The door opened with the jangle of a bell, and Celia turned toward the man who came in on a current of salt air and zinc. His black suit looked like lycra, but rubber, too. It fit him like a second skin, covering his chest, mid upper arm, torso, and down to his thighs. His feet, bare. She curled her toes in her sneakers. His slow nod as he saw her, his expression lighting as if he knew her and they were great friends, left her speechless. They’d never met. She would have remembered the curly-haired surfer with tanned toes. His smile revealed a slightly crooked eye tooth. He was tousled perfection. Dax held out his hand in greeting. “Is that your Prius out there? With the flat?” She swallowed, then blinked, keeping hold of her purse. Something about him made her nerves jump. “Uh huh.” “Got a spare?” He lowered his hand. “Maybe?” Celia panicked, wondering if she could even find the owner’s manual, her car was packed so full. “I’ve only had it a few weeks.” “I can look,” he offered. “It’s probably in the trunk.” Celia’s stomach knotted. “I would have to take out the suitcases, and I just got here, and,” she took a deep breath, fighting the sensation of being overwhelmed. She couldn’t fail. Khanti sniffed. “Leave her alone, Dax. She bought a can of Fix-A-Flat.” Dax. What a fitting name, Celia thought. He seemed barely civilized. Gorgeous. Roman? He ran a hand through his short curls. “Nah, don’t use that stuff. Let me take a look.” Then he turned to Khanti. “Why can’t Nino help the lady out? It’s obvious she isn’t from around here.” Celia felt her face flame. Her lime green sneakers with the pristine white laces matched the print of her Lily shorts and tee. In spite of her designer beach attire, she stood out. Khanti had her own style, and Dax personified relaxed and laid back. Celia was anything but.
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