“What sounds better? Chunky Monkey or Late night snack?”
Iris was surprised he was trying to engage her in conversation. She had gone to great lengths to put an invisible STAY AWAY sign on her fore head. But he was one of those ultra-beautiful men who probably couldn’t comprehend a woman not wanting to talk to him. Just like Riley. They actually looked a tiny bit alike. Except this guy was taller and bulkier, his hair was lighter and sun streaked and his eyes were light blue, not hazel. His smile was nicer than Riley’s too, but he’d probably spent a lot of time torturing innocent women with that dangerous smile of his. Actually he was nothing like Riley. But Riley had taught her well. She had this guy’s number. But at the same time, he did have a good question.
Iris walked forward and looked studiously at the two cartons the man held. “You’d have to really love banana flavored ice cream, chocolate and walnuts to go for this one. Late Night Snack? Isn’t that the chocolate covered potato chip one?”
The man grinned and read the carton. “That is so weird. Have you tried it?”
Iris nodded sagely and looked at the shelves full of ice cream. “Of course. I wouldn’t consider myself a true Ben and Jerry’s fan if I didn’t try every flavor they came out with.”
The man put the Chunky Monkey back and put the Late Night ice cream in his cart. “Well now I’m intrigued. What flavor does a serious fan go for?”
Iris scanned the shelves and sighed happily as she snagged the Chunky Monkey he had just put back. “And to think this is the last one,” she said grinning nastily at him as she put the beloved ice cream in her cart and started walking away.
“Hey! You just played me.” The man yelled following quickly after her.
Iris grinned wickedly. Had he not seen the boots? Honestly, this guy was not good at reading the cues she was sending out. He caught up with her and grabbed her cart forcing her to stop.
“So since you just stole my favorite ice cream right out from under me, I think you should at least introduce yourself. Obviously you’re new in town. My name is Trey Kellen. What’s yours?” he asked, smiling, but cautious with it now.
Iris looked up at Trey. Geez, what was he, 6’3”? “You’re right, you got played. But you really should thank me. Everyone should try that flavor at least once. It’s not that bad. Not as good as Chunky Monkey of course, but that’s life for you. Kind of unfair. And you’re right. I am new in town. I’m Iris, Luke Petersen’s cousin. I just got into town a few days ago.”
Trey leaned up against a freezer door and crossed his arms. “Now that’s interesting. Luke happens to be one of my best friends and not once did he mention to me that his cousin was coming to town.”
Iris shrugged and studied her newly painted fingernails. Vampire black. She smiled happily at the high gloss. Her nails were definitely rated PG-13 at the very least. “Well, he probably knows that I’m just here to kind of blend in. You know, be anonymous. No big splash.”
Trey laughed at her and did a quick glance over, pausing on her hair. “Yeah, I don’t think you’re going to be anonymous. You’re kind of, um . . . different from a lot of the girls who live around here.”
Iris looked up and grinned at Trey. “Seriously! That’s exactly what I was going for.”
Trey tilted his head as if he was trying to figure her out. “So why’d you come to Alpine? Job, family, . . . relationship?”
Iris sighed heavily and all happiness drained from her eyes. “No, no and no. Definitely no men. So be sure and tell all the single men that they’re safe from me. I am now an official men free zone.”
Trey laughed and shook his head. “Oh my.”
Iris glared at him and put her hands on her hips. “Excuse me? What is that supposed to mean? Not every woman is out to get a guy, or get married or be in a relationship or, or . . . anything!” she said rather lamely but with enough anger to have Trey step back.
Trey held his hands up defensively. “Please don’t hurt me. Your boots are intimidating enough. I only said, oh my, because I’m with you. I’m an official women free zone. You’re actually standing a little too close to be honest. I’m getting a little uncomfortable.”
Iris noticed she was standing quite close and blushed, stepping back quickly. “Oh sorry. But wow. Really?”
Trey nodded sadly. “Burned one too many times. I’m done with women.”
Iris patted his arm sympathetically. “Me too. Except I was never burned before. I just had one big bonfire. But it was enough.”
Trey’s light blue eyes lost their teasing glint and turned sympathetic. “Well, since we’re both off the market, at least we’re safe with each other, right?”
Iris crinkled up her nose and considered. “I guess. But really, I just hate men right now. I don’t think you’re safe around me. I could accidently hurt you just because, you’re, you know, a good looking guy,” she said inching further away.
Trey smiled at the good looking reference and reached out to touch a strand of her red tipped hair. “Well, we’d have to have rules, like safety parameters if we ever hung out. But you’re right, I’ve been so hurt emotionally, I don’t think I could take getting kicked around by someone who owns a Harley Davidson.”
Iris grinned at him. “I’m going to get one. I can’t wait.”
Trey laughed as they walked towards the check-out stand. He even helped her put her groceries on the conveyor belt as he offered suggestions on where to go to test drive motorcycles.Iris was even prepared to allow that Trey might be one of the few nice guys left in the world.
Until she started putting her groceries away and instead of holding Chunky Monkey in her hand, she
held the chocolate covered potato chip, Late Night Snack instead. He had switched cartons. He had