“You got it?” Hayes asked.
Alexa nodded. “Where should I start?”
“Anywhere. As long as you don’t bust the window, feel free to smack anything. I want it all gone.”
She went to the side of the base cabinet and gave a swing. Well, in her mind it was a hefty swing, but it barely made a hole in the side of the old wood. How embarrassing considering Mr. Muscles behind her could probably take it out with one whack.
“Harder,” he demanded. “Whatever you were upset about this morning, whatever came between us last night, use that emotion and smack the hell out of that cabinet.”
Thoughts about how life wasn’t fair ought to do it. The fact her husband had been taken, her child robbed of a father, then to find the one guy she was interested in had been her husband’s friend…
The sledgehammer came around, her grip tightened as it made contact with the cabinet and busted right through.
Apparently channeling heart-clenching emotions was the perfect solution for demo work. She needed something to demo at home on those days that she struggled to get through.
“At this rate I won’t have to do anything but haul everything away,” Hayes joked. “Swing at it again.”
Alexa banged over and over. The muscles in her shoulders and arms burned, but this was the greatest therapy she’d ever had. Even if she could get over that hurdle of Hayes’s insistence about being alone, now she had the barrier of her late husband. How had she never known about Hayes?
Obviously, they’d lost touch after school when Hayes went overseas, but Alexa had never heard his name and—
Oh, no. She had. She’d heard his name several times. Well, she’d heard Scott talk about his friend “Cowboy.” Ironically the same name she’d called Hayes right before they…
“Okay,” Hayes called over the crashing sound.
Alexa took a step back. Sweat dampened her skin, causing her tank to cling. She eased the head of the sledgehammer down to the ground and rested the handle against her thigh. She was definitely going to feel that workout in the morning, or quite possibly tonight.
Alexa glanced over to see a very smiley Hayes. She hadn’t seen that much emotion from him other than when they were naked.
“I’m sweating and sore,” she told him. “That was amazing.”
Hayes chuckled and stepped forward. “Maybe I should exorcise some demons, as well.”
Alexa stepped far enough back to not get hit by the debris, but still close enough to admire that very masculine form in action. Muscles clenched and bulged as he took his own frustrations out. Before long, the entire wall with the sink was done.
Hayes stepped back and pulled in a deep breath. “Well, that didn’t take as long as I thought.”
“What about the other wall?” she asked.
“That’s a gas stove, so I’ll wait to pull that out. I think we’ve done enough for the day.”
Alexa took in the carnage and propped her hands on her hips. “So how are we going to cook?”
Hayes propped the sledgehammer against the newfound wall. “I have plenty of things. We won’t need to cook.”
Alexa narrowed her eyes. “Like what?”
“Ice cream, cereal, bread from Sweet Buns.”
“I’m here for two days and I’m going to leave fat if all you have is carbs.”
Hayes’s gaze raked over her entire body. “You’re perfect now and you’ll be just as perfect when you leave even with a buffet of carbs.”
Words every woman wanted to hear. If she was ready for something more, maybe he’d be the one who helped her get back into life as a couple, the man who fed her every fantasy, the one she told her every secret…
Except, oh, that’s right. She was now the one keeping a secret from him.
She couldn’t tell him about Scott. Something about the admission felt too emotional, too raw. She’d be gone soon and Hayes would never have to know who she was. That was for the best, considering both of them had determined this to be physical only and nothing personal.
Bringing Scott into the mix now would only make it seem like she’d been keeping something from him all along. And considering they weren’t going to see each other again, it was best she just kept her late husband to herself.
“I say we have ice cream for dinner,” he told her as he closed the distance between them.
“You don’t have to talk me into that if that’s what you’re thinking.”
A corner of his mouth tipped up as he reached her and banded his arms around her waist. “Oh, that’s not what I’m thinking.”
Alexa flattened her palms against his chest. “We’re filthy, Hayes. And I know I smell.”
His lips trailed over her jawline. “We’re definitely on the same page. You do stink.”
She swatted his shoulder with a laugh.
“Which is why I’m about to go scrub you from head to toe and work out those sore muscles in the shower.”
She squealed as he scooped her up. She started to say something about his knee, but he wouldn’t care. He’d ignore the pain and push through because once Hayes had his mind set on something, he followed through.