Snow Bound

By: Dani Wade

She wanted to twist around to check out the source, but the thought of having Damon walk in while her backside was exposed incited a flush of heat that wasn’t entirely embarrassment. Not good. Really not good. With that characteristic Texas charm, Damon had made it clear on the few times she’d met him that he wasn’t interested in her. So she’d hidden behind a measure of her own southern graces, treating him just as she would any gentleman who would enter her business establishment instead of like a cowboy she wanted to hold down and ride. He’d probably run for the hills if he knew the thoughts that raced through her head with just one glimpse of his wide, smoothly muscled shoulders and dark blond military cut.

Or maybe not. Enough cars parked overnight outside his house that he would definitely recognize the lust—and probably pity her for it. Though she thought she’d seen a moment of interest when his eyes traced the dripping mess that was now her robe, but she must have been mistaken. A few polite conversations and he’d kept his distance since moving here.

Too bad, because that was a yummy hunk of man, and this town was severely deficient.

As the footfalls overhead crossed out of her bedroom, Tori used her arms to lift herself from the couch and rearranged her robe around her, making sure it wasn’t tucked under her bottom. She clutched the front closed in a tight fist. Maybe this way she could transfer to a sleep shirt with as little flesh flashing as possible. The thought of him seeing her bare skin had her squirming, but she forced herself to still before she got another bolt of pain from her thigh. Crying in front of him would be almost as humiliating as exposing unwanted butt cheeks.

When he reentered the room, her favorite gray Alabama football night shirt lay over his forearm. He switched off his flashlight before setting it on the table. “Okay,” he said, gathering the shirt into his hands. “Let’s get you out of that wet robe.”

Her gaze, which had been tracing the lines of his body in the tight jeans and sweatshirt he wore, jerked up to his face. “What?” she asked, her throat tightening enough to make it difficult to force the word out. She was surprised that he wanted to help, though she probably shouldn’t have been. One thing the past half hour had taught her about her neighbor was that he knew how to take charge, which was more than she’d learned about him in the year he’d been living next door.

He motioned toward her, displaying the shirt’s neck hole, which he held open as if she were two and in need of dressing assistance. “Slip off your robe so we can get this on you.”

No matter how many times she’d fantasized about undressing in front of him, now that the moment was here, there was no way she could change clothes with him watching her. While she had a fairly healthy self-esteem at twenty-eight, the thought of seeing his disappointment over her unimpressive figure in those beautiful brown eyes had her chickening out. She shook her head and adopted her appropriate “I’m in charge” expression, honed over years of running her own business.

“I don’t think so, Mister. Just hand over the goods and turn your back.”

The laugh lines fanning out from his mouth became more pronounced as he stared, but she sensed he was not amused. “How about if I promise not to look?” he asked.

Her head shook out a negative before he’d even finished speaking. “Stop messing around, playboy, and hand me the shirt.”

He did as she demanded, though his lips twisted. Turning away, he paced to the fireplace and opened the grate, reaching for a couple of logs from the large stack nearby. She’d made sure to fill up inside and add to the pile on the back porch when they’d first predicted bad weather a few days ago.

She shivered as the damp material slid down her spine. Her head was through the neck opening before the robe reached the couch. With efficient motions she had her arms in the right spots and pulled the gown down over her hips. Gathering her courage, she tightened her muscles and lifted up from the couch, whipping the gown down under her legs. The warmth of the thicker material engulfed her, chasing away the cold. But thoughts of why she’d been dressed in lingerie did not aid her composure with Damon just a few feet away.

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