I stared at the guy, finding myself at a loss for words. I shouldn't have stopped. I should have kept on driving. I could have been home already, curled up in yoga pants, warm and cozy on my bed, and doing homework. Instead, I was wet, shivering, and trying to defend myself to some random stranger who was convinced I was there to pillage a roadside memorial.
I could have simply retreated to the truck and driven away, but for some deranged reason, I felt the need to proclaim my innocence. Refusing to back down or cower, I returned his stare, trying to think of a proper comeback.
My mother often called me a "smart mouth." I liked to think of myself as quick-witted, but regardless, I found myself at a loss for words, captivated by the twinkle in his eyes and the killer combination of a dazzling smile and dimples. I had no idea guys that sexy even existed outside of Hollywood.
Then again, maybe he was from Hollywood. Something about him seemed familiar, as though I'd seen him somewhere before. Or was it... I tried to picture the few images I'd ever seen of Gavin McGregor. I had never really paid much attention to the tabloids, but I realized that this guy kind of reminded me of him. Maybe they were related.
Gathering my wits, I found the courage to speak. "I know this probably looks weird, but I'm seriously not some crazed fan-girl, and I'm definitely not here to steal this helmet. I was just driving by and decided to stop. Seriously. I was curious about the writing on the cross and just wanted to see what it said." I pointed toward the dedication.
"Really." His squinting, doubt-filled glare didn't falter.
"Yes," I said emphatically. "Really. Look for yourself. You can't read it all. The writing's covered up."
He continued to watch me closely, as though I might grab the helmet and dash off with it, while he slowly circled around the cross to stand beside me. When he stopped only a foot away, I had to remind myself to breathe. It was ridiculous how nervous I was. After all, I didn't know him and there was certainly no need to impress him, but damn if he wasn't absolutely the hottest guy I had ever met--ever.
Standing with his arms crossed, he cocked his head to examine the inscription. Finally, he nodded, pursed his lips, and made a guttural sound in his throat. "Huh. Looks like you're right, Snow White—the helmet's covering the writing."
Since we were almost the same height, I was able to meet his amused gaze straight on when I replied, "Um, yeah. That's what I just said."
The corners of his mouth turned up in a grin. "Well, it's a good cover story, at least."
"It's not a cover story. It's the truth. I have no interest in this Gavin McGregor guy. I mean...I do. I love his music, and I feel bad for his family. I'm just not a—what did you call it? Oh yeah. A crazed fan-girl. That's not my style."
The more I stared at him, the more I became convinced that he had to somehow be related to Gavin McGregor. It had been a while since I'd seen a picture of the late singer, but I was certain there was a resemblance.
"Not your style, huh? You're telling me that you wouldn't have been up at the front of the stage, screaming and throwing yourself at him during a concert?"
"Nah. Screaming and throwing myself at someone has never been my thing. I would have been the one sneaking into his dressing room backstage during the concert to steal his favorite hat." I spoke with as much seriousness as I could muster, fighting to contain a smile. I had managed to push my nerves aside, and I was proud of myself for my witty comeback.
He stared at me for a moment without blinking then finally broke into a smile. "Okay. I get your point. You're not here to steal the helmet."
"Thank you. Now that I think about it, though, what are you doing here? Maybe you're here to steal it."
With one eyebrow raised, he stared at me incredulously. "Seriously? Do I really look like the type of guy who would be obsessed with some pretty-boy pop star?"
"I don't know... Maybe." Were we flirting? I sensed my cheeks turning red and hoped he didn't notice.
About the Book
Only one obstacle stood in our way.
He was a ghost.