The Maverick's Red Hot Reunion  (4)

By: Christine Glover

All of Zach’s power and money couldn’t change the past. But it could save her community. Kennedy injected ice into her voice. “The deal I signed with Michael is ironclad. I say we get to work as soon as possible.”

Zach locked eyes with Kennedy’s as she pushed a strand of fiery hair behind her ear. The color was a sharp contrast to her fair, freckle-dusted skin. Determination painted a hint of rose on her cheeks.

His chest compressed the air out of his lungs. A fierce pain whipped against his ribcage. Damn her for becoming more beautiful, more alluring, more captivating. Though Kennedy wore denim jeans and a T-shirt, she looked like she should be walking Hollywood’s red carpet, not climbing scaffolding and using a forklift.

He thought he’d vanquished the memory of their fierce, passionate romance with years of hard work, until he’d gained his father’s stamp of approval and ascended as CEO of Tanner Enterprises. That coupled with countless nights of meaningless sex was supposed to obliterate Kennedy from his system.

Now all he wanted to do was kiss each and every little dot, taste them with his tongue, and rediscover her other interestingly freckled locations.

She put her hands on her hips. “You’ll want to check the interior first.”

“Absolutely,” he said.

“Let’s go,” she said.

He swallowed hard, then moved aside to let Kennedy sweep by him. “By all means, after you.”

She climbed the stairs to the lodge’s expansive wraparound porch, her hips swaying in a sexy swagger only she could pull off in steel toe boots. Blood pulsed in his temples and he grew uncomfortably hard. One look, one minute of time, one toe-to-toe meeting with Kennedy and his body responded to her like a divining rod seeking water.

She paused at the entrance and looked over her shoulder. “You here to go over the finances or just gawk at my ass?”

Once she had eyes like a spring meadow, eyes that invited him to enjoy the warmth they offered, eyes that smoldered with dark feminine secrets when he made love to her.

Now her eyes were glittering, sharp emeralds.

Her clipped tone firmed his resolve. She had an icy interior he hadn’t known existed until it was too late. A cloud crossed the sun’s path, darkening the sky. The breeze gusted into a whirlwind, chilling him.

“Show me your plans,” he said.

“They’re inside,” she said, then turned to go.

Zach bounded up the steps two at a time and followed her. Sunlight glinted off the dust particles floating in the air. Sheets covered old furniture that had been pushed back to the walls. Sawhorses, circular saws, and pallets holding lumber filled the lobby’s space.

“You’ve been busy,” he said, keeping his tone even.

“I want the site ready for the next phase. The exterior takes priority.”

Zach inhaled Kennedy’s familiar aroma of citrus and spice, saw the fluttering pulse in the hollow just below her collarbone. He remembered the feel and the taste of her sensitive, fragrant skin.

He clenched his jaw, sucked in a sharp breath. “Your crew fast?” he asked.

He saw a blush creeping up her throat. Nerves? Something more?

“The best in town.” She moved toward a schematic pinned to a wall. “Demo’s almost completed. Once we get your cash, we’ll move ahead with ordering the necessary supplies and kitchen equipment.”

“I want a mix of natural stone, cedar, and river rock throughout the exterior.” He glanced at her slim waist. “We’re going green, using the land as our inspiration.”

She nodded, her glossy hair falling over her shoulders. “I’ll apply for the additional building permits tomorrow.”

“Are the rooms in good shape?”

“Paint, updated furniture, and new carpet will bring them back to current industry standards,” she said.

Her chest rose—the swell of her breasts had once been his to claim during stolen moments. His muscles tensed and heat pulsed through his veins. He turned away and doused the fire burning inside him with the memory of her cruel words five years ago.

She turned to the arched doorway leading to the west wing. “The elevators are functional, passed inspection, but they’re outdated.”