Damn, but she was even more stunning than he remembered.
Emilio was only slightly less shocked to see Cassandra than she obviously was to see him. Lauryn Hamilton—soon to be Kingsley—had asked him to meet her friend today as a favor while she and Gavin were out of town. He’d said yes before discovering that her friend happened to be Cassandra Lindgren.
The woman he’d never forgotten, even after eight years. A woman who would never forgive him for walking away without a word. Not that the past mattered now while they stood in the pouring rain outside of the Kingsland Ranch main house.
“The pool house is this way.” Gesturing toward the path outlined in gray stone pavers, he kept the umbrella over her head as she fell into step with him.
“I’m here now,” Cass spoke into her cell, the rest of her words muffled before she ended the call.
They reached the deep overhang of the rustic pool house where Emilio punched in the lock code as quickly as possible. He would fulfill the favor Lauryn had asked of him, but that didn’t mean he needed to linger with Cass. He’d seen the way her shoulders had snapped straight, her whole body tensing at the sight of him.
No doubt she wanted him gone.
Opening the door with one hand, he swept aside the umbrella with the other, settling it on the stone floor near the outdoor kitchen. The deep overhang in front of the building sheltered the patio furniture near the pool, plus a stone fireplace, wrought iron dining table and a compact kitchen complete with a built-in grill, sink and refrigerator.
Everything a Kingsley could wish for, and exactly the kind of luxury Emilio wanted to replicate at the ranch he’d recently purchased nearby. He wasn’t the troubled teen Cass had known then. Quite frankly, he didn’t care to remember much of that time in his life.
“Come on in,” Emilio urged when she halted at the threshold of the guest accommodations. He wiped his boots on the front mat and flipped on the interior lights. “Lauryn told the housekeeping staff to get everything ready for you, so I’m sure the refrigerator has been stocked.”
His pulse thrummed faster as Cass stepped deeper into the common area—a living space with whitewashed walls and deep-cushioned couches around an interior fireplace. She had always been a woman who made you look twice, even as a teen. At almost six feet tall, she carried herself with confidence. She had deep blue eyes and platinum-colored ringlets that other women might envy, and she’d never worn makeup when he’d known her and the trend seemed to have continued, her face scrubbed clean and her long hair bundled up into a careless tail that rested on one shoulder. She set a damp sweatshirt on the bamboo-topped island that separated the kitchen from the more comfortable gathering spot.
“That was really kind of her,” Cass remarked, folding her arms around herself and hiding the well-worn blue T-shirt that read St. Paul Youth Hockey underneath two crossed sticks. “And I appreciate you letting me in.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Really? Because you looked like you would have preferred to jump right back in your vehicle when you caught sight of me.”
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