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“Of course you are not an imposition. It is nice to have another woman around to talk to. Otherwise, my son and husband try to run roughshod all over me.”

“Don’t listen to her, Eve,” Oliver said from the doorway. He had his duffle and her smaller bags. Beast sat at his side, sniffing a plant by the door.

“Oliver Manuel Martinez, if that dog pees in my house, you’re going to be in trouble,” Maria said.

“He’s housebroken, Mom,” Oliver said. “Should I put our stuff in the cabin?”

“You may put your things in the cabin, but I’ve already made up the guest room for Evelyn.” Maria’s chin was in the air, and Eve thought it was adorable that the woman seemed to be protecting her virtue.

“Are you serious? I am a grown-ass man—”

“And I am your mother. This is my home, and if you don’t like it, you are more than welcome to find a hotel.”

“I could sleep on the sofa bed,” Oliver said.

“And have you try to sneak down the hall into her room when you think I’m sleeping? Don’t think I don’t know all your tricks, mijo.”

“You are being ridiculous,” Oliver said.

Eve bit back a laugh at their banter. Oliver’s mother reminded Eve of her dad when he was laying down the law, and the best way to get on her dad’s side was to agree with him.

“I’m good in the guest room,” Eve said.

Maria looked at her in approval, and Oliver scowled, mouthing traitor.

Laughing, Eve went to collect her bags from the men and whispered in Oliver’s ear, “I never go all the way on the first date, anyway.”

OLIVER SAT BACK in his chair, stuffed full of his mother’s enchiladas and already wanting to escape his parents with Eve. He hadn’t really imagined his mother would enforce her only-married-people-share-a-room policy, but there was nothing he could do about it.

“That was so good, thank you,” Eve said, groaning. “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to move!”

“Really?” Oliver said. “Because I was thinking we could take a walk down to the beach and check out the moon.”

“Yes, you two go and enjoy yourselves,” Maria said.

Oliver stood up, ready to get out of there and be alone with Eve.

“Let us clean up dinner, Maria. You go put your feet up. Oliver can help me put things away,” Eve said.

Oliver almost groaned aloud, until he saw his mother’s face light up with delight and approval. “No, you are our guest—”

“I insist,” Eve said.

His mother didn’t put up much of a fight, though, and escaped to the living room. His dad sat down in his easy chair and flicked on the TV, clicking through the channels. Oliver smiled when he heard his mother tell him to go back to a romantic movie. And although his father sighed loudly, he did as she asked.

Oliver admired his parents and the way they compromised to make each other happy. That compromise was what he’d always been on the lookout for, for himself: a woman who kept him on his toes. Ultimately, though, he just wanted to be happy.

Hopefully he could have that with Eve, if he could just get her alone.

Eve gathered the dishes from the table and walked around the kitchen island to the sink while he followed behind with the enchiladas.

“Are you trying to avoid me?” he asked, whispering so his parents wouldn’t hear.

Eve’s shocked expression told him all he needed to know. “No! I’m a guest and am trying to make a good impression on your parents. Just because I’m messy in my own apartment doesn’t mean I was raised by wolves.”

“Actually, your dad is more like a hungry grizzly bear—”

Oliver jumped when Eve slapped him with a dish towel.