Not Another Bad Date

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Chapter Three

Adele's fingers felt cold and she shook her hands. She twisted an ankle on the uneven cobblestones in the walkway, but she didn't let a little thing like pain shooting up her shin slow her down. "Oh my God. I can’t believe this." She hooked a right beneath the portico and moved toward Sherilyn's Celica. At one time or another, every woman alive fantasized about running into an ex and making him sorry he'd dumped her. Adele had had those fantasies. She'd had them a time or two about Zach Zemaitis, but she'd always pictured herself sizzling hot, not looking like crap with coffee down her sweater.

She pulled a set of keys from the pocket of her jeans. God, just get me out of here before he returns home. She looked up and the keys fell from her numb fingers at the sight of shock number three jogging up the drive way toward her. The sunlight caught in Zach Zemaitis's hair like a halo and a pair of Oakley Thump Pros rested on the bridge of his nose. Her heart pounded in her ears as the soles of his running shoes pounded the uneven cobblestones with ease.

Within the shadow of the portico, Adele stood frozen, afraid to breathe as he jogged up the drive. He gazed straight ahead, and with any luck, he'd run right on by without seeing her. But lately, Adele's luck had been fairly shitty, and just before he disappeared from sight, his head turned and he looked right at her. His footsteps slowed and stopped. He retraced a few steps backward and a crease furrowed his brow. For several long seconds he simply stared at her, pinning Adele with a gaze she could feel rather then see. He was breathing a bit heavy as he pulled air into his lungs, and he slowly raised a hand to his temple and turned off the MP3 built into the slim frame of his glasses. He pulled the little speakers from his ears then pushed the black sunglasses to the top of his head. Across the distance he looked at her through those dark-brown eyes that used to make her heart squeeze and her stomachache. His brows lowered over his steady gaze and he walked from the sunlight into the shadow. With each step of his jogging shoes, her heart pounded a little faster in her chest and she put a hand on the trunk of the car to keep from keeling over... or passing out... or jumping in the car and locking the doors.

After all these years, he still moved the same. Relaxed as if he was saving his energy for something important. Like throwing a long bomb, sprinting past a determined linesman, or exerting himself in bed. Sweat dampened the armpits of a blue X-TERRA T-shirt that fit loose about his wide chest. A pair of gray cotton jogging shorts rested low on his hips and fell midway to his powerful thighs. He was bigger than she remembered. His jaw was stronger, his cheekbones more defined. Age had not robbed him of one ounce of his good looks, if anything he was even more gorgeous than she remembered. And as she forced herself to stand there and face Zach instead of jumping in the car and peeling out on his nice cobblestone driveway, she held onto a desperate hope that perhaps he didn’t recognize her.

"Adele?" So much for her desperate hope.

"Hello," she managed. "How are you, Zach?"

"Surprised." His voice was different. Deeper. More masculine than she remembered, but his accent was pure Texas. "It's been a long time."

Thirteen years.