NAVY HOPE Chapter Four

Chapter Four

By Geri Krotow

Copyright © 2013 by Harlequin Books S.A.


“He’s here.” Maggie’s announcement broke Val’s concentration on the resort’s schedule for the next six months.

January was still busy until mid-month, when all the kids had to be back in school. Spring had a steady stream of clients, leading up to the most heavily booked month yet, June. June heralded the end of school, and was BTS’s busiest month last year, as well. This year would be even busier. Six months out, Val was already stressed about it.

“Thank God. We have four families arriving in the next few days, each for the week-long program.”

Maggie leaned further over her desk, her nose an inch or so from the window.

“Jeez, Maggie, stare much?”

“You didn’t say he was a looker, Val.”

“A looker?”

Maggie moved back from the window as the white painted door burst open with the help of the wind and the sheer force of the man who walked into Val’s office.

Lucas Derringer.

He was as tall as she remembered, but much more…grownup.

Val stood and began to walk to the counter that separated their desks from the main entry. Her foot caught on the handle of her favorite tote, and she fell headlong onto the floor.

She stifled a groan, pushing herself up to a standing position in two short moves. Thank God for her yoga practice and regular runs.

“Are you okay?” The deep voice sounded different than she recalled. Older, wiser.

“I’m fine, just getting ahead of myself.” She did her best to smile as if she hadn’t come within three millimeters of chipping her front teeth.

“It is you. Val?” His coffee-colored eyes reflected his amusement—and appreciation?

“Yes, it’s me.” She stepped forward and held out her hand. “Dr. Derringer? Nice to see you again.”

He grasped her hand in his. She felt strength, warmth, tingle.

Tingle. Crap.

“Welcome to Beyond the Stars, Lucas.” She stared at him, unable to believe that the résumé chock-full of degrees and experience belonged to the same young man she’d known.

His hesitant smile answered her before he spoke. “Penn State’s a big place, and it was so long ago—I thought you might have forgotten me.” Fat chance.

“Your resume says you finished your degree at Temple.” She crossed her arms. She’d recognized his name at once. But his resume hadn’t matched the Lucas she’d loved as a wide-eyed sophomore.

“I did. My first two years were at Penn State, as you obviously remember.”

“I do.” She would’ve kicked herself for how forlorn she sounded, if she hadn’t already bruised herself by tripping like a clown.

“Is this going to be a problem?”

She looked into the sexiest eyes she’d ever seen and saw concern, honesty, integrity. Just as she had all those years ago.

“No, of course not. It’s good to have you here.”

As long as she kept her memories of the past in the past.