19. In the Mood

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Olivia pushed a two-foot sapling into Caleb's arms.

"It's a Meyer lemon," she said on his doorstep. "Keep it in the pot, outdoors most of the year, and just bring it inside in the cold weather."

"Awesome. You know about citrus?"

"Not how to grow it, no. I asked the woman at the nursery. They're sweeter than regular lemons but the stores don't carry them often because they're thin-skinned, hard to ship. Even if it doesn't produce fruit, the blossoms apparently look and smell good."

"This is great. Thanks." He leaned back from the foliage to kiss her. "Come in. I'll give you the tour."

"Is your family already gone?"

"They left for the river around eleven, three hours later than planned. I think they've just about forgiven me for backing out. You can meet them Saturday, if you can stand to stay that long."

"Why wouldn't I stay?" She gave him a coy smile. She was so damn sexy with those chocolate brown eyes, long dirt-blonde hair with sunkissed ends, a heart-shaped face with a soft complexion and an easy smile. They'd been seeing each other a few times a week for three weeks, just eating out or meeting for a drink or taking walks. Caleb had held himself in check to make sure there was something there, and Olivia had been patient.

There was definitely something there, and they were both done waiting. With his siblings off camping, she was his all day, and tonight, and whenever else they could manage to be home at the same time over the next few days.

He set down the plant in the kitchen and showed her the ground floor of the house, pointing out the renovations, although he wasn't sure she was too interested—or, rather, she had something else on her mind. They had several hours to fill before food would become a necessary topic of discussion. Until then, he enjoyed the anticipation of knowing he'd shortly have her naked underneath him. Or on top of him, whatever. From the way she was taking every opportunity to touch his arm and chest and butt, she had the same thought on her mind.

He skipped showing her the basement. Too many interesting things to see, too much time potentially wasted. She did want to see the backyard. She cooed over the baby goats and asked questions about the vegetable garden that he couldn't answer.

She looked up at the tower. "You have to show me the castle next."

They went inside and through the door from the living room into the tower. The ground floor was nothing special yet. The second floor impressed her greatly. She loved the bookcases with their cast-iron gates, the pool table that was almost ready to use, the altar table, and the tapestry cushions on the church pews.

The third floor, Jesse's room, had her gasping with glee. Afternoon sunlight poured through the narrow window, lighting a patch of the bed.

She ran her hands up and down the bed posts. "Where did you get this? It's beautiful."

"I made it. Not from scratch. Those panels for the headboard are from some old doors, and I'll add a canopy, too." The re-stained panels sat against the wall next to the unfinished bed.

"Will there be drapes?"

"Not sure. I'm just the carpenter."

She sat on the bed, extending her arms to lean back. "I love this bed. Let's do it here."

"Uh, this is my brother's room."

She bit her lip fetchingly. "Would he mind?"

"Probably not, actually. Jesse finds almost everything amusing." Caleb remained at the end of the bed, one arm around the post to anchor himself, resisting the urge to pounce. "My room is just down there."

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