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“Wow, he’s hotter than I remember.”
Shannon Delaney followed her friend’s gaze and frowned. Holly was checking out Zac Malloy—best friend to Shannon’s husband and their current houseguest.
“I wonder what he looks like in uniform. You know I love me a military man. Is he involved with anyone?” Holly asked.
Shannon turned back to her friend. Holly stared at Zac like she could she was starving, and he was exactly what she craved.
“Hol, be careful there,” she warned. “He’s hot, no denying that, but the man is just…” she struggled to find the right words, “intense.”
“Intense can be good.” Holly chuckled, but sobered when she met Shannon’s gaze. “What’s up? Has he been bothering you or done something to piss you off?”
“No, nothing like that. Hell, he doesn’t really talk to me. He’s been here for a couple of weeks and he’s maybe said five words to me.” Shannon shrugged. “Sometimes he’ll just stare at me, like he’s going to say something, then nothing. He seems happier on his own, that’s all. I mean, look at him now. Everyone’s here, enjoying the barbeque, and he’s standing away from the group, all by himself. He’s not even making an effort to fit in.”
She glanced back towards the man in question and, as if he knew they were talking about him, found his gaze on her. Her heart skipped and her stomach tightened. That was the real problem—how she reacted to the stares. He watched her so intently. She half-expected him to pounce on her, and the sad part was the thought of it excited her. And that made her feel guilty as hell.
“Have you talked to Nate about it?”
At the mention of her husband, Shannon felt her face heat, and she looked away from Zac quickly.
“No, of course not. Zac’s his best friend. I’m not going to whine about him looking at me. Besides, he’ll find his own place soon and will be out of here. So it really doesn’t matter.”
“You know, maybe you’re being too hard on the guy, Shan,” Holly said. “He’s been out of the country for the past year and a half. Maybe he’s just doesn’t know what to say or how to start a conversation with you. Heck, he hardly knows you. You’ve been married to his best friend for a year, and the only time he’s ever seen you was when he was on leave for the wedding. Maybe it’s just awkward for him.”
Shannon thought about it. Everything Holly said was spot on, and it wasn’t like Shannon had gone out of her way to welcome the man. Guilt settled heavily in her gut. This was her husband’s best friend, and she hadn’t even made an effort. She sighed.
“You’re right. I’ve been a real bitch about the whole thing,” she admitted.
“Well, no time like the present to change,” Holly said brightly.
“Looks like the man is out of beer. Bring him a fresh one, and be your wonderful charming self. If not for Zac, then for your man.” She gave Shannon a small shove.