“You absolutely deserve to get screwed around, Brandywine T. Alexis.”
Brandy muttered the words to herself, even as a large, imposing man entered her tent and, without a word, sat directly opposite her. What the heck, let him suspect she was crazy. She already thought so.
As if moving back to the small town of Corinth, Ohio hadn’t been traumatic enough. Her whirlwind romance with politics in Washington D.C. had left her craving the basics of home and hearth, and she’d made the wholehearted jump, even volunteering to man the fortune telling booth at this summer’s county fair. But after fourteen hours of thick mascara, trying for smoky, mysterious looks, and huge golden hoops that threatened to split her earlobes she was more than ready to call it a night.
The gentleman caller had chosen the last official five minutes of the fair to come to her for a reading. And suddenly lying politicians who kissed babies in the daytime and blackmailing babes at night didn’t seem so unattractive after all…
“Good evening.” His voice was almost disturbingly deep, effortlessly demanding her attention as he slid a twenty dollar bill across the table. “I hear you do fortunes.” Full, strong lips beneath an impressive stubble of beard twitched in amusement. “Go ahead. Amaze me.”
Oh, great. Someone looking for a challenge at a small-town country fair on the verge of calling it a night. Brandy had already helped several other people pack up their booths. She’d listened to Mrs. Burns agonize over losing yet another pie baking contest, and helped Celia Hough load her twin calves back onto their trailer. Hell, she’d even laughed at the naughty Jello molds Mrs. Mallory sold only to very special customers. And now that she was ready to go—needed to go—she couldn’t. Sneaking a peek at the cell phone she’d hidden behind her stylized crystal ball she drummed restless fingers on the money. Jen still hadn’t called. Jen, the younger sister who’d chosen this night to escape her abusive boyfriend, and who’d promised to give Brandy a ring as soon as she was safe. “As much as I’d like to help you, sir, it really is very late. Maybe another time?”
“The sign at the entrance says the fair closes at midnight. That gives us another three minutes or so.” He leaned forward and Brandy eased away, uncomfortable under his scrutiny. “You can talk utter nonsense if you’d like. I almost wouldn’t mind. Just move your lips for me. I’ve been dreaming about those lips for the past three years.”
“I—I beg your pardon?”
Kissing booth. Three years ago? Well yeah, she’d manned the fair’s kissing booth once. It was a time for fruited lip gloss and a silly poodle skirt, the summer before she’d left for Washington. But that was on a whim, just another way to earn a few bucks for the civic charities she’d favored. There was nothing special about it, no reason it should’ve meant anything to anyone.
Especially a perfect stranger…