Three days since her picnic with Dev was interrupted. Three days of desire and need that the pool’s cool water did nothing to chill. Desire seemed her constant companion since Dev agreed to stay. The man was perfection—and not just because he was hot as hell. He was upgrading her tech room, treating animals and learning more about the local feline viruses. His brain seemed to soak up every piece of information.
He was her exact blend of catnip.
Her watch buzzed. Time to get out of the pool and on to the next chore. Resting wasn’t something Charlie understood. Her mother was constantly moving to maintain her figure. She had demanded the same of Charlie—while also making sure she understood she would never be as good as her.
Not that Charlie wanted her mother’s life. That was an assumption that, even after all their years apart, her mother still referenced in the few news articles Charlie read.
She was shocked the flush of heat across her skin didn’t blast the water off her skin as she met Dev’s brown eyes, the flecks of gold at the edges lighting as he took in her appearance.
Charlie caught the exact moment his eyes landed on her stomach. Only years of practice kept her from sliding the towel over the scars.
An ocelot swipe on a modeling set. The cat had gotten spooked. Not its fault, but the scars had ended her modeling career. And the relationship with her mother. Her mom may not have wanted a competitor, but a “maimed” daughter? She couldn’t look at Charlie after.
“I came because Petra is prowling this morning. Moving slowly but…” Dev smiled and held up his phone, starting a video. The puma was moving across her enclosure, the limp in her back leg slowing her only slightly. “She’s feisty.”
A word that might make a domestic vet worry. Feisty pets indicated illness, but a feisty puma? That was an excellent sign; soon they’d be scheduling her release.
“Yes!” Charlie held up a hand, and Dev hit it. A high five, not exactly the connection her body craved.
“I have a question.” Dev crossed his arms, the defensive posture sending warning bells through the early-night sky.
She looked away and started her standard response. “It was an accident on set. An ocelot. A sound spooked it. I was too close. Three scars. It’s not a big deal.” Charlie wrapped the towel around her. A few men thought it was cool, most thought it damaged her beauty. At least they’d made it easy to dump them.
Dev took a step closer. “That was not my question.” The words sounded close to a growl, his eyes sparking. “You are gorgeous, body and mind. Screw anyone who’s too foolish to see that. What I wanted to ask.” He cleared his throat. “What I wanted to ask…”
“Are you nervous?” The question slipped out as she stepped a little closer to him.
“Yes. I’m asking a beautiful woman if she might like to have dinner with me.”
Dinner…with Dev. “You didn’t ask.” She winked, then laughed, “But yes.”
Color started up his tan neck. She’d made Dev McCaw blush… Quite an accomplishment.
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