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The Sunday Squirrel: cook

Kailey set her grandma’s prize-winning lasagna on Todd’s stove. Too bad she wouldn’t be eating any of it.

For just a brief moment, she imagined herself sitting at the table, laughing at her witty companion, his chocolate eyes sparkling with interest as he looked at her. Not that Todd would ever be that guy. But the fantasy was nice. It had been a long time since any man had given her a second glance.

She turned to leave. “Have fun tonight.”

“Thanks for everything. I owe you.” He pulled her into a hug.

With a little laugh, she backed away. “When I finally collect on all of those IOUs, you’re going to be in big trouble.”

“Don’t I know it.”

The doorbell rang and she turned in alarm. “Oh no. Uh, just say that I came to loan you some candles.”

“It’s fine.” He opened the front door and stepped back. Two dark-haired men stood on the threshold, both handsome, and nearly identical except the second one was a few inches taller, and maybe a year or two younger.

He had two dates? She blushed, not even wanting to go there mentally.

“Hi,” the shorter man embraced Todd quickly and then turned to the man behind him. “This is my brother Steve. I really wanted him to meet you and since his date got sick…”

Todd quickly hid his surprise behind a welcoming smile and an outstretched hand. “Nice to meet you.”

Okay, maybe not.

“Sorry about this.” Steve shook Todd’s hand and gave him an uncomfortable smile. “He’s pretty damn stubborn.”

“Don’t I know it.” Todd chuckled and tugged her to his side. “This is my friend Kailey. She made dinner for us. How about we set the table for two more and make a party out of it?”

Steve met her gaze and gave a friendly smile that melted her right down to her painted toenails.

“Hi,” she said in little more than a whisper, wanting nothing more than to crawl in a hole and die. She wore jeans and an old 10K race shirt, her hair in a ponytail, and no makeup, whereas this Adonis looked good enough to eat in pressed khaki pants and an oxford shirt that matched his blue eyes.

“I appreciate the offer,” Steve said, “but I don’t want to intrude on your night.”

Figures. One look at her and he was ready to bolt. “Nice to meet you both,” she said, heading for the door. “Call me tomorrow.” She squeezed Todd’s hand and stepped into the hall.

“Hey,” Steve said, putting his hand on her shoulder as he closed the door behind him. “Want to get a bite to eat with me? It seems only fair that someone else should feed you tonight.”

She glanced down at her clothes. He actually wanted to go out with her? “Can you give me five minutes to change?”

“You look fine to me, but go ahead.” He smiled. “I’ve got all night.”

Oh boy. Her face split into a grin as she opened her door. If she got a second date with Steve, she’d dress to kill next time.

And she’d clear all of Todd’s IOUs.

Tell your friends!


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