Just Say (Hell) No
Ahead of him, the girl looked tense. The running was new, probably. Felt too hard. That had to be it, considering the speed she was going. He caught up and said, “Excuse me.”
She whirled on him so fast, he started running backward out of habit.
“I have Mace!” she announced, all but baring her teeth.
Oh. She’d heard him coming up behind her. He blinked, realized he was still jogging backward, stopped, and said, “Uh . . . no, you don’t. But no worries. You don’t need it.” There wasn’t room to conceal more than a car key in that kit she was wearing. A flippy little zebra-print skirt,and a black sports bra that dipped low enough in front to show some cleavage. She was a curvy little thing and no mistake. Not that he was looking. She was advancing on him like the stroppiest terrier in the litter, and despite her aggression, he could see the fear underneath.
First the pub, and now this. He didn’t scare women. He was careful. He put up both palms and said again, “No worries.”
She seemed taken aback for an instant, but recovered fast. “I’m not worried,” she said. “But maybe you should be, eh.”
A hint of a Maori accent there. He considered explaining that he liked blondes, but she opened her hand, and bloody hell, but she did have a tiny metal canister laced between her fingers, together with her keys. An older couple was coming toward them with a Golden Retriever on a leash, and Marko had a sudden flash of his photo in another newspaper. Staggering around, tears streaming from his eyes, Maced on a bush track after attacking a jogger. That would be a good look.