Britt broke into a run that lasted three steps. He was stopped dead in his tracks by a woman’s smile.
“Hello,” he said, hopping on one foot to break his stride. He glanced at Darrell and back at the woman.
“Uh, Britt, this is one of your cancelled appointments,” said Darrell, flipping his tablet open. “She’s with the Deerfield News. I told her she could wait out the crowd in here . . .”
“Dena Martin,” interrupted the woman.
“I apologize, Mrs. Martin,” began Darrell, “but as I told you, Britt . . .”
Britt held up one hand, still looking at the woman who was sitting on the brown couch in front of him. Darrell hushed. Several seconds passed as Britt stared at Dena. She was beautiful even though she wasn’t as young as most of the women who caught his eye. Hazel eyes the shape of dirigibles—and about half as large, by Britt’s estimation—were fringed by lush, dark lashes. Thick waves of long auburn hair framed a striking face with high cheekbones and a strong jawline. Sun-kissed skin gave her a healthy glow, and there was an engaging, confident smile on her marvelous, full lips.
Briefly, Britt’s thoughts took a tangent as he pondered how many hours it might take a blimp to fly from here to his home in Antigua. When he refocused on those airship eyes, the laugh lines around them began to crinkle in amusement beneath his scrutiny.
She wore a teal green knit dress, belted, with a cowl neckline and sweeping skirt, and she sat with one leg crossed high over the other, her hands clasped at her knee. “So do I get to tell my readers where Britt Jordan has been all this time?” Dena finally asked. Her voice was warm Southern honey, and she didn’t appear to be at all shaken by his intense stare.
Britt stuck his hands in his pockets, tilted his head to one side, and squinted at her several seconds longer. “I was lost, if you must know,” he answered, “but the whole state of North Carolina doesn’t need to know that.”
Dena threw her head back and laughed. A woman’s laugh, full and melodious, which she made no attempt to stifle.
When the laughter stopped, so did the racket inside Britt’s head. He banged his head with the heel of his hand just to make sure. “Do that again,” he said to Dena.
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