PreHeat (Fire & Ice)
kitchen.” Awesome ? Was I back in high school? I turned and fled to the kitchen before I could say anything else that was likely to make Carter think I was mentally stunted.
    I paused at the antique mirror on the living room wall and tucked a piece of my straight, freshly dyed auburn colored hair behind my ear. I wished I had put on a bit more mascara, because I wanted to make my brown eyes stand out a little more. Stop right there, woman . What the heck did I care what Carter thought of me? I wasn't trying to impress him. Was I? Unfortunately, the answer to that question was yes. I was trying to look cool to him. Gack. This is what I get for inviting a man to my house when I hadn't had sex in months.
    I pulled out the chicken and everything else I needed for dinner and I was able to lose myself in my task. I was almost surprised when he came walking into the room when I was getting a platter for the chicken.
    “That smells wonderful.”
    “Just like mom used to make?” I smiled at my own joke. His mother was a horrible cook, and her crispy fish balls were the stuff of legend.
    “I sure hope not.” He grinned back at me and my insides turned to jelly. This was only the second time he and I had any one on one interaction and if this was how I was going to behave, it was going to be the last time.
    “It's not ready yet. Did you need my help with anything?” Duh, he obviously didn't need my help , opinion maybe, but that was about it.
    “Nah, I think I'm at a stopping point tonight. I just needed to know what direction you wanted to take in the design. I can work up some things to show you next time. Would you like any help?”
    “Well, I guess you could put together the salad. I've got all of the fixings over there.” I motioned to the counter behind me as I pulled the chicken out of the pan.
    “You got it.” He walked to the sink and washed his hands before turning toward the vegetables. Wow, he even made sure his hands were clean before handling food. It made my chef's heart thump harder.
    “So Carter, are you seeing anyone special right now?” Crap. What kind of brain fart would make me ask him a question like that? Not only was it none of my business, but did I really want to know if he was?
    “Nah. I haven't had the time, really. I've been working my butt off since I graduated. I'm trying to make myself indispensable at W&J. Plus, I'm trying to get work building websites.”
    I was inappropriately happy with his answer and I smiled and nodded before I realized he was behind me and couldn't see what I was doing. “That's cool.” Kill me now. I couldn't believe I sounded so juvenile.
    “Here you go.” The next thing I knew he was right beside me with a bowl of salad.
    “Uh, thanks. We can just eat here on the island. If you want you can get out some plates.” I had to get him away from me when I started noticing how good he smelled. This whole evening was spiraling out of my control. It almost felt like a date. 
    “No problem. I really like your kitchen. It's so homey.” He said this as he opened up cabinets looking for my dishes. I used this time to drain my potatoes for mashing.
    “Thanks, it was one of the reasons I chose this house. I've got to be able to cook.” He set out the plates and I quickly mashed the potatoes before pulling the last of the chicken out of the pan. I needed to feed him and hurry him along before I said something that made me look like a fool.
    “So, are you seeing anyone?” His question caught me off guard. I shouldn't have been surprised; I had just been equally nosy. I looked over at him and he winked at me. He winked. What the hell was going on here?
    “Uh, no.I, uh...no.” He had done it. He had officially robbed me of my powers of coherent speech. Not only that, I could tell I was blushing from my head to my toes. He continued to look at me and he smiled at my answer. Well, maybe he was smiling at my blush, I don't know. All I knew for sure was that he was

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