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Lexi slipped undetected out the front door and bolted down the long driveway. She glanced behind her only once, making sure no one had followed her and checking that Ham wasn't inside the garage polishing something. The man obsessed over his limo.

When she saw Luke waiting in the trees, her heart stuttered, and she began making up scenarios of how their walk might turn out. One possibility was rather graphic and had them entwined in an erotic position without the impediment of clothing. Entertaining, but not helpful, especially since her face burned when the image popped up. She needed to keep her head in the game and approach this like a debate, minus the part where she trounced her opponent.

"I hope... no one... saw me." Panting from her dash across the yard, Lexi spoke between breaths as she joined Luke on the trail. He offered his arm, and she rested her weight on him, pretending to need it, although the warmth radiating off his skin only made her heart gallop faster.

"I haven't seen a single soul," he said. "I think you're safe."

"It feels strange to sneak out like this. Maybe because I've never had to. I don't know why everyone has their panties in a bunch this weekend."

When Lexi finished her rant, Luke smiled at her, his disarming eyes lit with amusement. What was he thinking? Was he remembering her outburst when she announced she was a virgin? Had the announcement surprised him? Or, maybe, intrigued him? Nora said he was the perfect man to help her change that status. 

"Where would you like to go, Lexi? This is your weekend. You call the shots."

"Well, this trail leads to the stable and the ocean. I walk it when I need quiet time."

"Sounds perfect." With a gentle touch, Luke arranged Lexi's arm inside the crook of his elbow, and she pushed all her uncertainties aside. This was exactly what she wanted. She would be fine if she just imagined Luke as a regular guy and not the man of her fantasies. 

The first thing to derail her as they walked arm in arm was Luke's proximity. She felt every muscle and sinew of his shoulder as it brushed against her, which kept her distracted with thoughts she would never repeat out loud. She couldn't even make small talk for fear she might blurt something that would give her away, like Do you seduce women often?

"What are your plans for the future, Lexi?" Luke broke the silence with a soft-spoken inquiry, like he didn't want to disturb her thoughts. If he only knew.

"Something in the teaching field. Maybe coaching. My dad claims I'm a born leader, but I think he only says that so he can take credit for it. If my mom had her way, I would live in Nova Scotia and find a university close. She has a degree in bioengineering, but she put her career on hold to be a mom. That's not how I want to live my life, though. I refuse to waste any of my education."

"Your parents seem to shelter you a bit."

Lexi grinned at him full force. "Go ahead and say it. They shelter me a lot. Of course, I've traveled and had amazing life experiences, so maybe sheltered isn't the right word, but they are extremely protective. I didn't mind so much until I started high school. That's when their constant surveillance got annoying. I can't even go to a party without one of them chaperoning."

"Yet, they sent you away to school."

"Actually, my school is a stone's throw from Boston where my dad runs his business. We have a home there where I stay every other weekend. Mom's the only one who lives at the estate full time."

"So, I take it you have never brought a boy home to meet your parents."

Lexi snorted, remembering the mistake she made mentioning her first crush to her dad. He had her write a one-page essay listing all the reasons the guy would make a good boyfriend. "Nope."

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