Zoe Stone had tried on everything in her closet and not only did her room now look like an explosion in a mattress factory, not one single item of clothing had worked for her.
She was still standing there eyeing the carnage when her sister, Darcy, appeared in the doorway, arms loaded with clothing. “Got your 911 freak-out text. Here’s all the stuff I’ve ever borrowed from you.”
“You mean stolen?”
“Tomayto, tomahto.” Darcy dumped the entire pile of loot in the only space available—on top of the slightly tubby Bernese mountain dog snoring in the center of Zoe’s bed.
“The pretty little black dress of yours is in there,” Darcy said. “You should absolutely be wearing that for your date instead of the granny dress you’ve got on. Seriously, how old are you, eighty-five?”
She’d just had her first anniversary of turning thirty, thank you very much, but Zoe looked down at herself. Her floral print dress was soft and clingy, fell to just past her knees, and hid a multitude of sins—such as the fact that she’d been stress-eating her feels all week. “It’s not that bad.”
“Zoe, you could walk into any Denny’s before five o’clock and get a discount.”
“I like this dress,” Zoe said, “and so does Oreo.”
Oreo, the aforementioned Bernese mountain dog, cracked open an eye and looked up at Zoe with love and adoration. “See?” she said, ruffling the dog’s big head. “And not that I have time to change anyway, but I don’t see what’s wrong with this outfit.”
“Absolutely nothing,” Darcy said, “assuming that you don’t care if you ever get laid again. And for God’s sake, stop taking fashion advice from a dog who rolls in bear poo and thinks he smells good.”
Panting happily, Oreo smiled up at the both of them.
Through the open window came the sound of a vehicle pulling up. Darcy moved to the second-story window and peered out. “Looks like your blind date’s here. What’s his name again?”
“Well, Newman’s in a black Jeep with the top off. Not his top, the Jeep’s top, but still very nice—Whoa.”
Darcy’s nose was glued to the window now. “Holy crap on a stick—he’s hot for a guy named Newman. Way too hot for that dress you’re wearing. Quick,” she said, waving a hand at Zoe. “Exchange it for the LBD.”
“I’m fine in this,” Zoe said. Maybe because she couldn’t wear the LBD; she hadn’t shaved her thighs—her own little insurance policy against making any rash decisions tonight such as getting naked. No way would she be tempted knowing she had hairy thighs. “And get away from there and stop spying on him.” But then she moved to the window next to her sister and sucked in a breath because Darcy was right, Newman was hot. Dark hair, a little wavy, a lot wind tousled. Black shirt that fit him well enough to define broad shoulders. Dark jeans. An easy gait that said confident male.
Butterflies took flight low in her belly and she pressed a hand to it. “Oh boy.”
“And I bet he’s got a six-pack, too,” Darcy whispered. “Maybe even an eight-pack. I’m going to need you to remember every detail for me.”
For Darcy, abs were a requirement in a man.
But Zoe had learned a lot for a woman who’d just had her thirtieth birthday—again. She had a completely different list of requirements. Honesty and kindness. That was it. Easy to remember and simple. But she’d also learned that nothing about men was simple.
“I wonder what color his eyes are—” Darcy broke off as the guy stopped on the path to the house and unerringly looked up at the window where the two of them stood staring at him.
With a commingled squeak, they dropped to the floor.
Afraid he was missing some fun new game, Oreo barked happily and leapt off the bed and right on top of them.
“Oomph.” Darcy pulled the silly dog in for a hug. “You big lug. You need a diet.”
Zoe pushed Oreo’s tail out of her face. “Think he saw us?” she asked, panicked.
“Nah,” Darcy said.
Zoe let out a relieved breath. “Really?”
“No.” Darcy grinned and sat up. “He totally saw us.”
Oh for God’s sake. The guy’s a dentist, she reminded herself. By definition, that meant he most likely was a people person, right? Right, she decided. And him being a people person was a good thing since one of them needed to know what they were doing.
She and Darcy—and Oreo—crawled away from the window and stood.
“Feels a little like old times, doesn’t it?” Darcy asked, dusting herself off. “Remember when we sneaked out of the house to do that midnight full moon climb up White Eagle with the Connelly brothers? We climbed out the window and got caught by Grandpa and were grounded for the rest of the summer.”
“That was you and Wyatt,” Zoe said. Their brother had always been able to find trouble. “I never got grounded.”
“That’s right. Wyatt was way more fun than you.”
Zoe slipped into a pair of flats and Darcy rolled her eyes.
“What’s wrong with the flats?” Zoe asked. “You wear flats all the time.”
“Yes, because I have a spinal injury that makes me want to drop to the floor and curl up in a ball whenever I wear heels,” Darcy pointed out. “You don’t have such an excuse. Plus you have legs a mile long that look amazing in heels, which makes me hate you just a little bit.”
“Flats,” Zoe insisted.
“Fine. So what do we know about this guy?”
“He’s a dentist from Hennessey Flats,” Zoe said. “Karen set me up with him. He’s her neighbor.”
“The Karen who does your hair, the Karen who’s been married and divorced three times?” Darcy asked.
“Sooooooo,” Darcy said, “don’t you think if her neighbor was hot, she’d date him herself, if not make him husband number four?”
Well, crap. She hadn’t thought of that.
“Plus . . . a dentist?” Darcy asked doubtfully.
“What’s wrong with him being a dentist? At least he’s gainfully employed.”
“Nothing’s wrong with it,” Darcy said reasonably. “If you want to sleep with a guy whose hands have been inside other people’s mouths all day long. Do you know how many germs that is? A million. A million trillion.”
Zoe shuddered. “Great. Thanks for that. Don’t you have somewhere to be?”
“Yep,” Darcy said, but moved back to the window. “You got a reprieve; he stopped to take a call.”
Zoe grabbed her purse and turned to Oreo. “Hold down the fort for Mommy, okay?”
Darcy snorted. “If a bad guy showed up, he’d hide in your closet.”
This was probably true but the big, goofy dog was the only home security system she had right now. In the past few months both Wyatt and Darcy had moved out, Wyatt to live with his fiancée, Emily, and Darcy to live with her boyfriend, AJ.
Zoe had told herself she was good with that. Sure, she missed bossing them around as she’d been doing since the dawn of time because one, their foreign diplomat parents had never seemed to notice that they’d had children, and two, well, Zoe kind of just loved to boss people around. But she wasn’t going to complain. Not when she’d seen just about every corner of the world and knew exactly how good she really had it right here in Sunshine, Idaho, alone or not.