The Good Luck Charm Page 14

I’m annoyed at the way my stomach dips over this information. “What did he say to you?”

“Nothing, really; it’s just the sense I get.”

“When did you even talk to him about me?”

“When I was setting up the showing earlier today.”

“I want specifics or I’m not doing this for you.”

She huffs, realizing she’s not getting out of this that easily. “He mentioned how grateful he is that you’ve been so helpful with his dad and that he’s glad you’re friends again.”


“Ha! Listen to how disappointed you sound.” Her glee irritates me.

This feels like purposeful meddling, but I relent. “Fine. But only this one time. Don’t ask again.”

“Thank you!” Her voice is singsongy. “I’ll take you out for drinks later this week.”

“Sure. Whatever.”

“I love you. I’ll call when I’m back in town, and I’ll meet you at the house around seven thirtyish.” She ends the call before I can say anything else.


I pull up the email with the listing. It’s a big house, over four thousand square feet, retailing at three-quarters of a million dollars. I can see why Carmen would like the commission. If she gets it, she’s taking me for more than a drink. I want a five-star meal for dealing with Ethan in a setting that doesn’t have the buffer of his family before I’m ready. Not that I feel like I’ll ever be ready.

It’s already five thirty. I need to take the dogs for a quick run and get my ass in gear if I’m going to be at the house by seven. I change out of my scrubs and into running shorts and a tank. It’s hot and humid as I run the short distance to my sister’s house with Merk, pick up Barkley, and make the circuit around the block a couple of times. We don’t have time to stop at the dog park, but I promise to take them tomorrow.

After I feed Barkley, I run Merk home and jump in the shower. My phone lights up as I’m sifting through the contents of my closet for something to wear. I check my messages—there are two from Carmen, one requesting that I not show up in my scrubs. The second is a series of emojis depicting a range of begging. I send her a middle finger back, throw on a sundress, then rush to do my makeup—which is two swipes of mascara and some lip gloss—and leave my house. I drive with the windows down so my hair will be mostly dry by the time I get there.

Ethan’s truck is parked out front when I arrive. My stomach is doing that annoying flip thing already. I wish I felt less like the teenage version of myself when I’m near him. I park behind his truck, take a deep breath, glance at my face in the rearview mirror, peeved that I care what I look like, and cut the engine.

Ethan steps out of his truck as I exit my car. He’s wearing dress pants and a polo that pulls tight across his broad chest and hugs his thick biceps. His wavy dark hair is styled neatly, he’s freshly shaven, and he looks disgustingly delicious. Or just delicious. All my sensitive spots perk up in agreement. Stupid body, having stupid hormonal reactions. It’s probably because I haven’t had sex in more months than I’d like to admit. And because Ethan is even hotter than he was eight years ago. It would be great if I could stop noticing these things about him.

He tilts his head fractionally, a half smile quirking up the corner of his mouth. I know that smile well. It’s his surprise face. The one he used to wear when I’d buy new clothes he liked, or when I’d suggest we skip second period and go back to one of our houses for an early lunch. We did that a lot. And now there are tingles between my legs. I knew this was a bad idea. My heart knows to keep some distance, but my hormones don’t seem to be able to adhere to logic in the same way.

“Hi.” His gaze drifts down, pausing briefly at the V-neck, skimming the tie at the waist and then lower, to where the hem grazes my knees, all the way to my shoes. I’m wearing wedge sandals since they work with this dress. And they might make my legs look good. Not that I care. Much. He repeats the circuit in reverse.

“You, uh”—he blows out a breath and rubs at his full bottom lip—“you look amazing in that dress.”

“Oh. Uh, thanks.” I don’t expect the compliment. I run my hands nervously over my hips.

He jams his hands in his pockets and clears his throat. “Not that I’m not happy to see you, but uh, where’s Carmen? Are you meeting her here, too?”

I sigh. “You mean she didn’t tell you?”

“Tell me what?” He appears genuinely confused.

“That bitch.” I’m going to kill my sister. The least she could’ve done was warn him that she would be late. “She’s stuck in traffic and didn’t want you to miss out on seeing the house, so she asked me to meet you.”

“Oh.” His smile widens. “Well, that’s good news for me.”

“I guess we should go in?”

“Sure. Lead the way.” He motions toward the house and we walk up the driveway together.

I have to check my messages for the code Carmen left, and I’m suddenly nervous. I swear I can feel the heat of Ethan’s body behind me. It takes me back to when we were halfway to becoming adults and the innocence of our youth was replaced with unexplored desire.

I remember very vividly the first time Ethan kissed me. The way his touch changed from soft and familiar to heat fueled and needy. How the peck on my cheek lingered and his lips brushed close to the corner of my mouth, the gentle caress of his fingertips on my skin, followed by his soft lips on mine.

We’d stayed like that for long seconds until the warm, wet press of his tongue shocked me. I’d gasped and clutched his shoulders and then he’d really kissed me. Tongue sweeping my mouth, fingers tangled in my hair, his moan vibrating through my entire body.

All of this flashes through my mind as I key in the lock code, and heat licks through me in a fiery wave. I need to get a handle on myself when I’m in Ethan’s presence. Memories that I’ve worked to push down all these years keep breaking the surface, like the little bubbles in a glass of soda.

I push the door open and Ethan motions me forward, following me inside. The foyer is a grand, open space, with a curving staircase that leads to the second floor. An ornate chandelier hangs at least twenty feet above our heads, catching the sunlight as it streams through the windows, creating rainbows on the floor.

“So this is what an NHL salary gets you in the housing market, huh?” I cringe at my inappropriateness.

Ethan gives me a wry grin. “This is the top of my budget, and the house I have in Chicago has appreciated thirty percent in the past year thanks to the crazy market out there, but yeah, I guess this is what playing with sticks gets you.”

I snort at the thinly veiled innuendo. “I can wait here while you look around.”

“You don’t want to come with me? See what kind of weird art the Hoffmans have hanging in their living room?”

The Hoffmans are eccentric. If anything, I’m curious about the decor. I suppose it doesn’t hurt to have a look around. “I can tag along.”

Ethan’s smile grows a little wider, and he picks up the listing papers, flipping through them. The house has five bedrooms, a separate pool house to complement the Olympic-size pool, and access to the lake—because why not have a pool and the lake if you’re going to live in a three-quarters-of-a-million-dollar home—all on one acre of property.

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