Single Man Meets Single Mom(4)

By: Jules Bennett

“Even you have to admit he’s one attractive man,” Tessa went on.

“I can admit that, yes.” Cassie switched from the currycomb to the dandy brush. “I may have had an incident this morning involving that loose rung on the ladder to the loft and Mr. Shaffer.”

Tessa stepped around MacDuff’s head, dropped the brush into the tack box and crossed her arms over her chest. “Okay, spill it. You know his name and you said ‘incident.’ I want all the details.”

Cassie laughed. “It’s no big deal, Tess. I fell off the ladder. Ian happened to be there, and he caught me.”

“Oh, so we’ve gone from Mr. Shaffer to Ian.”

“He’s Max’s agent and apparently visits his clients’ film sets. We exchanged names,” Cassie defended herself. “Seemed like the thing to do since he was holding me.”

“I love where this story is going.” Tessa all but beamed as she clasped her hands together.

Laughing, Cassie tossed her brush aside, as well. “No story. That was pretty much it.”

“Honey, you haven’t even mentioned a man’s name since you know who left and—” Tessa held up a hand when Cassie tried to intervene “—your face seemed to brighten up a bit when you said his name.”

“It did not,” Cassie protested.

Tessa’s smile softened. “If you want to argue, that’s fine. But he’s hot, you finally showed a spark of life about a man and I’m clinging to hope that you haven’t given up on finding love. Or, for heaven’s sake, at least allowing yourself a fling.”

Cassie rolled her eyes and patted MacDuff’s side. “Just because this romance business is working for you doesn’t mean it will for me. I tried that once—it didn’t last. Besides, I have no time for love or even a date between training with you and Emily.”

“There’s always time. And, romance aside, have a good time. A little romp with a sexy stranger might be just what you need,” Tessa said with a naughty smile. “Aren’t you the one who forced me to take a few days off last month? You have to make time for yourself.”

Cassie had conspired with Tessa’s now fiancé, producer Grant Carter, to whisk Tessa away during her training and the filming of the movie. Grant had wanted to get Tessa far from the limelight, the stress and the demands of their busy schedules, and Cassie had been all too happy to help because her sister needed a break.

Tess had found the right man, but Cassie seriously doubted there was a “right man” for her. All she required was someone who loved her and didn’t mind her smelling like horses more often than not, someone who would offer stability in her life, make her feel desirable and love her daughter. Was that too tall of an order?

“I’m not looking for a fling,” Cassie insisted, even though she’d pretty much already envisioned a steamy affair with Ian.

Tessa raised a brow. “Maybe a fling is looking for you.”

“I just met the man. I’m sure he’s not going to be around me that much anyway, so there’s very little chance of seduction. Sorry to burst your bubble.”

“Maybe you should show Ian around the estate,” Tessa suggested as she went to grab a blanket and saddle for her racing horse, Don Pedro.

Cassie sighed, closing the gate to MacDuff’s stall. “I don’t want to show him around. Max is his client—he can do it.”

“Max is going to be busy filming the scene with Lily down by the pond. I want to make sure we’re there to see that taping.”

Cassie smiled and nodded in agreement. She loved watching the two actors get into character, loved watching her father’s reaction to reliving his life through the eyes of a director, and there was no way she’d miss such a monumental scene. This was the scene where Max would propose to Lily. The replay of such a special moment in her parents’ lives was something she had to witness.

“I’ll make sure we’re done here about the time shooting starts,” Cassie assured her sister. “All the more reason I don’t have time to show Ian around.”

“Now, that’s a shame.”

Cassie and Tessa both turned to see the man in question. And just like with their earlier encounter, the mere sight of him caused a flutter to fill her belly. Of course, now she couldn’t blame the sensation on the scare from the fall...only the scare from the enticing man.

“I’d like to have a look around the grounds if you have time,” he said, looking directly into her eyes, seeming to not even notice Tessa.