Foxfire
apologize it's me. I took advantage of you.”
    He forced a grin. “Grace, you didn't take
advantage of me. From the moment I laid eyes on you, I thought you
were the sexiest woman I'd ever seen. Having you here, all alone,
well I couldn't resist.” He stood and shoved his hands in his
pockets. “But I promise to keep my hands to myself from now
on.”
    Was that regret he saw in her eyes or only
his wishful thinking? Tyler glanced at his watch. “It's getting
late. Tomorrow's a working day for both of us.”
    Grace dusted her bottom. “You're right. I
should be going.”
    “I'll walk you home.”
    “No need. Tiffany and I'll be fine.”
    “Humor me.” He followed her down the steps.
“My mother taught me to be a gentleman. I open doors for women,
lift heavy packages, and always walk my dates to their door.”
    “It wasn't a date, Tyler.”
    He let her keep the illusion. When they
reached her cabin, he waited until she opened the door and flipped
on a light.
    She turned to face him. “Thanks for
dinner.”
    “You're welcome.”
    She started to close the door, but he called
out. “Grace?”
    “Yes?”
    “Be sure to lock your door.”

    Chapter Six

    Torture. No other word could describe the
agony of being near Tyler while maintaining what Grace hoped was a
professional demeanor. Would this day never end? Each time she met
his eyes, her lungs squeezed out every bit of air, leaving her
feeling as if she'd just run a long-distance marathon.
    Yet, Tyler didn't seem the least bit
affected. He'd given her a lab coat, much too large, and laughed
after she slipped it on and it hung to her knees. He smiled each
time he handed her a patient's chart, and if his heart beat faster
when their hands accidentally touched, his expression didn't show
it. She supposed she should be grateful.
    All morning, she created new patient files,
diligently entered information into the computer, collected
payments, and chatted with pet owners. She handled dogs and cats of
all sizes, including Muffin, who was determined to sit on the mouse
pad and stare at the cursor flicking across the monitor.
    By the end of the day, Grace could hardly
wait to get home. Tiffany ran off toward Brad's, but Grace had no
such intentions. All she wanted was to eat a salad, read the paper,
pay her bills, and go to bed. Tomorrow being Saturday, she'd only
have to endure the torture for a few hours. Somehow she needed to
forget about that kiss. Tyler obviously had.
    He'd been all business, never once even
hinting that he found her attractive, or sexy, or irresistible.
That's what really upset her. Not that she wanted him to, of
course, but he had said he'd never forget.
    She fixed a salad and opened the newspaper.
One look at the headline had her coughing and spitting sweetened
tea across the print. There on the front page was a picture of her
and Connor. She recognized it as one taken at a fundraiser they'd
attended several weeks ago. Connor smiled into the camera, his arm
draped possessively across her shoulders. The headline read “What's
the Verdict, Counselor?” She scanned the article, which questioned
why the two of them hadn't been seen in public together lately.
They reported that she no longer worked for the D.A.'s office, and
Connor had been spotted having dinner with another woman.
    She smiled. Connor must be seething. Sooner
or later he'd have to fabricate a story of why they'd split. The
humor of his dilemma filled Grace with malicious glee. Let him say
derogatory things about her. She could care less. Years ago she'd
been branded by the press. They couldn't hurt her now. It would
serve Connor right if they learned the truth about her past.
    She finished her salad and skimmed the rest
of the paper before Tiffany scrambled her way through the pet
door.
    “Are you hungry?” Grace set the paper aside.
A tapping on the door startled her until she heard Brad's
voice.
    “How was your first day at the clinic?” he
asked, entering the room.
    “Fine.”

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