Against the Heart(10)

By: Kat Martin

"Well, she’s going to see him tomorrow when your dad takes Lily to see the foal."

Ian’s beautiful blue eyes came to rest on her face, "Maybe you’d like to see it, too," he said softly, and the bottom dropped out of her stomach.

Oh, dear Lord. That sexy voice, combined with those amazing blue eyes, was the problem. She was getting the house in order, just as she’d promised. Ian was paying her a more than fair wage, and she was saving money, getting in a position to move on, to get to Portland and find a job. Not as a cleaning person, but maybe a secretary or a bookkeeper.

She was good on a computer, good with numbers, and she had done that kind of work before. Everything was going smoothly. Except that she was growing more and more attracted to Ian Brodie, and that wasn’t good.

Ian didn’t know anything about her, didn’t know she had been raised in a series of foster homes. Didn’t know about Joey and that she’d been stupid enough to get pregnant by a loser like him.

Ian was a successful businessman. He owned a security company in Seattle, he had told her. A guy like that didn’t want a woman with a child and a shady past.

At least not for more than a couple of nights in bed.

Meri had to think of Lily. Getting involved in any way with Ian was out of the question.

"It’s nice of you to ask," she told him. "I wish I could go, but I have too much work to do."

Before he could try to persuade her, she turned and walked out of the barn. Her heart was pounding, her thoughts in a jumble. All she had to do was look into that handsome face, imagine running her hands through that neatly trimmed pirate-gold hair, and her insides grew warm.

Dear Lord, the man was going to be trouble. Meri shook her head. She’d been attracting trouble since she was five years old.


Ian watched Meriwether Jones walk away. With a will of its own, his gaze traveled over the round bottom hugged by her faded blue jeans. His mouth edged into a smile at the pink sneakers on her feet.

In the week she had been there, everything had changed. She had the house cleaned, all but the dining room, the upstairs rooms stripped and ready to paint, which he had hired a crew to do and planned to start tomorrow morning.

Dinner was no longer a morbid affair of frozen TV dinners eaten in the dark in front of the TV. They ate in the spotlessly clean kitchen around the old, claw-foot oak table, good wholesome family meals like spaghetti, and stew, and chicken and dumplings.

One night, he picked up some steaks to grill outside, which turned into more work than he had expected since the grill hadn’t been used in years and when he lifted the lid found the whole thing greasy and rusted.

But cleaning it was worth it. The steaks were great and the look on Meri’s face when she took a bite of medium rare filet, obviously a treat, made him glad he had gone to the extra trouble.

While he’d worked on general outdoor maintenance, like mowing the lawn, trimming the hedges and pulling weeds, Meri had worked miracles inside the house. He admired her tenacity and grit. He admired the way she took care of her little girl.

He admired a lot of things about Meriwether Jones. He also found her sexy as hell. He tried not to think of the perfect little ass filling out her jeans, the way her breasts plumped under her T-shirts. He desperately wanted to see those long, mahogany braids unbound, wanted to run his fingers through the fine, silky strands.

Instead of her work clothes, he wanted to see her in a sleek satin nightgown. Then he wanted to strip her out of it.

He wanted to take Meriwether Jones to bed and it was driving him crazy.

Fortunately, Meri had enough sense to realize what a mistake it would be and stay away from him.

Hell, he was only going to be in Spokane a couple of weeks, and the hard truth was, he wasn’t interested in a relationship. He worked long hours and rarely had time for female companionship.

Which wasn’t to say he didn’t have a lady or two he took out on the occasional date or called once in a while for a sleep-over. He liked sex, and just because he was busy, didn’t mean he did without.

Still, there was something different about the desire he felt for Meri. It was a yearning deep in his bones. Every time she smiled at him, he felt a little kick.