Andrew Moore has always thought of Victoria as family. She is his best friend’s little sister and his little sister’s best friend, but recently something has changed. Andrew is thinking about Victoria in a completely different way. She will never fit into his quiet, conservative world. They are too different to have a future together, but he cannot stop noticing her.
Victoria Carson has been in love with Andrew since her sixteenth birthday, but Andrew never noticed her as anything other than the girl next door. She fled from her hometown so that she wouldn’t have to watch Andrew build a life with someone else. But things have changed. Andrew is now a widower, and Victoria has returned home. It is time to make him notice her.
As always, her heart stopped when she saw him. Victoria knew she had seen better looking men, had even dated better looking men, but Andrew always moved her. For a moment, she enjoyed the simple pleasure of just looking at him. His broad shoulders filled out the conservative blue suit and his powerful arms and legs made him a lean, dominant picture. His thick brown hair had fallen across his forehead, and Victoria’s hand itched to brush it back. He was talking softly to his sister explaining the papers in his hand. Victoria watched his mouth move and waited for the smile that always made her toes curl. It happened and Victoria took a deep breath. She thought she should be used to that reaction by now, but it still caught her by surprise. Andrew’s smile brought butterflies to her stomach and made her ache for his love. She quickly pulled herself together and closed the door behind her.
Andrew looked up at the sound, and Victoria found herself looking into his piercing green eyes. They had narrowed and trained on her immediately. The intense green gaze locked her into place. She stood very still while his eyes roamed over her. Victoria knew the past few months had accomplished this. Andrew was now very physically aware of her. What he thought about her, Victoria did not know. She did know he invariably watched every movement that she made.
She now walked slowly across the room with his eyes following her. She watched him straighten and his back stiffen. He was uncomfortable around her, and Victoria hoped this was progress. She had waited twelve years for him to notice her as something other than a child, but she wasn’t sure making him nervous was the right thing to do. She wanted him to notice her, but she did not want to scare him away.
"Hi, Drew. How are you?" she asked softly.
As always, he stiffened at her shortening of his name. No one called him anything except Andrew, but Victoria had decided she needed to be different. She wanted to make sure Andrew knew she was unlike anyone else.
"How many times have I told you not to call me that?" he asked impatiently, raising one eyebrow. Victoria’s heart skipped a beat. She had always found that gesture very sexy.
She smiled again. "I don’t know. How many times have you told me not to call you that?"
She laughed at the frustrated look that crossed his face. At least, he wasn’t ignoring her. She knew she could irritate him. She just hoped she could also attract him.
"Come on, Drew, lighten up." She walked over to him, placed her hand on his shoulder, and stood on her toes to kiss his cheek. He accepted the salute but did not return the gesture. Apparently nothing had changed.
Suddenly, it was too much for her to bear. She hid a sigh and quickly walked toward the exit. She said goodbye to Julie and told her she would call. At the door she turned and flashed one more bright smile before she left.
Outside the door, Victoria released the sigh and was grateful no one was in the hall. If anyone in Holton had seen her at that time, she knew her secret would be out. Tears gathered briefly in her eyes, and she drew a deep breath, as her heart broke a little more. She leaned her head on the wall and willed the pain away. No one would have recognized the defeated look on her face, and no one would have believed that Victoria Carson was miserable. She had a reputation of being outgoing and friendly and happy. She always had a smile for anyone. This side of her was not known to anyone in Holton.