He’d pared his initial list down to a dozen of the most likely possibilities. He crossed any large chain stores off his list. A large franchise would have its name at the top of the receipt. He’d already visited two independent gas stations and a convenience store. No matches.
I’m at the auto body shop waiting to talk to the mechanic. He sounded depressed. I found my phone. Where do you want to meet?I’ll come there. She wanted to take a quick look at his Jeep, though the chances were slim the vehicle held any clues.
Ten minutes later, she parked next to a plain-Jane rental sedan. She scanned the large, weedy lot for Mac but didn’t see him. The office was a red brick building that fronted a row of garage bays. She went inside. No one stood behind the counter, but she heard Mac’s voice echoing in the main shop. The smell of oil hit her nose as she walked through a doorway and stopped dead.Mac and a coverall clad mechanic stood next to his Jeep. He was dressed in his usual snug cargos, T-shirt, and hiking boots, but he was clean-shaven, and his blond hair was swept back from his face in a style GQ would approve.Had she ever seen him clean-shaven? Once, at his brother’s funeral. But he’d been subdued and not himself. Stella wasn’t sure if she liked him better looking tame or wild, but when his eyes roamed over her, a delicious shiver zinged through her belly. Those eyes . . .
The mechanic walked away, and Mac waited.Shaking off her shock, Stella crossed the grease-stained concrete and examined the Jeep. Ouch. What’s the prognosis?
The front end bore the brunt of the damage. Crumpled hood and fenders. Broken windshield and windows. She peaked inside. A large branch had punctured the passenger window and speared the headrest. The fact that he’d gotten out with minimal injuries was a miracle. If he’d hit that stand of trees just a little differently, he wouldn’t be standing here.
Totaled, Mac said.My eyes fixed on the keys dangling from the hook, then I looked around the storage room for somewhere to hide. It was small and although cabinets lined the walls, they weren’t large enough for me to hide inside.
Okay, I’ll see you back up there, Lucretia said, and footsteps moved toward the front door. Then more footsteps proceeded toward me.I backed up into the furthermost corner of the room. If Jeramiah stepped inside, there was no way he wouldn’t spot me. He was a split second from entering as the door creaked. Then Lucretia’s voice sounded again.
The door stopped moving.What? Jeramiah called.
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