank god it doesn’t take long to show up. When I’m inside and the doors close, I take a breath for the first time. My heart is pounding hard against my rib cage like I have been running for miles. I am running—maybe not physically, but I am running away from Mr. Fremont. A handsome man whose eyes light up when he talks about his daughter. A guy whose cheeks get pink with embarrassment when he makes an awkward comment about me being easy. Yes, I’m totally running from a man like him, because at one time I believed that Tom was too good to be true—and I know exactly where that got me.

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