An evocative new small town romance about family loyalty, finding oneself, and falling in love is out this week from Helena Hunting—kicking off a brand new series—and I have a sneak peek for you.
I pull into the spot beside her truck, purposely crowding the driver’s side door. I’m about ten minutes early for my appointment, so instead of heading inside, I cut the engine and wait.
She frowns when she sees the truck, and her eyes turn to slits when she spots the narrow gap I’ve left between our vehicles. The side mirrors are almost touching. Her tongue pokes at the almost-closed gap between her front teeth, and she knocks on the hood of my truck.
“What the heck?” She motions toward the space between our vehicles.
I pretend I can’t hear her and tap my ear. Her brother continues around to the passenger side, not even sparing her a glance.
“You can hear me just fine, asshole!” she shouts.
I can’t help it. I grin. Man, she’s fun to piss off, and it seems to be something I excel at. Annoying her is a bright spot in my otherwise lackluster day.
Her nostrils flare, and she pushes her side mirror in so she can get between the trucks without having to do the limbo. Her face appears in the passenger-side window, eyes on fire. She makes the roll-down-the-window motion with her hand.
I slide across the bench seat and roll it down a couple of inches. She arches a brow, so I roll it down a few more, until it’s below her eye level. She’s not short, but she’s not particularly tall either, so it’s about halfway down. “I got the check, thanks for that.”
“Awesome. Do you think you could move your truck over, oh, say, about a foot?”
I ignore the question. “Did you just come from the lawyer’s office?”
Her elbows jut out, which makes me believe that she’s propped her fists on her hips. “That’s actually none of your business.”
“Or maybe you were visiting the art therapist, talking about your anger issues and such.” I tip my head, waiting for her reaction.
“I don’t have anger issues!”
“Then why are you yelling at me?”
“What is your deal? I don’t get you. This morning you were all ‘gorgeous this’ and ‘beautiful that’ and doing whatever the heck you were doing downtown, and now you’re boxing my damn truck in. Why are you such a confusing asshole?”
“Why do you hate me so much?”
“Because you want to subdivide Bee’s lot. Or sell. Or build a freaking McMansion on it!”
“I’m not subdividing Bee’s lot. Or selling. I already told you that.”
“Why should I believe you?”
“Why shouldn’t you? And this morning your expression said everything, so I figured I’d save that guy from getting punched in the nuts—although I’m kind of regretting that I didn’t do it myself, since he seems to think you’re interested in getting on your back for him. Or your knees.”
“Those were his words, not mine.”
Her lip curls. “Tucker is a delusional jackass. I would do neither of those things, even if he was the last man on earth.”
At least I was right about that.
The horn blares in Dillion’s truck, and she fires the bird at the window behind her. “Just a second, Billy!” She blows out a breath. “Think you’d mind giving me some room to get into my truck?”
I roll the window down the rest of the way and poke my head out. I’m so close to her I can smell her shampoo. Her breath breaks across my cheek. It smells like cherry candy.
I meet her somewhat annoyed gaze. “Guess I’m kinda close, huh?”
“Kinda? There’s no way you could get out of the passenger side without hitting my truck!”
“I could probably manage.”
She rolls her eyes. “Yeah, right.”
I’m having way too much fun with her, so I make a move to open the door.
“What’re you doing? You’re going to crush me!”
“Well, move out of the way and I won’t.”
“And you’re like one of those little windup toys, bouncing around all pissed off.”
“I am not!” She tries to cross her arms, but there isn’t enough room between her and the truck.
I grin, and she frowns, brows furrowing. “Oh my God. Are you doing this on purpose? Was this intentional?” She motions to the lack of space between our vehicles, mouth agape.
My smile widens. “Why would I do that?”
She snaps her mouth shut and points a finger at me. “You’re infuriating.”
“I know. And you’re fun to rile up.” I waggle my brows at her.
“I can’t even.” She turns around between the trucks, though it isn’t easy.
“You’re welcome for saving you from Tucker the Fucker.”
“I didn’t need saving.” She opens her door and shimmies into the driver’s seat.
“Kinda seemed like you did.”
She slams the door closed and turns the engine over. The window whirs down as she puts the truck in gear. “I can hold my own with Tucker.”
“You’re still welcome. Maybe I’ll see you later tonight. I’m planning to take a shower around eight thirty, in case you wanted to schedule your home invasion accordingly!” I shout as she drives away.
Her hand appears, the middle finger aimed at me, as she pulls out of the parking lot and back onto the road.