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From Temptation to Twins(10)

By:Barbara Dunlop

She hadn’t thought of Noah as particularly hot, although she supposed he was fairly good-looking in a rugged, earthy kind of way. He was dressed in a khaki green T-shirt and a pair of tan cargo pants. A tool belt was slung low on his hips, and his steel-toed boots were scuffed and worn. He had sandy-blond hair, thick and a little shaggy.

“I can’t stop staring at him,” Melissa said.

“I wouldn’t have pegged him as your type.”

The men Melissa had dated in college had been mostly preppy intellectuals, sometimes even poets. Occasionally, she’d talked about seeing an athlete. There was one basketball player she’d stayed with for a couple of months.

“Hot and sexy? Whose type is that not?”

Jules smiled, taking another look at Noah through her safety glasses. “So you mean as eye candy.”

Personally, she found him a bit dusty for eye candy. But if Melissa found him entertaining while she took on the drudge work of renovating, Jules was happy for her.

“Don’t let him slow you down,” Jules said.

“I can look and rip trim at the same time.”

“Make sure you don’t stab yourself with a nail.”

“They’re finishing nails, teeny-tiny finishing nails. Do you think if it gets hot enough he’ll consider taking off his shirt?”

“I think if you ask him we get sued. Sexual harassment goes both ways, you know.”

“I won’t ask him, at least, not flat out.”

“You can’t ask him at all. You can’t even hint.”

“I can hope.”

“I suppose there’s no such thing as the mind police,” Jules said.

Melissa grinned. “That’s a good thing. Because what I’m imagining is probably illegal in most states.”

“Please don’t tell me.”

“You’re such a prude.”

Jules scrunched her eyes shut, not allowing any untoward mental pictures to form. “Pink fuzzy bunnies. Pink fuzzy bunnies,” she chanted out loud, bringing the harmless image into her mind.

Melissa laughed at her antics.

“I obviously missed something.” This time it was Caleb.

Jules popped open her eyes to find him standing in the doorway again.

Talk about hot and sexy. He wore blue jeans, an open-collar white shirt and a midnight blue blazer. He looked casual and classy all at the same time, putting the rest of the male world to shame.

“Pink fuzzy bunnies?” he asked with a raised brow.

“Inside joke,” Melissa said. “It’s our mantra to keep nasty images at bay.”

Caleb glanced around. “Is there something nasty?”

“Not at all,” Melissa said, her blue eyes flashing mischief before she looked out the window again.

Jules told herself to stop ogling Caleb. “Can we help you with something?”

“I’ve been doing some research on your project,” he said as he stepped inside.

She adjusted her gloves and went determinedly back to working on the varnish removal with a paint scraper. “You’re just the Energizer Bunny, aren’t you?”

He kept moving toward her. “You’ve obviously got a rabbit theme going here.”

“Stay back,” she warned. “This stuff is dangerous.”

He stopped but frowned. “Do you know what you’re doing?”

“Yes.” She dug the blade into the tacky solution and scraped it off in a layer.

“Have you done this before?”

“I watched a YouTube video.” She wiped away the goo with a rag and started on another strip.

“So, your answer is no.”

“My answer is ‘it’s none of your business.’”

He seemed to find her response amusing. “You’re very prickly.”

“And you’re a cocklebur.”

“A what?”

“A prickly plant. Something that digs in and sticks to you and won’t let go.”

“Oh. Okay, my mind went to a completely different place with that.”

Jules struggled not to smile. She didn’t want to encourage him. Or maybe she did. She didn’t like that he felt so free to interfere in her life, but she’d admit he was at least as entertaining for her as Noah was for Melissa.

A low clatter sounded from the window where Melissa was working. She swore.

Jules quickly glanced up. “You okay?”

Caleb was there before Melissa could answer, removing an L-shaped piece of window trim from her hands and untangling another piece from around her feet. “Are you hurt?”

“I’m fine,” Melissa said. “I just got distracted for a minute.”

“Where are you putting all this?” Caleb asked.

“There’s a disposal bin in the parking lot.”