Not that Callie could give this any thought at the moment because Tanner shoved the wetsuit down to his hips.
Back in her high school days, a quiet brainiac like Callie had been invisible to him. Which had never gotten in the way of her fantasies, as the teenage Tanner Riggs had been rangy, tough, and as wild as they came.
He’d filled in and out, going from lanky teen to a man who looked like every inch of him was solid muscle, not a spare ounce of fat in sight.
Was he still tough and wild and a whole lot of trouble?
Oblivious to both her musings and the fact she was drooling over him, Tanner moved to the fifty-foot sport boat moored at the dock where he came face to face with a teenager who looked just like him down to his dark hair, dark eyes, and that air of wildness. Callie actually blinked in shock. Unless time travel was involved and Tanner had come back as his fifteen-year-old self, she was looking at his son.
The two males spoke for a moment, the teen’s body language sullen and tense, Tanner’s calm, stoic, and unreadable. Then still shirtless, his wetsuit low on his hips, Tanner hopped lithely onto the boat and shimmied his way up the mast, moving seemingly effortlessly on the strength of his arms and legs. He had something between his teeth, a rope, she saw, and damn if her heart didn’t sigh just a little bit at watching him climb with heart-stopping, badass grace.
“He’s certainly romance hero worthy,” her grandma said in her ear, nearly making Callie jump. She’d forgotten she was on the phone.
“Tall, dark, and a bit attitude ridden on the outside,” her grandma went on, “but on the inside, he’s really just a big softie.”
Callie couldn’t help it, she laughed. From her view, there was nothing soft about Tanner Riggs.
Not his body, not his mind, and certainly not his heart. “I remember him,” she said softly. And what she remembered was getting her teenage heart crushed. “I need to go, Grandma. But I’ll come by for lunch.”
“Good. I want to introduce you to the guy I think I’m going to take on as my new boyfriend.”
Callie tore her gaze off Tanner and looked at her phone. “Wait—what? I’ve been here two weeks, and you haven’t mentioned this.”
“Yes, well, sometimes you can be a little prudish about these things.”
“I’m not prudish.”
“And you think I’m losing it,” Lucille said. “That one might be true.”
“I mean, just the other night I lost my glasses. And they were right on my head. Someone told me I needed to eat more blueberries to boost my memory. Which reminds me to ask, why couldn’t it be drink vodka, or something good, to regain some memory?”
Callie rubbed the headache brewing between her eyes. “Back to the taking on a boyfriend thing…”
“Well, I’ll need your definition of boyfriend first,” her grandma said.
Callie stared at the phone. “Maybe we should forget the blueberries and have your hormone levels checked.”
Lucille laughed. “I didn’t tell you about the boyfriend because my sweetie and I like to keep things on the down-low. And plus it was a test. A test to see if you’ve got skills to sniff out the dirt like I do. You failed, by the way.”
“You mean because I’m not a snoop?” Callie asked, trying not to picture her eighty-plus grandma having a “sweetie.” “And you do realize you have a reputation as the town’s unofficial media relations director, right?”
“Yep. Although I’m lobbying to make it official—as in a paid position.” She laughed when Callie snorted. “I swear, honey, it’s like you’re not even related to me. And anyway, how is it that you’re the one who taught me how to work a computer and what social media was, and yet you don’t utilize them to your favor?”
“You mean manipulate them?” Callie asked. “And I taught you all that because I thought you were getting elderly and bored and your mind would go to rot. I didn’t know you were going to terrorize people with it!”
Lucille laughed. “I’ve got a bunch of good years left before I’ll even consider getting elderly and bored. And no worries, my elevator still goes to the top floor. Come on over, honey. I’ve got to put the new registration sticker on the car; it just came in the mail. Nice that the state allows me to pay them for the car they won’t license me to drive, huh? To sweeten the deal, I’ve got dessert from Leah at the bakery. She makes the best stuff on the planet.”
Callie blew out a breath. “Okay, I’ll bring the main course, something from the diner.”
“I could make my famous fried chicken.”
Last week, Lucille had set her fried chicken on fire and had nearly burned her house to the ground. Hence the “famous.” Which was really more like infamous. “I’m on a diet,” Callie fibbed.
“That’s ridiculous,” Lucille said, obviously outraged. “You don’t need to go on a diet to catch a man. You look fantastic! I mean, you’re a little short but your curves are all the rage right now. And sure, you can come off as a little standoffish, but I blame your parents and their inability to love anyone other than themselves for that, not you.”
Callie choked back her laugh. It was true; she was the product of two college sweethearts who’d been so crazy in love with each other that nothing had ever really penetrated their inner circle—including their own child. They’d raised her kindly and warmly enough, but her quiet upbringing had left her introverted and preferring the company of a computer rather than people. “I’m not trying to catch a man,” she said.