Holy Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
He’s so fucking toned it’s crazy. Jeez, his muscles bunch and stretch as he pulls on the wrench in his hand.
“Come on, you motherfucker,” he mutters. I have to bite my lips to keep from laughing out loud.
“So, what seems to be the problem?” I finally ask when he doesn’t notice me, keeping my eyes trained on the engine when his head whips up to look at me. I slowly lift my eyes to his and grin.
“I didn’t hear your car,” he murmurs with a smile.
“I walked.” I shrug and look back down into the bowels of his Jeep. “What’s wrong with your car?”
“You walked from your house?” he asks incredulously.
“No.” I shake my head and chuckle. “From Sips. I had coffee with Cara this morning.”
He stands up straight and leans his palms on the side of the Jeep, watching me. My eyes immediately fall to one drop of sweat slowly making its way down his hard chest.
“You had coffee with Cara?” He smiles.
“Yeah.” I shrug shyly. “I’m sorry to just stop by like this. I was out for a walk and just sort of found myself here.” I feel my cheeks heat and I back away, but he shakes his head and smiles widely.
“I’m glad you came by.” He raises his brows as I continue to stare.
I shake my head and raise my eyes to his, then bust out laughing.
“Why are you laughing?” he asks with a wide grin.
“Because I don’t think I’ve ever seen you without a shirt. I didn’t realize the tats went all the way up your arm. Who would have thought that under it all you’re just a bad boy?”
His eyes flash with heat as he narrows them on my face, watching me. He pulls a rag out of his back pocket and begins wiping off his hands, but his gray eyes stay on mine. Did I offend him?
“I’m not such a bad boy. Looks can be deceiving, Lauren.” He smirks as he lowers the hood on his Jeep. “But from the look of you right now, you don’t seem to mind the tats.”
“I don’t mind.” I shrug nonchalantly and try to ignore the way my heart picks up speed as he slowly saunters around the hood of the vehicle.
“Do you have any tats?”
His eyes widen in surprise and then rake over me from head to toe.
I grin, enjoying this flirtatious banter. “Here and there.”
“I have ways of making people talk, you know.”
“Bright lights and rubber hoses?” I ask with a raised brow.
He tosses his head back and laughs, an all-out belly laugh. “I’m not a cop,” he smirks.
“You might get to see them. Someday.”
He closes the gap between us and kisses me gently on the forehead, not touching me anywhere else.
“I hope someday comes sooner rather than later,” he whispers before pulling back and smiling softly down at me. “I would hug you, but I’m dirty.”
I wave him off, as if it’s no biggie, although I don’t mind so much that he’s a bit dirty and sweaty. “What were you doing?” I gesture to the car.
“Changing the oil.”
“There are places you can go,” I inform him with a perfectly straight face, “where you pull into this big garage, and then you leave your car and go into this small room with five-year-old magazines and stale coffee, and the people there will change your oil for you.”
“Or, smart-ass, I can do it myself in my own driveway.”
“Suit yourself.” I shrug.
“Did you sleep okay on the couch?” he asks, changing the subject.
“Yeah, actually, I did. But I could always sleep just about anywhere.”
“Hence the chaise in your office.” He chuckles.
I nod and stuff my hands in my pockets. “I’m sorry that I interrupted your morning. I was just out for a walk and found myself here.”
“I’m glad you did.” He scratches his stomach, and my eyes follow the movement. His abs are just delicious. For being so dark haired, he has little hair on his chest and stomach, but a light trail of hair falls from his navel and disappears into his jeans. He’s also sporting a V in the muscles on his hips that the heroes in my novels would covet.
“Lo?” he asks with a wide grin.
“Yeah?” I drag my eyes up to his again.
“I lost you for a second.”
I blink rapidly and feel heat fill my cheeks. Jesus, get a grip! You’ve seen hot men before, Lauren. “Sorry, my mind wandered.”
“I was asking you if you have plans on Thursday night.”
I pull my phone out of my pocket and consult the calendar. “Nope.”
“I’d like to take you to the charity gala with me.” He reaches over the Jeep and grabs his T-shirt and quickly pulls it over his head. Part of me is disappointed that he’s hiding all that hotness, but I also breathe a sigh of relief.
It’s hard to think when there’s so much to stare at.
“It’s this Thursday?”
“Yes. I can pick you up at six.”
Do I have anything to wear? My mind quickly takes a mental inventory of my closet.
“If you’d rather not, it’s okay.” He’s clearly taken aback by my silence. “Jack will probably be there too.”
“This is a small town. I will no doubt run into Jack from time to time. I was just thinking if I have anything to wear,” I reply ruefully. “A girl usually needs a bit more lead time.”
“I know, I’m sorry. The tickets fell into my lap and I’d really like for you to join me.”
“I’d love to go.” I realize that I mean it and grin. “I’ll figure out the dress.”
“Lauren, you could show up in a burlap sack and still be the most beautiful woman there.”
“You are such a charmer.” I laugh and then frown, remembering that Jack used to say the same things in the beginning.
“Don’t,” Ty whispers.
“Don’t compare me to him. The difference is, I mean what I say, Lo.”
I scowl at him, wondering how he can read my mind.
“So, six o’clock on Thursday,” he confirms.
“I’ll be ready. I can just meet you there, if it’s easier?”
“This will be a date, sweetheart. I will pick you up.”
Butterflies take flight in my stomach and I can’t help the cheesy grin that spreads across my face. “Okay.” I close the gap between us and rise on my toes to kiss Ty’s cheek. “Thank you for inviting me.”