The Maverick's Red Hot Reunion (Entangled Indulgence)
come back later,” she said, edging away.
    “You may as well make something while I’ve got all this stuff out.” He raised his brow. “No point in waiting by the sound of your belly.”
    She inhaled the aroma of the multi-grain bread he’d just cut. Her stomach grumbled again, this time at a louder decibel. Zach held up the provolone cheese slices. “You know you want to—come on, Kennedy. You can’t let your blood sugar dip. It makes you cranky.”
    They’d had one fast rule when they’d lived together: feed Kennedy or pay the consequences. Her metabolism had always chewed through her calories quickly. She had a difficult time closing the lid on her temper when her stomach was empty and squeezing with hunger.
    “You promise to behave?” she asked.
    “Only if you don’t tempt me,” he said.
    “No problem.” She walked to the counter. “Pass the knife.”
    Kennedy sliced the aromatic multi-grain bread. “Smells so good,” she said. So did the man slathering mayo on the slices.
    An ache coiled through her ribs and twined into a knot inside her throat. She’d given away her chance of happiness, yet her heart had known all along how much she’d missed these simple moments during those years.
    A tic jumped in Zach’s temple. “Mustard?” he asked.
    “Yes, please.”
    He spread it across the bread. His knuckles had turned white and his arm muscles corded into knots.
    “Lettuce? Ham?” he asked in a low, controlled tone.
    Blood thrummed through her veins. Though he’d not broken his pledge, everything in her wanted to unleash the attraction Zach visibly restrained.
    Stop. Stop. Stop.
    They’d make their sandwiches. Eat alone. End of story.
    She moved a fraction away. “I’ll get the sodas.”
    “Make mine a beer.”
    She grabbed a Coke and a beer from the fridge and returned to the island.
    “Have you spoken to Michael about the renovation of the hot springs site?” she asked. “Does he like the plans to make the spa modern, environmentally blended?”
    He popped the top of his beer can and took a long gulp. “Yes. He’s excited. Sending us specs of another resort’s green theme. He’s eager to see how we top our competition with the springs as an added attraction.”
    Watching him swallow his drink gave Kennedy a funny ache in her windpipe. A simple moment, but one layered with thousands of memories. “He always was a sucker for that legend.”
    He took a bite, chewed and swallowed. “If only it were true.”
    The ache in her throat tightened. The waters had the power to soothe and relax, but to heal? No. If that had been the case, she’d have tested that myth years ago and the reason for her miscarriage would have been cured. The sandwich she’d made no longer appealed but she bit into the bread and forced the sour mess through her knotted throat.
    “Then he’d be here, and you’d be in New York or Milan or wherever it is that your company needs you,” she said after she forced down another bite. “Instead he’s going to Tallahassee’s University Hospital for a research clinical trial. And…”
    “And we wouldn’t be in this jam. Me wanting you. You wanting me and not acting on it. But we are,” he said, “because Michael’s dying. And there’s not a damn thing we can do to stop the disease from ravaging his body. There’s nothing we can do for him except rebuild this place.”
    Her heart echoed Zach’s despair. Kennedy placed her hand on his. “I’m sorry.”
    “For what?” he asked. “For what happened five years ago? For now? For Michael’s disease?”
    “I’m sorry for the hurt in your heart.” And for the pain in hers .
    “I want him back. I want my friend the way he was before the ALS was diagnosed.”
    His raw emotion fractured the air between them. How often had she cried similar words, but for a different loss? How often had he? For a brief beat she wondered if Zach would bring up what had happened after she’d miscarried Brianna. Her throat tightened

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