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Kat sat up so quickly the blood rushed to her head and sparks danced before her eyes, but the guy in front of her shifted slightly so the sun was in her eyes and she couldn’t make out his face. Instead, her eyes travelled up past his thickly muscled calves, to the madras shorts he wore, up to his untucked baby blue button down, pausing on his strong, tanned forearms. Between the bright sunlight, the spots slowly fading from her vision, and the fact that Kat never expected to see him again, it took a long moment before she recognized Luke Everly.
Even when her eyes reached his face Kat didn’t react. It just didn’t seem possible that he was here on her parents’ front lawn. It was seeing those gray eyes with little flecks of green in them that did it. Eyes that took in her sweat soaked tank top, her damp hair falling out of a sloppy knot, and the tiny faded pair of pink running shorts she wore. Eyes that couldn’t possibly belong to anyone but Luke Everly. Goosebumps broke out across her arms.
Damn, if the last six years hadn’t been good to him.
Those shaggy, sun-streaked curls she used to love were now sheared into a short, conservative cut that showed off the high planes of his cheekbones. Back in college Luke was all wiry muscle, built like the pitcher he was, but now he seemed to have packed at least twenty pounds of muscle onto his frame. Beneath that button down she could tell his arms were just as strong as they were the last time she’d seen them, back when they’d been wrapped around her naked body. A bead of sweat rolled down the side of Kat’s face, and she pulled her gaze away from his body and used the back of her hand to wipe away the sweat. Of course he had to come across her looking like this, rather than a few hours later after she’d showered was wearing something a little more attractive than her ratty running shorts and a tank top that read “Beast” across the front in faded letters. Kat pushed the thought aside. There would never be a good time to see Luke Everly again.
“Here,” he said, holding out a bottle of cold water. “I was about to head into the main house for breakfast when I saw you down here. It’s so hot out I figured you could use this.”
That low-pitched, gravely voice of his was so familiar that it took a second before Kat realized that something about it didn’t sound right. All trace of Luke’s accent was gone. The drawl she’d loved so much back at Lennox had been smoothed out and he spoke just like any of the guests up at the main house, Haven-ly—as if he’d grown up somewhere around here and gone to all the same private schools.
Their fingertips brushed lightly as she took the bottle of water from him. It was hot, and she could use a drink.
Luke smiled at her. The smile that was known to break hearts all across campus, and then he stretched his hand out.
“Sorry, I should have introduced myself. Luke Everly. Here for the week as a guest of the Collings family. I thought I met everyone yesterday, but we must have missed each other. Are you a friend or family?”
His hand hung in the air between them as Kat slowly unscrewed the cap on the bottle of water.
Was he kidding? She opened her mouth to respond, and then closed it. He didn’t even recognize her? The back of Kat’s throat burned, and she held the bottle up to her lips, taking a long drink while Luke slowly lowered his hand back to his side.
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