Ruined by the SEAL

By: Zoe York

“Five minutes, Cara.”

“I’ll call you in four. Promise.”

Daphne was holding out her bag even as she disconnected the call. “Work trouble?”

“I’m sorry. You’ll need to head off without me.”

Her friends gave her matching understanding smiles.

“You want us to stick around?” Arielle asked.

They would. Cara knew that without a doubt. But she hadn’t wanted to tell them about Mick the night before, and she really didn’t want them to follow her out to the plantation today. No, it would be better if they were off-island for the next twenty-four hours. When she went nuclear on his stupid, brawny body, it would be best not to have any witnesses.

“I’m sure,” she said with a decisive nod.

As they started the engine behind her, she hurried up the dock and tossed her bag in the back of her car. Steeling herself for more recriminations, she dialled Bill back, a plan already forming in her head.

An hour later, she found Mick lying in a hammock he’d strung up between two pillars on the back veranda. Because of course he was having a nap, the giant ass.

Stomping right up to him, she tried not to notice that while he was wearing clothes, strictly speaking, there was a lot of bare skin on display.

Tan, muscled, solid-looking skin, and then a slice of less-tanned lower abdomen sliding out from the low-riding waistband of his board shorts.

Her eyes got stuck on the flat, ridged planes of what looked like eight-pack abs for a second before she remembered she was there to yell at him. She propped her hands on her hips and glared at him, ignoring his vaguely amused expression as he blinked up at her—apparently he wasn’t napping, just resting his eyes so he’d be fully prepared to blast her for being in his way.

Well, two could play that game. She loaded up her best boss-lady voice and fired. “You sent away my electrician?”

He shrugged and slowly rolled up to sit on the edge of the hammock, clearly immune to boss-lady. “Not expressly.”

“What happened? He was left with the impression he wasn’t allowed in the house.”

“Oh. Well yes, I did tell him that.”

“You don’t have that authority!”

“Yes, I do. You just don’t recognize it. Have you heard from the lawyer’s office yet?”

There was enough of an authentic question in his voice for her to know that while she hadn’t, neither had he. So she didn’t answer him. Suck on that, mister.

“Where did you get a hammock?”

“In town.”

In town? She sputtered and gapped at him as the corners of his mouth curled up, lazy and proud as a peacock. She tried to suck in a breath. It hurt. “What…” She trailed off, then tamped down the outrage and tried again. Her voice was strained, but at least it was working. “How else have you made yourself at home?”

He stood, again moving slowly, just to irritate her. But as he towered above her, it wasn’t only annoyance she felt. Through her bristling anger came a wave of awareness. She narrowed her eyes to keep them from rolling at herself. Really, hormones? Him?

Yeah, him.

Had he been that tall yesterday?

No, yesterday she’d been wearing wedge sandals. Today, in her flat deck shoes, she felt positively miniature next to him. Focus, Cara. “Have you been in contact with your…friend?”

“So many questions, Ms. Levasseur.” He winked at her and moved past her. She refused to breathe in. Don’t smell him, don’t smell him…

He disappeared into the kitchen, and after giving him a reasonable head start, she followed. She found him at the counter, where two boxes of supplies glared at her. So a hammock wasn’t the only thing he’d picked up. Bottled water, bread, bananas, the largest pack of Slim Jims she’d ever seen. Cereal, shelf-stable milk—ick—and cookies rounded out the groceries. Okay, so he wasn’t cooking or settling in for the long haul.

But he would still be here on Monday.

She took a deep breath. “Until confirmed otherwise, work will continue as planned. And you are not to scare away any tradespeople with nudity.”

He gave her a lazy grin. “I was wearing clothes.”

She glowered at him.

“Okay, I was wearing boxers. It’s the weekend, and I was making myself some breakfast. I wasn’t naked, and even if I was, that’s nobody’s business but mine.” His smile got even cockier, if that was possible. “And yours, if you want it to be.”

“I don’t.”

“Then stop staring at my chest.”

She jerked her eyes up to his face—she could have sworn she was just looking at him. She’d seen him grin. And then…maybe there’d been some gaze drifting. Not her fault. “You’re taking up a lot of valuable real estate right in front of me.”

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