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“Damn, where’d you come from?” She jumped back, grabbing her chest. “Don’t you know it ain’t cool to roll up on people like that?”
Not waiting for an answer, she walked past him to try the ignition again. When she pulled out her phone to search for a towing service, Luke apologized for scaring her and offered to help. Aris finally looked up at him, her irritation dissipating as she realized this was now the second time that Luke found her stranded and cared enough to stop and help.
She laughed at herself. “I promise you I’m not this much of a train wreck…”
Grinning, Luke pulled his phone from the leather case secured to the waist of his pants. Aris climbed out of her car and stood next to him, openly admiring Luke’s dark suit, tailored to fit every square inch of him. Somehow, he seemed even taller than when she first met him, and his cologne was starting to affect her in the very best way.
She bit her bottom lip, thinking back over the past several months she’d been living in Cypress Lake.
How was it even possible not to have noticed him before?
“I asked where you bought the car.” Luke’s eyes were still glued to his phone as his thumbs tapped rapidly against the screen. He paused to stare at her, a grin on his face. “This is your car, right?”
She twisted her mouth. “Yes, it is my car.”
He brought the phone to his ear. “Where did you get it from?”
“AutoNation.” Reaching over to the passenger side, she opened the glove compartment and pulled out an envelope filled with sales paperwork and a business card. She handed him the card. “I just bought it.”
Taking the card from her, Luke dialed the number on the front of it before placing the phone against his ear and walking a few feet away. A few minutes later, she heard him giving directions to Cypress Lake along with a few of his own specific instructions before he turned and walked away with the phone still pressed against his ear. Making herself useful, Aris slid the metal prop rod back into its bracket and lowered the hood. The sun was coming up, and she noticed that Luke’s suit was actually navy, not black as she suspected. She began to wonder what he did for a living. Finance, maybe? No, too traditional. She could see him in sales though. Looking the way he did, she would most definitely buy whatever he was—
She blinked. “Huh?”
“I said the tow truck should be here by nine.” His thumbs were active again. “They’re already pretty backed up with the current rush hour wreckage.”
“Thank you.” She activated the alarm on her car. “Well, so much for me getting an early start.”
“Where do you need to go?”
“I can do it later. No big deal.”
Aris watched Luke as he stared intently at his phone.
“Want to come up for breakfast?” she blurted.
Luke looked up from his phone with a skeptical expression on his face, and she laughed.
“How about I buy breakfast instead?” He smiled and slipped his phone back into its case. “I can wait until the truck gets here and take you wherever you need to go after that.”
Pausing suddenly, Luke released a short breath as he reached for his phone again. He said his name when he answered the incoming call, but this time he didn’t walk away.
Aris tried not to listen, but it was obvious that Luke was speaking to a woman because his voice was different and much more patient than when he was barking orders at the tow people. This conversation was more of an even exchange, and she noticed a hint of a smile on his face when it was his turn to listen. When Luke’s smile grew bigger and he suddenly laughed, Aris couldn’t stop herself from frowning. Turning away, she tuned him out and busied herself with an imaginary ding on her driver’s side door.
She was still inspecting her car when Luke ended his call. “If you need to go, I got it from here,” she said, running a hand over the tread of her front tire. “Thanks for everything.”
Clearing her throat, Aris turned away from his gaze. Her voice sounded uptight, and the bitter edge that laced her words probably hadn’t gone unnoticed on his end either. She turned to face him and sighed, once again feeling an urge to apologize for being so rude when all he was trying to do was help her. She opened her mouth, ready to speak…but nothing came out.
Luke observed her for a long while, a slight smile appearing on his lips. “I don’t need to go, Aris. Cheryl—my assistant—has me on a pretty tight schedule today, but it’s nothing that can’t be pushed to the afternoon.”
She looked away. “I was just saying.”
He chuckled. “Go on in. I’ll be back soon with food.”
Remembering his offer to buy breakfast, Aris bit her lip, feeling even worse about her earlier attitude and snippiness. “Thank you. Hey, wait…aren’t you going to ask me what I want?”
“No.” Luke replied easily, walking away. “I have a sneaky suspicion that you eat everything, too.”
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Aris Collier is chasing her dreams…at a snail’s pace. With little money and big talent, she works tirelessly to perfect her craft…even at the expense of her relationships. When Aris walks away from yet another dead-end entanglement with the hopes of finally getting her life on track, the last thing she expects is a fast friendship with her neighbor, Luke. They couldn’t be more different but soon the two become an inseparable pair, leaving Aris both surprised and disturbed that Luke understands her better than anyone else ever has…
Luke Donovan has it all—looks, career, money and status. Most importantly, he has the bold, brave and beautiful Jessica Knox, a woman he’s been building his impeccable life with since college. But as Luke continues his corporate climb, he soon realizes that the view from the top isn’t so great and the future laid out in front of him is very far from his true definition of happiness. For the first time in his life, Luke is unsure…until he meets his quirky neighbor, Aris, who just may help him discover what love and life are really all about…