Casually sauntering up and down the aisles at Home Depot, Frank made a mental note to check out the gas grills. Cold beer, a thick, juicy medium-well steak and jazz floating through Bose speakers at the end of a work week would start the weekend off on a perfect note. The company of a beautiful woman wouldn’t hurt either. And he wouldn’t mind that woman being Reba Harris. Why hadn’t he been bold enough to ask for her number? He’d even thought about contacting Patrick to get it from Donna, but decided against it. He was a grown man. He should’ve asked for it when he had the opportunity.
Frank turned down the aisle, he thought his eyes were playing tricks on him. After moving several more yards he couldn’t believe his luck, but there she was. He tilted his head, viewing her profile, he wondered how old she was. He hoped not too young. Today she was looking rather youthful with hair in its naturally curly state, piled high on the top of her head in a bun. The lime-green T-shirt she wore was snug, outlining perfectly shaped breasts. He wanted to groan as his eyes traveled down her jean-clad hips, butt, and thighs down to the flip-flops on her feet. This time he did groan. Her dainty feet were well-maintained. No crust or chipped nail polish. He could tell she took her time to groom herself by her well-moisturized heels and neatly trimmed toenails painted a dazzling white. A nice contrast against her cinnamon complexion.
Eighteen long months had crept by since he stroked a woman. The tight feeling in his groin was the telltale sign he wanted to do more than just say hello. Maybe he should turn around and leave. Because with her, he wouldn’t want to stop at hello.
He took a deep breath and let it seep out between his lips. He was far beyond the years of a horny teenager. Surely he could ask her to dinner without the two of them ending up in bed. When he cleared his throat and asked her a question, Frank felt like he was punched in the gut as she stared up at him with those eyes he couldn’t forget.
“Do you need help reaching that?” the smooth, deep and sexy voice asked.
“Oh, hi! Yes, thank you,” Reba answered, taking a step back. The clean, crisp whiff of his aftershave tickled her senses. She tried not to stare, but Lord have mercy, the man looked just as good from behind. Shifting from one foot to the other, she looked away before getting caught ogling his butt.
Frank easily grabbed the item Reba was trying to get with his large hand. With an amused grin, he glanced at the tub of grout in his hand before looking at Reba. “You know how to use this?”
Reba fixed him with a raised eyebrow. “Yes…I’ve watched a few YouTube videos on how to use it. I think I’m good.”
As a single mom she had to learn how to do minor repair jobs around the house. She couldn’t afford handymen who overcharged for simple repairs.
His rich, husky laugh sent butterflies swarming in her belly. To make matters worse, she felt her cheeks getting warm.
“What’s so funny? My shower is in desperate need of re-grouting.”
“YouTube? You look like the HGTV type.”
With a nonchalant shrug of a slender shoulder, she threw back, “I don’t have a man around, so I have to do it myself.”
Too late. She couldn’t take it back. If she didn’t think she’d look like a lunatic she would have snatched her grout and ran as fast her legs could take her down another aisle.
Frank tilted his head to study Reba. Was she letting him know she was available? He wanted to come right out and ask her. The crimson tint on her face told him she had embarrassed herself enough by the blunt statement. The last thing he wanted was to mortify her any further.
“What a shame,” he murmured.
The heated interest in his eyes wasn’t lost on Reba. Why was she playing with fire? She didn’t know a thing about Frank Bass. And here she was telling him she didn’t have a man at home. Taking a few steps back, she thanked him again for helping her.
As she turned to leave, Frank’s heart pounded in his chest. If she got away this time, he might never get this chance again. He gently wrapped his fingers around her upper arm. He wanted so badly to stroke the satiny skin.
“You know what tools you need?”
Oh God, why did he have to touch her? She hadn’t felt a man’s touch in forever. Even then, the contact hadn’t felt this magical.
She nodded. Digging into her back pocket, she took out a list of all the supplies needed. A small file to loosen up the old grout, a spatula and two large sponges. She didn’t resist when he gently removed the list from her hands.
His eyes scanned her neat writing on the white paper. Those butterflies got to fluttering again in her belly when his full lips curled into a smile.
“Looks like you have everything here. Come on, I’ll help you look for them.”
Reba was more than capable of finding the supplies on the list herself. She’d been in this particular Home Depot numerous times shopping to repair one thing or another. Like a helpless sheep, she followed simply because she wanted to remain in his presence a little while longer.
Frank and Reba engaged in superficial chatter while they collected the supplies. Placing the last item in her cart, he turned to her. “I’ve done this a time or two with my dad. I can help you. It won’t take me long,” he assured her.
“I don’t want to interfere with your Saturday,” Reba protested. By her opening her big mouth, he knew she didn’t have a man, but did he have a woman waiting at home for him? An uneasy, coiling sensation of mistrust crept up her spine. Especially when she spied the beautiful ceiling fan in his cart. Was someone waiting for him to hang it? Over a bed where they made love. She pointed to his cart. “Looks like you have your own project to do.”
“You’re not inconveniencing me. This is a surprise for my mom. She’s been wanting one in her bedroom for some time now. I was planning to hang it tomorrow morning while she’s at church.”
Frank’s thoughtfulness touched her. What was that saying? If a man treated his momma good, he would do the same for his woman. Accepting his offer became that much easier.
“Okay,” she acquiesced.
“Good. It’ll probably take you five hours to do a one-hour job,” he teased.
Reba didn’t give him the satisfaction of a response. Instead, she playfully rolled her eyes as she sashayed to the register to pay for her things. She didn’t have to turn around to know his eyes were glued to the sway of her hips.
Reba pulled into a parking space in front of her home and waited for Frank to park behind her before getting out. She took her time gathering her purse, delaying the inevitable. The last time she had this much anxiety over someone coming into her home was when Roxy was a child. The churning in the pit of her stomach wasn’t because she didn’t think her home was good enough. She was long over that insecurity. Today’s anxiety was all about a man she barely knew entering her personal space. She jumped from the tapping on the driver’s side window.
“Are you getting out?”
Reba nodded. Before she could get out, Frank said, “Pop the trunk so I can get your stuff.”
She watched through the driver’s side mirror as he walked to the rear of her car and got the supplies.
“You need any help?” She asked as she stepped out of the car.
“I got it. Lead the way.”
As he followed her up the steps to her front door, his senses were heightened. Quickly scanning his surroundings, there didn’t appear to be any imminent threat. Yet, he still felt an uneasiness he couldn’t shake.
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