Week 11: Rejuvenate Your Space- With Tina Foster!

Week 11: Rejuvenate Your Space!

What a perfect week for this list. Not only was I looking at Pinterest this weekend to get ideas for my master bathroom, but I’m also introducing readers to the first novel in The Riverview Series. The cool thing is that Tina Foster, my female lead, works with her father building and restoring houses. It’s all about rejuvenating and giving something broken a second chance at life. Keep reading for a sneak peek at the first chapter!

  1. One of the things I’ll be doing soon is moving my office…again. Right now, I’m working three days in one office in one town, and the other two days a week I’m working at another office in another town. Needless to say, having double everything gets expensive and it always seems like I need something that is at the other office. Combining into one headquarters will be great! Then I can plan world domination. LOL.
  2. I would like to revamp my bedroom/bathroom at some point. We renovated the rest of the house a couple years ago, now it’s time for the master bedroom to get new life!
  3. One thing I have always done is to keep an encouragement board near my desk where I will see it often. Keeping cards, emails, notes etc that give me a boost of confidence when I forget how blessed I am. Try it! It will help, I promise.
  4. Paint! A fresh coat of paint can bring new life to any space. I’m painting the office soon just to brighten it up and make it more warm and visually appealing for everyone who works there. It’s going to be beautiful!
  5. Things that make me smileAccessories that make you smile- I have a giant metal panda, there’s a story there and all will be revealed in the next Blake Pride book. But it makes me chuckle all the time. He looks down upon my desk space along with my baby-Groot gift from my niece. We also have the a mug given to the person who is having a crappy day. It’s funny to pass it around and make the person laugh in the middle of their trials.
  6. Rejuvenate your space with positive people- It’s important to gravitate to people who are uplifting and encouraging and to stay away from negative influences. You’ll read this a lot from me. Life is too short for Debby-downers!

 

 

Why The River Runs, book #1 in The Riverview Series.

I’m super stoked for you to get your hands on my next novel. These books are some more that have rattled around in my brain for years and they are finally ready to see the light of day. It’s even more exciting that there are other authors who will be joining me in this series! For every novel I release, another author will add a story to this world.

Running her family construction company has Tina Foster too busy for relationships. Her take charge attitude may intimidate some, but to others, she’s a rock, a woman with a plan. Taming a heart this strong will take a man up for a challenge.

Bo Galloway is returning to Riverview for a fresh start after a rough few years. Untrusting of most women, he doesn’t know what to think of his new boss.

Just like the waters of the Sanguine, Bo and Tina must find their flow. Will the waters sweep away their only chance at true love, or nourish a relationship as steady as the river itself?

Chapter One:

Bo’s foot tapped the floor as he waited for Mr. Foster to read over his resume. The writing on the paper was sparse, seeing how there wasn’t much to report for the last four years. This job meant a lot. It was a fresh start, a new beginning, a clean slate. Coming home to Riverview and working at Foster’s represented all these things and more. Foster Construction could be his ticket to redemption.

Okay, maybe that was putting too much pressure on one interview. But it would be ideal if he could get in with one of the biggest companies in the county. Especially since his grandmother knew someone, who knew someone, who was friends with Duane Foster and they might skip the background check based on the recommendation.

“You’ve done construction?” Duane’s thick gray brows rose as he read the resume over the top of his readers.

“Y’sir.” Bo answered in. Even years in California couldn’t beat his country accent out of him.

“Carpentry, huh?”

“Y’sir.”

“Where did you learn?”

Jail. “On the job experience.”

“With who?”

“The State.”

“And who can I contact as a reference over there?”

Bo paused. His parole officer? Sweat dripped down the back of his neck. He wasn’t prepared for the stare-down, even the Border Collie sitting beside the desk gawked.

Duane let out a long breath and swiped a hand down his face. He leaned over his beat-up metal desk and braced himself on his elbows. “All right son, let’s cut the bull, shall we?”

Dang it. Here it came. The I’m sorry we don’t hire criminals speech. It would be the third one he’d received since he got out. Bo looked down at his work boots. His grandmother had bought them brand new just for this interview. She lived on social security and selling produce from her own garden but she’d spent all her extra money that month for the steel-toed boots. All he wanted to do was pay her back with a little good news.

“I talked to your grandmother already, Bo.” There was a hint of affection in his voice. “Sweet lady, right there.”

He nodded, glanced at his boots. “Y’ sir.” As hard as it was, he kept his chin up.

Duane steepled his fingers. “Said you just got out. How long you been home, son?”

“Two weeks, sir.”

Duane nodded. “Welcome back to civilization. Have a probation officer?”

“Parole, sir. Got out three years early. Have to check in monthly and prove I’m working, sir.”

“She said you did four years. What for?”

Shit. Bo met Duane’s gaze. He’d paid his time for a crime he wasn’t too terribly sorry for. “Found my step-dad hitting my mother. I returned the gesture. Judge decided since I was a black belt, and I didn’t exactly hold my punches, it qualified as assault with a deadly weapon. That’s a felony in California.”

Duane nodded his head and pursed his lips. “What brings you to Texas?”

“A promise I made to my grandmother and a fresh start.”

Duane leaned in, narrowed his gaze. “Do you consider yourself a violent man, Bo?”

How many times had people asked him that question? At least half a dozen. The parole board, his anger management councilor, the judge. This was the first time he looked the person across the table square in the eyes and answered bluntly. “Only when a woman is confused with a punching bag, sir.”

“Can’t blame you there.” Duane’s astute eyes narrowed as he leaned back and rested his chin in his hand. He pursed his lips again, studying Bo like he might sprout horns. The dog barked when a door opened and closed down the hall, making Bo flinch. “You have to meet my foreman. Then we’ll see.”

“Be happy to, sir.” Hope lit in his chest. As far as men went, Bo considered himself friendly enough and he knew how to work hard.

Duane’s lips stretched into a grin and he huffed. He lifted his chin and hollered, “T, come here. Got some fresh blood for ya.”

Bo stood up to greet the other man, uncomfortable with someone approaching the office door from behind him. He turned and locked his gaze with a pair of blue eyes so light and airy they stole the breath from his lungs.

“Bo, meet my foreman…Tina.”

Tina was a good six inches shorter than his six-foot frame, but her presence loudly stated that she had the upper hand. Sun-streaked blonde hair was pulled back into a haphazard bun with strands escaping. The whole twisted mess was held together with a pencil and a band. He had the sudden—and stupid—urge to pluck it from her hair and watch the mass fall. She wore no makeup, but her thick, black lashes almost looked painted on. From many days in the sun, her skin was a golden brown. The great tan was accentuated by the dirty white tank top. Even her brown carpenter pants were stained at the knees and had sawdust on them. Unlike his, her boots were scuffed and marred, painted with a dozen different colors and substances.

Bo couldn’t help himself, he studied her head to toe…twice. This was a woman who knew a hard day’s labor. She was also the most angelic woman he’d ever seen. Her high cheek bones and heart-shaped face were dusted with bronze, thin but tempting lips pursed as she looked him up and down.

Bo stirred, his blood heating, his body instantly reacting to her attention.

After an awkward moment of him standing there with his jaw on the floor, Tina held out her hand. “Tina Foster. Who are you?” Her gaze darted from Bo to Duane and back.

It took him a moment to remember anything but how beautiful she was. Shit. “Uh, I, um, I’m Bo Galloway. Nice to meet you, ma’am.”

“Likewise. Daddy, we need to deal with a certain painter that’s about to burn my biscuits.”

Daddy? Of course, this was Duane’s daughter. Double shit.

“Great,” Duane huffed. “Fill me in later.”

“You know I will.” Tina crouched and rubbed the dog’s head, allowing it to lick her cheek. “There’s my Dixie girl.”

Duane cleared his throat. “Mr. Galloway is Nancy Brewer’s grandson. He’s returning after far too many years in California.”

“The lady who sells the produce, right?” Tina deferred to Duane, who nodded. “Yeah, I thought you looked familiar.” She ran her eyes over him once again, her poker face in perfect form. “I didn’t realize we were hiring, Dad.” She tilted her head at her father.

“We can always use a good hand, you know that.”

Tina’s lips curled downward. “Everything look tight on paper?”

Duane’s eyes met Bo’s. For a moment, Bo’s heart stopped and he held his breath. One word from Duane and this beautiful, hardworking woman wouldn’t give him the time of day—much less a job. Bo pleaded internally. He needed this break.

Duane slid the resume into his desk drawer and glanced at a spot on the wall. “Yup. Looks good on the paperwork end.”

Thank God.

“Now you can see if he’s worth a darn in the field.”

“All right.” Tina nodded once, put her hands on her hips and scowled at him, giving the same contemplating look as her father. “Two things before I let you on my job site.”

“Here we go,” Duane muttered, turning his attention back to his laptop.

Tina held up one finger. “First off, if you’ve got issues taking orders from someone with a vagina,” she pointed said finger to the door of the office, “there’s the door, don’t waste my time. I don’t have patience for chauvinistic BS. Two, if you don’t like country music, I suggest you invest in noise canceling ear plugs. You’ll work on my site until I see what you can do, then you might be transferred to one of our other crews. When can you start?”

“How fast can you write the address?” Bo said.

“Slow down, son. We have to fill out paperwork.” Duane laughed and waved Bo to come sit back down.

Maybe there was a God after all. If so, He was smiling down on Bo at that moment. Bo called his grandmother to tell her he would be busy at lunch.

* * * * *

The country music comment was understood immediately. Bo parked his late grandfather’s rusted Ford on the construction site and exited the truck to the local country music station blaring from a radio. He traded his button down for a company tee-shirt and searched for Tina.

“You the new guy?” A tall man with salt and pepper hair and matching beard gave him a speculative glance. “Duane called me a minute ago.”

Bo swallowed and looked upwards. “Yes, sir.”

He thrust out a hand. “Great. T’s upstairs. She’s hanging the sheetrock in the bedrooms. Take this.” Terry handed him a box of screws. “I’m gonna get the next boards ready.”

Bo nodded, accepted the screws.

“I’m Terry Hicks. Her right-hand man. Word of advice, don’t argue with her and don’t hit on her. You’re likely to get your nuts shot off with a nail gun either way.”

Instinctually, Bo covered himself, cringing. What the hell did he just walk in to? “You give that speech often?”

Terry grinned, his age apparent in every wrinkle on his face. “Every chance I get. I’m her uncle.”

Bo nodded and headed inside the gutted two-story ranch house, stepping over tools and wires. Each room was in various stages of renovation. He found Tina and two other guys in an upstairs bedroom.

“Crapballs.” Tina let out a guttural growl as she snapped the battery back on her cordless drill. “These things don’t last more than five freaking minutes.” Tina glanced up and back down once she saw him. “Where’s Terry?”

“Down there.” Bo held out the box of screws. He didn’t know what to think of Tina yet. She walked a thin line being a total bitch or a total badass. Based on the way she gave him the cold shoulder, he was leaning towards the former.

“You know how to hang?” She didn’t meet his eyes as she opened the box of screws and poured them into the pocket of her utility belt.

Bo swallowed hard. His experience working construction in high school only lasted a short while. “A little.”

Tina sighed and squinted her eyes at the floor. The two seconds she hesitated felt like two hours. “No time like the present.” She checked her watch. “Clocking in at ten-twenty. Jason, Bill, this is Bo. Let’s teach him how to hang wall, m’kay?”

The two other men nodded and smiled. Not overly friendly, but not indifferent, either. Tina turned her back to him and finished up the piece of drywall she was working on. Bill was older, at least in his forties, and had thinning hair and a pot belly. Jason looked closer to Bo’s age, mid-twenties, and wore his baseball cap backwards. He had tats on his forearms and the back of his neck. He at least gave Bo a cordial fist bump.

Bo observed them place a few boards and became momentarily stunned at the quickness with which Tina worked. It took her spare minutes to screw the whole thing to the studs. Terry came in with her next piece. She situated it on the wall and Bo jumped in to hold it steady so she could anchor it.

She crouched down, giving him a great view of her back and ass. “Damn it, Terry. Get your glasses out, old man.” Tina examined where the electrical outlet cut out should’ve been.

“What?” he said, bending over to look. “Aw, hell.”

“If you don’t start wearing your glasses on the job, I’m going to staple them to your stubborn head.” Tina straightened.

“I got it.” This was one thing he could do. Bo grabbed the measuring tape from her belt and measured for the outlet, using Terry’s pencil to mark it on the drywall. He tossed the tape back to Tina and grabbed the mechanical hand-saw on the ground behind them all. He made a precise and even cut, perfectly framing the blue outlet casing.

“Thanks.” Tina pointed a finger at him. “But don’t touch my belt again.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Terry shook his head and laughed. “I’ll get him a tool belt. We don’t need another lawsuit.” He went back downstairs.

Another one?” Bo stared off after Terry. Jason chuckled, Bill shivered.

Tina merely shrugged and rolled her eyes, returning to her task like it was no big deal. What the hell kind of woman was he dealing with? Lawsuits over tools, nailing testicles, stapling glasses to heads. Dear God. He definitely wasn’t in California anymore.

Damn, it was nice to be back in the South. He’d almost forgotten what country girls were like.

For the rest of the morning he trod carefully around Tina Foster. She had no problems telling him exactly what she wanted him to do and how she wanted it done. Every move she made was calculated and skillful. The woman was all business, except for when certain songs came on the radio. Then the whole crew tried to out sing one another. The only time she stopped working was when she danced over to pick up a tool or twirled around in place to the beat.

The crazy thing was, the chick had a good set of pipes on her. She kept up with the radio singers without breaking her working stride. The guys on the crew couldn’t carry a tune in a five-gallon bucket, but that didn’t stop them from loudly following along, creating a painful racket.

If there was one thing Bo learned by working construction years ago, it was that men would relate everything to their penises. Everything could be turned into a sexual innuendo, and filters worked best on machinery, not mouths. Cussing was not only standard conversation, it was practically a requirement of the job.

He wondered how having Tina in the mix affected that atmosphere. Throwing a woman in the ring didn’t faze them a bit. Hell, Tina didn’t hold her tongue, either. She gave those guys a hard time every chance she was given. They teased, laughed, cursed, and pranked each other like…well, like one big happy family. Everyone knew their places, knew their roles, and did their jobs efficiently.

He could only hope to carve out a place for himself in this well-oiled machine of a crew.

At the end of the day, Bo was tired and completely satisfied. Just before they’d called it quits, Tina walked him to his truck.

“Not bad, Galloway. See you back here tomorrow at six.”

“Six?” He leaned his head in as if he didn’t hear her. On the job at six in the morning, he could handle that. He was used to breakfast call at 5:30.

“The earlier we get started, the earlier we can call it a day. Summer in Texas is brutal, Galloway. It’s no fun working in the afternoon heat. Get to bed early, bring lots of water.” She spun on her heel and gave him a view of her round backside. He nearly dropped his keys.

As she walked away, a song came to his mind. To see her smile, he’d do anything. He didn’t care for country music, but if it meant being around Tina Foster all day, he’d learn to love it.

* * * * *

That evening, he pulled up to his grandmother’s old farm house. Besides the flowers, it hadn’t changed since he was a child. The same swing hung on the porch, the screen door still had a hole in it from when his mother kicked it. The paint needed refreshing and the gravel driveway was losing the war with the grass, but the house had never looked better to him.

For three weeks, since his grandmother had driven all the way to southern California to pick him up, she had sat at the dinner table and prayed every night that he would find a job. Tonight, he had good news for her.

Nan came out the front door, her arms up in the air in triumph, a huge smile on her face.

Bo’s face matched hers as he climbed the stairs and hugged her.

“See, I told you praying helps. I’m so proud, Bo.”

“Thanks, Nan. Now all I have to do is keep it.”

She waved a boney arm, dismissing his pessimism. “Nonsense. You’re going to excel, I just know it.”

Bo held open the door for her.

“You’ve never been lazy, Bo Allen. You just put that determination of yours to good use and the Fosters are going to be sending me a fruit basket. Just wait and see.”

He treasured the confidence she had in him. When it felt like all the world had abandoned him, Nan had stood like a lighthouse in the storm. He had promised his grandfather he would take care of her and he would make good on it.

“I made your favorite, chicken fried steak. There’s sweet tea in the fridge and,” she bent to pull a cake out of the oven, “I made you a pineapple cream cake.” Her face glowed, truly glowed, with happiness for him.

“Dang, Nan. I need to get a job every day.”

“Son, we are going to celebrate every little victory we can.” She kissed his cheek and immediately spit like she’d licked a lemon. “Ugh, you’re dirty. I think I just ate sawdust. Go get cleaned up, working man.”

Bo laughed. “Yes, ma’am.” If he gave her a million dollars a day for the rest of his life, it would never be enough to repay her for everything she’d given him. Maybe he could start by working on her house.

* * * * *

Tina fell into her father’s office chair with a cloud of dust rising into the air. She was tired to the bones, a good feeling. It hurt to rub Dixie’s head, but she couldn’t withhold love from her favorite girl.

“How’d he do?” Daddy shut his laptop.

She didn’t require an explanation of who he was talking about. “Fine. Didn’t say ten words all day and probably thought we’re all bat-shit crazy.”

Her father chuckled, knowing all too well about their singing rituals and Tina’s habitual dancing while she worked.

“That’s to be expected. Think he’ll stick?”

She shrugged and dusted off her shirt. “Hell if I know. He’s awful quiet to fit in around here. What’s his deal? We weren’t looking to hire anyone.”

Daddy shifted in his chair. “It’s a favor for an old friend.”

Picking up on her father’s reluctance to broach the subject, she leaned over and pinned him with her stare. “What’s his deal, Dad? I know something’s off.”

“How can you tell?”

“His boots. You and I know the only time a person in construction has new boots is around Christmas and their birthday. So, unless he blew out some candles recently, he hasn’t seen work in a while.”

Daddy nodded, the corner of his mouth pulled back into a smirk. “He’s had a rough go at it, T. Give him a chance. He needs the work.”

Tina tilted her head and nodded. Her father had a soft heart, but she was trying to run a business, not a shelter for the lost and needy. If Bo Galloway didn’t pull his weight, he’d be gone. “Dad, I love your heart. But I’m a week behind as it is, and as much as I know you love to take in strays—”

“Dixie was a stray and look how she turned out.” Daddy cocked his head to the side.

Tina nodded. Fair point. “What’cha want for dinner?” Joints and muscles complained as she got to her feet.

“It’s my turn to cook.”

“No arguments here. I hate drywall days. They kill me.” She rubbed the base of her back.

Daddy pushed himself out of his chair and grabbed the two canes he required to walk out of the office. If he only needed the canes, then today was a good day. Bad days required the wheelchair. Daddy had broken his back on a job site just after her high school graduation. The surgery to fix his back was a botched job that left him with permanent spinal damage and the inability to walk for more than a few minutes at a time. That was when he and his daughter traded places. Tina had helped in the office. Now, Daddy held the desk job and Tina busted her ass every day.

She wouldn’t have it any other way. At least he was alive. The same couldn’t be said of her mother, who had died giving birth to her.

They made their way to the back of the building where they lived. The two-story warehouse, formally a cannery, was part of Riverview’s history. They loved being able to take care of the building. They’d bought it at auction and renovated every inch of it themselves. Now it stood proudly on the bank of the river as a tribute to the town’s history.

Behind the front offices was a one-bedroom apartment for Daddy. Tina lived upstairs in another apartment. She usually ate with her father, caught a game or two, then headed up to her own space.

“You got plans for the weekend?” her father asked over dinner.

Tina was showered and comfy in her sweats, her hair wet around her shoulders. She shook her head and shrugged a shoulder, knowing what her father was really asking. Did she have a date?

Daddy huffed. “That engineer fellow hasn’t called you yet?”

Tina blew it off. “Only five or six times…today.”

Daddy speared his pasta and put it in his mouth. “I think he’s really smitten with you.”

“Smitten?” Tina curled her lip up and rolled her eyes. “Daddy, really. Trey is great, but I don’t think I want a guy who is smitten. Sounds a little soft, you know?”

Not that she would confess that to her father, but soft is exactly how she and her crew described Trey. He was a pencil-pushing, number-crunching, civil engineer who would happily place himself at her heel like a dog. The attention was flattering, she had to admit. Trey doted on her, praised her with gifts and adoration. She would never have to worry about him cheating or running around on her, which he was capable of doing. He had just enough Asian descent to give him the tear-shaped brown eyes and dark features. As her crew said, Trey was pretty. Tina wouldn’t disagree. She’d looked at him plenty in the beginning.

“Don’t discount him just because he’s not as tough as you are. Not many men are.” He mumbled the last part as if he didn’t want her to hear it. His eyes said it all. Daddy carried a healthy respect for her above and beyond what fathers and daughters share. They were business partners and friends.

“Why don’t you plan something with the girls? Keri or Jayden—”

“Dad,” Tina cut him off, “why are you so interested in my social life?” Her knee bounced under the table.

He shrugged his wide shoulders. “Aw, I don’t know, baby girl. I guess I saw the way Bo looked at you and I realized how often I overlook the fact that you’re a pretty young woman who should be fighting men off with a stick.” His blue eyes, just like hers, saw far too much these days.

“I do fight men off with a stick, every day. It’s usually because they want to ring my neck, but it counts.” Tina grinned, hoping to lighten her father’s mood. He rolled his eyes. “Daddy, look.” She set down her fork and made sure she had his attention. “Right now, Trey and I are just a casual thing. I don’t have time for an all-in relationship and he knows that. He says he’s okay with it. Jayden is a freaking mess. We’re coming up on the anniversary of Chris’s death and Keri and I are arguing over how to handle it.”

“What do you mean?” Daddy put his elbows on the table and stared at her.

She pulled her hair back and twisted it, playing with the strands, and settled in for a discussion with her father. “Well, I think we need to usher her out of town, take her mind off it. Keri thinks we need to do some sort of balloon release thing. We agreed to take the weekend and think about it, talk to Bear, talk to Chris’s mom, and see what the family thinks. I don’t know what the answer is. What did you do after Mom died?”

Daddy pursed his lips and squinted his eyes. “It was a little different. I had you, and you kept me busy. When your mom’s birthday came along, you were learning to sit up, so I tried to concentrate on that. The anniversary of her death was your birthday, so we celebrated your birth and her home-going. Jayden doesn’t have a baby to keep her mind occupied.” He looked down at his plate and his face slipped into sadness. “I guess in some ways, I was lucky to have a piece of your mother left to get me through. All Jayden has is that unfinished house.”

“Maybe that’s why I don’t want to date anyone right now. It’s too hard to think about losing them. Besides. I don’t need a man, I’m just too busy.” Seeing her father’s loss and living though Jayden’s pain only helped mortar up the cracks that Bo created in her defenses. If she was to save herself the heartache losing the one she loved, it was best not to go down that path at all. Keeping people at arm’s length was the simplest solution.

“I know that. You’ve been independent from your first breath. I know you don’t need a man, T. I’m just worried that you don’t want one.” Her father sighed, a troubling scowl formed on his face.

“Well if it makes you feel better, I don’t want a girl, either.” Tina picked up her plate to take it to the sink as her father chuckled, put his hands together in prayer, and mouthed thank you Lord to the ceiling.

Tina thumped him in the back of the head as she walked past and he laughed. “What? I want grandbabies.”

“You find a man who can keep up with me, Daddy, and we’ll talk.” She kissed his head as she came back to pick up his dishes. “I have our company to run and that’s my priority.”

Daddy gently touched her arm. “Loneliness is a sneaky demon, Tina Marie. You work so hard you don’t realize it’s sitting in the same room with you until it’s too late.”

“You should practice what you preach, old man.” Tina winked at him. As much as she joked about it, she was as worried about her father being alone as much as he was worried about her. Neither of them had a thriving social life, but they had friends. Being single in a small town presented challenges people from the city didn’t understand. If you weren’t related to half the town, then you grew up with them and already knew them far too well to ever consider dating them.

The only reason Trey was in the picture was because he was the engineer on a job they had done in another town. The clients wanted a tornado shelter dug into their foundation in the garage and Tina contacted his agency. It was all good at first, but they were both so involved with their jobs that an actual relationship was too much trouble. Trey was cute and scratched an itch, but that was about it.

Once the kitchen was clean and her father was properly settled back with a beer and his remote, she retreated upstairs. Her apartment was the entire second floor of the warehouse. Brick walls and support columns, fifteen foot ceilings, old wood floors complete with all the scars and marks from the cannery, large arched windows, and thirty-five hundred square feet of space all hers. She loved the industrial feel, the way the ducts and pipes ran along the ceiling, the way the length of the building faced the river, affording her one of the best views in town.

Tina fixed herself a glass of iced tea and went out to the balcony to watch the boats go by.

I saw the way Bo looked at you today…

Yeah, she’d caught that, too. He’d wavered all day between fear and awe. More than once she’d caught him staring as if he couldn’t tear his eyes away from her. Bo would blink, blush, and turn elsewhere.

The problem was, she was just as dumbstruck by him. Bo Galloway was flaming, smoking, fan-yourself-and-clench-your-thighs hot. He was at least six feet of toned muscle, tattoos, and deeply soulful hazel eyes. Prying her attention from his full bottom lip was harder than she thought possible. Usually, she liked her men to have longer hair, but his dark brown buzz cut fit him just fine. So did his slightly shadowed jaw.

It was all she could do to act normal. The truth was, her sweat hadn’t been just from the work site. He’d worn cologne to the interview and she could smell it as he heated up throughout the day. It tickled her senses, made her dizzy. Not to mention that quiet, respectful tone of voice he used with her. The rich, husky texture slid over her like a caress, lighting her up in dark places.

He was brand new to her work crew and yet today he’d been a valuable set of hands. If everything worked out with him, he might help them finish this house under budget. It was a lot cheaper hiring one man for two weeks than to have her entire crew out there for a couple extra days.

Too bad he was such a sexy distraction. Twice she’d lost her train of thought and had to go back inside to re-measure for a cut. One look at Bo lifting dry wall over his head, flexing his bulging arm muscles, stretching out his defined back, and she was like a drooling teenager.

She didn’t need this right now. Or ever. Men like Bo didn’t stick around and she was dealing with a disastrous dating life as it was. Somewhere along the way, her brain had begun to function more like all the men she was surrounded by. She had a one-track mind; single in focus, and hard to derail. She’d given up trying to be overly feminine with makeup and an actual hairstyle, at least from Monday to Friday.

Even her current love interest was more high maintenance than she was. Trey was fond of his expensive suits and his office job. He drove a nice car, styled his dark hair, and his face could stop traffic…except for when it came to her. There was something about him that she couldn’t name. Something, that made her keep him at arm’s length, even though they’d been together for months.

The bigger problem was as she drifted to sleep, it wasn’t Trey on her mind. It was Bo.

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Jo