Heading down the aisle, I survey all the options until my eyes land on the white-chocolate pretzels on the top shelf and see the empty spot next to them where the milk-chocolate pretzels should be. A glimpse of foil packaging catches my eye, and I realize there is still a bag that must be stuck at the back of the shelf.
I’m not petite nor tall, but I bend over to place my basket on the ground and then stand on the bottom shelf and reach my hand up. My fingertips barely touch the bag, and even my determination for my snack isn’t enough to distract me from the realization that someone is watching me.
Glancing over my shoulder, I quickly do a double take when I see that the man has his head tipped and he seems to be looking at my ass that admittedly is a little pert in these pants.
But it isn’t just a man. It’s the man.
“You!” I nearly hiss and hop off the shelf.
“Hey, stranger.” His cheeky grin is undeniably sexy, and I would blush if it weren’t for the fact that this man is an asshole.
The guy from a few weeks back when I had a flat tire. It was already a bad day after my interview went horribly—as in I spilled coffee on the principal, and I didn’t seem to answer anything correctly. Then my wandering through Bluetop was a mix of excitement that this place is cute and livable to freaked out because there was no decent coffee. To top it all off, this man stopped on the side of the road like I was candy he could so easily have if he smiled.
Overconfident men irritate me.
Men with cutting jawlines, gorgeous hair, who wear tight white tank tops, with hard muscles and a tattoo which maybe gives an inkling that he has a rugged persona going for him. Plus, men who look like Chris Isaak Wicked Games era, they just darn right infuriate me.
My hip tips out and my hand finds my waist. “Were you checking out my ass?”
Fuck, I did not just say that.
“And if I was?” He seems satisfied, not concerned, that I caught him. Then he has the audacity to reach up and with one sweep grabs the pretzels off the shelf. “I’m a perfect gentleman.” He continues to grin as he holds up the bag of pretzels and shakes it as if he has the prize.
And he does.
“Can I have those?” My hand motions for him to pass them to me.
“No please?” He flashes his eyes to me.
I grumble from his demeanor. “Please can I have the pretzels?”
He looks between the bag and me, pretending to debate, then he tosses them into my basket.
“Uptight girl, you’re back.” He leans against the shelf and magically avoids knocking anything over, as he somehow has mysterious powers.
Licking my lips and looking around, I see that we are alone. “I am.”
“Got the job?” he says, attempting to make conversation.
I do my best to avoid meeting his gaze. Admittedly, he is a bit too smoldering on the eyes for me, and although people generally consider me a nice person, this man brings out the worst of me. It’s as if my body short circuits at the sight of him and I become someone unrecognizable.
Clearing my throat, I straighten my posture and hold my basket close to my stomach, realizing that I am wearing an outfit that must make me look completely disheveled.
“You can handle small-town life?” He continues his line of questioning with his smirk never fading.
My mouth opens as I want to challenge him, but I remind myself that I’m in public. Instead, I swallow my retort. “Actually, yes. Believe it or not, I used to spend summers living with my aunt and uncle who have a farm down near Peoria.”
His eyes grow wide, and he propels off the shelf. “Really? Well then, guess I was wrong about you, shortcake. Or am I right and you just somehow got stuck here… again.” He winks at me.
“Not stuck,” I correct him. “Here of my own free will, and everyone in Bluetop seems lovely, except for the guy who has now checked me out twice.”
“We never established if I was checking out your ass or not. Besides, I helped you get your pretzels, I’m just being chivalrous.” He pretends to touch his heart.
I scoff a laugh because this man is unbelievable. “I’m sure you deserve a trophy,” I say, sarcastic.
He chuckles under his breath. “Oh, I will definitely collect it.” His eyes scan me from head to toe and my entire body comes alive with heat.