Enjoy a little taste of Fall in Love in a Small Town, coming September 28th!
Sexy underwear on a freshly washed and shaved body? Check.
Dress that’s just the right mix of flirty and fun? Check.
Sassy new hairstyle that makes me look sophisticated–at least I hope so? Check.
Taking a deep, cleansing yoga breath, I gave myself one more encouraging grin in the mirror before I turned away. I’d set up the files I’d brought home from the society’s document library on my kitchen table, and there was a bottle of my favorite shiraz breathing on the counter next to two brand-new wine glasses. I’d been going for serious-business-evening alongside the suggestion of let’s-have-some-fun. I hoped that I’d struck the right note.
The knock on the door made me jump, even though I’d been waiting for it. I shook my head to dispel some nerves and yanked open the door.
Jacob stood on the other side, one hand resting on the wall of my small porch. The light jacket he wore was faded and almost threadbare; I recognized it from our high school days. Back then, seeing him wear it had made me sigh and wish. But right now? The way it clung to arms that had gotten a lot more bulked up since we were teenagers? Total droolfest.
He was wearing old jeans, too, and I knew the way they fit him was going to tempt me to stare at his very fine ass all evening. That wasn’t going to be a hardship.
“Hey, Lib.” His eyes swept over me from head to toe, and was I imagining it, or did I see a flare of heat in his expression? If so, it was too fleeting to be sure. And when he bent to kiss my cheek in greeting, it felt like he was keeping things brotherly, not suggestive.
“C’mon in, Jake,” I invited, stepping back as I eyed the backpack he had over one sculpted shoulder. “What do you have there?”
“Notebooks, binders, my laptop, and a portable scanner,” he answered, dropping the bag in a kitchen chair and unzipping it. “Tools of my trade.”
“Of course.” I smiled, nodding at him. “You come well-prepared.”
He stared at me for a moment and then muttered something under his breath. I wasn’t sure what he said, but it sounded like Not really. Whatever that was supposed to mean.
“Can I pour you some wine? I’m going to have a glass.” I moved toward the counter to give myself a little room before I did something crazy. Something like wrapping myself around him and climbing his body like a tree.
“Um . . .” Jacob looked almost mystified by the question. “Uh, sure. Yeah, wine sounds good.” He sat down and pulled out his laptop. “Sometimes I forget that you’re not still an underage kid, Lib. I was about to ask you how you managed to get ahold of wine.”
I rolled my eyes, irritated. “Jesus, Jacob. I’m twenty-five years old. Just two years younger than you. Newsflash . . . I do all kinds of grown-up things now. I buy alcohol, own a car, rent a house, go on dates . . .” Inspiration struck along with a kind of reckless courage I hadn’t known I possessed. Circling the small table, I stood next to him, closer than I had to, and leaned over to place the wine glass on the other side of his computer. I angled my body just enough to give him an eagle-eye view down the scooped neckline of my dress.
Lowering my voice, I completed my sentence, staring him in the eye.
“I even have sex. Believe it or not.”
Jake’s throat worked, and his mouth dropped open a little. Without looking away from me–almost as though he was powerless to do so–he reached for his wine and took a long drink. When he spoke again, his voice was raspy.
“Oh, I believe it, Liberty. I totally believe it.”