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The off-limit places turned out to be a library, a large office, and the master suite, all on the upper level. Not being able to enter the library hadn’t stopped Cameron from pressing as close to the glass squares on the French doors as possible to see inside, though. The room was beautiful, a proper library straight from a fairytale with wall-to-wall bookshelves that stretched all the way to the ceiling.
“Would you like to go in?”
Cameron squeaked—actually fucking squeaked like a cartoon mouse—and spun around so quickly he lost his footing and stumbled backwards. The doors rattled in their frame, and he winced when one of the knobs dug into his hip. Heart pounding, throat tight, he lifted his head, his gaze locking with amber eyes so deep he felt as though the floor shifted beneath him.
Never had he experienced such a visceral reaction to mere eye contact, and it did nothing to ease the tightness in his throat or the thundering of his heart. Right then, those eyes sparkled with humor and a hint of mischief. Realizing he should say something instead of just staring like an idiot, he opened his mouth, but every thought he’d ever had abandoned him.
A war started between his body and his mind, and while his brain scrambled to catch up, his body took great pleasure in betraying him. His hands trembled, his legs shook, and a soft gasp escaped as his eyes drank in the sight of the man standing close enough to touch.
Thick, brown hair—wet and limp, likely from a recent shower—fell over a smooth brow. High, defined cheekbones created a perfect symmetry to his angular jaw and square chin, and the shadow of scruff, just a smidgen past five o’clock, added a ruggedness to the otherwise beautiful face.
A thin, white V-neck did little to hide his broad shoulders or muscular chest. The sleeves strained around defined biceps encased in smooth, bronzed skin, and even the fingers wrapped around a black, porcelain coffee mug flexed with a strength that made Cameron’s knees weak. The loose ash-gray sweats hung low on his narrow hips, but the baggy cotton couldn’t completely conceal a pair of thick, toned thighs.
“Take your time,” the stranger teased, his voice a flawless combination of husky and smooth, like raw honey chased by a shot of aged whiskey.
Cameron shivered, even as the heat of embarrassment stung his cheeks. Coughing twice to clear his throat, he pushed away from the library doors. “Sorry, you startled me.” Yes, that sounded reasonable. He held out his right hand. “Cameron Stone.”
The man stared for longer than necessary, a smirk playing at the edges of his mouth. Then he shifted his coffee cup to his opposite hand and took Cameron’s in a lingering embrace that felt too intimate for strangers.
Cameron had guessed as much, but he figured it would be rude to say so, especially after he’d just been caught checking out the guy. Instead, he settled on saying, “Nice to meet you. Your home is really amazing.” Taking his hand back, he shoved it into the pocket of his dress slacks and curled his fingers into a tight fist. “Why are you selling?”
For a long time, Asher didn’t speak, and Cameron fought not to squirm under the guy’s casual scrutiny. His expression gave away nothing, his features carefully arranged into a mask of neutrality that made Cameron more nervous than outright hostility.
What the hell is he thinking?
“I’m not selling,” Asher finally answered.
“So…the estate sale?”
His T-shirt strained when he lifted his shoulders. “I was bored, and needed a change.” He took a sip of his coffee, then ran his tongue over his full, pink lips. “I needed to make room for something new. This seemed like the simplest way.”
While he tried to match the guy’s indifference, Cameron could feel his brow scrunch together between his eyes. The way he’d said it sounded as though he didn’t really care about the money from the sale. He simply wanted to get rid of a style he no longer found appealing to clear space for new, likely more expensive, things. He made it sound a lot like boxing up a closet full of winter clothes to make room for a summer wardrobe.
“Oh.” Not intelligent or articulate, but it was the best he could do.
“Would you like a tour?”
Cameron couldn’t be sure, but he thought the man might be teasing him. “Thanks, but I’ve already seen everything not restricted.”
“You sure?” Yes, there was definitely a teasing lilt to his voice. “We could start with the master suite.”