Sylvie had been a party girl when they’d met, and settling down hadn’t agreed with her. Was she back to her old habits?
He’d just rounded the corner when the wind picked up and raindrops fell again. With a muttered curse, Morgan turned up his collar as he headed toward the flashing neon lights.
Suddenly, something—someone—plowed into him. He found his arms full of soft, damp, sweet-smelling woman.
TARA GASPED, STRUGGLING not to drop everything in her arms. No such luck, as her purse and groceries tumbled to the ground. She didn’t suffer a similar fate only because Morgan caught her.
“You okay?” His voice was deep, his arms warm, solid bands through her jacket. His breath brushed her cheek and she wasn’t sure how long his gaze held hers.
“Uh, yeah.” She hastily pulled away once her brain kicked into gear. Cold replaced the warmth of his arms. Trying not to look at him or think about how close they were, she bent to gather her groceries. They’d scattered clear across the wet sidewalk. One of the plastic bags had torn.
“Let me help.” Morgan crouched beside her, and Tara couldn’t help noticing his thick, muscular thighs right there in front of her—or the enticing curve of his biceps as he easily took on the weight of the canned goods. What items she could grab, she shoved into the remaining bag before facing him again.
His arms were full of her groceries. And he was smiling at her. Damn. She’d wondered earlier what that smile would do to her. Now she knew. Her stomach did one of those annoying little backflips. Karma was a bitch. Hastily, she reached for the last few items and shot to her feet, berating herself for letting him distract her. She’d sworn she wouldn’t let that happen again.
When she’d bought the diner, she’d also found a sweet little apartment within walking distance of both work and downtown. What she hadn’t taken into consideration tonight—besides slamming into a solid, brick wall of a man coming around a corner—was weather. The fact that it had been raining on and off all day had made the trek long and cold. And wet. Very wet.
She knew her hair was plastered to her head, and she was sure she looked like a drowned rat. Maybe the late-day shadows would disguise her at least a little. Self-conscious, she tried to deflect the focus away from herself. “I—I thought you’d be leaving town.”
“Still working on that. Good thing, too. Looks like you need my help.” He winked.
He seemed entirely too happy about that fact. She scowled and fought the answering smile. “I can take—” Glancing down, she realized she couldn’t take any of it. The other bag was ripped beyond salvaging, and she only had two arms. Surely, there was a way to stack it, cram everything into the one bag.
“Where you headed?” he asked, settling the canned goods more solidly in his arms.
“Point me in the right direction.” He was still smiling. “I’ll help.”
Tara shivered, as much from the cold of the rain as the realization that she had no choice but to show this veritable stranger her home. Either that or leave her groceries sitting here on the curb.
“Come on.” She headed toward her apartment building, knowing that at least some of her neighbors were home. Mrs. Walton across the hall was always home. If Tara screamed, someone would hear her. But would they do anything?
She mentally rolled her eyes. She was being ridiculous.
Morgan walked beside her, his height and bulk blocking some of the rain, and Tara gave up resisting the urge to look at him. He was as soaked as she was, but why didn’t he look like a drowned rat? If anything, he looked better all wet.
His jeans drew her gaze. The damp denim plastered to the hard contours of his leg muscles. Definitely a bodybuilder, he had a grace most hulking guys didn’t. The T-shirt he wore was a dark color, so the damp didn’t look as obvious, except to make the definition of those muscles clear. Six-pack abs. Pecs that were solidly defined and wide shoulders that flexed with the flow of muscle, broad and strong.
Tara doubted she could circle those biceps with both hands… The idea of touching him so intimately sent a flush from her head to her toes and back again.