With her tennis racquet swinging by her side, Evelyn skipped across the parking lot to the Island Club pro shop. More like a school girl than the fifty-five-year-old spinster she was. With all hope of love buried in her past and given up on in her future, she’d met Thomas. God sure did have a sense of humor. Warmth filled her.

Thomas seemed to like her, but did he treat all his tennis students this way? Maybe, but maybe not, and a girl could dream. Her numerical age might not describe her as a girl, but the tingles that ran up her arms when he helped her with her serve, sure left her as giddy as one.

Evelyn inhaled and breathed out slowly, placing her hand on the door handle. Hopefully, the warmth of her cheeks would pass as youthfulness. She opened the door and stepped into the shop, gliding to the counter to sign in for her lesson.

“Good afternoon, Ms. Spencer. Thomas said to let you know that your lesson will be with Judy today.” Lainey bobbed her head to the music emanating from her phone.

Evelyn’s heart dropped like one of her serves that didn’t quite cross the net. She gripped the edge of the counter. “Are you certain? There must be a mistake. He didn’t say anything to me. Please check again.” She pursed her lips.

“Yep.” She shrugged. “Like, don’t shoot the messenger.”

Evelyn dropped her head and turned.

“Wait. I just saw this note on the schedule.”

Evelyn’s heart skittered as she glanced over her shoulder.

Lainey waved a fluorescent-yellow sticky note. How had she missed that—flighty girl. “It says for you to stop by Thomas’s office before your lesson.”

Evelyn chewed her lip as she walked down the hall. Maybe he just had a conflict. Surely, he wouldn’t dump her before they’d even gone out. What had happened at the last lesson that would have caused him to assign her to Judy? They’d sat on the bench and talked for over an hour. Maybe he was bored the whole time, but he’d laughed, and when it was time to leave, he walked her to her car, guiding her with his hand on her back.

She huffed. She was too old for this emotional roller coaster. Maybe working with Judy was for the best. She slid around the door, twisting the racquet in her hand. Thomas hunched over his desk, reading a magazine. It didn’t look like he had a conflict.

She swallowed. “Knock, knock. Lainey told me to stop by, but if you’re busy, I can come back later.” She spun around, heading back into the safety of the hall.

“Wait. Hold on.” Thomas was by her side, grasping her elbow.

Shivers ran up her arms.

He tugged her into the office, pulling the door shut behind them. “I have something for you, and I want to ask you something.” He reached around her—his other hand sliding to her hip.

Her pulse pounded, and she squeezed her eyes shut, holding her breath. His minty orange scent still delighting her nose.

“Here. Open your eyes, silly.” He chuckled.

She peeked through half-open lids.

“Do you like them?” He beamed behind a large bouquet of sunflowers—her favorites.

“Uh, yes. They’re amazing.” She blinked, taking them. “But, I’m a little confused. First, you cancel my lesson, and now you’re giving me flowers.”

He took a step back, reclining on his desk. He rubbed his hands on his shorts and studied her.

What was he going to say? Maybe she didn’t want to know. Why did she always have to be so pushy?

“I mean . . . never mind . . . thank you.” She stepped backward, placing a hand on the doorknob.

“Wait. I’m sorry about the lesson.” He raked his hand through his hair. “It’s just that after our last lesson . . . well . . . I like spending time with you . . . and there’s this club policy about dating students . . . and I was hoping maybe you would have dinner with m—”

“Yes.” She giggled. “Yes, yes, yes.”