“He’s sweet and obviously has good taste in women.”

“I think he and I might have that in common.” He holds my gaze, and my belly dips. Seriously, he knows how to give a girl butterflies with just a few words.

“How was your day?” I look away from him and scoop up another spoonful of cereal, hoping if I keep my mouth busy, I won’t be tempted to use it on him.

“Good. Busy. The job’s half-done, so it won’t be much longer until we move on to another project.”

“Do you know what your next project is?”

“We just won a bid to start renovations on one of the hotels by the beach. We’re doing a complete overhaul of all the rooms on the top two floors.”

“Sounds fun.” I bite my bottom lip when he starts to play with a piece of my hair.

“It’s work.” He slouches back on the couch, obviously making himself more comfortable, and then lifts his boots to my coffee table. His boots are huge, especially compared to my bare feet. I wonder if it’s true what they say about shoe size and the size of other stuff. “Is that any good?”

I look at him with my mouth full and raise a brow as I chew and swallow. “Did you just ask if Fruity Pebbles is any good? Have you ever had it?”

“I haven’t eaten cereal since I was a kid. The only kind my ma ever bought for us was Cheerios, and not the real kind—the kind that comes in the family-size bag.”

“Here.” I lift a full spoon up toward him, and he looks down at it. “Don’t be a chicken; just try it.”

He leans forward, and his lips wrap around the spoon I’m holding, the sight way more erotic than it should be. He chews and swallows, shaking his head. “It’s . . .”

“Delicious,” I finish for him. “Do you want some more?”

“I’m good.” He laughs. “I am worried that you’re eating that for dinner.”

“Why? It’s fruit and dairy,” I deadpan, and he laughs again.

“Whatever you say, gorgeous. Tomorrow I’ll make you breakfast so your body has the fuel it needs before we get to work.”

I haven’t forgotten I’m spending the day with him tomorrow, pretending to help him paint his kitchen. I’ve been thinking about it all day today. I’ve been thinking about him all day today, actually. I really am starting to like him, even if he has the ability to annoy me like no one else I have ever met in my life.

“Will there be bacon?” I set my bowl on the coffee table, then lean back against the couch, looking at him.

“Is that your roundabout way of saying you want bacon?”


“Then I guess there will be bacon.”

“Now I can’t wait for breakfast.” I smile at him when he grins. “I do have to leave around four, or maybe a little earlier, so I can shower and change to get to my parents’ place for Sunday dinner.”

“Sunday dinner?”

“Yeah, do you want to come?” Crap, why the heck did I just ask him that? I didn’t mean to. It just came out before I could stop it. “I mean . . .”

“Sure,” he agrees.

“Oh . . . okay. Awesome.” I bite the inside of my cheek. My mom is going to flip her lid—not in a bad way. She’s going to be so happy I’m bringing a man with me that she will probably start knitting baby booties. Not that she knits. She’ll probably just order some off Amazon for free two-day delivery.

My parents were not always concerned about my love life, or lack thereof. When I was in my twenties, they told me that I didn’t need to look for a serious relationship, that I should focus on myself and experience as much life as possible. The day I turned thirty, that all changed. Even my dad, who is protective of his only girl, thinks I need to find someone to settle down with. He’s always giving me concerned looks when we have dinner with my two brothers, who both got married and had kids before the age of thirty.

“You don’t want me to go?” He tugs that piece of hair he hasn’t stopped playing with, and I turn my head.

“It’s not that. I just . . . well, I’ve never invited someone to Sunday dinner. I mean, I have, but not a guy. My parents and brothers might assume . . .” I look away at his smirk, and my face gets warm. “It’s just . . .” I blow out a breath. “You know how parents and siblings are.”

“We’re friends. I’m new in town, and we’re neighbors.”

“Right,” I agree, even though it’s a little disappointing to think he’s not interested in me and that the comments he’s made haven’t been a lead-up to something more—that something more being him fricking kissing me. But maybe that’s just him . . . maybe he flirts with everyone.

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