Suddenly Sexy

By: Kendra Little


Maddie pulled her head out and grabbed the tub of chocolate ice cream. "It’s a person who lives in the North Pole which is where I'm running away to as soon as dinner's over."

"Are you crazy?" Linda said. "He wants you."

Maddie snorted. All class. "He doesn't want me, he just wants to debate the ethics of Pheramour."

Linda retrieved two bowls from the cupboard and placed them on the bench. "Didn't you see that look in his eyes?"

"The I'm-right-and-you're-wrong look?"

Linda placed one hand on her hip. "What's wrong with you? There's a gorgeous man out there who wants you and you're hiding out in the kitchen."

Maddie raised an eyebrow. "Are you sure he wants me and isn't just trying to beat the nerd in a debate?"

Linda spooned ice cream into the bowls. "Fairly sure." She glanced up at Maddie. "Okay, I'm not, but what the hell. You're single and cute and you should be sending out available signals instead of talking about your work. Get back in there."

"Not without ice cream. Speaking of which, where's my bowl?"

"Are you crazy? You can't eat ice cream. It'll go straight to your hips and you never know who might be holding onto them soon."

"Linda! I am not going to have s-e-x with Sam Hennessy!"

Linda's dark brows drew together. "Why not? Don't you find him hunky?"

With a shrug, Maddie scooped out a spoonful of ice cream and ate it then licked the spoon clean. "That's not the point."

"It is to me. Well?"

Her sister was impossible. Maddie glanced down at Emily who blinked big brown eyes at her. "Your mother is unbelievable." Emily giggled. Maddie focused on Linda and sighed. "Yeah, I find him hunky. But that's all. He's nice to look at but that's not enough to interest me. So stop trying to set me up with him. Got it?"

Linda grinned. "Whatever you say, Mad."

***

Sam hadn't expected to enjoy the dinner party as much as he did. Although he'd been looking forward to catching up with Pete and Linda, he wasn't sure if reminiscing over mis-spent youth would be a good idea. Turned out to be the best thing he'd done since quitting as CEO of National Paints. That, and arriving back in Melbourne to consider his future.

But he would have enjoyed himself anyway, even if Pete and Linda had turned into the dullest people this side of the Great Dividing Range. Their kids were a laugh a minute. David had wanted to know if there were aliens in Sydney, Emily had made up stories involving her carrots as characters, and Ronan had found wearing his food more entertaining than eating it.

And then there was Maddie. Having her there gave the innocent dinner party an entirely new meaning.

Since when did scientists get so sexy?

Since when did Maddie get so sexy?

She'd always been cute, with her button nose, innocent brown eyes and luxurious black curls that she insisted on trapping in a tight pony tail, but now she'd moved beyond cute. She was a woman. And wow, what a woman. The slightly plump teenager had turned into Cinderella with curves to die for.

According to Linda, she was single. He couldn't figure out why. Beautiful, intelligent women with a sense of humor were hard to come by. He should know. He'd been looking for a long time. Too long.

Maybe she'd go on a date with him. Nope, unlikely now. He'd ruined his chances when he'd implied her love potion was a little on the unethical side. He couldn't take that back and he couldn't change his opinion but he could shut up about it. No need to spoil the evening.

Emily came out of the kitchen and through the open door Sam caught a glimpse of Maddie eating ice cream straight from the tub. He smiled. At least some things never changed.

"Tham," said Emily, tugging his sleeve.

He smiled down at her. Emily had her mother's face but her eyes were just like her Aunt Maddie's—big and trusting. "Yes, Pumpkin?"

"You know my Auntie Mad?"

"Yes."

"Thee thinkth you're chunky."

Chunky? Sam frowned at her. "Are you sure that's what she said?"

Emily nodded solemnly.

"Oh." He glanced down at his waist. The shirt puckered where it was loosely tucked into his jeans. He flattened it. He sat up straighter, squaring his shoulders. Better. He sucked in his stomach but that made breathing difficult so he let it out again before he turned blue.

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