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The cab eased to the curb opposite the restaurant, the driver pointed his finger toward the address across the street where a solidly built Max waited. Zoe almost didn’t recognize Max Kiss without his uniform.
Unobserved, she watched him. He was leaning against the stucco of the restaurant wall. His folded arms were the first thing she noticed. The late afternoon sun glinted off the light brown hair dusting his forearms. She wondered if he’d gotten strong wrestling that huge steering wheel into submission eight hours a day.
Half his biceps were covered with a green and blue striped polo that did wonders for his eyes. But she suspected he already knew that. He was effortlessly handsome in the way of many European men she’d encountered over the years. She sometimes wondered if they were born with that flair. When Max finally looked up, his eyes found hers and didn’t look away. Her heart sped up a little. No, a lot. Hesitation gone, she crossed Vine on the red light and joined him outside the restaurant.
Before she could say hello, he pulled her close for the customary greeting she’d seen on the streets of Europe more times than she could count. Zoe fought with the dizziness his aftershave induced. Maybe it was hunger.
“Good news and bad news,” he said after he’d kissed her on both cheeks.
Max jerked a thumb at the front door of the bustling restaurant. “Rehearsal dinner.”
Zoe’s chest caved with unexpected sadness. For the twenty minutes in that cramped cab, she’d really been looking forward to dinner with Max. She needed something to get her out of her own head. Conversation about buses or Hungarian food had been a promised lifeline.
“That the bad news, right?”
“Yep,” he said, nodding. A small smile played around his lips, crinkling the skin around his yellow eyes, dimpling his cheek.
“What’s the good?”
He lifted a white plastic bag from a ledge. The restaurant’s logo was emblazoned on the side. There were at least four or five Styrofoam containers stuffed into the bag. “I got take out.”
“How’d you do that?”
“I pleaded with the owner in my best Hungarian. Told him it was our first date. He put together a little bit of everything for us.”
Zoe could feel heat rushing from her chest to her face. Then she wanted to pinch herself. Who was embarrassed by a date? He was attractive. She wanted to get to know him. This was what adults did before jumping into bed. And she very much wanted to—
“So…where shall we go to enjoy this feast?” she asked, cutting off her train of thought.
“I’m a couple of miles away.”
Zoe hesitated for only a second. What in the hell? Life was short. Hungarian food was good. Kissing Max may be even better. “Where’s your car? You have a car, right?”
“I don’t take the big orange bus everywhere,” Max said with a laugh. They walked several feet to a dark red Toyota that was a marriage between a station wagon and an SUV. Max pressed a fob and the car beeped while the door locks sprang open.
“Your chariot awaits,” he said with a flourish of his hand.
Zoe had to laugh because it was silly and chivalrous all at the same time.
About Sylvie Fox: Sylvie Fox is the author of smart women’s fiction. Her compelling stories are boldly told, designed to keep readers turning the pages. Whether you’re reading romantic women’s fiction or legal thrillers, written as Aime Austin, she wants you to enjoy the heroine’s journey. She splits her time between Los Angeles and Budapest, where she enjoys yoga, knitting, farm-to-table cooking, and life with her husband and son. When she’s not writing, her nose is stuck in a book. Links: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSylvieFox/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/sylviefoxbooks Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sylviefox/ Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/sylviefox Tumblr: http://sylviefox.tumblr.com/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sylviefox/ Enter Sylvie’s Giveaway! a Rafflecopter giveaway