All the Way (Romancing Manhattan #1)(3)

She shrugs one shoulder again. “Yeah. I guess.”

“Gabby!” A man comes running down the beach, a scowl on his face. “You know this isn’t our beach. You can’t just run off like that.”

Gabby rolls her eyes and then turns back to him, and as he gets closer, I immediately recognize him.

Finn Cavanaugh.

“I’m right here,” she says.

“Hey,” he says to me, and offers me a small smile. “Sorry if she was bothering you.”

Gabby rolls her eyes again, and I can’t help but laugh a little. “She’s not bothering me at all. We were talking about musicals.”

His lips twitch, and I’m reminded just how handsome Finn is. Scratch that. Not handsome.

Fucking hot.

Just my luck, he’s my neighbor.

Which I knew, I just forgot.

“How are you feeling?” he asks as Gabby twirls in a circle and dances away to sing and dance some more.

“Better,” I reply. “Not fantastic, but I’m finally rid of the crutches and cane, so I’ll take it.”

“You look good,” he says, and then clears his throat. “Any issues?”

Oh, you know, my parents are dead and have left me with a mess to clean up all by myself, my leg is killing me, and I’m pretty sure I lost my career, but nothing major.

“No, I’m good.”

He watches me for a moment and then nods. His hands are in his pockets the same way they were in his office two months ago, but this time he’s not wearing a suit. No, he’s in a red T-shirt and black cargo shorts with no shoes.

I had no idea the casual look could be sexier than the suit, but here we are.

“Your daughter is beautiful.”

He grins and glances at Gabby, then turns back to me. “She’s my niece. She’s staying with me for about a month.”

“Oh, that’s nice.”

He frowns and looks down, and I feel like I’ve said the wrong thing, but the moment passes and he calls over to Gabby, “It’s about time for your horse-riding lesson, Gabs. We should go.”

“Fine,” she replies with a heavy sigh, and takes off running toward his house.

“She doesn’t like horses?” I ask.

“She does, she’s just been difficult lately, so very little makes her particularly happy. It’s a long story.”

“Well, I don’t want to keep you.” I step back and offer him a smile. “Oh, before you go, it finally clicks as to why you represented my parents. You’re the neighbor.”

“I’ve spent the past five summers here,” he confirms. “I liked your parents very much. Your dad asked me to update his will about two years ago.”

I nod. “Makes sense. Have a good day.”

“You too, London.”

And with that, he turns and jogs down the beach back to his own house, which is only about a hundred yards from mine. His shoulders are ridiculously broad, especially from behind.

And speaking of behinds, his ass is something to write home about.

Or something to grip on to while he fucks a girl silly.

I clear my throat and shake my head as I walk back toward my house. I must be feeling better if I’m undressing the sexy neighbor with my eyes. I’m not irritated with him anymore for asking me out on that day at his office. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t inappropriate. Because it was.

But on a scale of one to house fires on the life-altering scale, that would be a negative fourteen.

I walk up the sandy path to the house, brush my feet clean, and walk inside through the screened sun porch to the kitchen. I brewed some iced tea this morning, so I pour myself a glass, add some lemon, and carry it with me to the library, where I’ve been working all morning on sorting books.

Mom loved to read. She has to have more than a thousand books in here, everything from outdated encyclopedias to paperback romance novels. Thrillers, true crime, interior design, and biographies are in there too.

And pretty much everything else.

I remember when we’d come here in the summer, I’d be playing at the beach or in the pool with friends, and Mom would be on the sun porch with a book and a glass of tea, absorbed in another world, but ready for us in case we needed anything.

I sit at her desk and take a sip of my tea before carefully placing it on a coaster and reaching for another stack of books.

Some of them are signed by the authors, so it’s not just a matter of donating the ones that I won’t read or don’t need. I have to look at every single one of them, check for a signature, notes or thoughts that Mom might have written in them, pressed flowers, you name it.

It’s become a long process.

I have two boxes nearby. One for donations and one for trash. I mean, who needs an encyclopedia from 1987? Not me. That’s what Google is for. And there are plenty of books that are empty and would be welcome at a library or the Goodwill.

Just as I toss a paperback into a box, my phone pings with a text.

What are you doing? It’s from Sasha, a former colleague and my best friend. She’s in New York, working on a new play that debuts in six weeks, but she texts or calls every single day, checking in on me.

Sorting books in the library. What are you doing?

I set the phone aside, take a sip of my tea, and glance out the window as a huge sailboat with a bright-blue sail soars past.

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