We'll Never Tell(8)By: Jannine Gallant
“It’s not like you can’t afford a vacation.”
“Nope, though my trust fund isn’t as fat as it used to be. I dumped millions into RAW.”
He turned sideways to study her, his eyes warm. “I like that about you, Sam. You don’t pretend like your family isn’t stinking rich.”
She laughed. “There wouldn’t be much point. Everyone in Ravenswood knows everybody else’s business. My parents never made their jet setting lifestyle a secret, even though my grandpa was the one who made all the money.”
He hummed a few bars from Beaumont Brewery’s latest TV commercial and shook his head. “How you and Wyatt turned out so normal will always remain a mystery.”
“He’s a Wall Street guru, and I spend my days sifting through earthquake rubble. Normal might be a stretch.”
His grin made her stomach jump.
“You could be right.” He stood when Sadie barked once. “I think the recovery team’s here.”
Sam strained her ears. The faint sound of voices filtered through the trees. Slowly she rose to her feet. “Let’s get this over with. I’ve got some old business to attend to.”
Sam hadn’t changed. Stubborn. Defensive. Vulnerable. Ethan shoved his hands in his pockets as they headed back toward town, neither saying much of anything. Short blonde hair cupped her chin, and long bangs swept across her cheekbones, framing green eyes that reflected a wealth of experience. She wasn’t as drop dead gorgeous as her friend, Juliette, but you’d never notice. Not with the way she walked, full of confidence and energy, those long, long legs… He tugged at his jeans to ease the sudden tightness.
The woman was an enigma, spending her days searching for disaster survivors when she could have been lounging on a tropical beach with nothing more to worry about than a chipped fingernail. When it came to time and money, Sam was a giver. But she guarded her emotions closer than Sadie watched her food bowl at dinner time. Five years ago she’s run away from the possibility of a relationship. He had no reason to think she’d changed.
Which sucked because his attraction to her certainly hadn’t faded.
The woman he couldn’t stop thinking about paused in front of the firehouse and turned to face him, her eyes clouded. She worried her bottom lip between her teeth. “I won’t say it’s been a pleasure, considering the circumstances, but it was good to see you again, Ethan.”
“Sure about that? You don’t look too happy at the moment.”
A hint of a smile curved her lips. “Positive. I imagine we’ll bump into each other again, since I’ll be in town for a while this time.”
“Maybe we should make actual plans instead of leaving it up to chance. Have dinner with me tomorrow night.”
Way to put her on the spot, moron. She’ll probably tell you to drop dead. He held his breath—and nearly passed out before she answered.
“I have some things to take care of, but I think I can manage dinner.” Her smile didn’t quite make it to her eyes. “Thanks for asking.”
With an effort, he controlled an idiot grin. “Great. I’ll pick you up at seven.”
She nodded, reached down to scratch Sadie’s ears, and then jogged away. After a moment, Ethan headed to his battered pickup, dropped his pack into the bed of the truck, and opened the door. Sadie jumped in the cab and faced forward, tongue lolling.
“I have a feeling I won’t get that kind of enthusiasm from Sam tomorrow night,” he muttered. At least she hadn’t turned him down, though it might have been better if she had. Sam wasn’t the sticking around type, and another quick romp between the sheets wasn’t his intent. For reasons best left unexamined, he wanted to get to know Samantha Beaumont a whole lot better.
After stopping by the post office to pick up his mail, he turned west out of town. His home was a log cabin on a sunny plot of land a few miles outside Ravenswood. Kennels stretched across the fenced backyard, and a frenzy of barking erupted when he pulled into the driveway.
The second he opened the truck door, Sadie shot through the opening and disappeared behind the house. Ethan climbed out and retrieved his backpack, pausing when a Jeep stopped on the road. Three men and two hounds stared in his direction from the old camouflage relic.