Merci’s heart beat rapidly as she took her seat on the passenger side of Chris’ mustang. She couldn’t believe she’d let Liv talk her into this. Bad enough she was going on a blind date but did Liv really think she could go through with the rest of the evening? What if Chris got mad? What if he didn’t take no for an answer? How the hell was this supposed to work?
The driver’s side door opened and Chris got behind the wheel. He really was cute. Nordic didn’t really capture him properly. He looked like an old time Viking warrior with blond hair, blue eyes and an impressive physique. He had to be at least six foot four and his hands were massive.
He flashed her a cocky smile. Liv had succeeded in off-footing him by not warning him Merci was black, but he’d recovered quickly enough as Merci was certain Liv expected. It made sense. Only a really arrogant SOB would let a woman who hates him set him up on a date. Liv insisted that Chris didn’t know she hated him, but nobody could really be that stupid. Despite her slight figure, Liv was as subtle as a rhinoceros.
“So where are we going?” Merci asked.
“Antonio’s,” Chris told her. “You know it?”
Merci did. Antonio’s was five-star classy. Matching the restaurant with the Mustang suggested Chris was pretty wealthy. Liv had said he was some sort of bond broker, but Merci didn’t really know much about that profession. “Very nice,” she said. “Do you go there often?”
“My first time,” Chris said. “Left to my own devices I’m a pizza and burger kind of guy, but this seemed like a great opportunity to try something different.”
Merci nodded thoughtfully, uncertain if she should give Chris points for honesty or blame him for not being real with her. A first date—especially a blind date—ought to give the couple a chance to get to know each other.
“How about you? Do you like Italian?”
“Who doesn’t like Italian?” Merci asked. She wondered if he expected her to say she preferred soul food.
Chris’ grin alleviated that concern. “Good, because you know I’m not wedded to the restaurant. We can go to a steak house if you prefer.”
“Antonio’s is fine,” Merci said. “Really, I’m easy-” Merci cringed internally as she realized what she had just said, then hurried on hoping that Chris wouldn’t notice. “I mean, wherever you want to go is all right with me.”
More of Chris’s pearly white teeth were showing through his smile, but he gave no other sign that he had noticed her unfortunate phrasing. “Let’s try Antonio’s then,” he said, “an unknown restaurant for a blind date. That seems appropriate to me.”