Hawk's Promise – Excerpt

Hawk stopped in the guest room doorway, watching Desi as she stood next to the bed in the little alcove under the eaves. She set her purse on the antique dresser and looked around.

"It's a perfect room. I love the way it's decorated." Her gaze shifted from the oval braided rug to the old-fashioned floral wallpaper.

"Good. I've been wondering if maybe I should update it."

"Oh no. It's charming. You should leave it just the way it is." She sat down on the bed. "So this Walt guy, your old boss, he left you this house as well as the business? That's amazing."

He nodded as he took another step inside the room. He sat down in the rocking chair across from her, but in only a moment he felt ill at ease, as if he'd invaded her privacy. He rose and went to the window, pretending to check and see that it was closed tight and locked against the pattering rain. As he stared out into the dark street, he looked past his own reflection.

"Yeah. Walt was a great guy. He took a chance on me. Gave me a job right out of the Army. Of course, I knew my way around the workings of transport vehicles and jeeps. It took me a few months to translate what I knew to classic car engines."

"But you learned." He heard the smile in her voice. "You must be very good at it. And he must have thought of you as more than an employee. Maybe like the son he never had?"

An old ache moved into his throat. "Yeah, I guess so."

He remembered the sick feeling that had overtaken him when he'd learned that Walt had succumbed to chronic emphysema, a disease the older man had battled for years without telling anyone. He'd been down for a couple of days with what he told Hawk was a bad chest cold, and then he was gone, just like that. A surreal phone call came three days later from an attorney in Seattle, advising Hawk that he'd been named as Walt's only beneficiary.

The whole thing had blown him away. Sure, he'd taken the old guy fishing a few times, and enjoyed staying late on Friday nights to have a beer and listen to stories about Walt's gig in Vietnam. But he hadn't done anything extraordinary, for sure nothing that warranted Walt bestowing on him all his earthly possessions. Both the 1940s Cape Cod style home and the commercial building housing South Bay Classics were paid for free and clear. Hawk had become a relatively well-off businessman overnight. Now he had plans to add two more service bays in the back parking lot, and two additional lifts. It excited him to imagine expanding his business, and he was sure Walt would have approved.

"He never had his own kids?"

"No. His wife died years ago."

"It's good that you were there for Walt when he needed you."

He turned at Desi's quiet comment to find that she was unknotting the belt of her coat. Then she started undoing the top button. To his horror, Hawk sensed an unmistakable stirring in his groin. Panic set in.

"There are hangers in the closet," he said, crossing to the door. "A few books there on the nightstand. Bathroom is right across the hall. I'll wake you at eight o'clock. Okay?"

"Okay."

The last thing he saw as he pulled the door closed was her expression of puzzled surprise.

He stood in the hallway outside her room for a moment and thought about how juvenile his reaction had been. She was family, for God's sake. He hadn't needed to bolt from the bedroom just because she was removing her coat. She'd already taken it off once tonight at the restaurant. He'd already seen her rather unremarkable tan pullover sweater and snug-fitting jeans.

So why had it felt just now as if she was about to do some kind of sexy little striptease for him? And why was his damn groin reacting as if she actually had?