“You said you were dating, but you didn’t mention anyone serious, Carolyn. Why haven’t we met this mystery man?” her mother asked.
She’d been thinking the same thing. “He’s been away. Traveling. I was going to introduce you at the wedding.” The overactive imagination was good for a lot of things, including making up men in her life. And the traveling excuse came naturally, since she’d done it often for her own career. Why hadn’t she thought of this before?
“Why not bring him to the rehearsal dinner?” her mother asked.
Yes. That was why.
“Or, better yet, the party we’re throwing this weekend?” her father suggested.
Sure. She’d just get right on that magic voodoo doll and conjure herself up a man. At least, her parents had stopped mentioning Evan.
The phone rang, saving her momentarily.
Sam’s number flashed on the cell phone’s screen. “Hey” Carly whispered. “Parents are here.” She leaned her back against the cool, white stucco wall in her front hallway.
“Is it as bad as we thought?”
“Worse. Remind me to tell you about the trouble I just created for myself.” She heard her parents move into the living room and she made a dash into the now deserted kitchen to start the strong coffee she knew she was going to need.
Sam groaned. “With your imagination, I can only imagine. And I don’t mean to bug you, but Joe’s coming over tonight and I really wanted to give him that letter.”
“It should be really easy for you to finish it off. Didn’t you like what I wrote?” she asked as she crumbled coconut flakes onto the white icing of the cake she’d baked earlier from a box mix. Coconut therapy, she’d joked to herself when she’d made it, and she’d used an extra thick layer of frosting to hide the lopsidedness.
“I’m sure I will, once you send it.”
A slight chill went through her at Sam’s words. “I sent it hours ago. It went through, because I got the confirmation.”
“It didn’t come through here,” Samantha said. “Can you resend it?”
Resending it was not the most immediate problem. That fax contained some erotic stuff, and whoever got it would most certainly be in for a thrill.
“Sam,” Carly said, trying to swallow her panic. “If you didn’t get the fax, then who did?”
“Maybe it really didn’t go through and you just thought it did,” Sam tried to reassure her as she forgot her parents and headed to her office, taking the stairs two at a time.
She pulled the fax confirmation out of the recycling bin where she’d tossed it earlier. She scanned for the number and read it out loud, number by number until…
“I reversed the last two numbers and somehow I added a dash,” she said. Oh crap. And then she saw the initials underneath the confirmation. USN. “What the heck does USN stand for?”
“I don’t know what it stands for, but I’m sure whoever gets it will just ignore it.”
This certainly made the panic of finding a man a little less intense, but at least she’d signed Candy’s name as a joke and not her own. She hadn’t used a cover letter either.
Whoever got it wasn’t going to know it was her personal secret fantasy. “I hope so. And I’ll fax it to you again now, okay?” She snapped the cell phone shut and double checked the fax number twice before pushing send.
“Carolyn, someone’s at the door,” her mother called up the stairs.
“I’ve got it,” she called back. She crumpled up the confirmation paper and threw it back to the bin before heading down to the front door. She opened it without looking through the peephole.
Camouflage greeted her. A brick wall of camouflage, leaning against her doorjamb with a very serious look on his very good-looking face.
A face she had to look up to see, which, at her own height of five feet, ten-inches, meant this man was a good deal taller than that. He was well-over six feet and filled out in all the right places.
The army-green t-shirt fit more than fine across his broad chest and shoulders and showed off his sculpted biceps. His dark blond hair was sun-bleached in places, fell across his forehead casually. She was close enough to him to notice the flecks of gold in his hazel eyes, and a primitive thrill coiled in her belly.
Maybe just thinking about the voodoo doll had worked, because this was more magic than she could’ve hoped for.
“Can I help you?” she asked.
“Yes, you can.” His voice was husky and unhurried as he leaned in toward her, his arm still resting on the doorjamb. “You want to explain why you’re sending pornographic faxes to a United States Navy SEAL team?”