Someone Like You

By: Victoria Purman



‘Hi,’ he said gruffly, clearing his throat.

‘Thought you might like some salt and pepper squid.’ Lizzie held out the day’s delivery.

Dan looked at the bag in her hand. ‘More food?’

‘More food. Any problems with that and you’ll need to talk to the boss.’

‘I’m not hungry.’

Lizzie shrugged her shoulders. ‘You might be later.’ And damn her, she didn’t budge. The Dan he used to be would have come up with an easy flirt, a tease and a cocked eyebrow when he had a beautiful woman on his doorstep. And he wouldn’t have left her standing there for more than ten seconds.

The man he was now found himself flat-out speechless. And as they did the Mexican standoff on the front step, he realised the only way he was going to get her to leave was to take the damn food.

With a silent curse, Dan stepped out of his house and onto the front door mat. He reached down and slipped his fingers through the handles of the bag. As he did, the back of his hand brushed against hers, cool and soft, and he was so close to her that he could see individual strands of her golden hair falling in a fringe across her tanned forehead. And there it was again. Flowers. Her scent. Her hair. Her baby blues and that dazzling smile. Something shifted in him, only a degree, but there was a shift.

When she looked up at him, her smile was gone.

Before he could even manage a reluctant thank you, Lizzie had spun around and was walking with great purpose along the verandah and down the driveway towards the street. As she disappeared into the sunset, he felt a pang of something in his gut, something so weird that he held his hand there to quell it.

That look he’d seen in her eyes. It wasn’t what he’d seen in everyone else’s face as they’d stared at him in hospital and in the months since the accident, studying him like he was a science experiment, watching and waiting for him to fall apart. When she’d looked at him just then, her eyes bright and aware, he hadn’t seen pity or worry or sympathy. No, it was something else.

He peered inside the bag to check out the food she’d left. It smelled damn good. Maybe he was hungry after all.





CHAPTER


2


Worst. Idea. Ever.

Lizzie stomped through her house, tore off her clothes in a tangle of curse words that would raise the eyebrows of a shearer, and jumped into a cold shower. With the water cranked up as high as she could get it, she shoved her head under the spray and tried to drown out the jumble of what had just happened.

She simply couldn’t do it, she decided. No matter what promises she’d made to Ry and Julia, no matter how much she adored her best friend and was slowly growing to adore her best friend’s fiancé, there was absolutely no freaking way she could knock on Dan’s door every night and look into that man’s eyes.

Because…because she couldn’t. No matter how much of a hermit vibe he had going on, with the beard, the track pants with the stretchy waistband, the grumpy attitude and the non-existent smile, she realised something when he’d looked at her tonight. His eyes were the same. The same unbelievably mesmerising, emerald eyes that had sucker-punched her the first time she’d ever talked to him, months before at the pub. The same eyes that had looked her up and down like she was a long, cold drink on a hot day. The same eyes that had turned on her in a charm offensive so all-conquering that she’d actually wobbled at the knees and felt kind of sick.

And tonight, when she’d stood on his doorstep playing a very reluctant Florence Nightingale, and he’d looked down at her with those peepers, something happened. All it took was him to move close to her, to touch her hand. And it was there. The hint that he was still the man he used to be. She knew, she just knew, that if she were forced to stare at his unbelievably masculine handsomeness on a regular basis, she would collapse like a stomped-on sandcastle and talk herself into helping him. Or God forbid, saving him.

Worst. Idea. Ever.

The spray of water sluiced through her hair and over her neck, giving her tightly wound shoulders a much-needed massage. Lizzie was old enough and sensible enough to know herself. Stray animals or stray people, she’d never been able to say no. If she analysed this a bit more deeply, it was probably some pathological attempt to be liked by everyone. Analysed less deeply, it was simply a desire to be nice.

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