Chantel studied the shoulder, looking for a place to pull over, when brake lights flashed in front of her. She screamed and slammed on her brakes, but the car didn’t stop. It slid out of control. With a bone-jarring crunch, her Jag slammed into the Land Cruiser ahead of her.
Pain exploded in Chantel’s head as her face hit the steering wheel. She sat, breathing hard and blinking at the black, snowy night, the eerie glow of her instrument panel, and the back end of the white Land Cruiser, which was nearly in her lap. Then someone knocked on her window.
Dazed, she rolled her head to the side and saw a tall, dark man looming outside. “Are you all right? Unlock the doors!” he called above the storm.
His words drifted to Chantel as though from afar, and immediately her father’s warnings echoed back: Always keep your doors and windows locked….
When she didn’t respond, he scowled at her through the glass and tapped again. “Did you hear me? Open the door!”
She let her eyelids close and put her hand to her aching head as her senses began to return. She’d just been in a car accident. This was probably the other driver. She had to get out and give him her driver’s license and insurance information, right? Of course.
With trembling fingers, she sought the automatic door lock and heard it thunk just before the man outside flung her door open and leaned inside.
A freezing wind whipped around him and flooded her car, carrying the smell of his aftershave with it–a clean, masculine scent, far different from the trendy fragrances the male models she’d worked with had used. Then a firm hand gripped her chin and tilted her face up. “Your lip’s bleeding, but not badly. Any other injuries?”
She struggled to rearrange her jumbled thoughts. “Just a knot on the head, I think.”
“Good.” He straightened and jammed his hands in the pockets of his red ski parka, scowling at the crushed metal in front of them, and it suddenly dawned on Chantel that he was angry. Really angry. The signs were all there: the terse voice, the taut muscles, the furrowed brow. “Is something wrong?” she asked.
He looked at her like she’d just sprouted two heads. “You mean other than what you just did to my truck?”