One Real Man

By: Coleen Kwan

Her gray eyes widened in puzzlement before stunned recognition flashed through them. “O-Owen? Owen Bellamy?” Her arms tightened around her chest. Retreating a few steps, she flicked back her wet hair with a toss of her head. “What are you doing here? Surely you don’t still clean the pool?”

His mouth thinned. Despite being caught off guard, she’d found his weak spot, as always. But he wasn’t the caretaker’s son anymore; he wasn’t the awkward sixteen-year-old in awe of the owners’ gorgeous, pampered daughter. He was an adult—successful and wealthy—and he’d had plenty of beautiful women since her.

Folding his arms, he pinned her with a cool stare. “This pool happens to be mine now.”

“Your pool?” She let out a light, incredulous laugh.

He grimaced at her snicker. “Yeah, my pool and my house. You’re trespassing on my property, Paige.”

Arms still wrapped around her torso, she lifted one shoulder. “I’ve never heard such nonsense. My parents would never sell our home, not in a million years—”

“I’m renting the place.”


“Uh-huh. Signed a one-year lease just last week.”

“But—but—I don’t understand.” A dumbfounded expression gripped her face.

For a second Owen almost felt sorry for her. Obviously she’d been kept in the dark by her parents, or more precisely her mother, the dominant force in the Kerrigan family.

Paige shook her head forcefully. “My mother would never rent her home to you.”

She was right. As keen as Crystal Kerrigan might be to rent out her mansion, she would have balked at signing it over to her former caretaker’s son, the moody teenager who’d caused so much embarrassment to her precious daughter. But luckily, McCarthy Construction, the private company in which Owen now owned a share, was the lessee on the rental agreement.

“Too bad,” he retorted, “because she has.” The lease was watertight; he’d made his lawyer double-check every clause.

A deep line creased her forehead. Despite her scowl, he couldn’t help noticing that she looked amazing. Her teenage prettiness had matured into something dazzling. Her smooth ash-blond hair was slicked back, revealing an oval face with sculpted cheekbones, a straight, narrow nose, and lips with a perfect Cupid’s bow. Large gray eyes fringed with thick lashes studied him suspiciously. Her neck was slender, her shoulders and collarbones delicate. Her arms banded across her chest didn’t conceal the fullness of her breasts, while the semi-opaque water hinted at the rest of her body. What an incredible body…

Heat seeped through him, a flickering trail of desire. Owen bit the inside of his cheek. Fourteen years ago, Paige Kerrigan had kept him tossing feverishly at nights, and tonight her effortless, haughty beauty was wreaking the same havoc. Why did she still affect him so much?

He stared down at her. “So are you going to tell me what you’re doing in my pool?”

Paige shivered, not just from the water cooling on her skin, or Owen Bellamy gazing down at her, but also the way her heart had lurched at his sudden reappearance.

Owen Bellamy. Oh my God. When she was sixteen, every glimpse of Owen had scrambled her wits. His father had been the caretaker, just one of the many staff employed by her parents, and Owen, the same age as she was, had helped out with his dad’s chores. He should have been practically invisible to Paige, but she’d found it impossible to ignore him, as much as she tried, and oh boy had she tried.

Soon after the school dance debacle, Owen had left Burronga, their quaint country hometown, and moved to Sydney to start a building apprenticeship. She’d prayed never to see him again, had made a huge effort to forget him, and she’d succeeded. She hadn’t thought about him in years.

But now, without warning, he was back in her life, a life that had gone spectacularly off course in the past year. And he’d just seen her naked boobs. God, could life get any better? These breasts had already caused too much mayhem in her life.

“Uh, do you mind if I get dressed before we talk?” she asked, rubbing her cold upper arms.

“Go right ahead. I don’t mind.” He stood there, not looking like he’d move any time soon.

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