It was nearly dinner time when Kara left the beach; she’d napped, finished her book, swam, sunned and relaxed enough for the day. She needed a shower and some food and then she would pack. Neither Gavin nor the crew had returned that afternoon, and she only hoped she’d get to see him the following morning before she left.
She checked the mirror in the entry way when she stepped back in the cottage and wasn’t surprised that she was even browner than before. She’d been in the sun all afternoon, and despite the sunscreen, she’d still managed to deepen her tan. Her hair was wild, having dried on its own, and she wished for the thousandth time some company would come up with a product that gave hair as much volume and body as good as the salt water and wind did. If it weren’t for the frizz factor, she’d wear her hair like that all the time. She felt sexy with her hair all wild, and she rolled her eyes at herself remembering Laney’s comment, “what a waste.”
She went into the kitchen and dug out a bowl and some cereal. She wasn’t in the mood for a big dinner, and didn’t feel like cooking or cleaning up afterward. She reached in the refrigerator for the milk, and caught movement from the corner of her eye. With one glance out the cottage’s kitchen window her stomach clenched, and what little hunger she had, abated; Gavin. She quickly closed the refrigerator and looked again. He was standing in the back yard looking up at the back of the main house. Why was he there so late? Was he there to clean up, pick up the rest of his tools? Was he alone? She could see part of his truck in its usual spot, but Kara didn’t see any others. She flew out of the kitchen and into the bathroom where she freshened up in warp speed. Still just wearing her bikini and a pair of shorts, she threw on a tank top from the bedroom, finger combed her hair and quickly left the cottage all the while chanting in her mind, please still be there, please still be there.
She left through the front door and casually rounded the cottage, past the shed, and into the back yard. She swore silently when he was no longer standing out there, and felt like a damn stalker. She turned quickly, and went around to the other side of the property, near the hedge and fooled with the old bike she’d left leaning against the side of the cottage, hoping he would reappear. God, what am I doing? I’m pathetic out here covertly looking for him.
Just as Kara continued to berate herself she glanced up, and he was there, slowly walking toward her from John Thompson’s driveway. And oh God, he was smiling at her. She forgot about the bike and met him half way, smiling too. They stood facing one another in the back yard between the houses.
“Well hi there,” Kara did her best to act surprised at seeing him.
“Hi,” Gavin said taking her in, and thanking God she’d come out before he lost his nerve.
“You guys finished early today, huh?” Kara’s heart was pounding as she turned to stare up at the decks and not at him. They were finally, finally alone, and she was too nervous to look directly at him.
“Yeah, we all took a half day and went fishing. I just came back to pick up some things.” Gavin stood beside her and looked up at the decks too.
“Good for you, it’s about time you had some fun! You work too hard.” Kara smiled and dared to glance his way. They could actually have a conversation she thought; there would be nobody to interrupt them. “So you’re a little drunk now?” She asked with a teasing grin, and warmed all over when their eyes met. The sound of the surf crashing against the rocks below competed with the sound of her heart pounding in her ears.
“No,” he stressed. He didn’t want her to think that at all, but then he saw she was teasing him, and he grinned too. “I behaved.” He’d had a buzz earlier, but he was feeling good now for a whole other reason.
Kara laughed, and wished she had downed a shot of something herself before she’d come outside. She told him she’d been at the beach all day in an attempt to excuse her appearance; so much for thinking she’d be showered and wearing a sexy sundress the next time she saw him.
“So you’re leaving tomorrow, huh?”
Kara was surprised he knew, she had told Owen, and she’d wondered if he’d pass it along, apparently he had.
“Yeah, one of my employees is headed off to school so I’m leaving a week early to pick up the slack.” And because I know you’re finished here, and I won’t be able to bear staying in the cottage knowing you won’t be working here anymore.
There was no denying the sexual tension that flowed between them; it was palpable, and it surprised and invigorated Kara. It seemed they were both there taking a chance, knowing they were finally alone with no one to interrupt them, and knowing that after tomorrow they’d never see one another again. Kara decided to throw caution to the wind.
“I really enjoyed meeting you, Gavin.” She couldn’t look at him as she said it because she was blushing furiously, and afraid he’d know just what she was thinking. She couldn’t help her embarrassed smile though as she stared at the back of the main house and all his hard work.
Gavin looked at her and knew it had been hard for her to say that. “I really enjoyed meeting you too, Kara.”
Oh God, the huskiness in his voice made her belly flip flop.
“I’m thinking someday, when I’m rich, I’ll come back and hire you to build me a beach house.” She couldn’t stop blushing. Why was honesty so hard?
“You’d hire me, huh?”
She dared to turn and look at him. Jesus, his eyes were saying the same things she was feeling, and she definitely hadn’t expected that. She’d hoped for it, but had never expected it. Oh boy. She smiled. “Of course, I already have it all planned out.”
“Oh yeah? And what’s your plan?” Gavin coaxed, the corners of his lips tipped up in amusement.
Kara laughed and flirted, “I could tell you, but it would probably make you blush.” Oh my God had she really just said that? There was no turning back now.
“Really?” Gavin asked with raised brows and felt his blood warm considerably. He hadn’t been wrong to come here; she was into this just as much as he was. “It probably would make me blush,” he said grinning. “I think you like teasing me.”
Kara laughed softly looking at him, “I had fun teasing you this summer. I just hope I never made you… uncomfortable,” she said it honestly thinking of the times he’d seemed that way in front of his crew. She’d never wanted to put him in an awkward position. Had she known in the beginning he was engaged, she never would have flirted with him or given him subtle indications that she really liked him. He’d made it too easy though because he’d reciprocated from the start.
“No. You never made me feel uncomfortable, just the opposite,” Gavin answered quietly still holding her gaze. Man, was he really doing this?
“Good, because I really did have fun, it made for a much better vacation with you working here.” The way he was looking at her she thought her heart might literally beat out of her chest.
“Yeah.” Kara looked away again embarrassed to be speaking so openly. “I was looking forward to having fun this summer, and when I met you, I kind of hoped…” she let the sentence fall with a little shrug of her shoulders, assuming he’d get the ending.
“You shouldn’t tell me that,” Gavin said quietly and stepped closer to her; close enough to whisper in her ear if he wanted. He couldn’t believe how honest she was being. He knew he was on the precipice here, and once he went over there’d be no turning back. It was what he’d wanted from the very beginning, at the risk of…everything.
Kara boldly turned to face him again, and their eyes locked sending her already fluttering stomach into frenzy. “I’ve been dying to tell you that,” she said softly.
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