When Faith and Lacie returned a few hours later, the men were just cleaning up, which involved dousing themselves with water from an outdoor spigot.
Faith had to concentrate on her steps when she saw a shirtless, wet Kieran laughing with his brother and her son. The sight made her stumble at least once. Dear Lord, she thought, catching her balance, if she looked closely enough she was pretty sure she could see an eight-pack in those abs.
It did not improve her concentration any when they slipped on clean white T-shirts and helped the women carry things into the kitchen. The thin white cotton clung to Kieran’s skin, still damp from the hose, and tiny prismatic droplets of water dangled teasingly from the ends of his blue-black hair.
“Will you stay for dinner?” Faith asked, once she swallowed past the huge lump in her throat and found her voice again. She figured it was the least she could do. They had spent nearly an entire Saturday making her and Matt’s new house livable.
“Thanks,” said Shane with a friendly smile, “but Lacie and I have dinner plans.”
Kieran didn’t say anything right away. “What about it, Kieran?” asked Matt hopefully. “My mom’s an awesome cook.” Faith was surprised. Not because Matt was praising her culinary skills, but because he rarely warmed up to anyone as quickly as he had to Kieran.
Kieran’s eyes met Faith’s, and her heart stuttered. They were at once tremendously powerful and completely unreadable.
“I think your mom’s done enough for one day. How about I take you guys out for pizza instead?” Matt turned hopefully to Faith. Pizza was one of his favorites, but eating out was something they usually reserved for special occasions.
“That’s very thoughtful of you,” Faith said hesitantly, “but you’ve done so much already.”
“It’s no problem. You’d be helping me out, actually.”
Faith didn’t see how taking them out for pizza could be helpful in any way, but Matt took Kieran at his word without question. “Come on, Mom. Please?”
The word “no” hovered on her lips. Going out in public looking and feeling the way she did – tired and in need of a good shower – was the last thing Faith wanted to do at that moment. Shopping at the farmer’s market was one thing, but a restaurant?
There was also the issue of money – or, more accurately, her shameful lack of it. The trip north and today’s purchases had all but obliterated their petty cash.
As if reading her mind, Kieran turned those amazing blue eyes back to her and said, “I need to head back to my place and get cleaned up first, but then I’ll come back to pick you up. It’ll be my treat.”
When Faith worried her bottom lip with her teeth, he turned to Matt, and added slyly, “Did I mention I have a Porsche?”
Matt’s eyes nearly bugged out of his head. He regarded Faith with a look of such longing she felt the pull on her heartstrings. “A Porsche, Mom.”
Faith felt herself weakening. She really should say no, but it was next to impossible when Matt looked at her like that. It wasn’t like he was asking for anything extravagant, either, just some pizza. He had been working hard all day, and this was kind of a special occasion.
Besides, spending a few more hours with Kieran wasn’t exactly a hardship. He had been so patient and kind with Matt. If she was honest with herself, she had to admit that she had enjoyed his company, too. It was nice to be with someone so easy going and pleasant.
As a general rule, she avoided that kind of thing – especially with single men. She had neither the time nor the inclination to get involved with anyone. But this wasn’t really a date, she rationalized. It was more like a friendly, welcome-to-the-neighborhood kind of thing. She could handle that.
“Okay, but only on the condition that you let us treat you.” Kieran frowned. “I asked you. You can’t treat.”
His downcast expression was so boyishly adorable that she found her fingernails digging into her palms to keep from touching him. That was enough to startle her into cognizant thought again. Faith had never had such a strong reaction to anyone before, and it set off blaring alarms in her head. She quietly turned them off with a mental note to examine them further later on.
“Technically, I asked you first when I asked you to stay for dinner. And I’m afraid it’s the only way we can go.”
He looked like he wanted to argue, but apparently he thought better of it. “Okay. I guess I can leave my man card at home for one night.” He grinned and winked at Matt, who laughed. “See you in about an hour?”
Faith nodded, unable to completely stop the smile from curving her lips.
Copyright © 2015 – 2018 Abbie Zanders.
Written by Abbie Zanders.
All rights reserved.