To my shock, she swallowed and tugged her hand away, then shook her head. “I don’t think so. But thank you for asking.”
Wilder didn’t need to introduce himself. I had known exactly who he was when I spotted him on his board, getting ready to go for the same wave as me. But I was being honest when I said we didn’t know each other since we’d never met. He was one of the stars of the World Surf League—the biggest name in surfing as far as I was concerned—and I was just a newbie starting to make a name for herself.
When I realized the swell was going to have an A-frame break, I had been stoked to share a wave with my surfing idol. I figured the experience had to be a good omen for my upcoming competition. The only way it could’ve been better was if someone on the beach had caught a picture of the two of us shredding the same wave in opposite directions. Adding that photo to my vision board would have been wicked awesome. And an image that I would’ve happily stared at for hours on end.
With his honey-blond hair, pale-green eyes, athletic build, and sun-kissed skin, Wilder was the hottest guy on the beach. If he had wanted to take me to dinner a year or two ago, I would have jumped at the chance to date him. Not that it had been the slightest bit possible since I’d only turned eighteen a few months ago, and he was a decade older than me.
It just about killed me to tug my hand away when all I wanted to do was hold on tight. But I couldn’t lose sight of how close I was to making my dreams a reality. Not even for Wilder Abrams.
Plus, it would be hella awkward if he ever came to my place and saw my vision board. He was featured prominently on it since my goal for my first season on the World Qualifying Series was to earn enough points to join the WCT next year, just like he did. The surfers who made the cut got to compete at better locations for a lot more prize money and way more exposure.
I was already well on my way since I’d moved up to the Challenger Series in May and was holding the top women’s spot after the first three competitions. The fourth was coming up practically in my backyard at Huntington Beach, and I was already garnering some interest for a product endorsement of a great board wax made locally.
After making it out of the grind and onto the dream tour, my next goal was to beat all the big names in surfing to take the championship during my rookie season with them, the same way Wilder had. Only I wanted to end up with more points than he’d gotten back when he was my age.
He flashed me a grin that was hot enough to melt my wetsuit if I’d still been wearing it. “How about a bubble tea?”
I wasn’t sure why he’d suggested boba instead of coffee like most guys would have, but he was making it hard to turn him down again. I’d been a big fan of milk tea ever since my dad took me for some a few years ago. “Sorry, but I really can’t.”
“Are you sure?”
I really wasn’t, but I still forced myself to say, “Yup, totally positive.”
He didn’t look even the tiniest bit discouraged as he murmured, “Hopefully, we’ll meet again when you’re less busy.”
It was a good thing that I’d already scoped out the beach. If I’d still needed to stick around, I never would’ve been able to walk away from Wilder. Or confess to him that he didn’t need to hope because he was guaranteed to see a lot of me in the future when we were both on the WCT.
Strolling over to my Jeep Wrangler—and putting some extra swing into my hips—I forced myself not to look back at Wilder. No matter how much I wanted to know if he was staring at my butt, I knew that if I locked eyes with him again, I wouldn’t be able to resist the temptation he presented.
As soon as I climbed into my vehicle and snapped my seat belt into place, I grabbed my cell phone to call my best friend. Putting the device onto speaker mode while it rang, I started the engine and backed out of my spot.
Delta answered on the third ring. “How did it go? Can you totally picture yourself shooting a commercial there?”
My lips curved into a smile. “For sure.”
My best friend proved how well she knew me when she asked, “Then why don’t you sound stoked? Are you worried about your meeting tomorrow? Because you shouldn’t be. They’d be fools not to jump on the chance to be the first company to endorse you. When you make it to the big leagues next season, you’ll have tons of offers.”