Lovers at Heart, Reimagined Book Excerpt
“Hey, Max, look!” Chaz waved across the street to Treat and his beautiful companion. “Treat! Over here. Hey, buddy. How are you?”
Oh no. No, no, no. This could not be happening. Max turned away, frantically running through excuses to hightail it out of there. Sick? Need to go help the crew. Lighting, yeah, that could work. She turned with her excuse at the ready, opening her mouth to speak. Treat’s eyes locked on hers, and her mouth went dry.
“Chaz, Max, how are you?” Treat asked in that deep, sexy voice that made her legs turn to wet noodles.
Chaz said something, but it was all she could do to stare at the woman who had her hand on Treat’s shoulder. She was gorgeous, with a friendly smile. Of course she had a friendly smile. She had Treat! Max hated the green-eyed monster clinging to her shoulders. She wasn’t used to it, and she didn’t like the way it made her feel.
“Hi. I’m Savannah.” The woman extended her hand in greeting.
Savannah. What kind of name is that? She must be a model or something with those long legs and slim body. Max looked at Treat in his expensive suit and finely pressed shirt. Then she glanced down at her own less-than-glamorous attire. She absently touched her efficient ponytail, and cringed.
“Hi. I’m Chaz Crew.” He shook Savannah’s hand. “And this is Max Armstrong.”
Max gave Savannah’s hand a quick shake and tried her best to smile, then buried her nose in her planner before the woman—or Treat—could strike up a conversation.
While Chaz and Savannah talked, Treat moved to her side, bringing a wave of the spicy, masculine cologne she smelled in her dreams. “Max. How have you been?”
Too frazzled to face him, she kept her eyes trained on her planner. “Fine, thanks.”
“I’m glad we ran into each other. I’ve been thinking about Nassau.”
Giving me that look wasn’t enough? You needed to flaunt another woman in front of me just to show me what I already know? That you could have anyone you want?
“Max,” he said a little quieter. “I’m sorry for what happened there.”
She wanted to dislike him, to run away and never look back, because that look he’d given her had been too reminiscent of the ex-boyfriend she’d spent years trying to forget. But the sincerity in his voice brought her gaze to his, and Treat was looking at her like he had in Nassau, as if she was all he saw. Memories tumbled in, one after another—their incredible kisses, the feel of his strong arms around her, his sweet whispers in her ear…
Those intimate memories were like an addictive cocktail, and she reveled in their intoxicating sweetness. She should not be thinking about them, or how different things might have been if she had woken up in his arms the next morning. And he should not be looking at her like that when he was with his ridiculously gorgeous girlfriend.
Unwilling to put herself in a position to be hurt again, and hanging on to that resolve by a thread, Max said, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Hurt and confusion rose in his eyes, fraying that thread to near breaking.
“Come on, Treat,” Savannah urged. “Let’s get some coffee and catch up.”
Treat held Max’s gaze a beat too long, and she felt her cheeks flush with desire. She wanted to tell him it was okay—even though it wasn’t—to take his handsome face between her hands, and kiss his luscious lips one more time. Why were her feelings for him so overwhelming? She’d never believed in love at first sight, and certainly not with a man who could be so quick to judge her, but her heart was racing the way it had the first time she’d seen him in Nassau.
“Treat?” Savannah’s eyes darted curiously between Treat and Max.
“Right,” Treat said sharply. “Max, may I call you?”
How can you ask me that with your girlfriend standing right there?
“You have a date with Dad, remember?” Savannah said in a singsong voice.
“Dad?” The word slipped from Max’s lips before she had a chance to stop it.
“Yes. I’m here to visit with my father,” Treat said. “Savannah hijacked me on the way to his ranch.”
There was that look again. Not the one he’d given her, but the way he looked lovingly at Savannah. “Nothing like being hijacked by a beautiful woman,” Max said a little too snarkily. Jealousy was not a pretty thing.
Amusement rose in Treat’s eyes. “She’s beautiful, yes, but she’s also my younger sister.”
Savannah crinkled her nose at him in a cute, sisterly way. “He’s so not my type, all suited up and proper. Hey, Max, why don’t you and Chaz join us for coffee?”
Max was too embarrassed about her misconception and was still struggling with too many emotions to be clear-headed. “I have to be on-site to field any problems that come up, and I have so much to do—”
“Go, Max. You deserve the break,” Chaz urged. “She works like a maniac sunup till sundown. Max, just keep your earpiece on in case there’s an emergency.” He turned to the others and said, “Sorry, guys. I appreciate the offer, but I’ve got to run to a meeting. Max, don’t forget to ask Joey about that sign when you have a chance.”
She watched Chaz walk away and quickly remembered the list of excuses she’d already thought up. “I actually have some lighting issues that I need to attend to.”
“Are you sure?” Savannah arched a brow in her brother’s direction.
“Max, I would be honored if you’d join us.”
The disappointment in Treat’s expression was palpable. She was this close to changing her mind. Every bit of her—especially those naughty parts that she was trying so hard to ignore—screamed, Yes! Yes! Go! But Max was too confused by his showing up and his apology to think straight. “I’m sorry, but I really can’t.”
Treat took her hand and brought it to his lips. She closed her eyes as his lips warmed her skin, bringing another rush of emotions.
“May I call you?” Treat asked again.
Still lost in that single kiss, thinking about what she’d like him to kiss next, Max had to shake her head to pull herself back to the conversation. She tapped her earpiece, hoping to pass off her zoning out as a technical issue. She was acting like those brainless bimbos she hated. Max couldn’t believe Treat was laying it on so thick in front of his sister, but maybe Savannah was used to seeing this side of him. He was a billionaire who owned properties all over the world. He probably treated all single women this way.
If she believed that, why was she tearing a piece of paper from her planner and writing her phone number on it? And why was she staring at his butt as he walked away, hoping he’d call?
I’m in so much trouble.