Not Really the Outdoor Type(10)

By: Paige Tyler

That didn’t mean he’d spank her again, no matter how badly she screwed up. While she might have forgiven him for spanking her this time, he doubted she’d be so understanding if he put her over his knee a second time.

* * * * *

If this wasn’t a date, why was she still standing in front of the mirror wondering if the silky camisole top she’d combined with a pair of low-waisted pair of jeans, platform sandals and dangling earrings was sexy enough?

Jason knocked on the door before she could answer that question. Giving herself one more look in the mirror, she ran her suddenly damp hands down the front of her pants and hurried to answer the door.

Dressed in jeans and a dark blue button-up shirt, Jason looked like he’d just stepped off the pages of some fashion magazine. The kind where all the men were raggedly handsome and built like Adonis.

He looked her up and down, his gaze lingering on her breasts. “Damn. You look great.”

She laughed, way more pleased than she should have been by the compliment. “Thanks. So do you.”

“Thanks.” He grinned. “You ready to go?”

“Let me just grab my purse.”

Like a lot of other people in Copper Canyon, Jason owned a four-wheel-drive SUV. As they drove, Kendall tried to picture her ex-boyfriend Keith trading in his sleek, imported sports car for one, and couldn’t.

Jason took her to a small, family-owned restaurant that was popular with locals and tourists alike. She hadn’t been there since she was a kid, but she remembered that the food had been really good.

With so many tourists in town, the restaurant was crowded, but surprisingly, the hostess showed them to a table right away. As Kendall took the menu, she glanced around the dining room and saw that it hadn’t changed at all since she’d left. With its exposed beams and unpainted furniture, the place had a rustic kind of charm that made it cozy and inviting.

After the waitress took their order, Jason leaned his forearms on the table and gazed at Kendall across the table. “You never did tell me what brought you back to Copper Canyon.”

She sipped her wine. “The advertising agency where I worked decided they needed to downsize.” She considered mentioning her break-up with Keith, but decided against it. Bringing up an ex-boyfriend was never a good idea, even if this wasn’t a date. “I thought about looking for another job, but I needed to get away from LA for a while.”

“A while?” Jason frowned. “Does that mean you’re planning on going back to California?”

“Not right away, but someday, yes.”

The waitress came by with their dinner, and Kendall used the interruption as an opportunity to change the subject.

“What about you?” She glanced at Jason as she picked up her fork. “Did you stay in Copper Canyon after graduation?”

“I went to the University of Idaho. Got my degree in business.” His mouth quirked. “You don’t have to look so surprised.”

She flushed. “I’m not. It’s just that I thought you would have majored in something more outdoorsy.”

“I minored in wildlife management. Does that count?”

She took a bite of her fish. “So you combined your two passions and opened Outdoor Outfitters.”

“I heard that old man Cartwright was selling his place, so I bought it. Luckily, I had a lot of money saved up so I was able to renovate the building and do some expansion.”

She frowned at him over her wine glass. In all the years she’d lived in Copper Canyon, she’d never been in Cartwright’s Supply Store. She vaguely recalled the place, though. “You used to work there after school, didn’t you?”

His mouth quirked. “I thought you said you didn’t remember me from high school.”

Her face colored again, though whether it was because she was embarrassed by what she’d said or the fact that she’d said it right before he’d spanked her, she wasn’t sure.

Kendall looked down at her plate “I might not have been entirely honest when I said that.”

When he didn’t say anything, she lifted her head to find him regarding her thoughtfully. “I always had a thing for you back in high school, you know.”

She blinked, not sure she heard him right. “You did? Why didn’t you ever ask me out?”

He gave her a sheepish grin. “Because I wasn’t sure you’d say yes. It was high school. Rejection was a fate worse than death.”

Kendall shook her head. All that time she’d spent giving him covert glances in class, wishing he’d notice her. She almost laughed. “Well, you should have, because I would most definitely have said yes.” She looked at him from beneath her lashes. “I had the biggest crush on you, too.”

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