She shakes her head, as if she’s shaking off a thought. She points to the end of the block. “Anyway, there’s Yoda. Let’s see how we do.”

I pretend to put my arm around the green dude and snap a selfie, and then Kristen puckers up like she’s going to kiss him, capturing that on her phone. We compare, and I concede. “Why am I not surprised? You definitely win. You kissing Yoda earns all the points.”

She pumps a fist. “Yes, Twenty Questions time.”

I hold up five fingers. “You get five questions.”

She pretends to roll up her sleeves. “All right. Are you ready?”

“Hit me. I’m already warmed up from your barrage of questions last night.”

She arches a brow. “I didn’t think it was a barrage.”

I laugh. “What exactly would you call it?”

“I didn’t think I asked that many.”

“That many? It was a firing squad of questions.” I soften my tone as we near a mural of a flamingo. “But I didn’t mind. I enjoyed them all. I was thoroughly, completely entertained to the max.”

She smiles. “Me too. Our conversations have been fun.”

But it does feel like we’ve had them separately, and I’m not sure why.

11

Kristen

I can’t quite put my finger on it.

It’s almost as if he’s not the guy I’ve been chatting with on the dating site.

But he looks exactly like his online photo, which is rare. Usually they’re a few years off, give or take. This guy looks precisely like his shot, almost like his picture was snapped a few days ago. Plus, Mac is so handsome, it’s almost unreal.

Still, it’s as if we’re in parallel worlds—close, but not quite running on the same track.

So even though I’ve earned my five questions, and even though I should make them meaningful, getting-to-know-you ones, like What book would you read if stranded on a desert island?, or ones that highlight a person’s sense of humor, like If you’re clean when you get out of the shower, how does a towel become dirty?, I opt for something simpler in the hope that I can figure out if we’re connecting or disconnecting.

I gesture to the mural of the flamingo. “Wouldn’t it be funny if the color of our hair was a result of our diet?” He gives me a look that says I’m borderline bonkers, so I explain. “Flamingos are pink because of the pigments in their food. Carotenoids. And they eat pink food—shrimp, algae, crustaceans . . .”

He points to the saucy birds ornamenting the side of a building. “That does sound familiar. I remember learning that at some point. Now, have you ever thought about this twist—what if they ate blue fish or green birds? Would they be a different color?”

“We’d probably have emerald-green flamingos all over our mugs, license plates, and other gift shop trinkets.”

His fingers grip his skull then explode. “A whole different spectrum of tchotchkes.”

“It’s odd, isn’t it? I’m pretty sure in this flamingo-carotenoid universe, I’d be green. I’m secretly addicted to kale.”

He looks at his watch. “I’m going to have to leave right now.”

“Why?” I laugh.

He crosses his arms. They’re quite toned, I notice. His biceps look nice and strong and would feel great wrapped around me, I bet. A zing shoots down my chest as he shakes his head. “No one is secretly addicted to kale. So you’re either an alien or a robot or a celebrity on a fad diet, and I can’t date any of those.”

I smile. I love that he keeps saying “date.” It makes me feel like we’re both enjoying this in equal amounts.

I lean toward connecting.

I hold up my hand like I’m taking an oath. “I do. I love it. I make no bones about it.”

“No one loves kale. It takes like ten years to finish one leaf.”

“You’ve never had my roasted kale with sunflower seeds,” I say, as if I’m offering a seductive treat.

“While I do like the way you talk it up, I’m sure I will never eat it.” He steps closer. “Feel free to offer something else though.”

“Chocolate cookies with raisins?” I purr.

He laughs. Definitely connecting.

“Okay, what color would your hair be?” I ask, using this chance to check him out more. The evening sun glints off his dark-blond hair, highlighting strands of gold and showing off how soft it looks. I bet it’d feel great slipping through my fingers as I kissed him.

Oh hell. Do I ever want to kiss him. I barely know him, but what I know I like enough to want to crush my lips to his and find out if our chemistry extends to kisses.

“Blue.”

“Your hair would be blue?” I ask.

“Blueberries. That’s a true addiction. They’re delicious, juicy, pretty, and you can down a whole basket in seconds flat. Bonus—blueberries even taste good in chocolate.”

We resume our walk past the graffiti art. “You’d look cute with blue hair.”


Tags: Lauren Blakely Romance
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