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Need You for Mine(3)

By:Marina Adair

Not tonight, she thought, taking in the image staring back at her in the mirror.

Tonight, Harper felt like a big, stupid banana in a specialty candy store.

“Think of the bright side,” she told herself, pulling her arm out of her dress and slipping it off so she could get at the stain easier. “At least he friended you before you showed him your panties.”

The ability to see the bright side of even the worst situations was Harper’s gift. It was how she’d made it through her eclectic childhood—and how she kept her smile genuine. And being thought of as a babysitter didn’t even touch Harper’s worst list.

“If you’d gone at him in those panties, I bet he’d have forgotten all about curfew,” a distinctively male voice said from behind.

Harper spun around, the scream sticking in her throat as her heart lodged itself there first. Acting on reflex, she threw the only thing within reach at the tall, dark—emphasis on the dark—and dangerous-looking shadow. Only the shadow’s reflexes were skillfully honed because he caught the flying object with one hand, leaving her nearly naked and him holding her favorite daffodil-colored dress.

“Whoa,” the unexpected voice said from the dressing-room doorway. Harper spun around, her heart pounding with adrenaline at the sight of the big, built—and definitely unwelcome—male burglar looming behind her.

A cocky smirk and one hey baby wink was all it took for her brain to register the burglar in question, and for her fear to immediately turn to embarrassment. Because standing in her grandma’s darkened shop, holding her dress and a slinky red robe, four hours after closing, was the only man in town who hadn’t put Harper in the friend zone. Because he was the only man in town Harper hadn’t bothered to friend. He was someone who, like her mother, was too busy soaking up that spotlight to make room for lasting connections.

St. Helena firefighter, bro of the year, and legendary ladies’ man—Adam Baudouin.

“What are you doing here?” Harper demanded, looking up at him, and he could see the fire lighting her eyes.

It was a good question. One Adam had crafted a great answer to when she’d first turned around in that pink, teal, and gold embroidered number with the tiny matching thong, which looked as if she’d recently escaped from the Copacabana. Then she’d tossed her dress at him and things had gotten really interesting. Little Miss Sunshine wiggled a lecturing finger his way, which caused everything in silk and lace to do a little cha-cha of its own, and Adam’s mind went to a bad place.

An incredibly good, bad place.

Oh, Harper was all sunshine and freckles up top. With her pert nose, twinkling blue eyes, and wild mass of waves piled on top of her head, she was cute, he decided. The crazy kind of cute. But she was a secret freaking bombshell below. High breasts, tiny waist, curvy hips, long lush legs that went on for miles. All that silky skin and willowy allure was intoxicating. Who knew she kept all that hidden under her Rainbow Brite attire?

Not the dildo with the kid who’d asked her to babysit, that was for sure. Because if he’d seen the view Adam was privy to, the guy would have taken her inside the shop—and right up against the wall.

“Apparently, I’m just in time for the show,” he said, looking down into her face. If she’d been wearing heels instead of those granny flats, she would have nearly been eye-to-eye with him. “Nice panties. Need help?”

“They’re called Parisian peek-a-boos, and there’s no show,” she said. “And no, the last thing I need is your help.”

And wasn’t that a damn shame. He was pretty sure he was the perfect man to help her with her problem, only she crossed her arms and snapped, “What are you staring at?”

“Apparently, Parisian peek-a-boos with a matching lace bra.” He wiggled his brows. “A see-through lace bra.”

“They’re called boobs, Adam.”

“Oh, trust me, I know, sunshine,” he said, stepping closer and, being the expert on that subject, sizing her up in a single glance. Firm, perky—the perfect little handful who wished she were a C. That explained the creative clothing choices. “Just wasn’t sure if you knew, with your outfit and all.”

“What’s wrong with my outfit?”

“You look like a yellow crayon who stepped in grape juice.”

She looked at him in disbelief, then outrage. “I do not! That dress revealed more secrets than Victoria’s new summer catalog.”

He held up the dress and she grimaced. “Secrets or not, the only thing you’re going to attract with this dress is honeybees, not a hookup.”