Against the Heart(35)

By: Kat Martin

But then so did the lodge’s incredibly sexy owner.

Which was the reason she had been determined to stay away.

She still wasn’t completely sure why, after half a dozen refusals, she had changed her mind and agreed to take the job. Perhaps it was the debt she owned Dylan for saving her life—and getting himself shot in the process.

They’d only just been introduced, both simply guests at the wedding of a mutual friend, when gunfire erupted. She hadn’t been the target and neither had he, but Dylan had shoved her to the ground and been grazed by a bullet, trying to protect her.

Gratitude for the near-stranger who had saved her accounted for at least some of her motivation.

The rest had to do with the attraction she’d felt for him from the first moment she had met him.

She spotted him walking toward her, as tall as she remembered, at least six two, and even more imposing. Her mouth went dry and her insides quivered. He was wearing a red plaid flannel shirt, the sleeves rolled up over sinewy forearms. His rugged features were chiseled, his face darkly tanned, and in a hard, masculine way, he was amazingly handsome.

He’d attracted her as no man had in years, and seeing him now, Lane felt the same jolt of heat she had felt back then. It was exactly the reason she had tried to stay away from him and now fought an urge to run back to the plane, take the next flight home to L.A.

Instead she forced herself to look up at him and smile. “Dylan. It’s good to see you.”

She could feel his eyes on her, as blue as the sky, skimming over her beige slacks and peach knit sweater, subtly assessing her curves. There was something about him, something that made him seem dark and forbidding, like eating chocolate at midnight.

He stared at her so long she thought he was going to haul her into is arms and kiss her. When her breathing hitched, she realized she wanted exactly that.

Instead he reached for the handle of her wheeled carryon bag, and relief hit her. Or maybe it was disappointment.

“I’m glad you’re here,” Dylan said. “The construction crew is hard at work, but I need to get things rolling on the interior.”

“Yes, of course.”

His lips curved in a smile, but his expression was as guarded as she recalled, a man with secrets, a thought she’d had before. Perhaps uncovering those secrets was part of the reason she had decided to come.

Perhaps it was simply that she hadn’t been able to think of anything but Dylan Brodie since he had left L.A.

“We need to get your luggage. The baggage claim is off to your right.”

“We have to get Finn.”

His mouth edged up, a hard mouth that fit his face perfectly. “I can’t wait to meet him.”

Finnegan was her dog, a ninety pound, Irish Wolfhound—the runt of the litter. Her closest companion since her fiancé, Jason Russell, had died in a motorcycle accident three years ago.

Bringing Finn along was the only way she would agree to come.

They collected her bags, then went in search of her dog. One of the airport staff released him from his giant cage and he raced to her side as if she had saved his life. Which she’d actually done when she’d rescued him from the pound just hours before he was scheduled to be put down.

“You might have mentioned you were bringing your horse,” Dylan said dryly.

Lane just smiled. “This is Finn.” She knelt and put her arms around his neck, gave him a hug. “Good boy,” she said. He was tall and rangy, with a course gray coat and dark brown eyes that seemed able to look into your soul.

“Were you a good boy on the plane?” Rising, Lane rubbed between his ears the way he liked, calming him a little. “I bet you were.”

Finn panted and gave her one of his goofy Wolfhound grins. Lane scratched and petted until the stiffness went out of his body and he began to relax. “Finn meet Dylan. He’s a friend.”

Dylan closed the distance between them, eased a hand out for Finn to sniff. The dog got a whiff of his scent and relaxed even more.

“He knows the word friend,” she said. “He’s very intelligent. He’s a great watchdog, but he’s amazingly gentle.”

“You said he was okay with kids.”

“Finn loves children.”