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“Everything—my emotions and my feelings—is magnified and I’m sorry I can’t be my usual calm self but I felt like I was under water and I couldn’t breathe.”
“Sounds like the usual female problems to me but running away is something you do when you are nineteen. It isn’t the actions of a grown woman. You need to come back here and tell Colin how you are feeling. He isn’t going to take it easier just because it is coming from me,” Liam explained in a pragmatic manner.
“I don’t expect you to tell him. I will call him myself.” The doorbell rang and I sighed softly to myself. “Listen, I have to go.”
“When do you plan to call Colin if I may ask because you do understand you need to speak to him as soon as possible? Deirdre, this isn’t a game—”
“When ever I get good and goddamn ready,” I replied before I ended the call.
I set the iPhone on the coffee table and rushed to the front door. There are times when one shouldn’t answer their door and I soon felt like this was one of those times when I swung open the door and faced one of the most handsome men I’d ever seen.
Hair the color of chocolate with burnished auburn highlights and pale green-blue eyes faced me in a face of absolute perfection. His looks were finished off with perfect features featuring a Roman-shaped nose, high cheekbones and sensually full lips; a creamy complexion with just a hint of color and a build that was tall though far from imposing. At approximately six feet and a slim one hundred and eighty pounds, everything about him was just perfect.
“Hey,” I greeted feeling like a bit of an idiot.
I had absolutely no idea who the hell this man was nor what he was doing on my doorstep.
“Hello,” he began before a pink tongue slid over those perfect soft lips. “I’m your next-door neighbor. Name’s Drake…I am a chef at Rouge, an upscale restaurant on the beach and I am trying out a new recipe. I know it’s a terrible cliché but do you have any Sugar in the Raw? The recipe calls for it and I could have sworn I picked some up but I can’t find it.”
I raised my eyebrow in a sarcastic manner. “You’re joking, right?”
His green-blue eyes lit up in faint amusement. “About what exactly? Being a chef or needing to borrow sugar?”
“I’m not sure…both actually? And are you really my neighbor?”
He nodded his head before he fingered the growing goatee he wore. “Listen, I know I sound like a walking cliché. Welcome to my life. Yes, I am your neighbor and I am indeed pathetic enough to need sugar for a recipe despite being a chef at Rouge, an obnoxiously expensive seafood and steak restaurant with a location literally on the beach.”
I had no intention of allowing my tough resolve to break but I began to laugh hysterically and he joined me shortly afterwards.
“The name is Deirdre Bardot.”
“You mean like the famous French actress?”
“Drake O’Connell at your service. You have no idea how embarrassed I am about the situation which we are meeting one another. A beautiful woman like yourself deserves a dozen white roses and a nice bottle of Pinot Grigio to welcome you to the neighborhood. Sorry I haven’t brought either one and come asking for something from you instead of giving to you,” he explained in a hypnotically deep and sensual voice.
I crossed my arms against my breasts. “You’re lucky I am a health nut and the only sugar I keep on hand is in the raw. How much do you need?”
“A cup should do,” he replied in a voice that sounded extremely relieved.
I left the door open as I walked to the kitchen and opened the pantry. Since I had nothing but time, everything was organized as if I had lived in the place for years instead of a week. I grabbed half a package of Sugar in the Raw and walked it back to the doorstep where Drake still stood.
“I know this is more than a cup but you can keep the rest. Think of it as a present from me to you.”
Our hands touched only slightly at the exchange and it was pure electricity. I didn’t want to imagine those hands anywhere near any part of my body and secretly hated myself for feeling anything at all when the situation between Colin and I was far from resolved.
I was the first to pull away and attempted a warm smile of encouragement but fell short.
He turned to walk away but then he stopped and faced me again. “Why are you being so nice to me? All I know about you is you turned up into town rather suddenly and bought Ground Beans from its struggling owner. I’m a bit concerned about what it seems you’re running from…or is it whom you are running from?”
My whole body language changed at the drop of the dime. “I am not running from anything or anyone. Believe me, if I was a fugitive, I wouldn’t tell you but since I’m not, I don’t owe any sort of explanation to you. Enjoy the sugar for your recipe.”
Before he could reply, I slammed the door in his face and leaned against the locked door, my heart thundering in my chest.
How the hell did I end up with such a nosy freakin’ next door neighbor and why the hell did he have to be so damn good looking?
To Be Continued...
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