It's in His Kiss(7)

By: Jill Shalvis


His mother was in a grave. That was sad and tragic, and she knew later she’d think about it and mourn for them. But for right now, she wanted assurances. “Your word will do.”

“I’m sure I got the spider.”

Whew. She sagged in relief. “Okay, then. Thank you.”

“I don’t suppose you’d do those moves again.”

Was he laughing at her? She narrowed her eyes at him because yeah, he was laughing at her. “I don’t suppose.”

“Shame,” he said, and then he was gone.

Becca went cautiously back inside. She glared at her bathroom mirror for a few minutes and told herself she was fine, move on.

She was really good at that, moving on. She stood in the center of the drafty space with her two suitcases, her portable piano keyboard, and her pride. There were a few other things, too. Fear. Nerves. Worry. But she’d done it, she’d made the move to reclaim her life, and at the realization a new feeling settled into her chest, pushing out some of the anxiety.

Hope.

Nightfall hit in earnest, and she had nothing to do with herself. No WiFi, no cable. Just her imagination. When it kicked in gear, picturing the relatives of the doomed spider creeping out of the woodwork to stalk her, she hurriedly pulled out her e-reader to distract herself. It was an older model, and she had to hold up a flashlight to read by. She could’ve left an overhead light on, but then she’d have to get out of bed later to turn it off. This wasn’t a new problem. She couldn’t have said how many times in the past she’d dropped the flashlight and e-reader on her face while trying to read in bed, and sure enough, twenty minutes in, she dropped the flashlight and e-reader on her face.

Giving up, she drove into town, found a local bar and grill named, of all things, the Love Shack. She ordered a pizza, took it back to her place, and ate alone staring out the huge windows.

The view was an inky black sky, a slice of equally inky black ocean, and the alley that ran perpendicular from the street between the other warehouses.

Three guys were carrying what looked like scuba gear into Sexy Grumpy Surfer’s warehouse. Three hot guys, one of them Sexy Grumpy Surfer himself. They were laughing and talking as they made several trips.

Interesting. Sexy Grumpy Surfer could laugh . . .

She watched while eating her pizza and thought maybe she didn’t need cable after all.

It was quiet when, an hour later, she walked outside with the empty pizza box, down the dark alley to the Dumpster. Real dark. There was no sign of a single soul now, and Becca hummed a little tune to herself to keep from freaking out, one of her own.

Not that it helped. A sound startled her, and she nearly jumped right out of her skin.

About five feet ahead, three sets of glowing eyes turned her way.

Raccoons.

They were sitting on the Dumpster, having a feast. She laughed at herself, but swallowed her amusement when the six eyes narrowed on her, all accusatory-like. “Sorry,” she said. “But I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to be foraging around back here.”

The raccoon closest to her growled.

Yikes. Becca lifted her hands. “You know what? None of my business. Carry on.” Whirling to leave, she had taken one step when she suddenly found herself pinned against the wall by a big, hard, sculpted, warm body, two big hands at either side of her face. She gasped in shock, and at the sound, her captor went still as well. Then his thumbs were at her jaw, forcing her to look up at him.

“It’s you,” he said, and she recognized his voice. Sexy Grumpy Surfer. As fast as she’d been pinned, she was unpinned. “What are you doing?” he wanted to know.

Her mouth dropped open. “What am I doing? How about what are you doing? You scared me half to death.”

“I thought you were following me.”

“No.” But okay, she had been watching him earlier—two entirely different things, she told herself. “I was just talking to the raccoons—” She gestured to where they’d been rifling through the trash, but they were long gone, the traitors. Shakily she started to bend to pick up her fallen pizza box, but he retrieved it for her, tossing it into the Dumpster.

“You need to be careful,” he said.