There’s the first chapter.
Melissa Mahoney grabbed her folder and her keys, then made her way to her first showing of the day. She hadn’t even met, let alone talked to her new client. All communication had been done via email.
He wanted a beachfront property on Kent Island. Most houses were on the water, but not all had sandy beaches. The bulk had banks of rocks and you entered the water climbing down the rocks or off your personal dock. The sandy beach would be the tough part, but he had a healthy budget and was paying cash. Normally she’d ask for proof ahead of time, but didn’t need to when he sent her a letter from his attorney verifying his funds.
She had two properties to show him today. One didn’t have a beach but had access to one two houses down, on top of his own large dock. The other had a beach, but was under budget and a major fixer upper. He never specified either way about potential renovations, so she’d get more of a feel of what he was looking for today.
She was just walking up the front walkway of the Stevensville property ten minutes before the appointment when she heard the roar of a motorcycle coming down the road. Her father had a Harley when she was a kid and she could spot one by its sound a mile away.
When the Harley Road King pulled next to her BMW she tried to hide her shock. She wasn’t sure what to expect from her client today, but it wasn’t this. Most didn’t show up for a house showing on a bike, much less a brand new custom ride like that. She’d always been a sucker for a bike. Part of being daddy’s little girl.
He was clearly tall by the length of his legs. Nice muscular ones under his jeans. Not to mention the defined biceps peeking out of his T-shirt. When was the last time she noticed that on a client? Never!
She stood there and watched him shut the bike off, stand up and then turn his back—letting her admire that part of his body too—while he took his helmet off and hung it on the handlebars. Then he turned and looked at her. She wasn’t sure her jaw ever hung open like this before. Now he could probably toss grapes in the opening.
No way. It couldn’t be. Not him. Not the man that had hit on her at her best friend Sheldon’s wedding just last month. Just down the road from this house, no less.
She had to be dreaming. She’d never gotten his last name though. Just knew him as Connor and a friend of Sheldon’s husband, Dr. Erik McMann.
Connor strode up the walkway toward her, his cocky grin matching the mischievous look in his light blue eyes telling her he knew exactly who he was meeting with today.
She’d been attracted to him at the wedding. She’d been tempted too. But she didn’t do one-night stands and once she knew what was really on his agenda, she walked away.
“So we meet again,” he said, his deep voice carrying a ton of humor in it.
She could play it cool. She’d mastered the cool face years ago. It was what made her one of the top realtors in Queen Anne and Anne Arundel counties. She read people well, sought out what they wanted and made sure she found it for them at the best possible price. “I didn’t realize it was you that contacted me.”
He put his hand on his chest—his overly large hand. Her treacherous body was warming up, reminding her how it felt to have that hand holding hers. “I’m hurt.”
His charming smile told her otherwise. “I find that hard to believe.” She held her hand out to his, pretending that she didn’t feel the same spark she’d felt when he held her in his arms and danced with her a month ago. When her heart raced and she found she was more attracted to him than what was healthy for her peace of mind.
But he’d made his point clear on what he was looking for and no amount of smooth talking ever let her fall for a one-night stand. She wanted the real thing. She wanted something that lasted a lifetime or at least had the potential for it. And Connor Landers wasn’t that.
He laughed at her comment and she was glad to know she hadn’t offended him. Though from her short interaction with him before, she guessed his feelings never got hurt. “So show me this house. It doesn’t look to me like it has a beach out back.”
“It doesn’t,” she said. “But I’m sure you noticed the beach only two houses over that you passed. Every house in the development has rights to multiple beaches.”
“But I want my own personal beach. I’m greedy that way.”
She figured he’d be that way. “Then let me show the house and you can let me know what you like or dislike for future reference.”
“I’ve got nothing but time on my hands today. So show me what you’ve got.”
She turned back toward the house wondering if she should be thinking about the double meaning he clearly threw her way.
Connor was holding back his laugh. He loved surprising people and had a feeling Melissa Mahoney hadn’t put his email inquiry together with the guy who had tried to convince her to spend the night with him at Erik’s wedding. If she had, she probably would have said she wasn’t interested in working with him, just like she’d turned him down flat that night.
He wasn’t used to that, to being told he couldn’t have what he wanted. At least not in the past several years. When he was younger he got what he wanted all the time too. Until he was put in his place and told he had to earn it. So he did.
Then he found other ways to get what he wanted. He found other ways to get the need for adventure and attention out of his system without causing pain or embarrassment to others. Everyone he was with knew what they were getting with him. He was upfront and honest at all times.
He watched Melissa walking in front of him, her curvy body in her slim skirt, fitted top and kick ass killer heels. She was on the short side, made more significant by his six foot one height. He’d bet he was close to a foot taller than her. He’d always been drawn toward tall and thin, but something about Melissa put all those other women he’d been with in the past out of his mind.
She showed him around the two-story house, one that wasn’t to his liking at all, and he made a point of informing her of that. She didn’t get ruffled, didn’t do anything more than jot down notes and ask more specific questions.
Keeping it businesslike. Damn.
“Well,” she said, “I do have another house to show you. It does have its own personal beach, but the house is in need of a lot of work.”
That wasn’t what he wanted at all, but he wasn’t ready to end his day with her. Might as well keep his options open just in case. “Sure. Let’s see what it has to offer.”
“You can follow me there, then.”
He climbed on his bike and waited for her to pull out of the driveway, then followed her through the same development.
He shut his bike off and got out to follow her to the back of the house they just stopped at. “We can look at the beach first since that seems to be your top criteria.”
“Sounds good.” Anything to get more of a view of her walk. His hands were itching to touch her again, but he wouldn’t be that bold.
“So what do you do for a living?” she asked.
“I’m a doctor.”
She stopped and turned. “Really? None of your paperwork indicated that.”
Again, he surprised her. He wasn’t sure why she seemed so shocked though. “I don’t need to announce my profession.”
“Very true. So what kind of doctor?”
“Neurology. University of Maryland, but my office is out of Annapolis.”
“Are you looking for a second home or to move here permanently?”
A second home had been his original thought, but now he wasn’t sure. “I haven’t decided at the moment. I guess it depends on how good you are.”
She blushed and he knew she got his meaning.