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“Shit.” The word tumbled from his lips before he could clamp them into a thin line that he hoped looked disapproving. Or at least off-putting. “You’re back.”
Natalia Vasquez stepped closer to the bar—thank the gods the wide expanse of wood was between them because Lyall had a familiar urge to attack her, and not in a way that the word might imply. His version would without a doubt give them both a rollicking good time before it turned sour. Like it always did.
Nope. Not this time. Not again. Not ever again.
“It’s temporary,” she said, lifting her hand in the classic stop motion.
“It’s always temporary.”
“But this time I’m stating it up front.”
She winced. Good. She deserved that zinger. And a hundred more, except he was too busy drinking her in to think of any additional scathing remarks at the moment. Jesus. She hadn’t changed a bit.
No, wait, she’d changed a lot, and not a single aspect was off-putting. The thick, dark hair was still curly, although she’d managed to mostly tame it into a bun that sat at the base of her neck. Her complexion, while still dark, was several shades paler than the last time she’d breezed through town. Too much city living, not enough time outdoors.
Her wide, brown eyes were outlined with generous, dark lashes and smoky shadow. Her cheekbones were still high and plump, although not as much as they were the last time he’d seen her. She’d definitely lost a little weight. He couldn’t decide if that was a bad or good thing.
And then there were those freaking shoes. Tall, with spiky heels and straps around her feet and ankles; Christ, a man could get lost in a fantasy about her footwear alone. A man, but not this one.