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.But this was nothing a lukewarm shower couldn't fix, so she shut down any wayward sexy thoughts and made herself take a step back.Well, a hop, anyways.And there wasn't really anything less sexy than hopping like a bunny on an ankle the size of a grapefruit, was there?"Winnie? He needs to get in a shower.And I can't." Hannah gestured toward Liam.She couldn't help him with that, couldn't go there.And it wasn't because of her ankle."Right." Winnie's tone said she had an idea of what Hannah meant.Turning to Liam, she tugged on his arm."Come on, I'll help you up to the shower.And let's not tell Brian that this act of charity involved another man, naked, okay?”But at that, Liam lurched away from Winnie's grip."I'm fine," he ground out, and with that he made his way somewhat unsteadily across the foyer to the staircase, Winnie and Hannah following slowly behind.Stopping at the foot of the stairs to watch him climb, Winnie said quietly to Hannah, "He's going to be fine.His male pride didn't freeze over."Act of charity, indeed.“At least you stopped short of telling him you'd help him into a bath.Like you would your grandmother."They both laughed at that.And then it hit Hannah that now she'd be stuck with Liam in the B&B for as long as the storm raged.No leaving, no avoiding him, no preserving her sanity.Hannah decided she would rather it have been Bigfoot on the other side of the door.Chapter TwoWinnie gathered up Liam’s things and went to go hang them up, before making a trip upstairs to grab his soaked clothes so she could throw them into the dryer.Meanwhile, Hannah made her way back to the family room in the back of the house.She settled on the couch, grateful to be off her ankle again, and refused to think about Liam upstairs in one of the bathrooms, stripping off his clothes, getting into the shower, the water hitting naked skin and sliding down his body…Nope, she was not going to think about that at all.She and Liam were just friends, she reminded herself.That’s all they could be.She’d worked too hard to rebuild her life here in Bliss Harbor after her divorce, to find balance and contentment, and forge friendships she counted on.And there wasn’t a friendship she counted on more than her friendship with Liam.She wasn’t going to risk any of that to change things.But things have already changed.Hannah tried to ignore that frequent whisper in the back of her mind, but it was getting harder and harder to.She hadn’t wanted things to change.Just over three years ago, she’d arrived in town determined to start anew and carefully hide the emotional bruises from the life she’d left behind.But her sister hovered and worried, and her new friends carefully avoided the topic of Hannah’s failed marriage.The real healing didn’t begin until one day when Liam O’Callaghan had stopped by the B&B to have coffee with his aunt.But she was out and he ended up having coffee with Hannah instead.They were virtual strangers, but they’d talked for hours.Also recently divorced, Liam understood what Hannah was going through more than anyone else in this town.He understood the frustration of trying to make a floundering marriage work, and the feeling of failure when you just couldn't.He understood how hurtful it was to live in a house with someone who, day by day, became a stranger and the life they built together broke down.And he, more than anyone, understood that it would be quite some time before she was ready to let someone in and trust herself enough to think she could make it work the next time.If she ever was able to trust herself again.Neither one of them was ready for another relationship, it hadn’t been something that even occurred to Hannah at the time, and they settled firmly into the friend zone.One chat turned into two and two turned into three, and then three chats turned into grabbing lunch here or going to a movie there.He’d dragged her fishing and she’d taken him jogging.She’d started keeping the beer he liked in her private fridge at the B&B and he’d started keeping her favorite bottle of wine at his place.She’d prodded him to open up about his own marriage and why it hadn’t worked, and he’d spent hours listening to her talk about hers.The hints from family and friends that they should be dating each other grew increasingly less subtle, but it wasn't about that.It was about friendship, about building a connection with someone you could trust, about feeling safe with them without any of the uncertainty or drama that comes with romantic relationships.And for almost three years, that’s all it was.And everything was great.Until last month.In the time Hannah had known Liam, he hadn’t mentioned any other woman besides his ex-wife.If Hannah thought about it at all, she figured maybe he met a woman here or there closer to where he worked in Watertown.But then last month, Liam had gone on a date.In Bliss Harbor.Where Hannah couldn’t escape the knowledge.She spent three whole days afterwards sick to her stomach, unable to sleep, and inexplicably angry at him, before it finally hit her—somewhere along the way, without meaning to, Hannah had fallen in love with Liam.Her heart didn’t want him dating anyone but her, but her mind knew that the friendship they had was too special to mess with, especially with her track record.So she didn’t say anything.And after that, if she made sure she was busy when he stopped by, or if half the time she didn’t answer when he called her, he didn’t say anything either.Everything would be almost like normal if she could just stop thinking about what he’d look like naked.Just then, Hannah heard Winnie race down the hallway toward the front door, followed by a squeal.Hannah hopped out into the hallway to make sure Bigfoot hadn’t gotten in after all, and pulled up short at the sight of Winnie and Brian in a passionate embrace.Sighing wistfully, Hannah gave them a few minutes to be alone and then limped down the hallway to say hello.She smiled at Brian, who had obviously managed to stay out of any snowbanks because he didn’t look nearly as frozen as Liam had.She said, “I told Winnie you’d be fine.How bad was the driving?”“Well, it’s not great, but I don’t think the worst of it has hit yet.” Brian glanced down at Winnie, who was attached to his side like she never intended to let go.“I’m just glad I didn’t get stuck in Watertown.”“Me too.” And Hannah really was glad [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]