By Geri Krotow
Copyright © 2013 by Harlequin Books S.A.
He liked the way she tossed her head as though she could wave a wand and make everything easy, no regrets.
Back in college, they’d met in math class, a pre-requisite for both of them as she pursued social work and he was taking a pre-law curriculum. He’d loved teasing her about how much money he was going to make dealing with the world’s problems, while she’d be trying to solve them on a pauper’s pay.
“I read online that you graduated from Penn State, and then went to Catholic University in D.C. for your graduate work. How did you end up here, so far out west?” He was curious but also didn’t think it was fair for her to ask all the questions.
Her eyes narrowed and she bit her lower lip.
She was here because of a man. He didn’t see a ring, but a bare hand meant nothing.
“Family circumstances.” She smiled. Professional, smooth and completely impersonal. Yeah, he’d hit a button.
“I’m not trying to spar with you, Lucas. I really did end up here because of family issues, most of which you’ve probably read about on BTS’s website.”
Before he could offer condolences on her brother’s death, she’d regained her composure, and he watched her as she collected several files from her desk and handed them to him.
“Here’s everything you need for the first week. Your client load, information about the island, the ferry schedule and some travel brochures for Whistler and Vancouver. Do you ski?”
“I love to, but I rarely have time anymore.”
She smiled. “I know what you mean. Life gets in the way, doesn’t it?” She pointed at the folder labeled Fun. “You’ll find information on skiing at Whistler in British Columbia, and Mount Baker on the mainland. You’ll need breaks from the work and even the island.”
“I’m used to a very intense work schedule.” Did she really think he’d need a break from a resort?
“Sure you are. But you’re on my team now, and one of my requirements is that you be as relaxed and happy as possible while you’re here. You’ll project that well-being and confidence to our clients, and they deserve nothing less.”
“Got it.” Actually, he did, and he was impressed by Val’s depth of commitment. As the owner and boss of BTS, she certainly called the shots with her staff in a very different way.
This wasn’t going to be anything like Walter Reed.
Starting with the hot woman in the tight white pants. The girl he’d had the most memorable sex of his life with all those years ago.
She’s your boss.
He needed space. He’d only been here fifteen minutes, and he already had island fever.
More like Val fever.
He tried to focus on something else. His gaze caught on a pair of woman’s running shoes next to Val’s desk.
“You still run?”
“Yes.” No invitation for him to join her, though.
A good run around the island that was going to be his home for the next six months would calm his nerves and get rid of the sensations caused by shaking her hand.
A need he’d rationalized ignoring because he wasn’t “ready” yet.
The truth was that a man in his mid-thirties was pretty much ready at all times. For a physical relationship. But sharing emotional intimacies? Nope, he wasn’t going to pay that price.
Lucas did what he always did when his head warred with his instincts.
He decided to throw himself into his work.
“When do I start?”