Home > Temptation After Dark (Gansett Island #22)(4)

Temptation After Dark (Gansett Island #22)(4)
Author: Marie Force

Cooper would’ve laughed if the pain hadn’t required his full attention. After this, Gigi would never look at him again either. She was just being nice going to the clinic. Sighing, Cooper closed his eyes and tried not to think about the pain coming from his ribs, face, arms and hands. Whatever the paramedic had given him had dulled the pain somewhat, making him feel like he was floating.

Until the ambulance hit a bump.

Cooper bit his lip so he wouldn’t scream from the pain. Shit, this fucking sucked. He’d had a date with the woman of his dreams, and he’d had to ruin it by being a fool with the car and the selfie. He had no one to blame but himself for the disaster this night had turned into. How long would it take for Jared to hear about this?

 

* * *

 

Gigi had kicked off her heels to drive the car, giving thanks to the high school friend who’d taught her how to drive a stick. Since she hadn’t done it in years, the car stalled when she shifted it into gear, until she realized the clutch released lower than she was accustomed to and needed more gas to keep from stalling.

As she followed the ambulance into town, she hoped Jared didn’t see her driving his car and wonder what the hell had happened to Cooper.

When he’d lunged toward the cliff to grab the car, her heart had nearly stopped. And while they waited the endless minutes it took for help to arrive, she’d been certain every second that Cooper was about to plunge to his death, all to save a stupid car.

“Sorry,” she said to the car. “I know you’re a very expensive, very pretty car, but he shouldn’t have risked his neck to save you.”

In response to her comment, the car stalled at the next stop sign.

Gigi restarted the car, and as she released the clutch, it lurched forward. The car was probably in more danger with her driving it than it had been while teetering on the edge of disaster. After she pulled into the clinic parking lot and shut off the engine, she breathed a sigh of relief.

What was she even doing here? She’d just met Cooper that morning and was under no obligation to sit by his bedside. Except he’d been sweet and funny and charming before the car started rolling toward the edge of the bluffs.

“It’s all your fault,” she said to the car. “This was turning out to be a rather nice evening before you ruined everything.”

When was the last time she’d been out on a traditional date in which the guy showed up at her door with handpicked wildflowers and told her how happy he was to be spending time with her? Um, never?

The wildflowers had been a nice touch, especially since Cooper came from staggering wealth and could’ve gotten her the most elaborate floral arrangement the island had to offer. She vastly preferred his handpicked wildflowers to elaborate bouquets that were a dime a dozen, not to mention he was ridiculously handsome.

She’d noticed that at first glance from the pool that morning, and when he’d arrived at her door, dressed for an evening out, he’d taken her breath away. He’d worn khaki shorts and a white cotton button-down rolled up to reveal sexy forearms, with a chunky silver watch on his left wrist. The white shirt offset his deep tan and the dirty-blond hair that was effortlessly messy, as was the scruff on his jaw. He was God’s gift to women, but the funny thing was, he didn’t seem to know it. Before disaster struck, he’d been sweet, nervous and funny.

She’d laughed more in the hour before the car started to roll than she had with any guy in longer than she could remember. Men had become tedious to her. They were all the same as they bent themselves into contortions trying to impress her with their endless bullshit.

Cooper was refreshing. He hadn’t tried to be anything other than himself, and even though he’d scared the shit out of her by trying to save the car, she gave him credit for the effort. His brother was one of the world’s richest men and could buy the Porsche a thousand times over. But Cooper had still risked his own life to save the car, and she had to give him big points for that, even if she’d died a thousand deaths waiting for the firefighters to arrive.

Speaking of firefighters, she hadn’t mentioned to Jordan that she was going out with Cooper. Mason would tell her, as they told each other everything. They were so crazy in love as to be nauseating.

“Oh, shut up,” she said as she found her cell in her purse. “You’re just jealous.”

Watching Jordan fall madly in love with Mason had been jarring, to say the least. After Jordan’s disastrous marriage to rapper Zane ended in dramatic fashion, Gigi had expected her best friend to stay single for a while. But then she’d met Mason when he saved her life, and Jordan had been a goner for him almost from the get-go.

Gigi would never understand why people wanted to shackle themselves to one person for the rest of their lives. Monogamy made no sense to her. She’d never seen it work long term. Her ex-mother was married for the third time, her ex-father for the fourth, and from what she heard from people at home, both marriages were failing.

She’d stopped bothering to get to know her various stepparents, because the marriages never lasted. Hell, she barely heard from the parents who’d adopted her and then forgot about her until she took them to court to emancipate when she was sixteen.

Jordan and her twin sister, Nikki, had been through one of the worst custody battles Gigi had ever witnessed after their parents split. Yet they were madly in love with Mason Johns and Riley McCarthy. Love was in the air on Gansett Island. Riley’s brother, Finn, had fallen hard for Chloe Dennis, and even Riley and Finn’s dad, Kevin, had found new love with Chelsea after his thirty-year marriage ended.

Why did people put themselves through it? Gigi would never understand that, even if she had to admit that she’d never seen Jordan happier than she was with Mason. They each glowed when the other was around, and Jordan smiled all the time, even when Mason wasn’t there.

She composed a text to Jordan. Before you hear it from Mason, I went out with Cooper James (Jared’s brother) tonight.

Jordan wrote right back, probably because Mason was on duty, and she was home alone. If Mason was off, it could take twelve hours for Jordan to respond to a text. That was another remarkable change in her always-connected friend since the freakishly tall fire chief had come into her life. Where’d you see Mason?

Of course Jordan would rather know where she’d seen Mason than what Gigi was doing with Cooper. Ran into a little problem at the bluffs, and the firefighters came.

OMG! You didn’t fall off, did you?

No, but Jared’s Porsche almost did. Cooper somehow stopped it from going over. Very scary.

HOLY SHIT, G. Are you ok?

I’m fine, but Coop is banged up. We’re at the clinic. Or, well, he is. I’m sitting outside wondering what I’m doing here.

The phone rang, and Gigi took the call from Jordan. “Hey.”

“What the hell, G?”

“I know! I have no idea what’s happening.”

“Tell me the whole thing. How’d you end up going out with him?”

“I was swimming in Jared’s pool, and Cooper came out. We started talking, he asked me to go out, and I thought he was cute, so I said yes.”

“You said yes? You never say yes the first time a guy asks you out.”

That was true. Before she agreed to go out with any guy, she usually made them ask three or four times to make sure they were legit. Cooper had asked only once. “He seemed nice, and I’m bored with you and your sister being all domesticated. It was something to do.” As she said those words, she felt disloyal to Cooper, which was weird. She’d known him for twelve hours. Why would she feel disloyal to him?

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