“It’s just dinner, Zack. There’s no ring on my finger.”
“It’s your call.”
“Damn right it is.”
He turns his head and pins me in his brown stare. He looks angry and frustrated and hurt.
“Zack . . .”
“Let’s go take care of the paperwork.” He pushes out of the car, shutting it firmly behind him, and stalks off toward the office, leaving me to follow behind him.
What the hell is wrong with him?
When I join Zack and the salesman—Bob Larue—in the office, we all sit at the desk and get to business.
“Okay,” Bob begins. “Here is the sticker price.”
“I’m going to make this very easy for you,” I reply before Zack can. I push the window sticker back to Bob, pull a pen and paper out of my handbag, write down a figure, push it to him, and smile. “That’s what I’ll pay, including tax and license, and my trade-in.”
Bob scowls and looks at Zack, who just shrugs and sits back, letting me take control.
“I’ll have to run it by my boss.”
“Of course.” I smile sweetly. When he’s gone, I sigh. “I hate this part.”
“You’re doing just fine. Maybe you didn’t need me after all.”
I chuckle. “I’m glad you came.”
Bob sits back behind his desk and passes the paper back to me with a much higher figure on it.
“Now, that’s with a couple rebates that my boss was able to come up with for you.”
“Okay.” I turn to Zack. “Are you ready to go?”
“Where are you going?” Bob asks nervously.
“To a different dealership, Bob.” I smile and lean over his desk. “I’m a woman, not a moron. I knew exactly what I wanted when I walked onto this lot, and I’ve done my research. I know you can match the fair price I wrote on that paper. I see that neither you nor your boss is taking this sale seriously, so I’ll go to someone who will.”
Zack smiles serenely as we turn to leave.
“Wait,” Bob says. “Let me go talk to him again.”
“I’ll give you five more minutes of my time,” I reply coldly.
“By the way, have you secured financing?” Bob asks.
“I’m paying with a check.”
Bob nods and walks away and Zack cocks an eyebrow in question.
“I just received a decent commission from the last house I sold in LA.”
“Good for you.”
Bob returns a few minutes later with a smile. “Looks like you’ve got yourself a new car.”
I smile widely and lean over to kiss Zack’s cheek in excitement.
“I have a new car!”
“Looks that way,” Zack agrees with a smile.
“Now I just need your autograph about five hundred times,” Bob says with a wink.
“Hey, it’s good to see you,” Max says as he rises from his seat in the downtown restaurant and kisses me on the cheek.
“Thanks, you too.” I grin and take in his dark blue sweater and black slacks, the way they cover his lean body and muscular arms. He pulls my seat out for me, then sits down again across from me. “I hope you haven’t been waiting long.”
“Nope, just got here.” He grins. “You look great.”
“Thank you.” I wrinkle my nose and order a Diet Coke when the waitress stops by to take our drink order. “So, how are you, Max?”
“I’m good.” He sits back in his seat and watches me with happy eyes. “You know, you haven’t changed a bit since high school. It’s crazy.”
“Oh, looks are deceiving, my friend.” I glance down at my menu, make my decision, and set it aside. “Where have you been living? Last I heard was Portland.”
“I did live in Portland for a while.” Max nods. “I’m based out of Seattle now, but like I said yesterday, I think I’ll be moving back home soon.”
“What do you do?” I ask and sip my soda.
“I’m a programmer.”
“As in computers?” I ask and cock my head.
“Yes, but I work with software. I recently sold two programs to Google.”
I feel my eyes go wide in surprise and then I smile and clap my hands. “That’s awesome, Max! Good for you. What kind of programs?”
“They’re ranching programs, actually. Bringing farming and ranching into the new millennium.” He shrugs as if he’s embarrassed and twists his glass of scotch on the table. “So I may be in the market for a new house.”
“I happen to know someone who sells houses,” I tease him. “What are you looking for?”
“Something newer, not in the heart of town. I’d like to be close to Jenna in case she needs me.” He shrugs again and his cheeks heat. “Price isn’t really an issue.”
“I’ll see what’s available and email you a list if you’d like.”
He nods. “Thanks, I’d appreciate it.”
“How is your sister?” I ask after the waitress takes our order.
“Jenna’s great. I worry about her being up on the mountain alone, though. Especially in winter.”
“I’ve heard nothing but great things about her B and B,” I say.
“She’s done a great job with it.” He turns bright green eyes to mine and offers me a half grin. “Tell me about you.”
“I just moved back myself,” I inform him. “Moved back this summer from LA.”
“Why the move?”
I cringe inwardly. I’ve only told Cara about the fiasco that was my life in LA. I’m not baring my soul to Max.
“It was time to be closer to family,” I tell him. “I missed Montana.”
“Me too. Although snowstorms like yesterday make me wonder why.”
“Did you get a new car?”
“Yes, a new Ford. It’s red and shiny and the seat keeps my ass warm. I love it.”
Max laughs and leans toward me. He’s so handsome, with his wide smile and gorgeous eyes. He’s successful and intelligent and kind. Please, God, let there be some kind of awareness when he touches me.
“That was your laundry list of requirements?” he asks and covers my hand with his, and I’m disappointed that there is no spark, no sense of awareness.
Damn it! A nice, hot guy is interested in me, and I feel zilch.