Josh laughs and shakes his head. “It’s a beautiful name.” He frowns and rocks back on his heels. “You look great, Cara.”
“Uh, you’ve seen me around town over the years, Josh,” I remind him with a half smile. “I hope I didn’t interrupt anything?” I grimace inside, regretting the question immediately. Mom always said, never ask a question you don’t want the answer to.
He shrugs one shoulder and offers me that cocky grin. God, he’s such a charmer. “Nah, we were finished.”
I frown at him. What does that mean?
“So, where is Seth?” I ask, changing the subject.
Josh frowns in turn and looks toward the big house. “He should be on his way in a few minutes. I have to warn you, Cara, working with Seth may not be a day at the beach. He’s a good kid, but he’s having a rough time of it.” Josh rubs his hand over his face and sighs.
“Why is he here and not with his mom?”
“Because the bitch dropped him off here so she can be footloose and fancy-free. She’s filed for divorce. Good riddance. I wish she’d brought him to us years ago.”
“Oh.” I don’t know what else to say. I never liked Kensie King. She was a bitch in high school, but she was pretty and popular, and I’m quite sure Zack never planned on knocking her up.
But none of that is Seth’s fault.
“What areas does he need help in?” I ask, and pull my tote bag out of the passenger seat. When I turn around, Josh’s eyes are on my ass and he’s chewing on his lower lip. I frown and stand up straight, self-conscious of my round behind.
“I’m sorry, what?” He shakes his head and narrows his eyes on my face.
“What areas does Seth need the most help in?”
“All of them. He failed every class this spring.”
“Every class?” I ask incredulously.
“Yeah. He’s a smart kid, I don’t know what his problem is.”
“I don’t need a tutor!” a young male voice calls out. I turn to see Seth riding a BMX bike from the big house down the driveway.
“Seth, don’t start.” Josh’s eyes narrow and he folds his arms over his chest. “Ms. Donovan is here to help. You will be nice.”
Seth rolls his eyes and hops off the bike, laying it on its side, and mirrors his uncle’s stance, arms crossed over his chest.
God, he looks just like his dad and his uncle. He could be their younger brother. He’s going to inherit their height and has the same dark hair, but his eyes are hazel.
He’s going to be a knockout someday.
And right now he’s scowling at me.
“Hi, Seth. I’m Cara.”
“What is it, Cara or Ms. Donovan?” he asks defiantly.
“Seth!” Josh begins, but I interrupt him. Seth isn’t the first difficult child I’ve come across.
“Since it’s summer, and I’m in your home, it’s Cara. But if you see me at school, it’s Ms. Donovan. Sound fair?”
Seth shrugs his slim shoulders and twists his lips as if he wants to say something smart but doesn’t dare in his uncle’s company.
“Where do you want us?” I ask Josh, who is still glaring at Seth. They’re clearly frustrated with each other.
“You can sit at the kitchen table. The house is empty during the day since I’m out working, so you shouldn’t be interrupted.” Josh motions for us to go in ahead of him, and as I walk past, he reaches out to pull my hair. “What happened to your curls?”
“I voted them off the island,” I reply dryly, then almost trip as he laughs, sending shivers down my spine.
He leans in and whispers, “I liked them.”
I shrug and follow Seth to the kitchen. “I didn’t.”
Josh’s home is spacious; the floor plan is open from the living area right inside the front door through to the eat-in kitchen with its maple cabinets the color of honey and smooth, light granite countertops. The windows are wide and I can see all over the property from inside the main room.
I immediately feel at home here, despite the obvious bachelor-pad feel to it. Large, brown leather couches face a floor-to-ceiling river-rock fireplace with a flat-screen TV mounted above it. Fishing, hunting, and men’s-health magazines are scattered on the coffee table, along with an empty coffee mug. Not a throw pillow or knickknack to be found anywhere.
Seth pulls a chair away from the table and plops down in it, resting his head on his folded arms.
“Seth, sit up.” Josh is exasperated and Seth just sinks deeper into his slouch.
“I think we’re good to go.” I grin at Josh but he scowls.
“Are you sure?”
“Yep, we’re good. You get to work and leave us be so we can too.”
I turn my back on him, dismissing him, and begin pulling worksheets, pens, and a book out of my bag.
“I’ll be working nearby today, so just call my cell if you need me.”
“Fine.” I wave him off, not looking over at him. I sense him still standing behind me. Finally I turn and raise an eyebrow. “You’re still here.”
He’s watching me carefully, leaning against the countertop, his rough hands tucked in his pockets. My eyes are drawn to his biceps, straining against the sleeves of his tee. “You got really pushy.”
“I’m a teacher. It’s either be pushy or die a long, slow death. Now go. We have work to do today.”
“You’ll have lunch with us before you go.” Josh pushes himself away from the counter and saunters to the front door, grabs an old, faded-green baseball cap, and settles it backward on his head. “I’m pushy too.”
He grins and that dimple winks at me before he leaves the house, shutting the door behind him.
Good God, I will not be able to focus if he doesn’t leave us be while I’m here.
“You ready to get to work?” I ask Seth, thumbing through my writing worksheets until I find the one I want.
“This is a waste of time,” he grumbles.
“Why do you say that?”
He shrugs again and buries his face in his arms.
“Well, I don’t consider it a waste of time. What’s your favorite subject?”
“I personally like math, but I always sucked at it.”
Seth shifts his head slightly and one eye peeks at me.
“Are you good at math?” I ask him.