He’s slowly pulling me in closer to him, closer to everything I want but can’t have.
“Like no one I’ve ever met before.”
Fuckity fuck, fuck, fuck.
I’m pretty sure he’s thinking about kissing me right now, and I really, really want him to.
God, I want to kiss him so bad.
My lips are readying themselves for the action.
But I can’t. He’s a driver. I can’t get involved with him.
I step away, breaking the moment, and my hand slips from his.
I see disappointment flicker over his face, but I pretend not to see it.
Putting my helmet down on the car, my hand still burns from his touch. I clasp it into a fist to rid myself of the feel of him. I clear my throat. “So, you owe me dinner, Ryan.”
Dinner. Shit. I was supposed to lose, so I could pay for it.
Could I be any dumber? I’m blaming my idiocy on the brain mush he is clearly able to reduce me to.
Turning back to face him with my feelings firmly locked away, I offer a light smile, but I can tell it’s shaky. I just hope he can’t.
He’s still staring at me, the look in his eyes unreadable.
I hold my breath, waiting for him to speak.
Lifting his hand, he runs his fingers through his hair. Then, his lips tip up into a soft smile. “Not that you deserve dinner because you cheated…but technically, you did win. So, fine, I’m buying. What are you in the mood to eat?”
You. I just want you.
Resting my hand on my hip, I tilt my head to the side, clearing my mind of all my wanting-Carrick thoughts. “What am I in the mood for?” I purse my lips and then make my decision. “Local food.”
He smiles. “Great choice. I know just the place to take you.”
WE DROVE FOR ABOUT FORTY MINUTES, and now, Carrick is parking on the street, near what looks to be a market.
Carrick brought us here as he knew the way, but I’m driving back to the hotel later, and I can’t wait to get my hands on this car.
I climb out of the car, joining Carrick on the pavement. “So, where are we going?” I ask, hooking my fingers under the strap of my bag, holding it to me, as we start to walk into the market.
“There’s this great little place just a bit farther up.”
As we walk along, I’m looking at the stalls and storefronts, getting distracted by all the sights and smells—fresh food, clothes, jewelry. There are street artists painting portraits and some old men sitting at a table, playing a board game that looks similar to checkers. All around is traditional-sounding music, one song fading into another.
Then, I see this little kitschy stall lined with what looks to be Disney jewelry, and that’s when I spot it.
“Oh my God, is that a Lightning McQueen necklace?” Stopping, I turn and walk over to the stall.
I’m a bit of a Lightning McQueen fan. Seriously, Cars is the best Disney movie ever. Give me that over Disney princesses any day.
As I approach closer, I see that it is definitely a Lightning McQueen necklace, and it might just be the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s a little McQueen pendant hanging from a silver chain. I’m guessing the chain probably isn’t silver, and my neck will turn green after an hour of wearing it, but I don’t care because I want it.
I curl my hand around the pendant, and I’m just about to ask the man how much it is when I feel Carrick’s heat press up behind me.
“Why are you looking at that Cars necklace like it’s a Tiffany’s diamond?”
I tilt my face to his. “Because to me, it is. What might be one girls’ junk is another girl’s treasure.”
His eyes are sparkling at me in the sunlight. “So, am I to take it that you’re a Cars fan?”
“Um, yeah.” I look at him, astonished that he even has to ask. I mean, who doesn’t like that film? “Aren’t you?”
A smile touches his eyes. “No.”
“What? Why not?”
“Because I’m not five years old.”
That earns him a jab in the ribs from my elbow.
I stare at him, curious. “You’ve never seen the film, have you?”
“How is that even possible?” I exclaim. My hand slipping from the necklace, I turn to face him.
“Because, again, I’m not five years old.”
I give a disappointed shake of my head. “You’re seriously missing out. And you call yourself a race car driver.” Pausing, my hands find my hips. “Seriously, you have to watch this film. It’s amazing. That’s it.” I make a decision. “We’re watching it when you’re free next.”
He presses his lips together, and I can tell he’s holding back a smile. “What are you going to do? Buy it and force me to watch it?”
“No, I already have it on DVD, dopey.”
Something dawns on his face, and I realize my slip up.
“You have it with you, don’t you?”
My cheeks explode with color, my eyes going to my feet. “Maybe,” I mumble.
“You travel around the world and take a Disney DVD with you, don’t you?”
He’s dying to laugh. I can tell.
I’m just dying because he now knows how big of a dork I am.
“It’s my security blanket,” I say defensively.
His fingers find my chin, lifting my face to his. His face is alight with humor. “You know, normal people actually have a real blanket for security.”