As I explain why Devlinhas access to my house, I can’t stop checking Grace out. She’s dressed casually for a night at a bar, but the top she’s wearing is molded to her full breasts and just tempting me to touch. That Ethan guy must have been salivating over her all night, and I hate him a little more now.
“So, you travel a lot?” she asks.
“Not too much, but when I do, sometimes I’m gone for days at a time.”
She twists in the passenger seat to face me. When we got to her apartment, she hopped into my car so we could talk. “You travel for work?”
“Yes.” Curiosity gleams in her eyes. She wants to know more about me, and I hate talking about myself. But I have to give her something. “I’m not employed full-time with the fire station; I’m only there about three months out of the year. The rest of the time, I’m stationed somewhere else.” I don’t elaborate, and her disappointment is obvious.
I bring the conversation back to Devlin. “She doesn’t show up at my place like that when I’m there. I don’t know what possessed her to pull that stunt the other morning. I’m sorry I put you in that awkward position.”
Grace ducks her head and tucks her hair behind her ear. “It’s okay. I’m so sorry for jumping to conclusions. I feel so stupid.”
“Don’t. Anyone would have drawn that conclusion. It wasn’t a good look. I’m thinking I should have my sister or my friend Matt check on my properties when I’m out of town. But they’ve got their own stuff going on.”
Grace’s eyebrows elevate. “Properties?”
I grit my teeth. That slipped out. “Yeah, hence the need for a lawyer.”
“So, she’s a family lawyer?”
I’m the only one left on that side of the family, but... “Sure.” I glance at her. “Full disclosure—Devlin and I had a sexual relationship years ago. It was a bad idea, and it ended before it ever properly started. We’ve been nothing but professional ever since.”
“Oh.” Her eyes widen. “That explains why she looked at me as if she wanted to squash me under fancy pumps.”
That’s interesting. “Did she?”
“I think she still has a thing for you, Rowan.”
I inhale deeply. Yeah, I’m not blind. Shit. Am I going to have to fire my lawyer?
That’s a problem for another day. Right now, I want to know if Grace and I are good.
“So, am I forgiven? Or will you continue to ghost me until the end of time?”
Her giggle practically lights up my car. “I’m really sorry about that. I was embarrassed to see or speak with you when I thought... you know.”
I nod. Now for the question that has been burning a hole in my brain. “If you weren’t on a date with what’s-his-name—”
“You know his name.” She grins.
I grimace. “Ethan. What were you doing with him?”
Her knowing smirk has me feeling foolish. I’m acting like a jealous boyfriend when I’m far from that.
“He mentioned knowing about a job. I bit the bullet and entertained him by meeting him at that bar to hear more. I need a job. If I don’t find one soon, I can’t pay tuition and I’ll have to drop my class.” She turns to face forward and leans on the headrest. Her sigh rings with frustration. “It’s my last year. I just want to finish. I’m not stupid; I know Ethan dangled that job in front of me to get me to go out with him, but I’m desperate. It was worth a try.” She shrugs.
I stare at her profile. The offer to take care of her tuition is on the tip of my tongue, but she’ll refuse. I’ll bide my time. “You’ll figure it out,” I say instead.
“Yeah.” She glances at me with a small smile. “I don’t want to think about the hard stuff tonight. Come inside, Rowan. You said you wanted to give me time to be sure I want you to be my first. I thought about it and... I’m positive.”
I almost choke on my spit as I stare at her.