I opened the door and stepped out onto the patio to find Liam swimming laps across the water. He reached the opposite end, flipped around, kicked off the wall, and swam toward me. I stepped around the patio table and chairs to walk toward the edge of the pool. I waited for him to come up for air—to introduce myself and to kindly ask that he turn down the volume. Simon had mentioned this Liam guy was someone’s little brother—but when my eyes registered the body that swam past the underwater pool lights, I realized I wasn’t dealing with anyone little at all. Simon’s friend’s little brother, Liam, was very much a man.
Liam hadn’t seen me, but I saw enough to know he was tall, lean, and sculpted. He cut through the water like an experienced swimmer, only popping his head up to sip the air before twisting back below the surface.
A knot twisted in my chest when my eyes skimmed the man’s taut muscles as he pushed against the water with one fluid stroke then another. Every ridge and line of his back, arms, shoulders, and calves perfectly defined his strength. He swam another two laps, keeping his pace and taking sips of air so effortlessly I questioned if he had gills for lungs.
The man was an athlete, a beast underwater, and for the second time that day, I found myself transfixed by a stranger.
I stepped back slowly, suddenly anxious about interrupting his intense workout, but on my next step backward, I failed to remember the round table and chairs I’d skirted around to get to the pool. The back of my leg hit a chair, making it scrape across the travertine. When I reached back to catch my fall, I could find nothing to grip.
I landed hard on my ass, my palms slamming into the surface behind me. I howled at the pain that shot up my wrist. Of course, that caught Liam’s attention. His head popped out from the water, and he swam toward the edge. He shot out of the pool so fast, I didn’t even have time to react.
“Who’s there?” he boomed like I was the one who’d just intruded on his peaceful night.
My defenses were on alert. I pushed my shoulders back as the pain in my wrist faded, and my chin tilted up as I prepared to let him have it. But then my eyes caught on the man’s face, now illuminated in the dim orange patio lighting. It only took a second to realize we’d met before.
He was shirtless, dripping wet, with tattoos fully covering both arms, and his eyes were free of the dark shades that had hid them earlier—but I knew he was the same arrogant man who had passed me at Spill the Tea.
“Well, hello again, love.” Liam flashed me a beaming smile, a wicked gleam in his beautiful green eyes. “Heading out for that proper shag I hope.”