Carrick McCormick knows there is a special woman waiting for him. He can sense her but has yet to locate her. Moving to Lime Kiln Mountain is a calculated risk. She’s near and now he has a better chance to find her. That’s the first step. Explaining his nature, what he is and how he needs to live won’t be as easy.
Rachel Rossington has one thing in common with every woman in small, rural Lime Kiln Mountain. She’s curious about the town’s newest resident, the reclusive Carrick McCormick. An early morning chance encounter puts her in his path - literally. She hits a dog and he almost hits her car.
Rachel harbors no schoolgirl illusions. She’s a nurse in a small town. Her life is mundane, serene. Men like Carrick McCormick don’t give women like her a second glance. Carrick’s world is one of wealth and luxury, foreign to everything Rachel knows.
She doesn’t know just how foreign. But she will.
* * * * * *
"Mr. McCormick,” she responded, matching his tone perfectly. He had some nerve following her here.
“May I buy you a drink?”
Rachel pushed her glass toward the bartender. Carrick paid and shook his head when asked what he wanted.
“Is this your first time in here?” She knew it was. If he’d been in here before the town would have buzzed with it.
“Yes, it is. I felt like getting out of the house.” His silvery eyes glittered with reflections of the dance floor’s light display.
“So you just happened to end up here?”
“So it seems.” He perched a barstool. “I took your advice on the dog. He’s much cleaner now.”
“You followed me here to tell me that?”
“No. I didn’t expect to find you here.”
“I see. I’m not sure I believe you, Mr. McCormick. It’s too coincidental for my liking.”
Rachel downed the rest of her cola and snatched her purse off the arm of the barstool. She sensed Carrick following her and hoped her busybody pals were making their way to the door as well.
Carrick called out to her, asking her to wait. She ignored him and didn’t stop until she’d reached her car. She turned intending to tell him to leave her alone and the floodlights that illuminated the parking lot blinked off leaving her standing in shadows with him.
“What do you want?” she demanded with more bravado than she felt.
“To apologize, yet again.” He held out his hand to her, palm up. “I didn’t mean to frighten you. Please, let us begin anew.”
“Oh, I don’t think so,” Rachel said, looking up at him. The man was trouble with a capital T. He was way out of her league and she knew it.
“I’ve got to go. I have to work tomorrow.” She turned to unlock her car door.
“Of course. And it’s very late, I understand.” He closed the distance between them, coming so close Rachel could feel the heat radiating off him.
“You have nothing to fear from me, Rachel.” He tipped her chin up and lowered his lips to hers. Surprise jolted through her. Her eyes closed of their own volition.
His lips were soft, with both question and promise, moving slowly on hers and sending a shrieking awareness of his closeness through her. She took a step toward him.
Just as quickly as it began the kiss ended. She was standing in the parking lot alone, wondering how she’d gotten there, and why the hell she’d imagined Carrick McCormick had been there and kissed her.