“I don’t want to be a problem,” Rose said. “The jerk back there, his name is Grift. He’s a mean one. I told you, if they don’t want me here—”

“Screw them. I want you.” He glanced at her. “Here, I want you here.”

Rose laughed, slow and soft.

Ryan knew he’d lied to her and himself. He wanted her. He’d met her two hours ago and he wanted her in his bed and in his life.

The white doublewide trailer that served as the construction office stood a hundred yards from the gate. When he parked, he unsnapped his seat belt, leaned over, caught her chin in his fingers and kissed her. Not with passion, but in sudden surrender to an overpowering desire to taste that soft mouth.

He released her, leaned back, then couldn’t meet her eyes. Great! Now what did he do? “God, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to...”

“That’s okay.” Rose’s voice sounded a bit shaky. “Moving a little too fast. That’s all.”

“Too fast.” Ryan grinned with relief. “Ah...could you give me a timetable or something? So I won’t get ahead of you again.”

She smiled, her eyes bright with amusement. “Well, Mr. Vernon, let’s start with a couple of beers and conversation. Get to know each other. Then, we talk about a date. How’s that?”

Ryan couldn’t believe it. He’d just negotiated a possible relationship. Mr. Vernon. She’d reminded him that he had come into her world a stranger.

“Sounds good to me.”

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