The Look of Love - Bella Andre Page 0,2

decision. It shouldn’t matter to him what she decided.

But, for some strange reason, it did.

* * *

Chloe Peterson had never felt so wet, so miserable…or so desperate. She’d been beating the speed limit for the past couple of hours, before the storm had kicked into overdrive. She’d slowed down considerably on the super-slick pavement, but her tires were old and bald, and before she knew it, her car was skidding off the road.

Straight into a muddy ditch.

It might have been easier—smarter, too—to sit in her car and wait out the storm. But she’d been too keyed up to stay still. She’d needed to keep moving, otherwise the thoughts knocking around in her head were going to catch up with her, so she’d slung her backpack over her shoulders and stepped out into the rain, just as it turned into out-and-out hail.

The hard little pellets hurt her skin, but she’d been glad for the cold, for the sting. Because it gave her something else to focus on, something besides what had happened just hours ago.

She hadn’t been sure exactly where she was—or what she was headed for–but she’d hoped she was walking in the direction of town.

All night long the roads had been strangely empty, but she’d barely starting walking away from her car when she’d realized headlights were coming up behind her.

Fear had knocked into her again as the car pulled over to the side and she’d had to stop to brace herself to withstand it. She was all alone on a dark, wet, country road. She didn’t have her cell phone, and even if she had, she doubted there was enough reception out here in the storm for it to get a signal.

And then a man–a large man–had gotten out of his car and started walking toward her, telling her to get into his car.

No way.

He’d tried to convince her that she was safe with him. He’d said all the right things, but she’d had too much experience with people like that, who easily said one thing, then did another.

“I don’t know you,” she told him. He could be an axe murderer. She had feet. She’d walk and find a place to dry off later.

She could see the frustration on his face, knew he was about to try and reason with her again, when suddenly, the sound of skidding tires came at them. Before she knew what was happening, he was pulling her into his arms. She didn’t have time to think of fighting him, didn’t even consider it when she realized a fast-moving motorcycle was practically on top of them.

She closed her eyes, bracing for impact, when the man effortlessly lifted her and jumped into the ditch, holding her tightly against him.

She opened her eyes just in time to watch the motorcycle’s back tires skid and then finally catch hold just in the place she’d been standing. Her heart, which had all but stopped, started racing again as she watched it speed away.

“Are you okay?”

Chloe looked up at the man who had shielded her from harm with his own body, and for the first time since he’d stepped out of his car, she was hit hard with the realization of just how attractive he was.

No, she silently admitted to herself. Attractive was a paltry word for a man like this. Even in the darkness, she could see that he put other men to shame. As big as she’d first thought, even in the cold rain, he was utterly gorgeous.

And her body was reacting with surprising heat.

Or maybe, she suddenly realized, that heat was coming from the fact that he was still cradling her in his strong arms.

The way he’d moved her out of the way of the too-close motorcycle had her teetering on the edge of trusting him. And on any other night, perhaps it would have been enough. But was it?

They were both splattered with mud from where he’d landed with her in his arms and now that they were safe again, she struggled to stand up, to try and right her thoughts so that she could come to some sort of rational decision.

“Wait a minute,” he said, “let me get us out of here.”

A few moments later, he put her down on the side of the road. “It really isn’t safe to be out here. Not for either of us.”

Common sense told her he was right, and yet, she was still wary. Incredibly so.

But at this very moment what other choice did she have?

Replaying in her