Her eyes opened to the inside of an old car that seemed to have more space than her own—what kind of car did she have again? She couldn’t remember.Inconsistent memories and the notion to worry about them flittered away. She stretched her feet out, enjoying the vehicle’s roominess.
“Good, you’re awake.” A deep voice emanated from the shadowed form in the driver’s seat.
Huh? Confusion yanked her head toward the driver. What the hell’s going on? She struggled to recall something. Anything. Memories—details of her life fuzzed and faded in the fog. But nothing came to her.
“I was afraid there for a minute that I’d hit you,” he added, clutching the steering wheel.
She said nothing, kneading her temples as if she could massage her recall back into place.
“Are you okay? Can you talk?” Out of the darkness, he reached across and rested his hand against her arm. Chills shuddered through her, as if her body knew his touch.
She turned to face him, his features hidden by the darkness. Did she know him? Doubt ran down her back like a cold shower, washing away her defenses.
“Do you live near here?” he asked.
Did she? Hell if she knew.
Fear rocketed from her gut and stalled into a chokehold, leaving her speechless. Struggling breaths accompanied her overwhelming desire to be anywhere but here. Sometimes stranger equaled danger. She prayed this wasn’t one of those times.
Instinct drove her to stay calm, but search for the door handle. When she located the slender lever, relief prompted her. Should she run?
No, not yet.
Finding the door handle had liberated her panic-stricken heart. Izzy no longer felt threatened,just anxious and uncertain. But she clung to the lever—in case.
“I’m going to take you to the hospital.” He straightened in his seat and reached for the keys in the ignition.
Her fingers fumbled in the dark, over the seat and against the back. “Where’s the seatbelt?”
“Seatbelt?” Lips pursing into doubt, he started the car. The engine rumbled to life with thunderous vibrations.
“You must have hit your head really hard,” he said, shifting the car into gear.
“Tell me about it.” Why did she ask about a seatbelt? What is a seatbelt, anyway?
Izzy took a long, lingering look around the car’s interior. The glove box branded the automobile a Chevrolet, but the monstrous dashboard, bulky gauges and uneven upholstery seemed dated, not the least bit familiar. None of it fit the image of her clothing—jeans and a red tee with the word Southpole glittering across her chest.
She tried to remember the last place she’d been before ending up here, but she had no memories prior to the one where he’d nearly run her over.
Who was the driver? Something about his hands—the bronze color of his skin, the span of his long fingers and their invisible influence—whispered that she should know him.
“What were you doing in the middle of the road?” he asked, backing out of the ditch.
She didn’t know. Noisy grumbling from the engine intensified, making it hard to recall anything but her name. Izzy closed her eyes as if that would help. It didn’t. Nothing else emerged. “I think I’m dead.”
He chuckled. “Sweetheart, you’re not dead, see—” A skeptical yet playful tone surfaced in his voice. “—Unless I’m communicating with the spirit world.”