She propped her hands on her hips and tilted her head. “Do I get privacy or are we both changing in the middle of your kitchen?”
“Are you always so blunt?”
She shrugged, dropping her hands to her sides. “You bring out my sunny side.”
Hayes shook his head and moved into the laundry room. He quickly found a gray T-shirt and a pair of navy sweatpants. Clutching the clothes, he came back into the kitchen.
“There’s a half bath right through there,” he said, pointing to the hallway that led to the front of the house. “You can change and bring me your wet things after.”
As she stepped forward and closed the space between them, he couldn’t ignore the stir of arousal. Why? Really, why did he have to be attracted to someone? One would think after what he’d been through he would be immune to women, but apparently that was not the case.
Maybe it was that initial vulnerability he’d seen in her at the stables. Perhaps it was all of that silken raven hair. Or maybe it was how she was clearly a strong woman who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind.
Regardless, the sooner this storm passed, the sooner he could get her back where she belonged. Between his jumpiness and the unwanted attraction, this was going to be a hell of a storm…both inside and out.
* * *
The bathroom was just as dated and neglected as the kitchen. Which was rather surprising, considering the Elliotts had more money than she’d ever see in a lifetime.
But finances were the least of her concerns right now. For one thing, the shirt smelled amazing. So amazing, in fact, that she might have taken her time in sliding it down over her face so she could inhale that woodsy, masculine scent.
Her other concern was really the reason she hadn’t stepped from the bathroom just yet. Where was she supposed to put her bra? It was soaked, so she wasn’t going to keep it on. But it wasn’t like she wanted to walk out and hand him her pink lacy demi. She’d only met the man a few hours ago. Him handling her unmentionables seemed a bit too intimate.
Grabbing her wet jeans, socks and tank, she wrapped the bra inside the wad of clothes and stepped barefoot from the bathroom.
Thankfully, her phone was okay. No messages from Sadie, so Alexa would check in later. She’d only been gone a few hours, so checking in now would seem overbearing…though she probably would’ve already done so had this little predicament with Hayes not presented itself.
Hayes stood in the kitchen with his back to her, the coffeepot in the corner brewing to life. The sight of that broad back had her clutching her wet clothes and willing herself to calm down. He was just a man. A really sexy, intriguing, frustrating man who’d stared at her lips and stripped his shirt off in front of her.
“Can I throw these in?” she asked.
He glanced over his shoulder, his eyes flared slightly when he raked his gaze over her body. Yeah, his 2X shirt was nearly to her knees. Apparently he needed this size to accommodate those muscles, but she was neither muscular nor tall, so she looked utterly ridiculous. But she was dry and that’s what mattered.
“I’ll take them.”
When he started toward her, she shook her head. “I can do it.”
“Have a seat and give me the clothes. I’ve seen women’s underwear before.”
Of course he’d know why she was clutching her things like a lifeline. “Well, you haven’t seen mine.”
Not a smile or a comment from him as he took her things and disappeared into the utility room. Alexa crossed to the coffeepot and nearly groaned at the glorious smell. She glanced at the bag on the counter and didn’t recognize the brand. Probably something she couldn’t just pick up in the corner market. The Elliotts probably had minions to handpick their coffee beans and make a special roast just for them.
She glanced around, surprised she’d missed the French press on the counter. This kitchen had an expensive coffee maker and a French press? Well, he apparently had his priorities in order.
“They should be done in about forty minutes,” he told her as he came back in.
“The rain hasn’t let up,” she commented as she stared out the large window over the sink. “The sky is getting darker, too.”
Not a good sign. Not good at all.
“I drove my truck down to the stables before riding the horses here with you and most everyone else on the ranch is gone for the day,” he muttered, as if wondering how the hell to get her back to the other side of the property in the middle of this storm.
A bolt of lightning flashed through the sky. Now she was being mocked by Mother Nature. Apparently there was no good way to get back to a vehicle that could take her to the B and B.
Alexa wrapped her arms around her waist and glanced around the room. This was all so…awkward for her. She had a small town house in Stone River and lived with an infant. But here she was thrust into the country, into an old family home with a sexy man and wearing his clothes, which smelled far too fabulous. Part of her couldn’t help but think back to another man and another T-shirt she used to wear.
But that was a lifetime ago and she was in a whole new world. Everything here was so foreign, yet so familiar. From the masculine scent to the intimacy of the moment to the rush of adrenaline when Hayes had been staring at her lips out in the rain.