rule, Chase Hammond avoided going home to Divine Island whenever possible. But
when his father has a heart attack, he’s left with no other choice but to go
back and hope that he can avoid trouble and stay focused.
divorced and struggling to keep all the elements of her life together, Natalie
Rey has absolutely no desire to make her life any more difficult than it
already is. But when Chase Hammond shows up on her doorstep, the man who
rejected her years earlier, she’ll have to do her best to avoid the monumental
thing either of them needs is their sizzling chemistry getting in the way of
Natalie resist the sexy man who broke her heart years ago?
allowing him back into her life only lead to more heartache?
Natalie Rey didn’t know the first thing about wielding the wrench in her hand, but not knowing things had never stopped her before. She wasn’t going to let a leaky faucet get in the way of finding a tenant, but so far, everyone had expected the shower in the master bathroom to be in working order.
Silly people, with their basic needs, like indoor plumbing.
No worries, Natalie was perfectly capable of watching videos of people who did know things.
Having watched the video no less than five times, Natalie repeated the instructions aloud. “Just replace the stem, tighten things back up, and no more leak.”
She did these things, intent on using the most precise movements. Except when she tightened the faucet, water shot out in a jet stream, hitting her right in the face. She screamed, (more like gargled), and held her hands in front of her body in a weak attempt to stop the water.
What made her think she could do this without the use of a real plumber? She turned the knob, only to have it come off in her hand. “Easy, my ass,” she said through her teeth.
“Nat? What are you doing?”
Natalie’s posture stiffened at the sight of Chase Hammond filling the doorway like he was holding the house up with his big, strong body.
Not now. Even as water sprayed wildly around her, she looked up at the ceiling, asking God why. Why would you bring Chase Hammond to my door at this moment?
Or ever for that matter.
“Obviously…” She cleared her throat. “I don’t know what I’m doing. What are you doing? Here? In my bathroom?”
“Where’s the valve to shut off the water?” Chase asked, focused and on track, responding to the situation as if she were in way over her head.
For the record, she was.
Looking even better than she remembered, he was glorious in his relaxed jeans and threadbare T-shirt, tight across his chest and loose around his flat stomach.
“The what?” Natalie asked, still standing in the spray, pretending like she wasn’t just ogling him.
“Outside, Nat.” He offered her a bemused smile, giving Natalie the impression that he knew exactly what she was doing. “There should be a valve to shut off all the water to the house.”
“Should I have turned that off before working on the faucet?”
He rewarded her with a broad grin, and Natalie’s brain went fuzzy, all neurons getting lost in a wave of static. She’d seen pictures of him as recent as a year ago, but she’d forgotten how mind crippling his smile could be in real time.
“Nat, the valve?”
Natalie pushed her shoulders back and lifted her chin. “Under the bushes. I think it’s on the west side of the house.”
He grimaced. “Of course, it’s under the bushes. Get out of the tub. You’re soaked.”
Natalie’s eyes widened, and she shook her head at the spot where Chase once stood. He’d sounded so bossy that she almost stayed put just to spite him. Instead, she climbed out of the tub and chastised herself for not turning the valve off in the first place.
The water slowed and then stopped running altogether. She breathed a shaky sigh of relief. The faucet was in worse shape than before she started, but at least the meter wasn’t running up at breakneck speed anymore. Besides, she had other things to worry about. Natalie hadn’t seen Chase Hammond in eight years.
Not that she was counting.
Chase returned to the bathroom and stared at her bedraggled state. She warmed as his eyes swept up and down her body.
She touched her palms to her cheeks. Yep, she was blushing. Just like when they were younger.
He leaned on the doorjamb with one hand at his waist. “The valve’s on the east side of the house in case you were wondering.”
Natalie’s head jerked in his direction. “Like I’m supposed to remember directional indicators at the drop of a hat? There was water spraying at my face.”
She looked down, having forgotten what she was wearing: Yoga pants, and a white shirt that clung to her body. Feeling nothing but ready for a wet T-shirt contest, she raised her chin and crossed her arms over her chest.
Again, the corners of Chase’s mouth tipped up. She dropped her arms to her sides in response. “Would you please hand me the towel?”
He did, without urgency if she had any opinion on the matter, and she wrapped it around her shoulders.
“The faucet?” he asked.
She held her hand out. “It’s right here and not at all attached to the wall where it belongs.”
He made a valiant effort to suppress his laughter and failed spectacularly.
“Please stop,” she asked, although she was forcing back her laughter now. His laugh was contagious that way. It was a full-body display, the way he threw his head back. Hers wasn’t so good. It was the kind of laugh that could turn into sobbing if she wasn’t careful.
“Were you always this serious?” He took a step toward her and pulled the towel tighter around her shoulders. “Come on; you think it’s a little funny.”
He was so close she could imagine the feel of his unshaven face on her skin. Natalie worked at remaining unaffected, but he smelled like he was genetically designed to excite her hormones. If only she could press her face against his neck for a sampling of the goods.
“Do I look like I’m laughing, Chase? The video made it look so fricking easy.”
“It always looks easier in the video.”
She snorted. “Right, like you need to watch videos to fix things.”
“You’d be surprised,” he said.
She sighed and pushed her wet, shoulder length waves of brown hair away from her face. “I wanted to get these repairs done before my shift at the hospital.”
“I’m sure you were about to finish, and I interrupted you.”
She narrowed her eyes. “I do stuff like this all the time, and sixty percent of the time it works out.”
He nodded patronizingly and continued stroking her upper arms.
“Stop that.” She was wet and loving the heat that was coming off his body, or maybe that was just her reaction to him. “I can do this on my own.”
“I know you can,” he said. His eyes were so kind that she felt her heart squeeze. “How about I take a look and see if I can finish what you started?”
Natalie warred with her inherent stubbornness. “Don’t you have somewhere to be?”
“It’s just a faucet, Nat.”
“Yes…just a faucet that I couldn’t fix.”
“That’s not what I meant.” He relaxed his posture. “I’ve done this before.”
She nodded and took a step back from him. “Why are you here again? Ellie isn’t here. She’s off traveling with Chuck.” Natalie removed a leaf from his hair, something he must have picked up while looking for the valve.
Chase stopped to look at her. “Yes, I know where my sister is, thank you very much.” He moved around in the small bathroom. “Where’s the box the faucet came in?”
Distracted, Natalie stared at his muscles shifting beneath his thin shirt. “It’s behind the door. Wait! Don’t close the—”
He did just that.
“Door,” Natalie said, pressing the heels of her hands to her eyes. This was not happening. She was not stuck in a bathroom with Chase Hammond. Her shift at the hospital started in, oh, two hours. Everything remained broken. She was soaking wet, and did she mention stuck in a bathroom with Chase Hammond?
She peeked from behind her hands. “Yeah, Chase?”
He slid his hands into his pockets and rocked back on his heels. “Why shouldn’t I have closed the door?”
“Fixing the door lock,” Natalie said, placing her hands on her hips, “was next on my list of things to do.”
Chase clicked his tongue. “Right after fixing the leaky faucet?”
Natalie nodded. “Right after fixing the leaky faucet.”
Can’t wait for more?
CRAZY FOR YOU, Divine Island Book Two
Releases June 14th
Florida. She graduated from Florida State University with a degree in English,
majoring in Creative Writing. She loves to read all genres of Romance and
especially loves contemporary, suspense, and paranormal.
known to binge read and is always binge writing.
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I love this quote, Diana
“I’m wondering what to read next.” — Matilda, Roald Dahl