He stepped out as she opened the bottle. Naturally the selection had been weak, to say the least. He’d gotten her a screw-top bottle. “Sorry about the cheap wine. I assume you grew up around the good stuff. My choices were red or white or pink. The red needed a corkscrew.”
She sniffled and held up the bottle. “My brother is the wine snob. The older one, that is. Zep is more of a beer guy. Don’t feel bad about it. Feel bad that this place doesn’t even have glasses. Cheers.”
She held the bottle up and took a healthy swig.
“Sera, I’m sorry. I didn’t listen to you. I was selfish and I sincerely apologize.”
She seemed to think about that for a minute. “You knew I had rented that truck, didn’t you? You walked in knowing full well I would have a problem and you could solve it.”
Well, he’d never thought she wasn’t smart. “Yes.”
“You set this whole thing up so you could get me alone in a place where I wouldn’t put you to work.”
“Well, in my defense, I did not arrange the storm.” If he had, he would have been smart enough to put an extra set of clothes in the truck. He was going to be stuck in cold, wet boxers all night. He could wait until Sera turned off the lights and strip down. He wasn’t going to have her think he would take advantage of her.
“But you got out of your shirt fast enough.” She looked him up and down. “You do that a lot, you know.”
He felt himself flush. “It’s hot around here. I can certainly stop doing that.”
“And interrupt the daily entertainment? My friends would be upset at the thought. Did you notice that Hallie and Sylvie show up every day to check and see if I need anything? Neither one of those women has ever picked up a hammer in her life but suddenly they’re all about home repairs.”
“They’re your friends. I’m sure they’re only trying to help you out.”
“Yeah, no, they come over to catch a glimpse of all that.” She moved her hand around, indicating his chest. “You know every woman in this town is either crazy about you or thinking about setting you up with their daughter or sister or unattached friend. I heard you caused a fuss at Dixie’s the other day. Momma said you had two women fighting over who got to bring you coffee.”
He winced. It had been embarrassing, but two of the younger waitresses at the café had taken a shine to him, and they were quite aggressive in their attentions. “I’ve found that being single in a small town has its disadvantages. Of course, I also get invited to dinner a lot. A lot.”
And he’d turned them all down because he only wanted to be with one woman.
“Has Josette asked you out yet?” Sera asked, her tone deceptively bland.
He knew a minefield when he walked on one. He had the half leg to prove it. Josette Trahan had been at several of the events he’d attended. She was lovely, but there was something cold about the woman. “She asked if I wanted to go out to her place for drinks. I declined.”
“She used to be my sister-in-law, you know. She was married to Remy until she found a better prospect.” Sera took another drink. “She’s probably the most beautiful woman in town.”
“She is not.”
“Really?” Her brows rose. “Is this the moment when you say I’m the most beautiful woman in town?”
“I don’t have to say it for it to be true.” He’d screwed everything up. Maybe it was time for outright honesty. “I’m not interested in anyone but you. I sat in that café getting my coffee mug refilled every three minutes and thought about the fact that if you had been there with me, I’d be safe.”
She set the bottle down on the nightstand. “You wouldn’t be safe at all. Your aunt would throw a fit.”
“I’m a grown man. I don’t let my aunt tell me what to do.”
Her blond hair shook. “And if she kicks you out of the house? Have you thought about that at all?”
He shrugged, the thought not bothering him much. He felt far more comfortable in that ramshackle place of Sera’s, and something was always falling apart there. “I’ve lived in my truck before. I can do it again. I’ll put the camper on top, park on your land, and stay until you don’t need me anymore. With all the bedrooms in that place, I can fix one up and stay there. I sometimes can’t sleep and find work soothing.”
She stood up and grabbed the T-shirt he’d bought for her. “It can’t work, Harry. I’m not going to lie. I’m incredibly attracted to you but I don’t think it’s a good idea. You’re an amazing guy. The funny thing is if you were willing to have an affair, I might do it. I want you that much. But you would want to get involved.”