She knew her dad’s depression wasn’t his fault, but that hadn’t stopped her from being profoundly affected by his condition. There’d been no more smiles and cuddles. No more love or even basic interest in her life other than to express disappointment. She told herself she understood. He was ill. He’d suffered. She got it.
But deep down, she didn’t really quite get it. Inside she was still that pathetic little girl looking for her daddy’s approval.
And if that didn’t put her in a mood…And it didn’t stop her from making her way to the edge of Jacob’s property, where she found Mr. Not Lake Patrol himself.
He wore those sexy jeans, now so low-slung from his steady, economical movements that they were just about indecent. His entire body swayed with easy grace as he wielded the ax, his broad, smoothly muscled back moving so fluidly that she found herself sitting right there on the wild grass embankment above the beach. Because her feet hurt, she told herself, and kicked off her heels.
She needed a break, that’s all, and she leaned back on her hands to watch. In spite of her pissiness, all that hot and sweaty man flesh made her a little gooey inside. The only thing that could’ve improved her view would’ve been a Scandal-size glass of wine and a big bowl of popcorn.
Jacob stopped and swiped his brow, and then tensed and turned, finding her in one sweeping glance. It was as if he’d felt her the same way she always seemed to feel him, and at the realization, she froze.
She really had no idea what drew her to him. Okay, scratch that, she knew. He had a way of looking into her eyes and really listening when she spoke that made her feel…important. But he was also dark and brooding and so effing sexy he set her every nerve ending on fire with just one look.
When was the last time that had happened? Never, that’s when.
Too bad she wasn’t planning to forgive him.
Once a jerk, always a jerk, and she knew that firsthand, thank you very much. Been there, bought the T-shirt, been raked over the coals.
Jacob lifted a hand to shield his eyes, presumably to get a better look at her. His other hand came up in a wave.
She sucked in a breath and didn’t wave back. No way, no how. Lucas had been charismatic and charming too. She wasn’t going to let her guard down, or relax.
You were pretty relaxed after having him buried deep inside you…
She sighed. It didn’t matter what kind of a man he was beneath the sexy skin.
Not from the moment he’d let her think he was something he wasn’t.
Jacob had been chopping wood for about two hours, using some of the wood rounds he’d found lying in a huge pile on the side of the cabin.
He’d chopped more than they’d need at the resort, stocking the extra against the back of the cabin for winter—even though he’d only rented the place short-term and it was currently summer.
He stopped when he could no longer lift his arms. He’d set the ax aside and stood there catching his breath when he felt it. Her. But the dock was still empty, no Little Lucas and no wild tumbleweed Sophie Marren.
And then he realized she was sitting above, on the edge of the embankment, her bare feet hanging over, swinging slightly. She wore her sunglasses so he couldn’t see exactly where she was focused, but he knew.
He lifted a hand in greeting, his body tightening. In hunger, he told himself. But he knew that it wasn’t food he was hungry for.
She stood and made her way down to the beach. He met her just as a truck pulled up to the cabin. Hud’s truck. Deciding Hud could wait a second, Jacob smiled at Sophie.
She didn’t smile back.
“What’s the matter?”
“Nothing,” she said. “Or…you’re not lake patrol.”
He smiled at the idea of being lake patrol. Yeah, he’d been military for nine years and still was, but if there was one thing he’d learned about himself, he wasn’t exactly a rule follower. Taking a job where he had to impose rules upon others wasn’t going to work for him. Ever. “Not lake patrol,” he agreed with a laugh.
She took a step back, and he realized his mistake. Never laugh at a pissed-off woman. He reached for her, but she evaded, jabbing a finger in his direction.
“You think this is funny?” she asked.
“Funny that you thought I was lake patrol? Absolutely,” he said. “Funny that you’re somehow all riled up at me? No. I don’t find that funny at all. Unless you’re looking to expel some of that energy in a constructive but down-and-dirty way. Because then I’m game.”