Single Man Meets Single Mom(6)

By: Jules Bennett

She’d stood with Tessa off to the side, and even with the directors and producers stopping and starting and rearranging in the middle of the scene, the moment had captured her heart.

Added to that, each time she’d glanced at Ian, his gaze had been on hers. He hadn’t even bothered trying to hide the heat that lurked in those dark, heavy-lidded eyes. Thankfully, at one point he’d slid on his aviator shades, but his dominating presence still captured her attention...and her hormones.

There went those lustful emotions again. She couldn’t afford to get swept away by a sexy body and killer smile. Lust was the evil that had overtaken her once before and look where that had gotten her. Oh, she didn’t regret her marriage because she had Emily, but the pain from the rejection and having her love blatantly thrown back in her face was humiliating. Who wanted to be rejected?

Cassie reached the stable, intending to work with MacDuff again, but her eyes moved up to the rung of the ladder that still hung vertically.

She’d meant to mention the problem to Nash, the new groom, but between the emotional shoot and a certain hot agent plaguing her mind, she’d simply forgotten. Besides, he’d been so busy today cleaning out all the stalls, she really hated to add to his list.

Her father took pride in his stables, always making sure everything looked pristine and perfect. Cassie would bite the bullet and fix the ladder herself. At least working on something would keep her mind off Ian...hopefully. Her tendency to fix things and have everything in her life make sense would have to be satisfied with just this piece of wood for now. The Ian issue—and she feared he was fast becoming an issue—would have to wait.

She grabbed the hammer and several long nails from the toolbox in the equipment room. She shoved the nails in her back pocket and held on to the hammer as she climbed the ladder that stretched to the loft of the stable.

The setting sun cast a soft glow into the structure. Horses neighed, stomped hooves and rustled in their stalls. The sounds, the smells—none of it ever got old. Cassie loved her life here and she looked forward to bringing her daughter up in such a beautiful, serene environment.

During her four years of marriage, she’d been away from the estate. Even though she and Derek had lived only ten minutes away, it just wasn’t the same as being on the grounds. Cassie loved living in the cottage, being with the horses and knowing her family was all right here helping with her emotional recovery.

With her tears mostly dry, Cassie sniffed. Crying had never been her thing. Anger fit more into her life, especially since she’d been abandoned only two months after giving birth. Tears hadn’t brought her cheating husband back, not that she’d wanted him after the fact, and tears certainly weren’t helping her raise her daughter or move on like the strong mother she needed to be.

Halfway up the ladder, she eyed the broken rung, then carefully slid it back into place. Widening her stance as far as she could to balance her body while holding the hammer, she reached around into her back pocket for a nail.

“I can help you with that.”

Cassie glanced over her shoulder to see Ian at the base of the ladder, his watchful gaze raking over her body. Great. She had red-rimmed eyes and a red-tipped nose, she was sure. She was not a pretty crier. She always got the snot-running, red-splotchy-face and puffy-eyes look.

Cassie slid a nail out and turned back around to place it against the wood. “I’ve got it, but thanks.”

She knew he hadn’t left, but Cassie didn’t say anything else as she worked quickly and repaired the rung. With a hefty tug on the wood, she made sure it was securely in place before she started her descent. Just as she’d gotten to the last rung, Ian moved his hard body against hers, trapping her between the ladder and a most impressive chest. Her body was perfectly aligned with his, causing ripples of heat to slide through her. They were both fully dressed, but the sensations spiraling through her had never occurred before, even when she’d been completely naked with her ex.

Yeah, she was doomed where this sexy stranger was concerned.

Cassie swallowed, closed her eyes. Ian made her aware of just how feminine she was. When was the last time she’d felt desirable? Was it so wrong to want a man to find her attractive? After being married to someone who kept looking elsewhere for his desires to be fulfilled, Cassie knew she was probably grasping at any attention at this point.

She also knew she didn’t care—not when his body was so hard, so perfectly perfect against hers. Not when his soft, warm breath tickled the side of her neck, and not when his masculine aroma enveloped her.