She knew there was no way he could miss the fact that she had a perfect view of his boat. And therefore him, when he was out there working.
Now she was sorry that she’d pretended otherwise that first day at the bakery.
He turned to face her, brows up.
She ignored him and eyed the box of doughnuts. She didn’t want to be rude and dive in, but she could smell the sugar. It was calling to her.
Tanner came back into the kitchen and leaned against the counter next to her, comfortable as you please in her space. He didn’t appear to be in any hurry to get to the doughnuts so she tried to control herself.
He nodded to a stack of travel brochures for faraway, exotic places like Bora Bora and Anguilla.
“You planning on running off?” he asked.
“Just keeping up on the latest hot locales for honeymoons. Brides are usually incredibly picky about the location, thinking that’s the most important part of the honeymoon.”
“And it’s not?” he asked.
“Let’s just say that I tend to cash my checks fast, before reality sets in and they realize they’ve made a mistake.”
“Ouch,” he said.
“We both know relationships are one big ouch.”
“True enough,” he agreed. “They’re messy and complicated, and screw everything up.” He limped over to the drink carrier and pulled out a second coffee. When he caught her looking at him, he shrugged. “It’s a double espresso kind of morning.”
She nodded toward his leg. “It’s bothering you.”
Another shrug, one that said it always bothered him, he lived with it.
“Isn’t there anything that can be done about the pain?” she asked.
“I don’t like pain meds.”
She could understand that. But she found she wanted to understand so much more. They weren’t supposed to be doing this, getting to know each other, and yet she couldn’t help herself. “So how is it you went from the navy to the oil rigs?” she asked. “Was it like once-an-adrenaline-junkie, always-an-adrenaline-junkie sort of thing?”
“After my tour of duty, I knew I didn’t want to be career navy. But my college scholarship was long gone and I needed money.”
“To support your family,” she said.
“What there was left of it,” he said. “My mom needed some help. I needed a good-paying job fast so I followed the guys to the rigs. They were working abovewater but the money was far better below, planting explosives. I was the resident expert.”
Yeah, he was definitely a long way from that wild kid he’d once been. He’d grown up hard and fast, molded by circumstance into a strong, capable man who was focused. Determined. And, apparently, fearless. “Dangerous,” she said.
He shrugged. “I had the expertise. Why not use it? And yeah, maybe I can see how people thought the job appealed to the adrenaline junkie in me, but that’s not what drew me. I was going to partner with the guys in Lucky Harbor Charters and I wanted to bring my fair share to the table. The job fulfilled all my needs.” He gestured to the empty cup in her hands. “Feeling human yet?”
“Getting there,” she said. “Thank you.”
He opened the box of doughnuts and held it out. “Nothing with powdered sugar.”
“Where’s the fun in that?” She picked out a maple bar. Tanner did the same, and they ate there, standing up facing each other in her kitchen.
A kitchen that suddenly felt a lot smaller than usual. She licked her thumb to get the last of the glaze, sucking it into her mouth.
Tanner’s eyes dilated black.
She went still, letting her thumb slip free with a little suction sound. “Sorry,” she whispered.
“The porn-star noises.”
He flashed a grin. “That was my favorite part.” He held out the box. “Another?”
“I think maybe I should stop at one.”
“Not on my account,” he said, and took a second doughnut for himself.
Callie blew out a sigh and did the same. “I won’t be able to button my jeans.”
“There’s always your PJs.”
They both looked down at them and for a moment she wished that she’d listened to her own advice from her site and was wearing some really sexy lingerie.
From the countertop her phone buzzed an incoming text. With maple glaze all over her fingers, she carefully swiped the screen with her thumb. “Siri, read my text.”
“Text from Best Grandma Ever,” Siri said. “Darling, the word on the street is that you keep going out into the wild wearing strange combinations of clothing. You’re not going to catch a man like Tanner Riggs in sweatpants. Put on some of them fancy skinny jeans they sell nowadays. Show him what you’ve got.”
Callie closed her eyes. “Thank you, Siri.”
“Yes,” Tanner said, smiling. “Thank you, Siri.”
“You’re going to forget you heard that,” she said.
“I’m pretty sure I’m not,” Tanner said. “And for the record, you could totally catch me in your sweats.”
“Stop,” she said, and blew out a breath. “Not that I’m not grateful or anything, but tell me again why you’re here?”
“Because you didn’t show at the bakery,” he said. “You let your asshole ex scare you off.”
“You think he’s an asshole?”