The Best Intentions – Excerpt

“Hello,” Stacia shouted as she rang the doorbell and knocked on the door. Please be home. Rain poured down on her, drenching her t-shirt and jeans. She pounded on the door again. A dog barked and scratched at it.

“Whoa. Daisy, sit,” she heard from the other side. A man peeked out at her through one of the tiny windows beside the door.

“Hello,” Stacia shouted again. “I need a phone.”

“Stacia Pulaski,” the man said as he opened the door. “I don’t believe it.” A huge dog tried to charge out at her. The man grabbed the dog by the collar. “Down, Daisy.”

“Do I know you?”

“It’s me. Will.”

“Will? Will Banks? I guess you grew into your hands and feet.”

“I did,” he said with a crooked smile.

“It’s been a long time.” She pushed her dripping bangs out of her face. “Are you going to invite me in?”

“Oh, sure. Sorry.” He stepped aside and let her in. “Wow. What are you doing here? Are you visiting your aunt?”

“Yep. I was on my way to Aunt Scarlett’s.” She dripped all over his hardwood floor, but he didn’t seem to notice.

“How did you end up at my door?”

Could he stop with the twenty questions until she got dried off? It was just like Will to ignore the obvious. “My car broke down and my cell phone is dead,” she said, holding up her phone. “Luckily for me, it was near your house. I didn’t realize you live here now. Wasn’t this Mr. Brown’s house?”

“It was. He’s in a nursing home now and his family sold the house to me a couple of years back.”

“I always loved this place.”

“So did I. It’s really good to see you.” He gave her a big bear hug. “Whoa. You’re sopping wet. I’ll get you a towel.” He disappeared down the hall, leaving her in the foyer with the big dog staring at her.

“Hi, doggie.” She didn’t dare move, afraid the dog would jump. A puddle formed on the floor beneath her feet. She’d never been so wet in her life. What she wouldn’t give for some dry clothes.

Daisy stepped forward and sniffed at her. “Uh. Nice, doggie.”

“Daisy, no.” Will reappeared with a bath towel, a t-shirt, and a pair of sweat pants. Thank God.

“Sorry. She’s curious,” he said.

“About?”

“She’s trying to figure out if you’re a girl or a boy.” He turned to the dog. “Trust me, she’s a girl.”

He held out the towel and clothes to her. “I thought you might like to change. I could dry your clothes for you.”

“Thanks.” She took the towel and the clothes.

“The bathroom is through there. Daisy, come,” he called.

She made sure Daisy didn’t follow her before she closed the bathroom door. Of all the places for her car to break down, near Will’s house. What were the chances? It was definitely luck.

She stripped off her clothes and used the towel to dry herself off. She slipped on the t-shirt and sweatpants. The t-shirt fell almost to her knees and the sweatpants hung loosely around her hips. She cuffed the legs up several times to keep herself from tripping over them. Will had grown quite a bit since she’d last seen him. She didn’t remember him being quite as hot either.

Reaching behind her head, she pulled the elastic out of her hair and ran her fingers through it. She dared a glance in the mirror and was horrified at what she saw. Ugh. What a mess. Her hair was quickly frizzing and black mascara ran down her face. Put the elastic back in, Stacia. She pulled her hair up on top of her head and washed her face. It was awful. All of it. The hair and the clothes.

Great. A man of model material was waiting out there for her and she looked like crap. She pinched her cheeks to add a little color. It was the best she could do.

She picked her clothes up off the floor and went in search of Will. He was in the family room reading a book with the dog at his feet. A warm, fuzzy feeling crept over her. The picture they made was so homey that she hated to disturb them.

She cleared her throat. “Hey. Thanks for everything.”

“No problem,” he said as he stood and took the clothes from her. “I’ll stick these in the dryer.”

Again she was alone with Daisy. What a ridiculous name for a dog of her size. Will should have called her Rocky.

“Hi, doggie. What a pretty girl you are.”

Daisy got up. Uh oh. She shouldn’t have said anything. Stacia backed up.

Holding out her hands, she said, “Stay.” Daisy came closer. Apparently, she didn’t understand stay. “Nice dog. Ooh,” she screeched as Daisy stuck her head between Stacia’s legs. She pushed at Daisy’s head. “That’s enough. Get out of there.” Where the hell was Will?

She dragged her leg over the top of Daisy’s head and turned to make a run for it, coming up against a solid chest.

 

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