“Jennifer Thornton, when are you going to grow up?”
Her head shot up at the familiar voice, but the late afternoon sun was behind him, wrapping him in a mantle of light spears. All that stood out was a set of very wide shoulders and the vague outline of dark glasses hiding his eyes.
“Who says I have to grow up?” she asked lightly, reaching under her chin to unclip the strap on her helmet, then pulling the hard hat from her head and shaking her full head of chestnut curls free. “I learned long ago that grownups never have any fun.”
She peered into the shimmering light, trying to see his face. That voice was so familiar.
“There’s a lot more to life than fun,” he said softly. “You must be twenty-three years old by now. Haven’t you learned that yet?”
“Twenty-four,” she corrected automatically. She knew who it was now. Leaning back, she let loose the natural smile that so many called irresistible.
“Reid Carrington,” she said, letting out a long sigh as she said it. It had been ages since she’d said that name aloud, but she’d never forgotten it. It was written on her heart. A bubble of happiness rose in her throat. “You always were trying to teach me something, weren’t you?”
“Was I?” He stepped closer, and she could see the outlines of his handsome face. “The way I remember it, you were the one trying to teach me.”
Despite herself, Jennifer blushed, then bent to hide her smile. If he was going to bring up the silly way she used to chase him when she was a kid, she’d deny everything.
What a crush she’d had! Every summer, she’d spent the long, lazy days mooning over the handsome older boy next door. She must have made his life miserable.
“It has been a long time,” she said, wishing she could see him better. “Almost five years.”
“You look the same.” His voice had a curiously emotional quality, and she frowned, wondering why. “Just the same.”
“You look different.” She pulled herself up to stand before him, and now she could see his face clearly. All of it except the blue eyes. They were still covered by the dark glasses.
“You look very Junior Chamber of Commerce, now.” She grinned, examining his wrinkle-free slacks and the expensive pale blue shirt with the little polo player over the pocket. “Or is that an insult? Should I say Junior Stockbroker?”
She laughed softly, enchanted with seeing him again. He brought back all the good memories of the past. The ugly stuff that she tried so hard to blot out had nothing to do with Reid. She’d often wondered over the years how he was doing.