Long Way Home (Chapter Three, page 2 of 6)

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"No worries. I mean, I haven't seen you since we graduated. You look amazing." He knew he should probably reel in his enthusiasm, but he couldn't help himself. He was still suffering from the shock of seeing her again.

"Thank you. I'll just say you haven't changed a bit and call it even."

"Ah, but I have. More meat on the bones. I was so thin in high school, I was practically invisible." He chuckled. "Apparently, I was invisible."

Despite her bleak mood, Alexis found herself warming to him. "Don't take it personally. I don't remember much from high school, except that I was desperate to leave. It seems like another lifetime."

"Join Facebook. Everybody's there and there's nowhere to hide. You can relive high school every day on your computer or phone or whatever device you're permanently attached to." He shook his head ruefully.

"If I'm on my computer, it's because I'm working," she said. "No distractions allowed."

He brightened. "Are you a writer? That's what you were into, wasn't it?"

Alexis registered disbelief. She wasn't used to being caught off-guard. Between

Owen and this guy, she felt completely unsettled.

"I used to write poems," she admitted reluctantly. "How do you remember that?

Hell, I barely remember."

"I played guitar. I guess I paid attention to the people who seemed to have similar interests. I still write and play music. That's how I started bartending, so I could stay flexible but pay the bills. Now I just enjoy doing both." He leaned casually against the bar and Alexis suspected he passed many an evening like this, chatting to pretty women.

"How about you?"

"Well, I'm definitely not a poet."

He appeared so crestfallen that she almost felt sorry to disappoint him. "Oh, that's too bad. I was sure you'd do it. Fire in the belly and all."

Tyler paused to let the memory in. Even as a teenager, he'd admired her focus. She'd had a fiery determination that other girls lacked. He'd found her sexy as a teenager and he definitely found her sexy now.

"Fire in the belly?" she repeated.

"You were always on the go. Could never tell whether you were running toward something or away from it."

She smiled wryly. "A bit of both, I would say."

"So what do you do now?"

"I'm a whore," she announced after a dramatic pause.

Tyler raised an eyebrow, waiting for her to elaborate. He was confident that

Alexis MacAdams had not turned to prostitution.

"Well, I screw people for money. Same thing."

He wagged a finger at her. "Ah, you must work for the government."

"Close. Greedy, fat cat lawyer at your service." She tilted her chin thoughtfully.

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