“Large iced coffee, cream and two sugars.” I smile at Melissa behind the counter of my favorite coffee shop and pull cash out of my purse as she types my order into the computer.
“Anything else, Ash?” She looks up, and I try to fight it, but I can’t.
“Two cake pops, both chocolate. Oh, and a cranberry scone.”
“Got it.” She grins, knowing me, since I come in and order the same thing almost everyday, unless it’s fall—then I always go for something pumpkin. “You can pick it up at the end of the counter.”
“Thanks.” I give her one last smile and tuck the change into the tip jar in front of me then make my way down the line to wait. Pulling out my cell phone, I type a message back to my dad letting him know I’ll be over after work.
“Coffee black, one sugar.” A deep male voice slides over every inch of me and my head lifts. The moment I spot the commander of that voice, my body freezes. I’ve seen thousands of good-looking men in my life, but with long, dark-blond hair, sun-kissed skin, broad shoulders covered in a tailored suit jacket, a slim waist, and long, thick legs encased in slacks, I know he’s the most spectacular.
“Ash… Ashlyn?” Turning my head and coming out of my daze, I find my order in front of me and Dane, Melissa’s husband, staring at me with concern. “Are you okay?”
Oh, God. I probably look like an idiot. “Yeah, sorry. I spaced out.” I smile, taking my drink and the bag holding my goodies, then reach over and grab a straw.
“No problem.” He grins then I feel heat hit my side, and my eyes travel up and up, until I find the object of my sudden fascination looking down at me through crystal-blue eyes.
“Hi,” I breathe, feeling myself involuntarily lean toward him. His eyes scan my face and he lifts his chin ever so slightly before turning back to the counter.
Feeling like a total moron, I book it out of the coffee shop and down two doors to the dental office I work at, unlocking the door and turning on the lights as I enter. Heading to the reception desk, I set my coffee down on my desk along with my bag of goodies and stow my purse as I start up the computer.
“Hey,” I greet Gregory as the chime sounds and he steps into the office.
“Hey, darlin’.” He smiles, taking off his hat and suit jacket. “We need to have a quick chat.”
“Sure,” I agree as he walks past me, back toward his office, and I follow with my coffee while shoving a whole entire cake pop into my mouth, chewing quickly.
“I’ve got some news.”
“Okay.” I take a seat, watching him tuck his coat away and put on a scrub jacket that is in major need of ironing.
“I found someone to buy my practice.”
“That’s great.” I smile, feeling relieved. Gregory isn’t as young as he used to be, and we are constantly losing patients. People are fearful of him, with his thick glasses, shaky hands, and his old school attitude that no one really needs to be numbed before a procedure.
“He’s going to be here soon. I just wanted to give you a heads up.”
“You know I adore you, darlin’.”
“I know,” I concur. “The feeling is mutual.” I smile, and he smiles back then looks toward the door when the chime signals someone came in.
“That’s probably him,” he mumbles, buttoning the jacket up.
“Do you want me to send him back?”
“Yep, business as usual. He can talk while I get stuff set up,” he says, and I nod then head out toward the front of the office. As soon as I reach the reception desk, the smile on my face slides away and my steps falter. The guy from the coffee shop is standing with his hands on his hips, looking around the reception area with a look on his face that says it doesn’t meet his standards. Taking in his expression I can’t say I blame him for his distaste. The paint is peeling in spots and the furniture is worn and out dated. The whole office needs an update.
“Hi, can I help you?” I ask, and he turns at the sound of my voice. As soon as his eyes meet mine I see something flash behind his gaze, but it’s gone before I can read it.
“I’m here to see Gregory. He should be expecting me.”
Oh, God. This cannot be happening.
“He’s in the back. Let me take you to him.”
“You are?” he asks, raising a brow.
“Oh,” I let out a short laugh filled with nervousness, “Ashlyn.” I stick out my hand and his eyes drop to it before his fingers wrap around mine. A zing surges through my body, leaving me paralyzed.