A plain black key fob.
I yawn, shaking my head in befuddlement. This must have been meant for someone else. Once I’m inside my home, I drop my bag and search for the number for the concierge, but as it’s ringing there’s a knock on my door.
“That was fast,” I say, then hang up before anyone answers. Denny must be here to retrieve the package.
But as I swing open the door, it occurs to me he wouldn’t leave his post.
Then, my eyes pop.
Luke is standing on the other side, wearing nothing but a lime-green thong.
THE GREEN THONG OF TRUTH
I’m seeing things.
That’s the only explanation for the nearly buck naked man in my doorway. Questions bounce around my brain: Why is he here? Have his abs always been that tight? And did I look that ridiculous in a thong too?
I rub my eyes in case I’m hallucinating. I part my lips to ask why he’s here. But Luke’s faster at the draw.
He’s always been faster with his mouth. “I screwed up a few weeks ago when you knocked on the door, looking like this,” he says, glancing down at his outrageous get-up, then back to meet my gaze. His green eyes flicker with a vulnerability I haven’t seen in them before. I’m not sure what to make of it either. “I should have told you then about the contract. I should have told you I was upset about it. And I should have told you that even though I was bummed about work, I was not bummed about you. Not in the least. Not at all,” he says, imploring me there at the end, like he desperately wants me to let him in.
But I arch a doubtful brow. I don’t want to get hurt again, and I don’t know where he’s going with this apology. “Okay,” I say cautiously. I stay at the door. I don’t let him in yet.
“I have a lot to say if you’ll let me,” Luke continues, his voice tinged with, I think, hope.
The sound tugs on my heart. Starts to open it again for him. That’s terribly risky, but I’ve always chosen to take risks with him. “Go ahead.”
With intensity in his eyes, but also something soft, something tender, he says, “I was an idiot, and I was selfish, because all I was thinking about were my own frustrations. And I let fear and insecurity determine my choices. I know you don’t get a lot of do-overs in life, but I desperately want one. With you, Tanner. Because there was something else I wanted to say to you that night.”
The jerk is already melting me.
I’m so hopeless with him.
I cross my arms and I try to be steel as I say, “And what is that?”
“What I wanted to ask you that night when you came back to the room, and what I still want is this—I want to take the best man to his brother’s wedding in this McLaren I rented.”
I blink, trying to puzzle together his meaning. Except. Shit. Wait. What if this is just a friend apology? A buddy olive branch. I’m not going to put my heart on the line again. “You mean as friends? Since, well, I offered you my heart, and you gave me a towel.”
He frowns, but nods, taking that on the chin. “That’s why I’m here. You put your heart on the line and I stomped on it, but I really hope you’ll give me a second chance rather than some terrycloth.”
My heart is already speeding terrifyingly fast at the possibility. I want that so much.
“What kind of second chance?” I ask, needing to be sure this time around.
“I want it all with you, Tanner. I’m in love with you. And I was so scared I was falling in love with my best friend, and I might lose my edge or something, that I let you get away. But I want you so much and I love you so much that I’m done waiting for things to happen with work, and I’m done thinking my choices are football or love. I want us to happen. For real. I hope you’ll let me try again. Starting tomorrow. That’s what the key is for. I want to take you to the wedding as your date.”
I can’t stop smiling. I can’t stop feeling. I can’t stop wanting everything with him. Even as I shake my head.
“No?” he asks, frowning.
“No, as in starting tonight,” I say declaratively, then I grab his face and kiss the man in the lime-green thong.
His kiss lights up my soul. And wakes up all my tired parts. Every single one of them. I pull him against me in the door, pouring my love for him into this kiss.
When I let go, Luke’s smiling dopily at me. I expect him to fire off a zinger, but he says, “Really?”