Kelly Baker had always been the one willing to take a dare. That attribute had led to her breaking her leg by jumping off a garage roof in grade school, getting rip-roaring drunk on beer at a party in middle school, and losing her virginity to Lou Kincaid after the Spring Fling when she was a sophomore in high school.
That last thought slammed into her chest, constricting her breathing when the aforementioned person walked into the Crystal Water Café late one summer afternoon.
Walked wasn't exactly how Kelly would describe the arrogant swagger and rolling gait of the boy she hadn't seen in the last ten years. In fact, boy certainly wasn't the right word either, but then again her brain had turned to mush the moment he had come through the door. She never would have recognized him if it hadn't been for the scar curving across his cheek to the edge of his jaw.
So why was he showing up in Dexter now?
"Are you listening, Kelly?" Maggie rattled the papers under Kelly's nose.
"What?" She couldn't drag her gaze from the tight jeans clad butt that had just straddled a stool up at the counter. Loukota Kincaid, in the flesh. And oh, there was so much more to his flesh than there had been in high school.
"The reunion. Hello?" Maggie tried to capture her attention again, then turned to see what Kelly was staring at.
"Oh, my," her best friend breathed. "I forgive you."
Kelly didn't bother answering, her gaze riveted on Lou, or what she could see from the back, which was enough to make her heart beat faster and her breath catch.
Of course, he looked nothing like the kid that she had made out with back in high school. Then, he had worn glasses and had braces on his teeth and he had been several inches shorter than her five foot, eight inch gangly frame. What had started out as a dare from her friends had turned into the most mind-boggling sex she had ever had.
Well, given that she was a virgin when she and Lou wrestled in the hayloft at his parents' ranch, she hadn't had anything to compare it to back then. However, even in her naivety she had realized that nineteen-year-old Lou had certainly known his way around a girl's erogenous zones.
"Who on earth is that hunk?" Maggie whispered, though Kelly figured her voice could probably be heard next door.
"Shh. It's Lou Kincaid."
"But he was..." Her friend gestured with her hands, apparently unable to come up with any adjectives to properly describe him.
"A nerdy, Future Farmer of America, hayseed cowboy?" Kelly quirked a brow.
Her friend's eyes grew round as she nodded. "And you made out with him!"
"Yeah," Kelly sighed. The dare had been only to neck, get a hickey to prove she had, and report back to her friends. She had never even told Maggie what had really happened.
"Man, how come he didn't look like that in high school?" Maggie groused.
He had; or at least Kelly had seen the potential when he had stripped down in the hayloft, tossing his glasses to the ground. She remembered his eyes, dark with passion, so different when not hidden behind the thick lenses of his glasses. Working on the ranch and wrestling steers had given him broad shoulders and tight muscles even back then, but Kelly could see he had filled out considerably in the years since.
"Are you going to wait on him?" Maggie hunched over the table to whisper to her.
Kelly's stomach dropped. It was slow that afternoon at the Crystal Water Café, so she had told Maggie to come down to go over plans for the reunion. She looked down at the candy-striped apron she wore over a white tee shirt and jean shorts. There was nothing wrong with hard work, so why was she suddenly embarrassed that Lou might think she still worked in her mom's café after all these years?
She had no idea what he had done with his life since he left the small town of Dexter, Colorado after graduation. Two years later, she had gone off to college and a career, and had only come home six months ago to help her mom after her dad died. From the looks of his clothes, he must still be riding the rodeo circuit, but somehow, she just knew he had made something more of himself.
Probably something grand that involved lots of prestige and money. And with his looks, no doubt had women at his beck and call. Now why did that disturb her so much?
"Ouch!" She jerked her arm back when Maggie pinched her. "You've been doing that to me since grade school and I wish you'd stop!" she hissed under her breath.
"Well, geez, maybe if you paid attention, I wouldn't have to." Maggie wrinkled her nose. "Get your butt over there and talk to him."
Kelly sighed. Her mom was off this afternoon and Bill apparently wasn't coming out of the kitchen. In the middle of a weekday afternoon, that only left her. She slid out of the booth.
"Okay, but no snickers from the peanut gallery. And for God's sake, don't holler my name across the room. Maybe he won't recognize me."