Page 5 of Lift

When they don’t say anything I finally look up from my phone to see a young person in the driver’s seat with their hat pulled low. I can’t tell if it’s a boy or a girl, but they don’t look old enough to be driving. A kid shouldn’t be in this part of town at this time of night.

“Yeah,” I hear muffled low from the front, but they don’t turn around.

Now I’m convinced it’s a kid who probably stole their parents’ car. What the hell is going on?

“Hey, kid, are you old enough to drive?” I lean forward and they scrunch down in their seat a little. “Hey, I’m talking to you,” I say louder, but again they move away and against the door. The car swerves a little and I start to panic. “What the fu—”

I reach out and grab the kid by the shoulder, and suddenly the car is filled with a scream so loud it hurts my ears.

“Shit,” I curse as the car swerves again and I’m thrown against the door.

The hat has come off, and long sandy-blonde hair tumbles out. The young woman looks over her shoulder with wide panicked eyes as the car comes to a stop. “I have pepper spray, don’t move.”

I glance down and see the spray in her hand and her finger on the button. I hold my hands out with my palms up and try to be as calm as I can. “Whoa, easy. I’m not going to hurt you.”

“I don’t have any money,” she says as she glances towards the console next to her.

I’m no detective, but I’d say she just gave up where she keeps her money. “I don’t want your money. I’m sorry, I thought you were a kid.”

Her eyebrows pull together in confusion and I don’t think she believes me. “What’s your name?” I ask, and I wait a moment before she finally answers me.

“Sloan,” she says, but she still looks scared.

“Okay, Sloan. I’m Harris. I swear to you on the Eagles winning another Super Bowl that I’m not going to hurt you. But if you hit the button on that pepper spray in this car, not only will it blind me, but you’ll get it too.”

She looks at me skeptically and I don’t dare move a muscle. Even though they scream for me to reach for her.

“Didn’t they teach you safety with that thing? You can’t spray it in a confined space. You’ll end up getting it in your eyes and then we’ll both be fucked.”

“I just got it online,” she says, now looking at her hand and becoming more afraid.

“Maybe just thumb through the instructions later. I’m not a threat, Sloan. I honestly just thought a kid had stolen their parents’ car and was driving it around.”

“And they just so happen to be picking up people for money?” She’s pissed again, but she lowers the pepper spray a little.

“I see how saying that out loud sounds ridiculous, but I really just want to go to the grocery store to get some food and then crash in my bed. It’s late and there won’t be cabs around for a while. You were the only driver in the area, so my option is to walk and it’s just over ten miles.” Slowly I reach into my jacket and pull out my money clip. I take out a hundred-dollar bill and hold it out to her. “Please, I’m desperate.”

She narrows her eyes but snatches it out of my hand before I can blink. “As long as you keep your hands to yourself.”

I breathe a sigh of relief as I relax against the leather seat and she starts to drive again. My eyes don’t leave her as she watches me from the rearview mirror with suspicion.

Chapter Three

Sloan

Damn it, I should have read those directions more carefully. What if he’s wrong and this is his way of tricking me? I glance back to his bright blue eyes and even in the dark they shine. He’s so big he takes up most of the backseat, and there would have been no way for me to fight him off.

The GPS beeps at me and I ignore it. I’ve been doing this long enough that I know the best roads to take and where to get the quickest. I’m always a nervous wreck picking up guys this time of night and I never know if a serial killer is going to get in.

Harris doesn’t look the type, though, but how would I really know? I just remember Ted Bundy was a fox back in the day and nobody suspected him. Harris has dark wavy hair and a five o’clock shadow, but it makes sense because it’s the middle of the night. He’s got on a thick sweater and coat, but I can still tell his body is muscle underneath, and though he scared the shit out of me, he’s gorgeous from head to toe. Not to mention he’s got a smile that makes me forget where we’re going.

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