Today's Reading

When Terri looked back toward the glass, she was smiling. "I'm sure that's it. Today I have to tell some Enders that they need to keep the lids on their garbage cans closed, and no, we will not shoot the raccoons." She looked back at him, at his shoulders straining against the soft cotton shirt. "You're big enough that if you told them, they might listen."

"You allow firearms here, do you?" He was frowning. "And who are Enders?"

"Guns are not permitted. But then, perfectly sane people come here and they drink and party and cause as much trouble with a BB gun as someone with a twelve gauge. Enders is our name for people who come for the weekend. There are also Rounders and Players. Rounders are—"

"Let me guess. They stay year-round. So who or what are Players?"

"They live elsewhere, but spend the summer here. Some are retired, but a lot of them are families with one person who earns the money. He or she is away during the week."

"And the ones left here like to play?"

"They do."

"You have activities for them?"

"There are some things for the kids, but the adults usually entertain themselves."

Nate looked at her, but Terri kept her gaze straight ahead. Explaining what the Players did was too embarrassing.

"Players. I get it."

Terri put her empty mug down. "Did you say something about three weeks?"

"Yes. That's when Stacy gets back. She has a booth at your festival and she wants me to get it ready for her. She shipped back a tent and I'm supposed to put it up."

Terri blinked at him. "Stacy?"

Standing, Nate collected the dirty dishes. "My fiancée, Stacy Hartman. She's in Italy now, but she'll be back in three weeks, so I wouldn't be here for very long." He turned away to go into the kitchen.

For a few moments Terri sat utterly still. How stupid could a person be? She'd thought the man was put into her house for... Well, for her.

She'd thought her father and his friend, Kit Montgomery, had been so concerned about her complete and total absence of a personal life that they'd sent her a gift. One tall, gorgeous man wrapped in a pair of wet swim shorts. It had seemed so obvious that they might as well have put a bow around his neck.

She buried her face in her hands. Stupid and naive. She was living in a fantasy world of glorious men appearing on her doorstep.

"Are you okay?" Nate asked.

She looked up. The sunlight was behind him, making a golden halo around his head. The d amned shirt matched his damned eyes! The lake had never been as blue as this man's eyes were.

"I'm fine," she said. "I have a lot to do today and I'm late." She stood up. "I need to go. I just have to get my red notebook." She went to the couch to look for it, but when she turned around, he was so close she could feel the warmth of him. She did not look up into his eyes. Instead, she kept her head down and took three steps back. "Notebook. In office," she managed to say.

Turning, she hurried toward the front, slid the door open and ran out to the dock. Within seconds, she was in her pretty little wooden boat, had started the motor and was moving toward Club Circle.

When she looked back at her house, she saw Nate Taggert standing on the dock. Even from this distance she could see his puzzlement.

She truly hoped this man was unaware of what was going on.

This excerpt is from the hardcover edition.

Monday we begin the book ANGEL IN A DEVIL'S ARMS by Julie Anne Long.
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