He dismissed the thought as Rennie approached with her long, curly hair bobbing in a ponytail. Beneath his anger, desire stirred. It was galling how her beauty affected him. Or perhaps the allure came from the way she ignored the physical attributes she possessed in abundance.
He didn’t believe in soul mates but he did believe in fate. Something had always drawn them into a combustible mix. When she’d been little more than a child and he an adolescent, they’d forged a relationship based on hatred. By the time he completed his senior year of high school and she entered ninth grade, Troy worried there was more to it. By then she was gifted with beauty and a body built for sex. Half of the young men in Liberty had pursued her. Not that Rennie had noticed. Mouthy, with tunnel vision, she’d trod her own path.
She captured his sister’s attention, two young women predisposed to hit it off. Dianne offered her hand in greeting.
Clasping it, Rennie made a quick introduction then said, “You’ve probably received lots of catalogs from the other trades. I work differently. Whenever you’re ready, I’ll go with you to choose the lighting. It helps to get a second opinion right in the showroom.”
“I’d like lighting similar to my parents’ side of the mansion,” Dianne said.
“You wouldn’t want a jarring change.”
“I’m not sure how to accomplish it. The mansion’s fixtures were installed during the Roaring Twenties.”
Rennie trailed her thumb beneath the heart-shaped curve of her chin. “A company outside New York City does wonderful reproductions,” she said.
Troy crossed his arms, waiting. Even as she enthralled his sister, her gaze strayed to his. Tired of the unspoken questions—he was livid and she knew it—he finally growled, “Where have you been?”
She shrugged. “I had an emergency.”
“We’ve been waiting.”
“It won’t happen again.”
“Get your priorities straight or work somewhere else. Got it?”
The heat in his voice drew a gasp from Dianne.
Rennie looked like she’d been slapped. In a flash, she dusted off her pride.
He sensed danger when she asked, “How’s the tooth?”
He flinched at the audacity of the question. Then he remembered. Rennie didn’t have the sense to walk away from a battle. She never had.
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