Beautiful Distraction(5)

By: J.C. Reed

In spite of his harmless words, I can feel what he’s thinking.

“Owe you?” I laugh. “Why are you like this? You don’t even know me.”

“In my line of work, I don’t have time to waste, especially not when I like what I see.” He peers behind him. I follow his line of sight to the long queue in front of the club.

What is it that he does?

Is he a pimp?

A drug lord?

I’m fascinated and curious as hell.

I almost take the bait and ask, but bite my tongue to stop myself before I do.

“Sorry, I think I’ll pass. You’re not my type.” I take a step back to put some distance between us. A pang of disappointment flashes across his face, but he seems to get the message.

“I’m everybody’s type,” he says. “You just have to realize it.”

I have no doubt about that, but I keep my stony expression in place, proud that I’ve just rejected the hottest guy I’ve ever seen. Later, in the loneliness and privacy of my four walls, I’ll probably feel differently.

His flirty expression seems to change before my eyes.

Yeah, he definitely got the memo.

His gaze travels the length of my Ford, assessing it with what I assume are knowing eyes. Without waiting for my reply, he pulls his wallet out of his back pocket and begins writing a check that he goes on to squeeze into my hand. I peer at the sum he’s just agreed to pay, and my mouth goes dry.

Holy cow.

That’s a lot of money.

My Ford’s not worth that much.

“This should cover your repairs, though my advice is to buy a new car.”

My gaze jumps from the stark white piece of paper to his smug expression and then back to the check. I thought I was angry before, but it was nothing compared to what I’m feeling now.

The lump sum he’s offering is enough to cover the cost of a new car.

My heart pumps so hard, it might just be about to burst out of my chest…and not in a good way.

I’m humiliated…and furious.

Not because his gesture implies that the accident was all his fault and he’s basically in my debt. I’m furious because the smugness in his expression tells me he’s convinced of the exact opposite.

He feels sorry for me, and his generous check is basically a handout.

A pity check.

The audacity!

Is that the reason why he hit on me in the first place? Because he thought I might be poor and impressed by his flashy car and clothes, and consequently eager to spread my legs for him just because he’s privileged?

“What do you think? Is this enough?” he prompts impatiently.

Ignoring his questions, I smile sweetly and step closer.

The plan is to look straight into his eyes and tell him where he can shove his check. But instead, I find myself having to tilt my head back to look all the way up into a pair of sinfully green eyes the color of deep, dark forests and haunted meadows. Somehow, my frosty stance doesn’t look as confident and significant as I had planned it to be.

In fact, his height intimidates me and I almost choke on my words.

“Keep it. I don’t want your money,” I push out through gritted teeth. “And there’s no way I’d ever sleep with you. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever. Got it?”

With shaky fingers, I throw his check at him, careful not to touch him in any way.

His brows rise. Slowly, his smile dies on his lips.

“I’m not demanding that you—”

I’m no longer listening as I turn my back to him and jump into my car, then slam the door shut.

I avoid looking at him as I start the engine, but I can feel his gaze on me, and it’s burning my skin. My insides are on fire, even though my anger seems to have evaporated into the balmy night.

Without looking back, I speed past him. I don’t live in his world, so I know I’ll never see him again. But that doesn’t make his eyes easily forgotten, nor does the knowledge dull the delicious throb between my legs.

The fact still remains: he was a jerk.

Some arrogant bastard I’ll never see again.

I’d rather eat his check before I accept a handout from a stranger with the sick fantasy of settling it in private—in his bed.


Three months later

A bitch of a hurricane is brewing up. It’s been all over the news for the past few days. I was too wrapped up in my research for my new article to watch TV or read the headlines, but Mandy has no excuse for dragging me along on this road trip through Montana with dark clouds gathering above our heads.

Okay, maybe she has a reason…in the form of two tickets to see Mile High—the hottest indie band in the world. Too bad the concert’s taking place in Montana, which is probably the reason why it isn’t sold out. I mean, would you drive across half the country to see a pretentious bunch of delusional idiots dry humping the air and lip synching the life out of some auto tune while believing they’re the incarnation of Mozart?