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“Yeah, but it’s not as hard as you think and you can say it. It’s mostly running and chin-ups—which I can’t do by the way—push-ups, and crunches. I’m on my feet twelve hours a day in the operating room, so that must do some good.”

“Well, you look great.”

“Why, thank you, Luke,” she replied, grinning. She pointed to the bags of food. “Can I help you put this stuff away?”

“Nah, I’m good. How about if I show you your room and bath?”

“Oh, I get my own room, do I?”

“Just in case you need to get away,” he answered, chuckling.

The chemistry was intense for Bridget, too. Luke was such a sweet guy. Aside from the crack about her legs, there’d been no sexual innuendo, which she found to be a little off-putting. How did you take a situation from friendly to sexual without at least some flirtation? There wasn’t much happening. Maybe she’d have to take it into her own hands.

Then it occurred to her that maybe she didn’t do it for him. But that was ridiculous; why would he have invited her to dinner if he wasn’t interested?

She followed him through a large open area, which turned out to be the mezzanine at the top of the stairs. He’d furnished it in comfortable overstuffed furniture. She didn’t see a TV.

“What do you use this space for?” she asked.

“Just to chill,” he said. “Look at the view.”

She noticed a bank of windows facing the backyard. Down below, there was a large brick terrace with evidence of recent work in progress stretching off the back of the house. A huge swimming pool with shimmering blue water bordered the terrace. Brick walkways led through a maze of low bushes to an expansive lawn and down to the water.

“What is that?” she asked, pointing. “Is that a river?”

“That’s Love Lake.”

Glancing at him sidelong, she grinned. “Seriously?”

“Cross my heart. It’s just a widened area of the creek that flows behind everyone’s house here, but they call it Love Lake.”

“I bet you got gators so you won’t swim down there,” she said.

“Ha! You see the fence, is that right?”

“Right, I see that fence. That means gators. I’ll stick to the pool.”

He rubbed his chin, thinking of that bathing suit she was unsuccessfully trying to hide under the sheer cotton cover-up. Pointing to her, he grinned. “You’re ready for a swim.”

She picked up the hem of her cover-up and did a little pirouette, exposing the thong, showing off firm buns.

“Wow,” he said, swallowing. “My heart.”

“I’m ready for a swim with you,” she teased, enjoying the flirtation.

“Um, I am too, but I think I’ll get a shower if you’ll be okay for a couple of minutes.” They laughed together. “Through that door is the guest bedroom. There are towels and shampoo and all the girl stuff.”

“Nice! How’d you know what a girl would need?”

“I asked the clerk at Walmart,” he said and they laughed.

“Well, thank you. I won’t be long.”

They waved to each other, smiling, and left for their separate rooms. After she closed the door, Bridget looked around at the simple decorating, not quite as stark as a hotel, but almost, with nice furniture and expensive bedding. The bathroom was new, like the kitchen, with white marble and gleaming fixtures. She unpacked her bag, and just the addition of her electric toothbrush and makeup bag made the bathroom her own.

Like he had said, he’d stocked the room with things a woman might need—moisturizing soap, makeup removal wipes, and under the sink, mini pads. The sight of the box made her laugh.

She took a quick shower and dressed in shorts and a t-shirt—the clothes she’d brought in her bag when they were going to Maggie Angel’s so her Uncle Val could work on the barn.

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