Most of the men in her life were like her brothers. Tall, rangy cowboys. Muscular, yes, but not like this. Their physique came from working with the cattle and riding horses; Morgan’s seemed more deliberate. More defined. Purposeful.
He had to work out. Suddenly, an image of him, sweat glistening on the hard curves of his bare chest, his arms straining as he lifted a bar with black weights on each end, leaped to mind. If her arms hadn’t been full of fresh linens, she’d have reached up to fan herself.
Forcing herself to stop this nonsense and get back to work, she stepped out of the kitchen, hugging the linens tight. She took her time putting them away in the antique wooden cabinet nestled in the corner.
She did not have time for this. Hadn’t she learned her lesson? Men—good-looking men—were a distraction she couldn’t afford right now.
Once the linens were settled, she headed to the cash register and pulled out the day’s receipts to prep the deposit. Robbie was here handling the kitchen, so she had a couple hours to get paperwork done.
“Mornin’, Morgan. Can I get you a warm-up?” Wendy’s voice, friendly, inviting and warm, came across the dining room, and Tara looked up again. A twinge of jealousy surprised her. The waitress stood across the counter from the burly truck driver, holding the carafe.
He didn’t respond at first and Tara paused, just as Wendy did, waiting.
“You okay?” Wendy touched his arm, giving him a tiny shake. “Morgan?”
He shook his head. “Guess I’m tired.” He rubbed his eyes. “I need to get some shut-eye.” Then he smiled. His eyes sparkled and a tiny dimple grew in his left cheek. Tara stared, frozen by the sight of him. What would it feel like to have that smile aimed at her?
Wendy repeated her offer.
“No, thanks.” Morgan set down the cup. “I’ve gotta run. Good breakfast. Thanks.” He nodded, tossing the folded newspaper onto the counter for someone else to read. A ball cap sat at his elbow. He settled it over his close-cropped hair, the wide brim hiding his eyes from Tara’s view and shadowing the rest of his face.
Before turning to leave, he flipped a couple bills on the counter, then stood and shoved his wallet into the back pocket of a worn pair of jeans. Her gaze followed.
Tara watched every move. Moments ticked by until she realized she was staring openly at his backside. Shaking her head, she forced herself to look away. Focus on something—anything—else.
“See you tomorrow?” the waitress asked hopefully, her gaze darting meaningfully to Tara.
Tara tore her gaze away from them, forcing herself to focus on the deposits. And to try to control her breathing. It should be against the law for a man to wear a T-shirt that fit so well. Wasn’t there some kind of ordinance?
“Maybe. Depends on my load.” His voice dipped low. How the hell did he make it reach deep inside her?
He looked up then, his gaze reaching out beyond the shadowed hat brim and finding hers. Tara stared back, knowing she should look away, but unable to do so.
Her breath caught, and she tried to release it.
Then he was gone, the glass door closing quietly in his wake.
“Wonder why he’s in such a toot?” Wendy asked, sidling up to Tara, as if she knew more than she was saying.
Tara shrugged, forcing her face not to show her own curiosity. Wendy didn’t need any more encouragement.
“He doesn’t owe us any explanations.” Tara cringed at the breathy sound of her own voice.
“Maybe not you.” Wendy grinned. “I need to know.”
“Why is that, exactly?”
“I’m determined to fix him up with you. It won’t work if he’s not here.”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake.” Tara turned away, her hands full of receipts, her cheeks warm for a reason she refused to identify. “Don’t start that. We’ve been over this. I’m not interested.” She headed into the kitchen.
Wendy followed her. “Your words say that, but I saw the way you looked at him.”
“You’re imagining things.” Tara shoved open the office door with her hip, hoping Morgan hadn’t seen her gawking at him. Which she hadn’t been doing. Not really. It was her job, after all, to keep an eye on things. “We’ve got work to do.” She set the papers on the desk, ignoring the raised eyebrow from her waitress.