Dylan had forgotten his jacket.
Kara noticed it the moment she walked into the hallway the next morning. His scent surrounded her as she took it down from the hook, and it took some supreme effort not to bury her nose in it and inhale deeply.
“I’m going out for an hour. I’ll see you at the club,” she called through to Sophie in the kitchen, then stepped outside into the warm Ibizan morning.
Hiring the Mustang had been a no brainer. She’d listened to all of the wise advice to go for an air-conditioned saloon, and then gone merrily against it the moment she set eyes on the cherry red vintage soft top with curves in all the right places. Just looking at it winking at her in the sunshine lifted her spirits sky high, and she dropped Dylan’s jacket on the back seat to take to the club.
Music on, roof down, ready to go.
Kara really hadn’t intended to follow the signs for Cala Vadella, so finding herself rounding a bend and looking down over the prettiest possible blue bay came as a surprise. Or half a surprise. Or not really a surprise at all, given that she’d been the one behind the wheel. Hell, it was a small island, all the roads led to the same place. Probably. Feeling suddenly conspicuous in the Mustang, she slunk a little lower in her leather seat, her hands wide on the wheel as she craned her neck up the beach to see if there was any sign of Dylan.
She parked at the end of the bay, next to a dusty collection of cars, and climbed out, slinging Dylan’s jacket over her arm as she walked slowly down the curve of local shops and restaurants that backed the beach.
Where would he stay? Villas dotted the cliffs around the bay; high end places with terraces overlooking the breathtaking view of the coast. Was he in one of those? She strolled from one end of the beach to the other, seeing nothing and no-one to offer any clue to his whereabouts.
The sun beat hard down on the top of her head as, unexpectedly deflated, she turned into the shade of the closest bar and ordered a tall, frothy coffee as she flicked through yesterday’s newspaper that had been left on the table.
Ibiza really was the most stunning place. The sweep of sand in front of the bar looked like an office worker’s fantasy screensaver, a snapshot of perfection that served as a reminder of bygone holidays.
And then that snapshot suddenly became even more perfect, because a tall, half-naked American with surf boy hair and abs to match jogged straight across it. Left to right he tracked across her vision, as though she was watching a movie. So that’s what he’d have looked like if he’d taken his shirt off last night. Kara lifted the paper hastily, not wanting to be discovered sitting around waiting for him. She wasn’t sitting around waiting for him. She just happened to be passing, and happened to have his jacket, and happened to spot him.
Peeping around the edge of the paper, she breathed out a slow sigh of relief. He’d passed by the bar, and was now walking along the rocks around the edge of the beach, a brown paper bag in his hand. Where was he going? There must be a pathway up to one of those villas she’d seen. She wasn’t surprised. Leaving her coffee half finished, she put the newspaper back on the counter and moved outside to watch Dylan’s retreating back, her head tipping quizzically to one side as he kept on going along the rocks. A frown puckered her brow. Short of diving into the water, he was fast running out of places to go. And then he stopped, and stepped sideways onto a boat moored out in the bay.
Kara squinted. And then really squinted. Her feet started to move before she was even aware of it, carrying her closer to inspect Dylan’s unlikely digs, automatically slinging his jacket over her arm. She picked her way along the uneven path hewn into the rocks around the edge of the bay, past several impressive looking boats along the way, until she drew closer to the boat moored at the end.
Oh. My. God. What was that thing?
At that moment movement caught her eye, and she noticed Dylan up on the roof deck with his back to her. If she walked away real quiet, there was every chance he’d never know she’d been here. She wanted to do that. She definitely wanted to do that.
“Hey, Danny Zuko! You forgot your jacket!”
That was it. When she got home she was booking herself in to have her jaw wired together. In fact, make that a lobotomy, she’d clearly lost her marbles. Why the hell else would she be standing there like one of the Pink Ladies holding her T-Bird boyfriend’s jacket?
Dylan turned, startled to hear a woman’s voice, recognising it a second before he saw her. English.
“Some folks would consider this stalking,” he said, enjoying the look of indignation that crossed her face.
“And some people would say thank you for returning their jacket,” Kara shot back, emphasising the English word. “Nice place,” she added, deadpan, casting a speculative glance over the boat. Then, “The Love Tug?” She read the name of the boat out loud, nodding slowly. “Well. You’re full of surprises.”
An illogical urge to defend the old boat rose out of nowhere, and he found himself patting the railings like the owner of a loyal pet. “She’s pretty special, huh?”
When Kara nodded, her long dark ponytail bobbed like a high school cheerleader’s, and her denim mini couldn’t be have been any more minimal without being a belt. She was certainly faithful to those cowboy boots. The expanse of smooth, honey-gold leg between the boots and the skirt brought him full circle, right back to those cheerleaders.
He jumped down onto the lower deck. “I was just about to make coffee to have with these.” He held up the bag of still-warm Danish pastries that he’d just bought from the tiny bakery at the other end of the beach. “Join me?”
She scanned the gap between the sea wall and the boat doubtfully, and he held out his empty hand.
“I can put a shirt on, if you like,” he murmured silkily as she stepped past aboard. “I’d hate you to be overcome by the urge to rip my shorts off.”
Kara stomped on his foot as she passed him, her cowboy boot heavy on his sneaker as she twisted it.
“Sorry.” The insincere smile that accompanied her apology said it all.
He grinned as he took his jacket from over her arm and stepped inside the cabin, nodding his head for her to follow him. She wandered in slowly, her wide eyes drinking in every bizarre detail of the place he currently called home.
Running a finger across the buttercup yellow work surface, she came to a halt opposite him.
“Is this place yours?”
Dylan could see that Kara was trying to work out if his taste ran to roller boots and disco balls.
“For now.” He lifted the lid on the sugar pot and looked at her. Fuck, she was crazy-hot. “Sugar?”
Her presence seemed to fill every bit of the cabin with a low, simmering heat; one wrong word could set her off like a firework. She radiated energy, and being around her gave him an undeniable high.
She held up two fingers, and it took him a second to realise that she was referring to the sugar.
That was refreshing. Most girls back home would break out in a cold sweat just being near the sugar bowl, yet here she was telling him to pile it in. He picked up the mugs and glanced towards the door. “In or out?”
“Undeniably fabulous as this place is…” She cast her eyes dubiously around the cabin. “…let’s go sit in the sun.”
Dylan followed Kara out and gestured for her to climb the small stepladder onto the roof terrace.
“Don’t look up my skirt, Sailor,” she warned over her shoulder.
Dylan tried to look away as she went ahead of him and failed entirely.
“You looked up my skirt,” she said matter of factly, as he stepped onto the deck and handed her the coffee mug. He shook his head and attempted an innocent expression as he opened up a couple of deck chairs and a rickety table.