Duke's Redemption

Page 15

That frees up a lot of my time, and I haven’t entirely decided what to do with all of that time. I’ve cleaned the house as much as I can, but since it’s still being renovated, there’s not much of a point.
Back in Boston, I didn’t have a whole lot of hobbies, and that hasn’t changed since I’ve been in Texas.
The only thing I’ve taken much interest in is watching my sexy handyman work.
I don’t stare, but I catch glimpses where I can. And then I wipe the drool off my chin from watching his bulging biceps. And I try not to notice the other bulge he has just South of his belt buckle.
Over the past few days, I’ve also gotten to know Duke’s routine. He shows up every morning at six o’clock on the dot. He has a travel mug full of what I assume is coffee that he drinks over the next couple of hours.
He sits outside at noon and eats a bologna sandwich and chips that he packed for lunch. He only takes a break for about fifteen minutes before getting back to work and heading home between six and seven.
We always make pleasant conversation, but it’s never much more than small talk. With as lonely as it is in this house, though, I’ll take small talk over nothing. Although I live alone back home, I get much more human interaction than I do here.
I’m still convinced the house is haunted. The noises continue every night, so I tend to sleep with the TV at full volume. It drowns out most of the terrifying sounds.
In my boredom, I find myself cooking quite a bit. Does cooking count as a hobby? I don’t know, but if I keep it up, I’ll be gaining ten pounds before these couple of months are up.
Oh well. It’s not like anyone is going to see me naked. Why worry about what I’m eating?
Now, I’m finishing up an email to Sue before calling it quits for the afternoon. I don’t know quite what I’ll do with my time, but I’m not going to spend it working.
Duke lightly knocks on the door before poking in his head. “Am I interrupting?”
“Not at all,” I reply. “What’s up?”
“I wanted to remind you that I’ll be leaving early this afternoon.”
“Right. It’s Thursday.”
“Before I go, I’d like to show you something. Do you have a minute?”
“Sure.” I stand up from behind the desk and follow him. He leads me upstairs and into the master bathroom.
I watch his large frame reach over the clawfoot tub and turn on the water. Much to my surprise, the water runs clear and without any funky noises.
“You fixed it!” I squeal.
“Yeah, it just needed a new faucet and kit.”
I smile so big that my cheeks hurt. “Thank you so much.”
I feel like I could hug him, but that would probably be weird—especially considering the fact that if I touched him, I don’t know that I’d be able to let go.
I swear I see a hint of a smile cross his lips, but it’s gone faster than I can tell.
All he gives is a gruff, “You’re welcome.”
I walk Duke back downstairs, and he gathers his things before heading out. The moment he leaves, loneliness hits me. Although my handyman and I aren’t close—or even chatty—by any means, having him here somehow makes me feel better. I’m not nearly as scared by my creepy, probably haunted house with the ex-Navy SEAL around.
I try to push that thought out of my head. I don’t need a man.
I’m an independent woman, damnit!
I look down at my watch and try to decide what to do with my time. It’s still early, so I guess I could stand to get out of the house for a while.
I guess it’s time for another trip to Walmart.
A few hours later, I’m back at the house with a whole hell of a lot more stuff that I could have probably lived without.