Read A Broken Kind of Beautiful Online

Authors: Katie Ganshert

Tags: #Christian Books & Bibles, #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary, #United States, #Women's Fiction, #Contemporary Women, #Single Women, #Contemporary Fiction, #Religious & Inspirational Fiction, #Christian, #Literary, #Religious, #Religion & Spirituality, #Christian Fiction

A Broken Kind of Beautiful (9 page)

BOOK: A Broken Kind of Beautiful
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“Somebody like you probably has a million job opportunities to choose from. Why would you choose this one?” A few weeks ago she couldn’t get away fast enough—even admitted to running—and now she was back?

“It’s one editorial shoot.”

“Marilyn has bigger plans than one editorial shoot.”

Her head swiveled toward him like somebody had given it a forceful spin.

Davis frowned. Didn’t Bruce tell Ivy what Marilyn wanted from her? But before he could ask, his car lurched. He grabbed the steering wheel with both hands. Ivy tore her foot from the dash. The car sputtered, sputtered again, then died in the middle of the highway. Davis didn’t put much stock into signs, but surely this wasn’t a good one.

Ivy ground the ball of her high-heeled shoe against the gravel. A breeze swept down the road, blowing its hot breath against her body. As she looked beyond the highway, to the wildflowers swaying and fluttering in the wind,
she found herself wondering what it might be like—to be one of those flowers, loved and cared for by something as immense as the sun.

The urge to sprint across the road and dance with them swelled inside her chest. Not a club dance, but a free dance, with her arms and limbs wild and loose and bursting with joy. But she couldn’t run across the street like a child. Not with Davis pacing on the shoulder of the highway, slightly out of earshot, his phone against his ear and his thumbnail stuck between his teeth. He didn’t act like a normal man. Instead of looking at her with desire, he looked at her as if she were made of fine print and required reading glasses. Plus, he asked too many questions. It made her feel old and tired and annoyed. She held her arms out like wings and lifted her face to the sun.

If she could fly, where would she go?

Her hands dropped to her side, slapping against the outside of her thighs. She wasn’t a bird. Or a bat. Or a Pegasus. Or any other creature with wings. Or with petals, for that matter. She was stuck. With her agent hundreds of miles away in New York City—a man who hadn’t mentioned anything beyond a simple editorial spread in
Southern Brides
magazine. He owed her an explanation. She stepped onto the road, toward the Jeep Cherokee resting in between the right lane and the grassy shoulder, its hazards flashing like two orange strobe lights. She opened the passenger-side door, dug through her purse, and dialed Bruce’s mobile on her cell. He didn’t answer. She hung up on his voice mail and tried the agency. Maya’s voice greeted her after the second ring.

“Good afternoon. Olsen Modeling Agency.”

“Hey, Maya, it’s Ivy. Can you put me through to my uncle, please?”

“I’m sorry, Ivy. He’s gone for the day. Do you want me to take a message?”

Ivy swallowed the growl rising up her throat. It wasn’t Maya’s fault that Bruce had sent her on an assignment blind. “If you speak with him, will you have him call me, please? It’s important.” She said good-bye, texted Bruce on his cell, claiming an emergency, and tossed her phone back into her purse.
Her uncle deserved to be strangled. Instead, the sun pummeled the side of her face like she was the one who’d done something wrong. She put up her hand to shade herself and turned toward Davis, who was still on the phone with his thumbnail in his mouth. How long did it take to call for a towing service?

A car flew past without slowing. Davis pocketed his phone and jogged toward her. She imagined him shirtless, with a surfboard, and made a mental note to invite him to the beach. “Do you surf?”

“Do I what?”

“Surf.” She brought her hands out to her side and pretended to dodge a few waves. “You know, like in the ocean.”

His eyebrows drew together.

“No? You should learn.”

“Okaaay.” He rattled his head, as if shaking away her suggestion. “I called Ludd’s. They’re a repair shop in Greenbrier. Somebody is headed out to pick us up.” There was something about the way he said
somebody
.

“You know who this somebody is going to be?”

“The owner’s son.”

“And you don’t like him because …?”

“I didn’t say I didn’t like him.”

“You didn’t have to. I made an inference based on the scowl I see before me.”

“I like him fine. It’s just …” He brought his hand to the back of his neck and shook his head, like it didn’t matter.

“It’s just what?”

“He used to date my sister.”

Davis’s sister. White-blond hair and sunflower dresses. She used to skip a lot. Ivy remembered her more clearly than Davis, since Sara was much closer to Ivy’s age. By the time Ivy came to live with James and Marilyn permanently, Davis had already gone off to college. “I remember her. Sara, right?”

He nodded.

Ivy dug through her memory. She didn’t recall seeing her at the funeral. Just Marilyn and Davis. But then Ivy didn’t have a keen radar for women. “So this guy broke Sara’s heart and you’re playing the whole protective big brother gig?” A dull pain hugged her middle. When had a man ever protected her like that? “This ought to be interesting.”

“What?”

“The car ride.” Another car drove past, only this one slowed a little, like it couldn’t decide if it should stop and help or keep going. “How long until I meet the heartbreaker?”

“Forty-five, fifty minutes. And his name is Jordan.” Davis tapped the tire with the toe of his shoe. “I can’t believe my car broke down.”

She eyed the vehicle, unable to join Davis in his disbelief. The thing looked exactly like the kind of car that would break down. A semi drove by, followed by an RV. She fiddled with the rubber lining of the passenger side window, then leaned into her palm. “So what should we do, Davis? Fifty minutes is a long time.”

“We could talk.”

“About what? God? Politics? The meaning of life?” What did someone like her have to say about topics like that? Nothing worthy of hearing. “That’s not what I had in mind.”

He pulled at his jaw.

“Do I make you nervous?” she asked.

“No.”

“Liar.”

“You don’t make me nervous. You make me curious.”

“Well, that’s a first. And what, exactly, are you curious about?”

“About who you are.” He held out his hand and flicked it up and down, motioning toward her body. “Underneath all this.”

Underneath all this? This, as in, her hair and her legs and her face? She removed her hand from the car. She wasn’t anything underneath all this. All
this was it. She turned south, gazing down the length of the highway, and spotted a red sports car in the distance. “It’s pointless waiting for a tow truck out in this heat when we don’t have to, don’t you think?” She stepped around him and his broken-down Jeep, brought herself into full view of the passerby, and stuck out her thumb.

“What do you think you’re doing?”

“Hitchhiking.”

“Don’t be stupid.”

She stuck her thumb out farther. “Trust me, Dave.”

The red car slowed.

Davis grabbed her arm and waved the car away with his other hand.

“You lost us a ride.”

He released her quickly and stepped back. “For all you know, that guy could have been a serial killer.”

“A serial killer? Here?” The threat seemed statistically impossible. “You’re paranoid.”

“Probably.” The set of his jaw stiffened. His eyes flashed, then dimmed. “But I’m not going to be responsible for putting you in danger.”

An intriguing reaction, but the chirp of her cell phone prevented her from examining it further. Judging by the ringtone, her dear uncle was calling.

Davis moseyed past the shoulder and sat beneath the dense foliage of green, attempting to find some relief from the sun. He stared at the poppies and cornflowers decorating the stretch of land between the road leading north and the one headed south. Even though he’d chosen a location far enough away to give Ivy her privacy, he couldn’t help but catch snatches of her end of the conversation.

She tapped her foot against the ground, her hand and, thank goodness,
her thumb safely tucked inside the pocket of her navy-blue shorts. A woman like her had no business hitchhiking. He dug the soles of his shoes into the grass and draped his elbows around his knees, wishing his father’s words would leave him alone.

“I considered it an emergency!” Ivy’s raised voice interrupted a chorus of birds.

Talking to Bruce, no doubt. Probably demanding the first flight back to New York as soon as Davis snapped the final picture of the editorial shoot. He wiped at the sweat beading along his temple and checked his watch. He needed to get them to Greenbrier in one piece, her to the boutique and his car to the shop, all before his grandparents’ anniversary dinner. And he’d have to suffer through a forty-minute car ride with Jordan Ludd, a kid who claimed to love Sara but left her the first minute something went wrong. A heavy weight settled in his stomach. He had no right to be angry with Jordan. Not when the blame for Sara’s heartbreak lay, ultimately, at his own feet.

“And you’re convinced this is going to give me exposure?” Ivy toed the grass, her tan legs impossibly long. She turned her back to Davis, taking her voice with her. After a moment, she pulled the phone from her ear.

He let go of his knees. “Everything okay?” he called.

“Oh, just dandy.”

“Want to talk about it?”

She pivoted around. “You’re very into talking.”

“You don’t want to stay, do you?”

She closed the gap between them, cocked her hip, and placed her hand on her waist. She had gone and parked herself right in front of him. Davis kept his gaze trained on her face, even if it meant crooking his neck at an uncomfortable angle. “You remember me as a kid, right?”

He nodded.

“Did I look very happy to you?”

No, she hadn’t. She’d looked sad. And lonely. The same way she looked at the funeral. He plucked a few clovers from the ground. “I think you should stay.”

“Thirty minutes ago you couldn’t believe I’d taken the job. Now you expect me to stay?”

“I don’t expect you to stay. I just think you should. It might be good for you.” He set his hands behind him, stretched his legs in front, and crossed one leg over the other, as if his relaxed position might detract from the inherent conflict of his statement. He had no doubt that Greenbrier could be good for Ivy, but he also knew her presence there would do nothing but blur the careful lines he’d drawn around his life. “I wasn’t challenging your motives, by the way. I was only curious about them. You admitted to running away last time you were here, and now you’ve come back for a job you don’t need.”

Her expression twitched.

Or did she? He knew better than most how quickly the tide could change for a model working in high fashion. Was it changing for Ivy? He tossed the clovers at the ground. “Well, it doesn’t matter. Your uncle is right about the exposure. Marilyn’s wedding dress line is going to take off. Brides already come to her boutique from across the Lowcountry.”

“You’re an expert on wedding fashion?” She sat beside him. “That’s an odd hobby for a man like you.”

For a man like him? Surely Ivy knew he’d been a photographer once.

“Don’t look so worried, Dave. Bruce assured me that my time will be well spent.” She leaned close and tucked her next words into his ear. “Looks like I’ll be sticking around. For now, at least. Lucky you.”

His Adam’s apple twitched. Yeah. Lucky him.

10

BOOK: A Broken Kind of Beautiful
4.1Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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