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She looked at him. His question echoed inside her. Was she ready? Ready to stop fighting what she felt? Fighting the so-called “bond” that made something inside her feel complete?
The answer whispered across her mind. Maybe.
“Yeah,” she answered him, while the “maybe” was all she could give her own question. And she knew what held her back. She still wasn’t completely sure he didn’t know more about who’d sent him to make sure she got through the rebirth.
“Okay,” he said. “Let’s do it.”
She had to adjust the seat to make sure she could reach the pedals. Taking a deep breath, wanting to master this, she put the car in neutral, put her foot on the clutch, and turned the ignition. She felt him watching her and cut him a smile. “Piece of cake.”
The way he’d parked meant she didn’t have to put the car in reverse, so she put it in first. She did as he said, put her foot on the gas, and slowly released the clutch. The car moved forward. A sense of victory waved over her, but jolted to a stop at the same time the car sputtered and died.
“What happened?” she asked, looking at him. His grin made her moan.
“You let the clutch out too fast. You need to let it out slower. But you almost had it. Try again.”
Determined to do it, she repeated her steps. And this time, the car moved about twenty feet before it sputtered and died.
She growled, thumped the steering wheel, and shot him an unhappy look. “Something’s wrong.”
“It’s not wrong. It just takes a little finesse.” He chuckled.
“Stop laughing,” she said.
“Hey, I’m not laughing at you. I’m laughing because … because I remember Jimmy trying to teach me. And because I love … being here. With you. With you not fighting me, but fighting my car.” He leaned in. “Try again.”
His lips were so close. Then they lightly brushed against hers.
Chapter Thirty-one
“For luck,” Chase said, then he pulled back as if frightened Della was going to be pissed off.
She wasn’t. Or maybe a part of her was, but she didn’t want to let that part matter right now.
When she didn’t say anything, didn’t complain, he did it again. This time, the kiss lasted a few seconds.
She put her hand on his chest and gave him a slight push. “You’re supposed to be teaching me to drive your car.”
His tongue came out and passed over his bottom lip. “Okay,” he said, his smile so bright that damn it if it didn’t make her want to kiss him again. Then he gave her ponytail a yank. “Remember, slow and easy.”
Yeah, she thought. That’s how she wanted to take this thing. Slow and easy.
After about three more tries, she finally got it. “See,” he said. “I told you you’d get it.”
She started driving a little faster. The wind felt good; the rumble of the engine felt good. She felt powerful.
“It’s almost as good as flying, isn’t it?” he asked, watching her drive down one paved street to another.
“It might even be better,” she said, changing gears and loving how smooth she was able to make the shift. “How fast can it go?” she asked and glanced at him.
“It’s fast,” he said. “Push it a little.”
She looked around and there wasn’t another car in sight. So she did it. She pushed her foot on the gas and felt the roar. Glancing at the speedometer, she saw she’d hit ninety miles an hour.
She was just about to let off the gas when she heard the sirens.
“Shit! My father’s gonna kill me,” she muttered. Before she could say anything else, before she could even look into the rearview mirror, Chase had grabbed the wheel with one hand, lifted her ass with the other, and swapped places.
Then he quickly slowed the car down and pulled over.
“What are you doing?” she asked, snapping her head around to watch the police car come to a stop behind them.
“Making sure your father doesn’t kill you,” he said. “Because if he hurt you, I’d have to teach him a lesson, and that’s not a way to start our relationship.”
She started to tell him they didn’t have a relationship, but then she bit down on her lip. “It’s a convertible; he probably saw I was driving.”
“You were going so fast, he couldn’t tell who was driving.”
Della looked at him. “Right. I was going fast. I was the one—”
“It’s okay,” he said. “Just let me handle this.”
“But, it’s my fault. You shouldn’t—”
“I’m the one who forced you to drive.”
She could hear the litany, the one her dad gave each and every time she took the car out. The one about the danger of texting and driving. About … “Your insurance will go up and—”
“Money isn’t a problem.”
“Won’t your dad … I mean, Jimmy, be upset? I don’t want you taking the blame for something I—”
Chase reached into his back pocket and pulled out a wallet, getting ready to take the blame for this. “I’m eighteen, Jimmy doesn’t parent me anymore.”
Della looked back at the police car again, feeling almost sick. “What’s he doing? Why isn’t he coming over here?”
“Don’t worry. He’s just checking to see if the car is listed as stolen.”