His Perfect Neighbor by Heather Reed

Chapter Three

At five minutes until six, Chris paced the short walkway between the foot of the building’s outside stairs and the gravel driveway at the rear of the building. His agent had called shortly before he’d had to leave, and announced there would be a mini press conference before the unveiling of his dolphin fountain.

Being in the spotlight had never been ideal for him. His palms sweated, his heart raced, and, on very rare occasions, he broke out in hives. Before he had time to worry further, the door at the top of the steps opened.

The moment he looked up, his breath caught in his throat, his mind cleared, and for a brief second he was sure his heart had stopped. All he could do is watch, open mouthed, as the beautiful lady descended the stairs.

Faintly, he wondered who she was and why she’d been upstairs, but decided he really needed to focus his remaining time before Eleanor arrived going over his speech. But when he would have turned back to pacing, he couldn’t.

He’d caught the scent of jasmine.

"Hi." The lovely lady brushed her cinnamon colored hair across her right shoulder and reached out her hand. "I’m Regina. Your neighbor."

"Uh…" Chris took her hand in his and stared into her bottle green eyes. "My neighbor?"

Regina grinned sheepishly, and Chris noticed the slight cleft in her upper lip. "Yeah."

"So Eleanor is…"

"My grandmother. She owns the building and antique shop." Regina extracted her hand from his and smoothed her skirt. "She’s a bit of a character. I understand you came by yesterday to thank me for the baked goods."

"Yes. But I thought–"

"She allowed you to think that it was her. I’m sorry. I just found out this afternoon what she’d done. Normally, I’d have found out sooner and could have possibly saved us both some discomfort. I’ve tried to explain to her that she can’t accept or set up blind dates for me, but…" Regina shrugged.

Chris shoved his hands into his pockets and rocked back on his heels. "So, does that mean you won’t accompany me to dinner and the opening?"

"Do you still want me to?"

Chris heard the surprise in Regina’s voice and grinned. "Why wouldn’t I?"

Her eyes twinkled as she looped her arm through his. "No reason. Shall we go?"