Home > Twisted Perfection (Rosemary Beach #5)

Twisted Perfection (Rosemary Beach #5)
Author: Abbi Glines

Four months ago


When Braden gave me her old car and told me to get out and see the world, neither of us thought about the fact that I didn’t know how to fill it up with gas. I had had my driver’s license for only three months. And I’d actually had a car to drive for only five hours. Pumping gas wasn’t something I needed to know until now.

I reached into my purse and pulled out my phone. I’d call Braden and see if she could talk me through this. She was on her honeymoon and I hated to interrupt her, though. When she’d shoved her keys into my hand earlier today and told me that she wanted me to “Go explore. Find your life, Della,” I’d been so caught up in the awesomeness of her gesture that I didn’t think to ask anything else. I’d simply hugged her and watched as she ran off with her new husband, Kent Fredrick, and crawled into the back of a limo.

The fact that I couldn’t pump gas had never crossed my mind. Until now. My tank was so empty I’d coasted into this small service station in some beach town in the middle of nowhere. Laughing at myself, I listened as Braden’s voice said, “I’m not available. If you want to reach me I suggest you hang up and text me.” Her voice mail. She was probably on a plane. I was going to have to figure this one out all on my own.

I stepped out of the small, faded red Honda Civic. Luckily I’d pulled up to the gas pump on the correct side. There was the little door I knew the nozzle went in. I had seen Braden do this before. I could do this. Maybe.

My first problem was that I couldn’t figure out how to open this magical little door. It was there. I could see it, but it had no handle. I stared at it a moment, then glanced around to see if there was anyone near me who didn’t look scary. I needed some help. It had taken two solid years of counseling to get me to speak to strangers. Now I did it often. Braden really had more to do with that than the psychologist I’d been forced to see weekly. Braden had pushed me out into the world and taught me how to live.

I had the quote “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” by Franklin D. Roosevelt, taped to my bathroom mirror. I read it daily, or at least I had been, for the past three years. I silently quoted that in my head, and my body relaxed. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t my mother. I was Della Sloane and I was on a road trip to find myself.

“You okay? Need some help?” A deep, smooth drawl startled me and I jerked my head around to see a guy smiling at me from the other side of the gas pump. His dark brown eyes appeared to twinkle with laughter as he stared back at me. I didn’t have much experience with guys, but I had enough to know that even when they were gorgeous, like this one, it didn’t make them a good person. I had lost my virginity to a smooth-talking Southern boy with a smile that made panties drop all over the place. It had been the worst experience of my life. But this guy might be helpful. He wasn’t offering sex. He was offering to help me. At least I thought he was.

“I can’t . . . I, um . . . See, I’ve never . . .” God, I couldn’t even say it. How did a nineteen-year-old girl explain that she didn’t know how to pump gas? Laughter slowly bubbled up in my chest, and I covered my mouth. He was going to think I was insane. I swallowed my laughter the best I could and smiled up at him. “I don’t know how to pump gas.”

The guy’s elegant dark eyebrows shot up, and he studied me a moment. I guess he was trying to decide if this was true or not. If he only knew. There was so much I didn’t have a clue about. Braden had been trying to educate me in the ways of the world but she was married now and it was time I figured things out without her as my crutch.

“How old are you?” he asked, and I noticed his eyes slowly scan my body. I didn’t look like a teenager. My body had been fully developed by the time I was sixteen. I could tell he was trying to figure this one out. Youth would be the only explanation he could come up with for the fact that I couldn’t pump gas.

“I’m nineteen, but I’ve not been driving that long and this is the first time I’ve had to pump gas.” I sighed and then chuckled. This sounded ridiculous, even to me. “I know it sounds hard to believe, but honestly, I need some help. If you could just get me started, I can do this.” I looked back at his big, fancy truck. It was all shiny and black. It fit him and his tall, muscular body, olive complexion, and dark hair. He was one of those sexy, beautiful, dangerous ones. I could tell that by the smirk on his face.

When he stepped around the corner, I realized that he was much taller than I had originally thought. But then, I was only five foot five. The snug fit of his jeans and dark brown leather work boots did really good things to his legs. I realized a little too late that I was staring and jerked my gaze up to meet his amused one. He had a really nice smile. All-white, perfect teeth framed by a face that looked like it hadn’t seen a razor in a few days. His scruffy appearance didn’t fit with his expensive truck.

“You need to pop this little door open first,” he said, tapping his knuckle on it. The way his lips curled seductively around his words fascinated me to the point that I worried I’d missed further instructions. I was just about to ask when he walked around me and opened the driver’s door to the car. He bent over, giving me an unobstructed view of his jeans tightening over a delicious firm backside. I really liked this view.

The magical door that had baffled me sprang open and startled me. I squealed and spun around to see it now standing open. “Oh!” I exclaimed in excitement. “How did you do that?”

His large, warm body came up behind me and I could smell grass and something richer . . . maybe leather. The alluring scents engulfed me. Seeing as I wasn’t one to miss an opportunity (I’d missed too many of those in my life), I moved back slightly, just enough so my back was touching his chest.

He didn’t move away from me invading his personal space. Instead, he’d lowered his head to talk into my ear. His voice was low and rumbled deliciously. “I pressed the gas door button. It’s in your car, just under your dash.”

“Oh” was all I could think of to say as a response.

A low chuckle in his chest vibrated against my shoulders. “You want me to show you how to actually put the gas in the car now?”

Yes, that would be nice, but I really enjoyed standing like this, too. I managed a nod, thankful that his body didn’t move. Maybe he liked the physical contact just as much as I did. This was really a bad idea. I should move. Guys like him didn’t treat women well. Why did they have to smell and look so wonderful?

“You’re gonna have to let me get around you, sweetheart.” His warm breath heated up the hair covering my sensitive ear. I tried not to shiver as I managed a nod and hurriedly moved away to press my back against the car so he could get past.

Our chests brushed lightly as he maneuvered around me, holding my eyes with his penetrating gaze. The warm chocolate brown with gold flecks in them didn’t seem so amused anymore.

I swallowed hard and glanced down. Once he was safely away from my body, I decided it was time to watch him pump my gas. I needed to remember this was a lesson. One I’d desperately needed.

“You have to pay first. You got a card or are you paying cash?” His voice was back to normal. No more sexy low whispers in my ear.

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