Home > Some like It Wild (The Wild Ones #2)(9)

Some like It Wild (The Wild Ones #2)(9)
Author: M. Leighton

Then it hits me. And my embarrassment triples.

I freakin’ drove back to stare at freakin’ Jake Theopolis and let my freakin’ car run out of freakin’ gas!

Dear God, just let me die!

I close my eyes and lean forward to rest my forehead on the steering wheel. For one fleeting moment in time, I think, Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be back in church when I open my eyes, and that none of this is real. That I didn’t just run my car out of gas to gawk at a guy. And then get discovered doing it.

But, alas, I’m not so fortunate. When I crack my lids and look straight ahead at my dash, I see the needle of accusation pointing to the E of humiliation on my gas gauge.

In the absence of any kind of intelligible speech on my part, Jake leans into the car and takes a look at the dials, too. He smells like soap and cinnamon, and I notice that he’s chewing a toothpick again.

He turns his head toward me, catching me looking at him. His amber eyes flash and his lips spread into a grin as he wiggles the toothpick between them.

“I’ve never had a girl run out of gas just to get my attention before.”

My face burns and my mouth works itself open and closed like that of a fish out of water as I try to deny it. But the words won’t come, mainly because they’re only half-truths. It wasn’t purposeful, but still, I let myself run out of gas because of Jake Theopolis. There’s just no getting around it. “That’s ridiculous!” I finally manage.

“Is it now?” Up close, I can count every long, black lash that surrounds his warm eyes, and all coherent thought goes right out the window. “Either way, you’re mine now, so let’s get this car out of the road.” Before I can argue, Jake backs away and puts his shoulder against the frame of the window. “Put it in neutral,” he shouts. I do as he says, not really having much choice.

With a grunt, Jake pushes until the car starts to roll. “Steer it to the curb,” he instructs, which I do. In no time, he has used his admittedly impressive strength to get the car out of the road. He walks around the front of the car and opens my door. “Set your emergency brake and roll up the windows.” When I’ve done both, he reaches into the car and takes my hand. “Now, come with me.”

I grab my purse and let Jake tow me back toward the fire station. “I didn’t lock the doors,” I tell him.

Jake grins down at me. “You’re worried about that in this town? No one would dare vandalize the preacher’s daughter’s car. They’d be afraid of getting struck by lightning.”

“What if they don’t know it’s my car?” I ask, ignoring his teasing.

He stops suddenly and turns toward me. “I guarantee you that everyone in this town knows. You make people notice you whether you intend to or not.” His eyes rake me from head to toe. “You just can’t help it. You have this touch-me-not quality about you that makes people want to touch. Even dressed like this. I’ve never found church clothes to be attractive until right this minute.” He leans in to whisper in my ear, “I’ve never wanted to peel them off someone before, either.”

Chills shoot down my arms and chest, making me glad I wore layers, even though they’re light ones. I can feel my ni**les pucker into pebbles and I’d hate for him to notice something like that.

“You really have no shame, do you?” I ask.

Jake’s grin returns, more wicked than ever. “Not one bit.”

He tugs me forward and on to his Jeep. “Where are we going?” I ask as I climb inside. It smells like him. Soap and man. Clean, yet dirty. Sexy.

He doesn’t answer me. Instead, he yells to the men gathered at the door, watching the spectacle. “See you ass**les tomorrow. I’m taking her to get some gas.”

I wait until Jake is situated behind the wheel and the motor is running before I speak. “Assholes? Friends of yours, I presume?”


“They’re not? Then what are you doing here?”

“I’m going to be working here.”

“Working here? Doing what?”

“Fighting fires. I’m a fireman.”

Oh precious God! He’s a fireman.

Big, long hoses and sweaty skin flash through my mind.

With a wink that says he knows exactly what I’m thinking, Jake backs out of the parking lot. “So if you have any fires that need to be . . . put out, just let me know.”

I resist the urge to fan my hot face as we turn onto the main road. I make no reply to his comment; I just focus on the road ahead.

I’m counting the seconds until we get to the gas station when Jake surprises me by stopping right in the middle of the road. I turn my puzzled gaze to him just as the car behind us honks. “What are you doing?” I ask.

Jake doesn’t respond; he just watches me. His golden eyes are narrowed on me, turning my bones to warm liquid goo.

“Come to the Blue Hole with me. You look like you could use a little fun.”

“I-I don’t think—I mean, I don’t think I should—”

“I’m not inviting you to an orgy, Laney,” Jake interrupts. “It’s just a few locals getting together for some hot dogs and beer, and some music. One of my high school buddies will be there. He plays with Saltwater Creek.”

Saltwater Creek is a local band. I know this because my father has disapproved of them for the last decade.

“That doesn’t sound like—”

Before I can finish, he butts in again.

“Rather than put so much energy into making excuses, why don’t you just come with me? It’ll do you good. I promise.”

Years of my father’s warnings and my mother’s advice, coupled with a lifetime of knowing exactly who and what I want give me pause. But before I can turn him down, something else bubbles up. Some part of me that is inexplicably drawn to Jake, to the freedom he represents. He’s nothing like what I’ve ever thought I wanted or needed in my life, yet, at the same time, he feels like everything I want and need in my life right now.

If I go back to my car, there is only the drive back to my parents’ house awaiting me. That and possibly another run-in with Tori, which is not something I really want to tackle right now. But if I go with Jake . . .

Before I can think better of it, I find myself agreeing. “Okay. I’ll go. But if I need to leave, you have to promise to bring me back to my car.”

“Damn, it sounds like you think I’m going to kidnap you.”

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