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Serving in Afghanistan, Aussie soldier Nick Mason had enjoyed
getting letters from The Goodbye Girl, but now he was going home,
she’d sent her usual goodbye letter and was ready to be passed to the
next lonely soldier. But Nick had other plans. He wanted to meet the
woman who had brought him such pleasure in the grimness of life.
What he wasn’t prepared for was what he’d discover when he met her
face-to-face. His Goodbye Girl was the town’s resident UFO weirdo…
“Not good weather for UFO spotting.”
“Who’s your partner?”
“Me and me. Did I mention me? Oh, and there’s me. Quite a crowd.”
She could hear the frown in Jackie’s voice. “You know hunts should never be conducted alone.”
“I don’t actually have a UFO cohort with me right now.”
“Want me to send Mick down?”
“No need. There’s no confirmed sighting, I’m just doing recon.” Bree rolled her eyes. She sounded like a drongo but Jackie liked that kind of talk and she needed information, so it was a small price to pay.
“Maybe you should give me the location and I can track you.”
“You can do that? From one thousand kilometres away?”
“You think I can’t?”
To be honest, Bree wasn’t certain exactly what Jackie could do. If she teleported herself right beside Bree one day, she wouldn’t have been surprised. The woman was a wonder with the computer, not to mention a great hacker. The only ones a little scarier than Jackie were her team.
“Have to go,” Jackie informed her. “Never know who might be tracking us. Report in as soon as you get home.”
“I don’t think that’s-”
“Do it.” Jackie hung up.
Grinning, Bree got to her feet. The UFO Hunter Team could be a bunch of loons at times, but there was no doubting their intelligence. She’d been in contact with them long enough to know it first hand.
Now that she knew there had been no aircraft in the skies the previous night, it meant that if Charlotte had really spotted a light it had to be something – UFO, secret testing of aircraft, who knew? But it was something to be checked out.
Dressing quickly in stretch jeans, thick socks, sneakers and a long-sleeved t-shirt, she picked up a thick, padded, rainproof jacket and grabbed a bag of equipment that she used when out on a watch, setting both down on the hallway table. Returning to the kitchen, she got a flask of hot water and stuffed a twenty dollar bill in her pocket. Satisfied that she had everything, she bid the appalled cats goodbye and locked the front door before making a dash for the van in the light mist of rain.
The night was dark, and while the rain didn’t make for good viewing, the darkness certainly made it easier to spot a light in the sky.
Once out on the road, she headed for the field she’d scouted earlier. Flicking on the police scanner, she listened to it. Silence. Whicha was a small, quiet town. If she had to spend her night listening to the scanner only, she’d fall asleep.
Switching on the radio, she nodded. Any alien aircraft would interfere with the radio, a sure sign that would alert her even if she didn’t see a space craft.
The rain started to teem down and she sighed. A mug of hot Milo and a good book while curled up on the sofa sounded awesome, but it wasn’t happening anytime soon. The best she could have was hot soup and – she indicated and turned into the café – a toasted sandwich. If she had to sit out in the cold and rain, albeit in the shelter of the van, she could at least have some hot food besides the Cup-A-Soups she carried in the bag.
Pulling up near the café, she went in, ordered a toasted ham and cheese, caved in and bought a small bucket of chips as well, and was making her way back to the door when it opened to admit a tall, broad-shouldered man dressed in jeans and a jean jacket that hadn’t fared too badly from the rain. His boots were mud-spattered.
Lifting her gaze, she was treated to a mouth-watering view when he held the jacket out at the sides and gave a shake. Beneath he wore an unbuttoned flannel shirt, the sides flapping back to show a t-shirt that hugged a very muscular chest and abdomen.
Oh, yummy. Hell, if aliens had bodies like that, she wouldn’t mind being captured and probed.
Her gaze drifted higher to study a face that was an excellent match for that delectable body. Short, fair hair, dark eyebrows, straight nose, square jaw, firm, masculine lips, and oh man, be still her pounding heart, brilliant green eyes. Pure green, piercing, all-seeing.
Oh hell, if aliens looked like this yummy specimen of manhood, she’d be begging them to probe her.
Maybe she was more her mother’s daughter than she’d thought.
The man’s green-eyed gaze swept the small café before passing over her. His gaze sharpened, swerved back, and studied her intently.
Holy crap. He was watching her watching him. How Twilight Zone, how spooky, how odd, how…amusing.
Liking him instantly, even though they hadn’t said a word to each other, Bree smiled. Her gut instinct said he was all right, a fine specimen of manhood that wouldn’t harm her. Her head told her that one never knew, he could be a serial killer with a thing for big girls. Her heart just sighed wistfully.
The man’s lips curved upward in an answering smile and her heart nearly swooned in delight, her mind sneered, and her gut went yep, fine specimen all round.
“Hi,” Bree said.
“Hi.” His voice was deep, smoky, making her toes curl in her sneakers. “Bit wet out there.”
“Just a tad,” she agreed, seeing the rain pouring down through the window. “Do I see before me a weary traveller seeking shelter?”
“More like a hungry traveller seeking nourishment.” His gaze dropped to the bag in her hand. “As one hungry traveller to another.”
“Huh. In that case, you’ve come to the right place. They make the best hot, artery-clogging food around.”
“How could I possibly bypass that brilliant observation? You talked me into it.”
“But you were hungry anyway,” she pointed out. “So I really didn’t have to talk you into it.”
Laughter sparkled in his eyes. “Another brilliant observation.”
Thunder rumbled, the lights in the café dimming before again flaring bright.
“And we have a storm,” Bree said.
“That we do,” he agreed. “Are you staying to eat?”
Was he asking her to join him? Wishful thinking. More like being polite. With a little, wistful, mental sigh, Bree shook her head. “Afraid not.”
The laughter left his face, concern taking its place. “You’re not going out in this weather?”
“Things to do.” Aliens to find. If he knew that last thought, he’d be backing away from her in case her insanity touched him. She gave him a small wave as she turned and headed for the door. “Toodles.”
No sooner had she grabbed the door handle than she felt warmth behind her, the sensation of something big, the faint scent of male cologne and soap invading her senses as a long arm came over her shoulder and a big hand landed flat against the frame.
Startled, she started to step back only to bump into a tall, hard body. Man, he was hot, and she didn’t mean just his looks. His body called to her chilled one like the mug of hot Milo and the book called to her commonsense. He felt warm, safe…
Tipping her head back, she looked directly up into green eyes that studied her, dark brows pulled into a frown.
“Ma’am,” he said softly, “there’s a storm out there. It’s not safe.”
“Mr,” she replied, “I’ve driven in storms before.”
“Is this an emergency?”
Only for dry panties, because being this close to the stud was making her current pair damp. “Depends on your definition.”
He glanced out through the glass door. “No emergency, then.”
“I actually have to be somewhere.”
His gaze dropped back down to her. “Wait.”
“Sorry, afraid I can’t do that.”
His frown darkened. “Ma’am-”
“Nice to meet you,” she said. “Now if you’ll move your hand?”
For a few seconds she thought he was going to refuse, and annoyance spiked in her. Hot stud or not, this man was still a stranger and she didn’t take orders from strangers.
Actually, she didn’t take them that well from friends, either, so that made taking it from a stranger null and void.
Unless it was a cop. She’d do what a cop told her. She respected cops.
A muscle ticked in the man’s square jaw and he stepped back. Immediately coolness pervaded where he’d been pressed against her. “Ma’am, please. Just wait. The storm won’t last for long.”
“I really appreciate the concern,” she assured him, “But I’m fine. Storms aren’t new to me.” When he opened his mouth to try once more, she added, “I gotta go. Have a safe trip wherever you’re going, and make sure you enjoy a good bellyful of food from here before you continue your journey. They really do make the best chips.”
Turning away from him, she opened the door, flinching as a cold wind whipped past her.
Staying inside was a good option, very tempting, in fact, but UFOs had no regard for weather. If one was to land, or be flying, now would be perfect. No one would be outside to see. Her mother had always instilled that in Bree’s head, and Jackie’s team had pounded it in further. It was validated by several sightings she’d been witness to during the worst weather.
No way was a bit of wind and rain going to interfere in her UFO watch, nor a studly man. Besides, he probably had a bimbo waiting in the car or a wife and kids at home. Or wife and kids in the car. Or maybe a male partner. A man like that didn’t stay single for long.
Taking a deep breath, Bree plunged out into the storm, running full pelt for the van, yanking the unlocked door open and leaping inside. Shutting the door behind her, she placed the bag of food on the passenger seat and wiped the water from her face with the towel she always carried. Her braid wasn’t too wet, thank goodness. She wasn’t keen to do a watch with water dripping down her back.
At least she wouldn’t have to change her clothes. Dampness she could tolerate.
Starting the van, she pulled out of the parking bay onto the road. A glance at the café showed the blurred image of the handsome hunk of impressive manhood standing at the window watching her, but she couldn’t make out his features through the driving rain.
Ah well, she had a good memory.
copyright 2014 Angela Verdenius