Ally would love to get Mitchell out of town. As she was contemplating the best way to do that, the water changed from hot to lukewarm. Uh-oh. She’d just lathered up her hair. She quickly rinsed it, but the lukewarm gave way quickly to cold, and then icy.
Without meaning to, she yelped. Instantly Mitchell pounded on the bathroom door. “Ally! What’s wrong! Ally!”
She turned off the shower and grabbed a towel. “The hot water ran—” Then she screamed as wood splintered. With a huge crash the bathroom door flew open.
Mitchell stood in the doorway, breathing hard. “What’s...wrong?”
Gulping for air, she stared at him, unable to process what had happened. “You scared me to death!”
“You scared me to death! What happened?”
“Nothing that required breaking down a door! Good God, Mitchell. Betsy’s going to have your head on a platter.”
“But I heard you cry out!” His gaze flicked over her. “Listen, could you...wrap that around yourself?”
She glanced down at the towel she held in front of her and saw that it wasn’t quite covering the subject. “Um, sure.” She held it against her breasts and managed to get the edge of the towel around her and tucked in. But it wasn’t what she’d call a generously sized towel. The bottom hem barely made it past the salient points.
Then another fact registered. “You’re not wearing your glasses.”
His hand went to his face, as if he hadn’t realized it. “No, I guess not.”
“Well, there’s one good thing about this incident. You probably can’t see me very well.”
“Right, right,” he said immediately. “You’re really fuzzy. Extremely fuzzy.”
“Good, because otherwise this could be one embarrassing moment.”
“I think it still has potential. What was the yelp all about?”
She hated to tell him. “The hot water ran out.”
“That’s it? I broke down a door because you ran out of hot water?”
“I didn’t ask you to break it down, now did I? I had a natural reaction to ice water suddenly ending up on my...body, and then wham! Arnold Schwarzenegger crashes into the bathroom. I thought we were being invaded!”
“I thought you were in trouble!”
“You couldn’t have waited five more seconds for me to tell you about the water situation?”
“Sometimes five seconds is the difference between life and death!”
Ally sighed. She’d had no idea that Mitchell was wound so tight, but maybe all the talk about grizzlies and the Peeping Caribou had freaked him out. And it was sort of cute that he’d come to her rescue.
“Okay, I appreciate the effort,” she said. “But the thing is, Betsy’s door is busted, and we’re going to need a really good reason why that happened. I don’t think a little yelp from me is going to cut it.” She still couldn’t comprehend that Mitchell had done the busting, either. She hadn’t imagined he was that strong.
He rubbed the back of his neck. “Something could have gotten into the bathroom, for all I knew.” He shrugged. “Maybe even a mouse.”
Ally looked at the door hanging crazily by one hinge. Mitchell had really trashed that door. “Let’s say it might have been a mouse. I still think breaking down the door is a little over the top. Betsy isn’t going to be happy.”
“I suppose not.” Mitchell glanced over his shoulder at the door.
She took pity on him. “Tell you what. I’ll explain to Betsy that I screamed really loud when the water turned cold, and you were sure someone was in here murdering me, and that’s why you broke down the door.”
“That’s okay.” His grin was sheepish. “You don’t have to protect me from Betsy. I can take the heat. I’ll apologize and pay for a new door.”
She assessed the damage. “And a new doorframe, looks like. I hope that wasn’t historic.”
“God, do you think it was?” Mitchell turned and took a good look at what he’d done. “You know, that could be original. That’s probably why it gave way so easily.”
“It didn’t sound like it gave way easily. You made a horrible crash when you came through.” She peered at him. “How did you do that, Mitchell? It’s not like you’re into body building, or anything.”
“It’s adrenaline,” he said. “Like when a kid is pinned under a car and the mother comes along and lifts the car off the kid. That kind of strength.”
“And you summoned up that kind of strength to come and save me?” She was totally impressed.
“I would have done that for anybody I thought was in trouble.”
She gazed at him. “Okay.” But she didn’t think so. She thought he had a really bad case of unrequited love. “Well, in case you didn’t already know it, the bathroom’s available now.”
“That’s the good news. The bad news is, there’s no hot water. Guess I’ll go get into my jammies. Good night.”
“Good night.” His voice sounded gravelly.
Yep, Mitchell was over the moon about her. And it made him do some very un-Mitchell-like things, like spontaneously book a flight to Alaska and break down a bathroom door. She hadn’t thought he was a very interesting man, but much more of this and she might change her mind.