"You want me to get his order?"
Rosie glanced at Decker who was staring at her. Evidently, Caroline had picked up on Rosie wanting more than to live vicariously through her and Buck too. She shifted her gaze back to Betsy, her partner at the counter this morning. "No, I'll get to him. Eventually."
Problem wasn't her getting to him. Problem was him getting to her. And the longer he remained in Blue Ridge, the more he got to her. She'd just admitted to wanting him, just told him she couldn't sleep because of him. She shouldn't be admitting things like that. She knew deep down it wasn't going to deter him, either. Hell no, it was only to make him more determined.
"You sure? I don't mind. Thinkin' I might like to get more than his order."
Rosie would be irritated if it was anyone else, but Betsy was pushing sixty-five. She winked at the other waitress. "Go for it then, Bets. He might be into cougars."
Betsy laughed. "You bad girl. That man is young enough to be my son. Sadly, I don't think he comes in here to see me. I believe he's only got eyes for you."
Yes, Rosie knew that to be true. He did. And it sucked. He was still staring at her, too, smiling. She didn't know his friend Buck all that well, but at the moment, she wanted to kill him for asking Decker to come and work on her house. Which in turn would lead to her wanting to kill Caroline because Rosie had no doubt the other woman had mentioned it to Buck. Yeah, mass murder all around.
"He's a good one."
Rosie snorted. "How do you know that?"
"I can just tell. You know, my Bert proposed to me three days after we met. The heart knows."
"So your heart knows that the roofer is what? A good man?"
"Yes. But more importantly, your heart knows it too."
"Things don't happen like that anymore, Bets."
"Oh, girl, please. The heart is the same. The feelings are the same. The details may be different, but in the end the heart knows. He's one of the good ones. He's one of the few worthy ones. Now, are you gonna go get his order or...?
"I'm going. I'm going. You drive a hard bargain. You know that?"
"That's my job. You're the granddaughter I never had. Now scoot and stop giving that young man such a hard time."
Rosie stuck her tongue out at the grandmother she never had and made her way to the other end of the counter. It just wasn't as easy as Betsy made it sound. Rosie wished it were, but... She shook her head and glared at Decker. "You want the usual? To go?"
"Nope. I'm not in a hurry this morning."
Of course not. "Well, we're pretty busy, so how about I get it all bagged up for you anyway and you can give up your seat for another customer. That would be the gentlemanly thing to do."
"You're not being very hospitable, Rosie. Might have to talk to your manager."
It's not that she didn't want him around. It's that she wanted him around too much. It threw her off her game. She didn't know how to handle a man's interest like his. Hell, she didn't know how to handle her own interest in him. She was thirty-seven years old and had never come across a man as potent as him--straight sun-streaked brown hair to his collar, black-rimmed glasses with skulls on the frames, dark chocolate eyes, and tattoos. He had tattoos up and down his back. She'd seen him once without his shirt and stared and drooled like a damn fool. He was gorgeous. At least to her. Most people in town gave him a wide berth until he smiled at them. Then they warmed up, shaking his hand, talking to him, making him feel welcome and at home in their little community. She didn't want him feeling at home here. She wanted him to go home, back to wherever he came from.
And speaking of that damned smile of his. It was very disarming and melted every woman, even ones older than Betsy, into a puddle. He had eyes for only one woman though.
Why couldn't he have been one of those overweight, beer-bellied, crack-showing blue-collar guys? It would have made life lately so much easier.
"I am the manager."
Then there was the megawatt grin. His teeth were pearly white in his tan face, straight and beautiful. Could teeth be beautiful?
"Well, isn't that fortunate for you? Not to mention, I never said I was anything close to a gentleman."
He hadn't, but she knew he was. He opened doors for little old ladies. He shook hands with little old men. He smiled, made small talk with people, and she knew he'd give his last dollar to anyone that might need it. He had that bad-boy look yes, but he was a gentleman through and through. It sucked. Why couldn't he be a jerk? "Seriously, Decker, what can I get you? We are busy, and I just...I don't like you."
"So you were lying out at the truck?"
"No I wasn't lying. I don't lie." At least not to anyone but herself. "I said I wanted you. I said nothing at all about liking you."
"Ouch." He placed a hand over his heart as though he really was wounded. "If I believed you that would sting. But, lucky for you, I don't and my feelings are tougher than that. I can withstand the abuse. Especially now that I know the truth."
Of course he could take it. She'd been dishing it out to him since he arrived at her cabin and he'd been smiling all the while. There was no way she'd be able to win with him. She was going to lose her heart and in the end, she was the one that would bear the wound. "What do you want from me?"
"For starters, how about dinner? A little kindness maybe? And some conversation."
"That's it?" She knew that wasn't it. She didn't want that to be it. She wanted there to be so much more.
"Well, I said for starters."