“Hey.” Standing shirtless in a pair of swim trunks, Erich gave a slow, lazy smile that sent heat through Sheila. Five days had slightly dulled her memory of exactly how sexy the man was. He stepped back and made a sweeping gesture with one hand. “Come on in. The place is a little messy, but I did some cleaning while I was waiting.”
“You didn’t have to clean up for me.” Sheila went through the door into a living room furnished with a brown couch and two mismatched chairs. “I’m not here to inspect the place.”
“That’s a relief. It’s gone downhill a bit since my divorce.” He walked past her into the kitchen area, which was mostly open to the living room. “Pizza’s here, and I have water and cola in the fridge. Help yourself unless you’d rather I serve you.”
“I can serve myself, thanks.” Realizing she had spoken more irritably than she’d intended, she smiled. “I appreciate a gentleman, though.”
“I try to be a good guy.” He opened a cupboard to one side of the kitchen sink and took out a plate, which he held out to her. “Here you go. Unless you’d rather swim first. I did say I’d leave it up to you.”
“Don’t they say you shouldn’t swim for half an hour after eating?” Sheila took the plate but didn’t open the pizza box on the counter. “It looks like you’re all ready to dive into the pool, and I know I am.”
“Then let’s start with that and work up an appetite.” Erich winked. “This way.”
He led her out the backdoor to a small tidy yard, which was mostly occupied by a large above-ground pool. The water was clear and so inviting Sheila couldn’t wait to dive in.
“Go ahead,” Erich said. “I’ll get towels. Should have thought of that first. I’ll be right back, but don’t wait for me if you want to get wet.”
Sheila grinned. “What makes you think I’m not already wet?”
“Oh, it’s like that, is it?” Erich winked. “We’ll see.”
He went back inside, and Sheila stripped off her shirt and shorts and set them on a lawn chair by the door. There was no deck around the pool. The only way in was to climb a ladder and either jump in or descend the ladder. The ladder was rickety enough to make her nervous as she stepped onto the bottom rung, but she didn’t care. The humidity in the air had her sweating even though she had only been outside a few minutes, and she was ready for the cool water.
A noise behind her made her jump, and she almost fell. Immediately someone grabbed the ladder. “Careful,” Erich said. “I should have warned you about that. Sorry.”
“It’s okay.” She smiled at him over her shoulder. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome.” He gave her an appreciative look. “Nice view.”
“Thanks,” Sheila said again and turned away.
She reached into the water and decided it was warm enough to just jump in. She finished climbing the ladder and jumped off, allowing herself to sink under the water.
When she surfaced, Erich was on top of the ladder looking at her with sheer desire.
She beckoned to him. “It’s your pool. Get in here.”
He took a shallow dive in and approached her underwater. Sheila considered dodging him but, curious about his intentions, stayed put.
He wrapped his arms around her legs and lifted her as he surfaced. Laughing, she swatted his shoulder. Water dripping into his eyes, he looked up at her. “Damn, you’re sexy as hell.”
“So are you.” The playful mood between them was enjoyable, but lust underlay it. Sheila didn’t mind a bit. He wanted her. That was good.