“Excuse me? Jason?”
He jerked. Savanna stood outside the waist-high fence in a blue shirt, her hair teased every which way like she’d had a hectic day. If little Aubrey wasn’t sitting on her hip, he could have launched into some pretty erotic fantasies.
“Savanna, come on in.” He opened the gate, then gave Aubrey’s curls a pat. In return, he got a chubby smile. “How’s it going?”
“Well, it’s going.”
“Know that feeling.” He motioned to a chair next to his and they sat down. Moments like these made him wish he could talk things over with Mike after work. Talk about Savanna. More specifically, about Jason’s feelings toward her. Mike wouldn’t point out that Jason shouldn’t have these feelings. He’d just listen till Jason reached his own conclusion.
“Want something to drink?” he asked Savanna. Aubrey pulled on his shorts, so he smiled down at her. The little girl liked something about him. With a jolt, he found himself thinking about the similarities between them. Then he chided himself. It didn’t mean anything that they both had brown hair and eyes.
Savanna shook her head. “I’ve been thinking about what you said.” She’d pulled her gaze from him halfway through her sentence. That might have been embarrassment on her face. “You see, I would just stay with Cassie, but . . .”
“So you’re taking me up on my offer?” He liked how she got embarrassed about it, but he didn’t let the grin all the way on his face.
“If you’re still offering. I’m looking for work, so I’ll pay rent as soon as I can.”
Life suddenly felt a little better, a little brighter. He could see something floating in the waves to grab. Maybe he could keep afloat with Savanna close by.
“No need to worry about it, when you can.” He didn’t care if she ever paid him a cent. Feeling bolstered, he asked, “How’s Cassie?”
“Better.” The answer came quickly and easily. Maybe life was getting better there too. “A little more organized, but she’s not going back to work just yet.”
He thought on that a minute. It’d be nice to see Cassie happy again. It just felt wrong to think about moving on.
“Can I assume she’s still mad at me?” He watched Savanna while she watched her little girl play with a daisy. A long minute later, she nodded to his question. “But you and me, we’re okay, aren’t we?”
“We are,” she agreed. He had to be her friend, somehow he needed that, and maybe he could put off thinking about the other currents running between them. It wasn’t the time or place in life to be fantasizing about touching her skin. She’d run for sure if she had any idea how he felt. He didn’t expect Savanna to say more about Cassie, but she did. “I tried to get through but. . .”
But the truth stood in the way.
“She has a right to blame me. I thought about what was best for Mike, not about both of them or their future. I assumed he could explain to her how much he loved his job and she’d eventually accept it.” He reached behind his chair to where he’d hidden the beer, then took a long swig and replaced it. It wasn’t like Aubrey knew what it was, but he didn’t want to drink in front of her either. He’d had it out here before they arrived, and he didn’t want to go inside to put it away. He didn’t want to do anything but sit here with Savanna.
“You don’t blame yourself, do you?” she asked with those wild green eyes looking puzzled. “Because you have absolutely no reason to.”
“Ahh, darn it.” He looked over the surrounding rooftops at the tall timber and the hills beyond. “I can’t tell what I’m feeling. What about you? How are you doing with all this, on top off your own stuff?”
She blinked, shrugged, and he knew he wouldn’t get an answer. He ran around her question, too, and couldn’t blame her for doing the same.
Her shirt hung just low enough to show her tan line when she leaned forward, but he didn’t let himself look. The hottest babe he’d ever run across sat there and he couldn’t check her out. If he looked at her, all he saw were those big green eyes.
He knew what it was. Her baby. Dating a mom meant a lot of things in a real short amount of time. And she was Cassie’s best friend. And dealing with a divorce. And facing single parenthood. Off limits on so many levels.
So why couldn’t he shake the adrenaline rush he got every time he saw her?
Want to read more? Check out the beginning on Kindle. (Don’t worry, the novel has normal formatting that I lose when I post things here.)