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From Temptation to Twins(6)

By:Barbara Dunlop

“I don’t even remember him from back then.”

“That’s because you were only twelve.”

“What I remember most is Grandma’s hot chocolate. It was so nice, coming here, spending time with her, especially after Mom died.”

“I miss them both.”

Melissa gave Jules’s arm a squeeze. “Me, too. But I don’t miss the squirrels waking us up in the morning.”

Jules handed Audrey Hepburn to Melissa. “I hated those squirrels.”

“You really should have thought of that before we moved back here. They’re going to wake us up every morning.”

“Do you think we could livetrap them, relocate them like they do with bears?”

“I don’t see why not.”

Jules thought about it for a moment as she handed down Jayne Mansfield. “I wonder what we’d need for bait.”

“Going fishing?” The sound of Caleb’s voice startled her, and she swayed, grabbing the top of the ladder to steady herself.

“Whoa.” Caleb surged toward her.

“Steady girl,” Melissa said.

“I’m fine.” Jules regained her balance.

She focused on his forehead instead of meeting his eyes. She’d pretend nothing awkward had happened last night. Hopefully, he’d play along and they could both ignore it.

“Should you be up on that ladder?” he asked.

“I was fine until you scared me.” Jules turned back to her work and reached for Doris Day.

“You were talking about fishing?”

“We were?” Jules couldn’t figure out why he thought that.

“You said we needed bait,” Melissa put in.

“Matt can take you fishing,” Caleb said. He was hovering beside Melissa, looking like he wanted to take over the operation. “Do you need a hand with that?”

“Why are you suddenly being nice?” Jules asked as she handed over the next portrait.

She’d prefer it if they were cordial to each other. But after their argument yesterday and their encounter last night, she’d expected him to avoid her, not to drop by and pretend they were friends.

“I’m not being nice,” he said.

“Who’s Matt?” Melissa asked as she crossed the room with Doris in her hands.

“He owns the marina.” Caleb took over from Melissa and braced both sides of the ladder.

“All those yachts?” Melissa asked.

“He has a charter service.”

“Out of our price range,” Jules put in. She could only imagine the exorbitant cost of renting one of the lavish-looking yachts.

“He won’t charge you.”

Jules took a step lower on the ladder, expecting Caleb to move back and give her room. “We’re not going fishing.”

“Let’s not be hasty,” Melissa said.

“I can set it up.” Caleb didn’t move.

Jules turned before she took another step down. Deciding she’d prefer to face him while edging into his space.

“We’re far too busy to fish,” she said, meeting him at eye level.

“Exactly how long would we need for a trip like that?” Melissa asked.

“How are you not suspicious of this?” Jules spoke to Melissa but kept her gaze locked on Caleb. “An enemy bearing gifts?”

“I’m not your enemy.” Caleb’s deep voice seemed to rumble through her. There was a challenge in his gray eyes. One more step down, and she’d practically be in his arms.

She wasn’t going to be the one to back down. She took the final step. “So why are you here?”

“I wanted to talk to you.”

“About what?” She told herself to ignore the sizzle of arousal that skipped across her skin. He was a great-looking guy, and she had some emotional baggage where it came to him. But she could handle it. She could easily handle it.

He drew a deep breath, his broad chest expanding. A few more inches and they would be touching. She wondered how he’d handle that. She should make it happen and find out.

“The contractor’s here,” Melissa said, as a vehicle engine sounded outside in the parking lot.

“You need me?” Jules made to move, thinking she’d probably just been saved from...something with Caleb.

“Nope. I’ll just show him around,” Melissa said and headed for the door.

“We don’t need to be competitors.” Caleb firmed his stance as he spoke to Jules.

“We’re not competitors.” She wondered how long he intended to keep her trapped. She eased slightly forward to test his boundaries. “I have a noncompete agreement, so you can’t build Neo.”

Caleb leaned in himself, as if he could read her thoughts. “Neo’s not your competition.”