“Don’t tell me you’ve been gone so long you’ve forgotten southern hospitality?”

“Or they just want to get in the house for a look around?” That was the flip side of southern hospitality—if you’re the one delivering the help, you got a front-row seat for everything.

He put a finger against his lips, indicating she should keep her voice down. Teague gestured toward the front of the office. “Jerline arranged it, and I’ve learned not to tell her no. I’m man enough to admit that she scares me a little.”

“Chicken.” Laughing, she reached down to grab her purse, ready to head out and get started on the packing. Their father’s secretary had always been an unstoppable force, fueled by her no-nonsense approach to life and a towering hairstyle anchored in place with about three cans of Aqua Net hair spray. Taylor welcomed the help, because the sooner they got the house sold, the sooner her dream became a reality.

“You really okay with Lucky staying at the house?”

She turned to look at him. His tone was off, something strained underneath the casual surface. “Sure, why not?”

“I remember you two have a love-hate thing going on at times.” He gestured to the ceiling where the furnished apartment their father owned was located. “You can stay here.”

“Nope. We’re good. We’ll work it out like grown-ups.”

Teague was pretty clueless about the passion that was always running between them like an electric current. She grinned at how she planned to work it out with Lucky, and in how many places, and in how many different positions.

“I promise we’ll try not to shock the Baptist ladies too much.”

Chapter Five

“You can come out now. They’re gone.”

Taylor sat perched on the kitchen counter watching the opening to the back staircase, the one originally intended for the servants, for the appearance of the man she knew was lurking in the shadows. Lucky was off his game if she’d spotted him slinking back up the stairs during the chaos created when the Baptist ladies left for the day.

Over the past two days, she’d caught only a glimpse of his hot ass when he sneaked out of the house with the sunrise, and missed him completely when he came home way after dark.

“How’d you know I was here?” He descended the stairs, emerging into the light of the kitchen and blinking against the sudden change in his surroundings.

“I always know when you’re near me,” she said, her words emphasized by the slow crossing and uncrossing of her legs. The move was deliberately sexy on her part.

She watched him rake his eyes over her body, hoping he was enticed by what she was offering, from the tips of the lime-green polish on her toes to the soft curve of her breasts exposed by the neckline of her yellow sundress. When his gaze shifted to meet hers, the breath she inhaled was fire as it scorched her chest and spread wildly in her system, making her toes curl. Lucky’s stare dropped to where her nipples pressed against the flimsy fabric, his neck muscles flexing with a hard swallow.

She wasn’t wearing a bra.

Sometimes you had to play dirty to win.

Taylor smiled, drawing his eyes back to her face. “Hungry?”

Her question broke the moment, and he jumped a little at her voice. Stalking over to the fridge, he adjusted the half-erection pushing against the soft fabric of his low-slung sweatpants and mumbled just loud enough for her to hear, “What’s with you and no underwear?”

“It’s too confining.” She jumped down from the counter, nodding when he handed her a beer. “Most men don’t complain when a woman goes commando.”

“Oh no”—he waggled a finger at her, choking down his gulp of beverage on a laugh—“I’m not complaining. I’m all for it even though it makes me crazy. Thumbs up for the no underwear.”

“Good to know.”

They stared at each other, enjoying the moment as the hum of attraction played low between them like their own personal movie soundtrack. Lucky broke eye contact first, and Taylor took a steadying breath and a gulp of beer. The bottle slipped in her hand a little, the combination of condensation and her sweaty palms making the simple act of getting a buzz treacherous. That’s the way she always felt around Lucky—safe and familiar, but perilous and exciting at the same time. It was what had kept her hanging on all these years.

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