He gripped the saddle horn and dismounted, then moved closer to Rosaline so he could help her off Ace. She slid her foot into the stirrup and climbed down without needing his assistance. He put his hand on her back anyway.
“Anything exciting happen while I was gone?” he asked.
“No. It was just crazy boring,” she said. “I filed and did data entry with Dafne. Oh, and somewhere in there my parents called to remind me I’m a huge failure. Apparently my dad wanted to run for office and I screwed it all up.”
“I thought you Californians let the celebrities run your government.”
Her mouth dropped, and he thought she was going to get mad at him for his joke. “That’s exactly what I said! I mean, all those politicians have trouble kids or affairs or have been arrested themselves. I don’t know why me being arrested—” She clamped her lips, looking like she wanted to take back her words. “So, long story long, nothing exciting.” She grabbed Ace’s reins. “So just guide him into the barn now?”
Arrested? She’d been arrested ?
My instincts were right. She’s trouble. Jeez, Mercer. Don’t you remember what happened the last time you lost your head over a girl?
Unable to stop thinking about her revelation, he nodded. “Yeah. In the barn. Actually, I’ll take him. You better get home. I don’t want to get you in trouble with Dafne.”
She held the reins out to him, and his fingers brushed hers, the contact causing his heart to hitch, despite the fact that he’d decided she was trouble.
“I’ll see you later,” she said, flashing him a big smile.
He watched her practically skip away. Chester nudged him with his nose, and Bryson took the hint and walked him and Ace into the barn. Talking to Rosaline—pretending he was normal—it’d been fun. But it wasn’t real. A girl who’d gotten sent here because she’d ended up in jail was a bad idea. No matter how pretty she was or how much fun to be around.
Since he couldn’t stop staring at her whenever she was around, there was only one way to make sure he didn’t make the same mistakes he’d made in the past.
From now on, I’m going to have to avoid her.
Saturday morning, Rosaline awoke to a loud grinding noise. She got out of bed and padded to the kitchen. Dafne stood in front of the blender. She punched off the blender, poured two glasses, and held one out to Rosaline.
Stifling a yawn, Rosaline took the glass. She cautiously sipped the drink—not bad, considering some of the spinach from the bag she saw out had probably made its way inside.
Dafne leaned against the counter, crossing one ankle over the other as she drank her smoothie. The black yoga pants she had on hugged her body, making her look ten pounds slimmer.
Rosaline wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. “Dang, Aunt Dafne, you’ve been hiding a slamming body under those boxy suits.”
Pink rose in Dafne’s cheeks, and she tugged her T-shirt down. “Oh, stop.”
“I’m serious. You should stroll around in those in front of Mr. Mercer. He’d definitely notice.”
Dafne’s jaw practically hit the floor. “I-I’d have no reason to do something like that. He and I are work associates.”
“You want that to change, get some form fitting outfits and show him what he’s missing.”
Dafne shook her head. “If you’re done being inappropriate, I was wondering if you’d like to go to my yoga class with me.”
“Yes to yoga, no to done being inappropriate. Appropriateness is totally overrated.” Rosaline nudged Dafne with her elbow. “Come on. Ask Mr. Mercer out already. I know you want to.”
“I most certainly do not.” A hint of sorrow washed over her expression. “Besides, if he had any interest, he would’ve done something about it.” She rinsed her cup out and placed it in the sink. “Forget I said that. I didn’t mean—”
“Relax. If there’s one thing I know, it’s how much trouble liking a