The Coeboy's Pride And Joy(9)

By: Maureen Child

 At that, Jake stopped and looked back at the older man. “I’m not that young.”

 He didn’t feel young, anyway. At thirty-four, he’d done too much, seen too much. After two tours of service in the Marines and surviving a marriage that never should have happened, hell, sometimes he felt as old as time.

 Ben walked up to him and slapped one work-worn hand onto Jake’s shoulder. “I know you’ve been through some rough times. But that’s past, boy, and you’ve got to move on. The problem is, you’re just too much inside your own head, Jake. Always have been. Spend a little less time thinking and a little more looking at pretty girls, might improve your attitude.”

 Jake laughed shortly. “My attitude’s fine, Pop.”

 “Whatever you say, boy.” Ben gave his shoulder another friendly slap then headed off toward his place. “All I’m telling you is that if I was you, I wouldn’t be spending my time in the stable taking care of horses when I could be talking to that pretty girl.”

 Shifting his gaze to the main house, Jake thought briefly about the woman waiting inside for him. He was probably making more of this than there was. A buzz of sensation when he shook her hand didn’t mean a damn thing. A flash of heat could dissipate as easily as it fired. This was simply a momentary blip. He’d reacted to her so strongly because he hadn’t been down off the mountain in months. Enforced celibacy could make a man edgy. Hell, all he really needed was a woman. Any woman. That’s why his mother’s assistant had hit him as hard as she had.

 Once she was gone, he’d head into town, find a woman and take care of his “distraction” problem.

 Two hours later he was in his study when he heard Cassidy Moore heading downstairs. About time, he told himself and half wondered if she was always late for an appointment or if she wasn’t looking forward to this meeting any more than he was. He could leave her to wander the house looking for him, he supposed. But then that felt a little too cowardly. So he stood up, walked to the doorway and looked down the hall.

 One glance at her was all it took to reignite the buzz of interest his body seemed to be focusing on. She had changed clothes after her shower. Gone were the slick black slacks and killer red jacket. Instead, she wore jeans that looked faded and comfortable along with a dark blue button-down shirt and a pair of tennis shoes. Her dark blond hair was soft and loose, hanging over her shoulders in thick waves. He watched her as she let her gaze slide across her surroundings and he smiled to himself at the appreciative gleam in those fog-gray eyes of hers.

 “No more high heels?” he asked and his deep voice seemed to reverberate in the empty stillness.

 She snapped her head around, her gaze locking onto his. “You startled me.”

 “Sorry.” Though he wasn’t. He’d enjoyed having a good long look at her without her being aware of his presence.

 “It’s okay.” She brushed his apology aside with the wave of one hand. Glancing down at her outfit, she shrugged and added, “As for the heels, I just couldn’t put them back on. First impression is over anyway, so I went for comfort.”

 “First impressions are that important?”

 “Of course.” She started walking toward him. “I represent your mother and Hunter Media, and even though you’re her son, I have to be professional.”

 “I didn’t realize my mother was such a tyrant,” he said, amused.

 “Oh, she’s not,” Cassidy said quickly. “That’s not what I meant at all. I just take my job seriously and—”

 “Relax.” He interrupted her because he could see from the frantic gleam in her eye that she was probably worried about what he might say to his mother about her. “I was kidding.”

 “Oh.” She took a breath and blew it out. “Okay. That’s good. I really like my job.”

 “I’m sure. So. You have papers for me to sign?”

 “I do.” She held up one hand to show him the manila envelope she’d brought downstairs with her. “Sorry I’m later than I thought I would be. But I lay down on that wonderful bed and fell asleep. Guess I was more tired than I thought. But I’ve got everything right here. Your mother said that she’d sent a copy to your lawyer to have him look them over.”

 “Yeah.” Not that he was worried about his mother trying to cheat him. Although he wouldn’t have put it past her to work in a clause somewhere that he would now have to visit Boston five or six times a year. “Everything’s set so might as well get it done.”

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