Suddenly Sexy

By: Kendra Little

Maddie's skin grew warm and tingly from the heat cast by the stove. Definitely the stove. Sheesh, but it was hot in the kitchen

"Linda's changed a lot since school," he went on. "I remember her as a party animal. Never still for one second, always wanting to go out. I don't know how Pete kept up with her."

"He got her pregnant."

"Hasn't slowed her down from what I can see."

"She's only fourteen weeks. Wait till she's eight months and see her waddle after the other kids." She smiled. "Last time she perfected the art of shoe throwing. David soon learned he couldn't dodge it."

Sam laughed. "I guess apart from the kids, the house in the 'burbs and the shorter hair, your sister hasn't changed much. She's still the same bubbly Linda."

"You mean scatter-brained."

He held up both hands. "I didn't say it."

"It's okay, I'll take the heat if she overhears. I've been calling her that my entire life." Ever since Maddie came home with her first A. Linda had never produced anything higher than a B and that was in art class and only because she had chicken pox when the major piece had been due so Maddie, feeling sorry for her sister, had done it for her.

"She's not the only one that's changed around here," he said quietly.

She glanced over her shoulder and met the bluest set of eyes she'd ever seen. He grinned in that crooked, Sam Hennessy way that had always made her knees wobble. Flushing, she turned away too fast and bumped the saucepan handle, splashing gravy onto the stove.

Did he mean her? Had she changed? God, she hoped so. That high school kid had been an awkward geek. She was still a little geeky, but thankfully she'd grown out of the awkwardness—except when Sam showed up after fifteen years looking yummier than a double chocolate fudge sundae.

Linda blew into the kitchen. "Maddie," she said, "you were supposed to make sure Ronan didn't kill himself."

"What?" Oh God, she was the worst aunt in the world. Ronan was happily smacking his forehead with a spoon he'd grabbed off the bench. "He isn't hurt is he? I got distracted."

Linda's gaze shifted from Ronan to Maddie to Sam. She turned back to her sister and winked. "I bet."

Maddie rolled her eyes. Linda had as much subtlety as a naked Klingon at a Star Trek convention. "All present and accounted for in there?"

"Yes, but the walls are now decorated with pretty butterflies." Squeals erupted from the living room. "Sounds like Daddy's home."

Moments later, Pete loped into the kitchen in blue overalls and work boots. "Hey, how's my main man!" He gave Sam a manly hug, slapping him on the back. "It's good to see you."

Sam grinned. "Good to see you too, Mate. Been a while."

"Too long. So you going to tell us what the heck you're doing back in Melbourne?"


Pete shrugged. "Yeah. Anything stronger than that and David's kindergarten teacher will let me know about it. The kid's a sponge. Soaks up everything I say then spouts it all out at kindy the next day."

"It makes a nice change to the swear words you used to use. Your vocabulary was pretty colorful."

"Mine! What about—"

"Pete," Linda warned in her mommy voice. "Not in front of the kids." She nodded at the door where two little faces appeared.

"I don't know how long I'm here for," Sam said, picking up the original thread of the conversation. "Maybe a few days, maybe a few weeks."

"Try to make it as long as possible," Pete said. "This is gonna be great. Just like old times." Unlike Sam, Pete had no hair. At Linda's urging, he'd shaved his off so the receding hairline was less noticeable. But when he was excited, like now, he had a habit of running his hand over his bald pate, as if to ruffle imaginary curls.

"So much to discuss," he said. "Fifteen years and not a word and then you call out of the blue. Jeez, where do we start?"

The enormity of the question must have overwhelmed them because both men said nothing.

Finally, Sam broke the silence. "Good to see the Aussies beating the Kiwis again in the cricket."

Typical men. Half a lifetime had passed since they'd seen each other and all they could talk about was sport.

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