When the bell on the front door jingled, she automatically glanced up.
And saw him.
The guy who’d found her in The Hellion’s parking lot.
His name sparked in her memory and sent shards of electricity through her veins. The way he’d looked at her this evening still heated her, dammit. Like he’d eat her for breakfast, lunch and supper. Maybe even a late-night snack.
She shivered and drifted away from the table she was serving just as he slid his bulky frame into a booth. With broad, beefy shoulder muscles coiling under his tight white T-shirt and biceps that any woman would drool over, the man was sex in jeans and work boots.
And with that hat tugged low over his eyes…
No way. Any friend of Tucker’s is no friend of mine.
Steeling her spine, she approached with the water pitcher. Leaning over him, she flipped over the glass on the laminate table top and filled it.
He glanced up from his menu. And did a double take.
A country tune blasted through the restaurant—a crooning ballad that seemed the perfect backdrop for the man seated here. Something about his brooding expression called to her.
Maybe he’ll spill his guts to me.
Wait. Did she seriously just think that would be a good thing?
Yet something dark lived behind his pale green eyes that said this guy had secrets.
“Claire.” His low voice washed over her, sounding with shock. His gaze dipped to her breasts, which practically spilled out of her dress.
Prickling with irritation, she took a step back. “What will you have?”
He gawked at her for a full minute. “Huh?”
He opened his mouth and shut it with a snap, then said, “Sit down.”
She backed up another step. In all of her years working the night shift, she’d never felt so cornered, her heart threatening to drum out of her chest. Shaking her head, she said, “I’m working.”
“I can see that. Just please sit. For a moment.” The urgent note in his voice resounded in her core like a gong.
He knows something about Tucker.
The wellspring of love she felt for that man overflowed and she drowned in memories of Tucker’s lips brushing over her temple, of his smoldering stare, of sitting locked in his arms at the movie theater, popcorn between them.
Damn, she could almost smell him. Or was that masculine scent coming from Christian?
Wordlessly, she sank to the plush seat opposite him, clutching her pen so hard that it dug into her palm.
Christian’s chest heaved as he gazed at her. Seconds passed, with only the ballad and the clink of silverware on plates to break the silence.
“I’m sorry for the way Tucker treated you.”
A fist of surprise struck her gut. She curled forward around it, unable to process what he’d said. “What?”
“He treats girls like shit, and you didn’t deserve to be one of them.”
She knitted her brows together, mirroring Christian’s look. “And you know this how?”
“Because I know Tucker. He runs when he gets scared.”
The breath whooshed from her. Scared? Of her?
Of what he felt for me? Oh God, it was too much to hope for.
“I-I don’t understand.”
Christian doffed his hat and set it on the table at his elbow. Scraping his fingers through his hair, he fixed her in his gaze. Warmth blossomed in her belly, an awareness she didn’t want to own.
“Tucker’s a good man. A great friend…” Breaking off, he struggled for a moment before plowing on. “He’s driven to make his ranch the best in the county and his horses the most sought-after. But he has holes in him—the kind that you can’t mend.”
UNBROKEN now available
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