Home > Heat Wave(12)

Heat Wave(12)
Author: Karina Halle

With that in mind, I slather moisturizer over my face, hoping to combat the dryness from the plane, and take in a deep breath.

I open the door and step out into my my room.

Logan is standing there.

I yelp, clutching my towel to my chest.

“Sorry,” he says quickly, taking a little too long to avert his eyes away from my legs and chest. “I didn't know you were in the shower.”

I glare at him. “But that still gives you the right to waltz on in here?” I ask incredulously. Talk about no boundaries!

His eyes narrow in response, the kind of look that can nail you to the floor.

I don't let it.

“The door was ajar, I knocked. Again, sorry.” When he finishes that sentence, his eyes trail down to my chest again, my boobs squished together by my hands at the towel. He clears his throat and looks away, staring out at the expanse of lawn and the ocean beyond it.

I hate, hate, hate the tiny thrill that runs through me from his gaze. This is so not what I want for my first day here. Even though it pains me to do so, I have to just push past all this and try my best to be the bigger person. Hell, Logan is almost forty but that doesn't seem to mean anything when it comes to being less stubborn.

“Well, give me a moment to get changed,” I tell him.

He nods and steps out of my zero-privacy bedroom.

I sigh and quickly close the partitions, then bring down the blinds on the window. I can hear him as he walks along the tile floor, to the kitchen and back to the living area, pacing.

I wonder if he’s nervous. Of me, of all people.

It’s because he knows what you think of him.

Even though it’s raining, I grab a tank top and slide on a pair of black board-shorts I picked up at Neiman’s just before I left. I pull my wet hair back into a loose bun and clean up the bits of mascara underneath my eyes that smudged from the shower. I would have liked to have had more time to actually dote on my appearance for my first day and all—I know how important first impressions are in a business like this—but this will have to do.

I slide on my flip-flops and step out into the unit.

Logan is standing at the balcony, hands folded behind his back, staring at the ocean through the screen door.

I allow myself a quick moment to take him all in. Seeing him earlier at the pool was so jarring, I was barely in the moment.

He looks good. Really good. It physically pains me to admit it but it's the truth and my body often reacts to the sight of him before my conscience can. If anything, he's gotten better with age, like a very fine wine, the kind you can’t wait to get drunk on.

His body is still built like he surfs and swims all day, and I have to wonder if that's true and if so, how he finds the time. His hair is dark, longer on the top, shorter on the sides, with just a peppering of grey in his sideburns and along his scruffy beard.

He might have a few more lines around his eyes, and a definite crevice between his brows, no doubt a result of frowning all the time, but his skin looks taught—tanned and smooth.

And unlike the times I saw him in Chicago, where he was trapped in layers to fight the cold—hell, he even looked uncomfortable at his wedding, having to wear a tux—here he seems more at ease. He's wearing olive green cargo shorts that come to his knees and a plain white tee shirt. Unlike Charlie and so many of the guys I've seen so far, he is wearing shoes, simple sandals.

I know I'm staring for too long but to his credit, he lets me do this and doesn't call me out on it. I know he’d love to. Before Juliet told me the truth about him, we had more of a, well let’s say, jovial relationship. He’d tease me all the time. “Little sis,” he’d call me, before letting loose a one-liner about this and that. Luckily I was pretty good at the comebacks. “Big brother” or “old man,” were my favorites.

I swallow hard and step forward.

“Okay, all ready,” I tell him, my voice sounding terribly weak. I need to stop letting the past sneak into the present.

I also need to stop checking him out.

He finally looks my way and nods. I can't read a thing in his expression, other than the fact that he's frowning, and that could mean anything really.

“Are you happy with the accommodations?” he asks, sounding so formal.

I shrug. “I haven't had a roommate in a long time, but sure.”

He squints at me. “You do realize that the two of you in here means I can't rent this unit out to guests. And we could use that money.”

“So in other words, shut up, right?”

His frown deepens as he eyes me. “I wouldn't think of being so rude, but yes, shut up. If you're going to work here, you're going to have act like everyone else. This isn’t Chicago anymore. This isn’t the big bloody city. This is Hawaii, and if you're going to survive you need to leave your preconceived notions at the door. Got it? What I mean is, there will be no special favors from me to you. You'll be treated like everyone else and that means showing up to your shifts on time, working hard, helping out when we need you to, and learning to live with a roommate again. Are we clear?”

My heart is pounding louder, filling my ears. He doesn't have to be so condescending, I mean I just fucking got off the plane, give me a break.

“Are you a bossy asshole with all of your employees?” I ask him. “Because you just said I’m not getting special treatment and if this is the same way you treat them, then I think you might have a problem.”

   
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