“Hold the elevator!”
Casey hitched her purse higher on her shoulder and made a dash for it. Her heels made frantic clicks on the tile as she closed the distance. She spared a quick glance at her wristwatch.
Two minutes to get there.
She squeezed between the closing doors, crashing headlong into the elevators’ other occupant.
“What the–” a deep male voice exclaimed in astonishment.
“I’m so sorry!” she cried as she tried to untangle herself. She took a step and her high-heel buckled and she banged her head on his sweater-covered chest.
Of course that just happened.
She tried to pull away, but a searing pain shot through her ear, stopping her cold.
“Hold still,” the man said as he pushed her blonde hair back. He gave a gentle pull by her ear, and she was free.
She stepped away and to her dismay saw her long glittering earring stuck to his sweater. Her cheeks burned as she reached out and attempted to remove the piece of jewelry. “So, so sorry,” she muttered.
A large, warm hand came down on hers, stilling her movements. “Why don’t you let me.
“She took a tiny step back, finally getting a good look at him; taller than her by several inches, dark wavy hair, horrible ugly sweater.
He unhooked the earring and held it out with a smile. “Here you go. What floor?”
Her heart hammered at the dimples displayed. “Oh…umm…three please.”
The elevator began to move then suddenly jerked to a stop. The light flickered and went out.
Trying to maintain her balance, Casey flattened herself against the wall. “What was that?”
“I don’t know.” The man’s reassuring voice cut through the darkness.
She heard him fumbling with something. “Maybe you shouldn’t–”
The emergency lights flashed on, flooding the tiny space in a muted glow.
She was certainly late for her interview now. “Great,” she mumbled as she slipped off her shoes. She bent to retrieve the damaged one and her shoulders slumped as she discovered the heel had broken clean off. “Even better.”
The man paused in his button-pushing at the panel. “You okay?”
“Faaan…tastic.” She dropped her purse next to her shoes.
He looked at her, taking in the broken shoe, then picked up the emergency phone receiver. “Electrical problem,” he said after he’d listened a moment. “It’ll be fixed in no time.” He replaced the receiver and held out a hand. “I’m Mark.”
An answering smile spread across her lips. “Casey.” She clasped his hand and a tiny sizzling jolt ran through her at the touch, making her heart leap.
“So…”The minutes flew by as they made small talk and she found herself relaxing as he told her stories about his dog. “I’ve never had a dog, always wanted one though.” She looked at her watch, astounded to find nearly forty-five minutes had passed. “I wonder what’s taking so long?”
Mark shrugged. “I’m sure they’re doing everything they can. The building has a great maintenance department.”
Casey frowned at him. “How do you know?”
“I work here, in the zoning office, have for quite…”
She was only half-listening now as her mind pounced on the tidbit. The zoning office was just down the hall from the county clerk’s office, so, if she got the job…She peeked over and found him watching her. When their eyes met, her breath caught in her throat as the connection blazed between them.
“Can I interest you–“
The lights flickered on and the elevator gave a sudden lurch.
She toppled into him again. “Sorry,” she murmured. A nervous little laugh escaped her. “I’m graceful like that.”
Mark chuckled and his grey eyes sparkled as his hand settled on her waist to steady her.
Warmth flooded her and for a few brief seconds she savored his touch, then a cheerful ding sounded and the doors slid open.
“We made it,” he said softly, not removing his hand.
She stepped back and gave him a brilliant smile. “So we did.” Determined to leave a lasting impression, she gave a flirty flip of her hair and turned, sashaying away. A plan began to form in her mind, reschedule the interview, then stop at the zoning office…
She stopped.A knowing smile curved her lips and she turned slowly. “Yes?”
He held her shoes in one hand, her purse in the other. He lifted an eyebrow in question.
She deflated. Heat crept into her face and her shoulders quivered with embarrassed laughter. Why did she even try?
Mark strolled toward her, a wide grin showing off his dimples. “Would you like these now or tonight at dinner?”