9:59 PM |
Blurb -Family reunions are best avoided, especially if you’re the ex. Sammy was just going to say hi to a few people and leave early. When her ex-brother-in-law, John shows up looking successful and sexy, passion burns hot and anything goes, except love . . . Or is she wrong?
Wow! Sammy was surprised at the number of vehicles in the parking lot at Moss Park. Surely they weren’t all there for the reunion. But then again, this had been a year in the making. Cassie and Olivia’s aunts had told them they wanted to make sure all siblings—including their spouses, their children, and their children’s families—had enough time to plan to attend the weekend-long event. As far as Sammy knew, everyone was going to be here.
Sammy laughed softly to herself, wondering if she was the only ex that had been invited. She found a spot beneath a tree, ignoring the NO PARKING sign. Spending the day wasn’t in her plans. She just wanted to say hi, see a few people she hadn’t seen in a while, and then leave. John’s face flashed before her eyes but she shook it away. Out of everyone, he would be the one not to show up. He’d never been much into family stuff.
Sammy followed a small trail that led to the lake and picnic area where the family was to meet. When she came to the end of the path, it opened up to reveal several cabins scattered around the lake, which Sammy knew had been booked for the reunion. They were small, rustic buildings tucked into clusters of trees that offered a sort of privacy barrier for each cabin.
As she strolled toward the first picnic table, her gaze landed on a huge motorcycle parked in front of one of the cabins. She vaguely wondered who it belonged to. Laughter and screaming pulled her attention to the lake, where children and adults were swimming and playing. There was a tire on a rope hanging from a tree and they were taking turns swinging out over the water.
Sammy opened a bright red cooler, grabbed a bottle of water, and continued toward the edge of the lake. She scanned the area, seeing some familiar faces, some not so familiar. Pat and his new wife were relaxing on inner tubes, holding hands to keep from drifting apart no doubt. At least one of them was getting some. She was actually glad her ex was happy. Taking a drink of water, she turned and froze.
John O’Malley was standing in the open doorway of his cabin, his tall body braced by one arm against the jamb, while he took a sip from a brown bottle. As he lowered the bottle their eyes met, and the crooked smile Sammy remembered slowly spread across his rugged features. The years had been good to him. There didn’t seem to be an ounce of spare flesh anywhere on his forty-four-year-old frame, but there was gray in his black hair, which was shorter than she remembered.
She smiled at that. It was hard to believe it had been almost twenty years since she’d seen him last. He was far removed from the lanky, cocky teenage boy with long hair and a cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth. And he was probably thinking something similar about her. Back then, Sammy had been short and a tad heavier than she would have liked. And she’d lacked the self-confidence to accept that a boy like him could really be interested in her.
She realized she was staring at him. God, I hope I’m not drooling! He looked simply delicious, and a heat began spreading over Sammy at this awareness. What was he thinking? He had yet to take his brown eyes off her.
He finally acknowledged her with a slight nod of his head, and Sammy was undecided on whether to ignore him or approach him. After all, he was family. But, in spite of the changes in his appearance over the years, he still reeked of a dangerous attraction that spelled trouble. On the other hand, they were adults now and she was suddenly curious beyond belief to know what he had been up to since the last time they saw one another. Had he remarried? Did he have children? What did he do for a living? Before she knew what she was going to say, she found herself walking in his direction.
“Well, well, well. If it isn’t good-little-girl Samantha O’Malley.”
John called her Samantha because he knew she didn’t like her name.
“Well, well, well. If it isn’t bad-boy Johnny O’Malley. And you know I don’t like Samantha.”
“Sam.” He took another sip of his beer.
He knew she didn’t like that any better, but she decided to ignore it. “Come home for the reunion?” She stopped at the bottom of the steps and smiled up at him. She caught a whiff of something mild and pleasant, manly. “I’m surprised.”
He shrugged. “Figured it was time.”
His gaze slid over Sammy like warm chocolate, making her squirm inside.
Oh my God! The same exact thing he’d said in her dream the night before. “I’ve lost a pound or two.” More like forty.
“You look damn good.” He took a swig of his beer. “Guess the single life agrees with you.”