She heard his voice before she saw him.
Had she known the ultimate cost of that simple glance heavenward, maybe she wouldn’t have stopped. Maybe she would have just kept on walking with her head down. But fate held no warnings for Laire Maiden Cornish.
Shielding her eyes, she looked up at a deck wrapped around the second floor of the mansion, waiting a moment for her eyes to adjust as he came into view.
There, in the glittering sunlight . . . a boy.
No, a man.
A young man, a little older than she, tall and muscular, with jet-black hair and a square jaw, dark brown eyes, and a deep tan. He wore a robin’s-egg blue bathing suit with Kelly green palm fronds in a small repeat and a pair of sunglasses buried in his thick hair. In one hand, he held a phone up to his ear, and in the other, he slowly swirled a glass filled with ice and clear liquid. He stared out at the sound, concentrating on his call.
“Hey!” he yelled. “Can you hear me now?” He huffed with annoyance, pulling the phone away from his ear and squinting at it before trying again. “Pete? It’s Erik. Can you hear me?” He set the glass down on the balcony’s wooden railing and gave his phone his full attention. Staring down at it, he muttered, “Shit. No reception.”
His name is Erik.
Feeling a sharp burn in her lungs, Laire realized she’d been holding her breath and sucked in a huge gulp of air as she stared up at him, frozen in the moment, utterly mesmerized.
She had never seen a more perfect, more handsome person in her entire life.
The sun glinted off his dark hair and wrapped his body in gold, making him appear godlike so very far above her. Were she the type to swoon, Laire imagined she would have been a puddle of goopy longing on the ground below him, content to sacrifice her pride for a glimpse at his beauty.