“Have you ever thought about being a model?” I ask as he steps one leg inside the spa and pauses. After only a moment, he sits down on the other side and looks out at the city lights.

“When I lived in New York, I had someone come up to me and offer me a modeling job, but I thought they were only saying it to mess with me. was the one perusing models to paint and not used to being on the other side. I didn’t…” He looks at me now, his eyes shadowed with an emotion I can’t name.

“Would you now? You’re still young and I don’t know what you looked like then, but you really are a beautiful man, Bodhi. Plenty of people will be knocking on your door now that I’ve given you a haircut and your beard is gone.”

Did he purposely keep his hair long to avoid people?

“You can ask. I see it all over your face even in the dim light.” He shifts a little to look out more at the city than me.

“You don’t have to talk about anything that makes you uncomfortable. Ever. All you have to do is say the word. There’s something about you that makes me want to know every little thing about you, but I can also tell you don’t like talking about yourself much.”

“Growing up we didn’t have much money, and I was alwaysgrowing too fast. My mother couldn’t keep up with my growth spurts, so my clothes were almost always too small for me.” He glances at me but goes back to looking at the lights. I don’t fault him. Sometimes it’s easier if you don’t have to look at the person you’re speaking to. “I’ve always been quiet. I guess too quiet because from the time I can remember kids were always making fun of me. Either for my clothes that weren’t quite long enough, not clean enough, or for not having any friends.”

I gasp and cover my mouth with my hand. Why are children so cruel? 

“I got used to not having any friends and hearing all their comments behind my back. It got better for a little while in high school. I shot up again and started lifting weights which caught all the girls’ eyes. I know most boys don’t know how to talk to girls or women, but I wasn’t used to talking to anyone but my mom, and soon enough the girls who tried to talk to me or go out with me and use me started to whisper about me too.” Bodhi tips back his beer and finishes it.

Secret Admirer Exclusive Excerpt #3

“I have no preconceived notions about you. Show me who you are Bodhi, and that’s who I’ll believe you are. Can you do that?” Her hand rubs up and down my arm and, in that moment, I’d do anything for her even give my life if it came down to it.

The lump in my throat prevents me from speaking. All I can do is nod my head as I stare at the amazing women in front of me. 

“Good. Now if you haven’t noticed I don’t live too close to town. Before I lived not far from the salon where I could easily stop and get something to eat on my way home or have it delivered. While I can still grab something on the way home, no one but pizza places deliver. I had pizza every night while I moved in so I’m over it for now. Having a guest though is pushing me to actually use that kitchen.” Her eyes shine with sincerity. “Plus, it’s healthier.”

“I know how to make spaghetti,” I blurt out making her laugh. “I can make dinner if you still want me to stay.”

“Oh, you’re not getting out of staying with me.” She points out the door. “Grab your bag so we can get home before it gets dark because while I was sitting here chilling out, I was daydreaming about ordering takeout from The Cheesecake Factory.”

I can’t help but laugh at her. “I thought you said you wanted to eat healthy and that’s not healthy.”

“What if I promise to eat healthy for the rest of the weekend?” She peers up at me, her big blue eyes filled with hope. 

I play along because she can do whatever she wants. It’s her house and I won’t be there to hold her accountable if she slips up. “How can I deny you when you look at me like that?” 

Somehow, she manages for her eyes to become bigger. Bluer. “Like what?” 

Does she really not know? She has to.

“With cute puppy dog eyes filled with hope,” I answer.

“I wasn’t doing that, was I?” she asks, astounded. 

She really doesn’t know. How has she made it this far in life and not know the power she holds with one single look?