He punched in the code to the security keypad, and the minute he was inside the dark store, he heard it. Tap, tap, tap. He froze, every neuron on high alert, and listened. Tap, tap, tap, tap, pause, tap, tap, tap. It was coming from his father’s office. His arms instinctively flexed, preparing for a fight. He moved swiftly and silently to the office door and listened to the incessant tapping. Dad’s calculator?
He pushed the door open, and his body flooded with awareness at the sight of Mira sitting at the desk, her fingers flying over the calculator. Maybe this was his lucky night after all.
Her hand flew to her chest. “Matt…?” His name came out all breathy. “You scared me. I had no idea you were in town.”
Because I made a point of wanting to surprise you, although not exactly like this.
“Sorry about that, Sunshine. I just got in a little while ago. I came to get a showerhead.” He walked into the small office, taking in the ledger on the desk, illuminated by his father’s ancient single-bulb lamp, and the family photos thumbtacked to the wall. He noticed a new photograph front and center, a picture of Hagen holding a fishing rod with a little sunfish dangling from the line. He knew how much Mira and Hagen meant to his father, but seeing Hagen’s photo among their family’s brought the full impact home. He shifted his gaze to Mira, and as the shock of his arrival wore off, a beautiful smile spread across her face. There it was, the brightness that had hooked him all those months ago. The sweet look of innocence and rebellious I-can-take-on-the-world confidence in her gorgeous eyes. She had no idea what she did to him.
“Sunshine,” she whispered, and shook her head.
“You can’t deny the way you light up everything around you.” He’d given her the nickname last summer because she had such a positive outlook on life.
“You should see me before I have coffee in the mornings.”
I’d like that more than you know.
“A showerhead? Let me show you where they are.” She pushed to her feet, nearly bumping into his chest in the close quarters. Her chestnut hair tumbled sexily over her shoulders as she stood before him, one hand perched over his chest, the other reaching up to touch his cheek. “What happened?”
Their attraction had been immediate and intense last summer and had only grown stronger with each subsequent visit—at least he knew it had for him. For months he’d buried any hope of exploring their connection beneath classes and research papers. Now, as she gazed into his eyes, all those heated memories came rushing back.
“I was assaulted by the old one.”
“Ouch.” She grimaced, and the spray of freckles on the bridge of her nose rose with the effort.
He hadn’t been able to get that cute mannerism out of his head when he’d gone back to Princeton, and damn, did he like seeing it again.
“You might need a stitch.” Her fingers lingered on his skin, warm and soft.
He covered her hand with his, pressing it to his cheek. “It’s nothing, really.”
She nibbled nervously on the corner of her mouth. “I’ll just…” She pointed out of the office, and her hand slid from beneath his. Her breasts brushed against his arm as she walked away, stirring more of that same dark attraction.
There was no shortage of women vying for Matt’s attention. From coeds to faculty, he could have his pick back in Princeton, and the choices were just as plentiful here at the Cape. But the only woman he saw when he closed his eyes at night was heading down aisle seven of his father’s hardware store.