Lacy ran toward the end of the pier, clutching the box of cupcakes to her chest, with her heart in her throat. What if she was too late?
She yelled his name into the wind. “Duncan.”
But when she reached the water’s edge, she found him standing in waist-deep water. His jeans were soaked, but his top half was still bone dry. He was carefully wrapping his hands around a pelican floating sideways in the current.
Lacy was mystified. “What in the world?”
Duncan answered her, but his eyes never left the bird. “Shhh. You’ll spook him.”
She watched, equal parts curious and humiliated as Duncan pulled a pocketknife from his jeans and cut away a wad of fishing line that had somehow wrapped itself around the pelican’s neck.
A pelican. He’d jumped into the sea to rescue an injured pelican. And she’d thought…
Never mind what she’d thought. She couldn’t have been more wrong.
She turned to go, but only managed to make it halfway back down the pier when a wet hand landed on her shoulder.
“Lacy? What are you doing here?” Duncan’s masculine voice sent a tremor coursing through her.
She spun to face him. “I saw you go past the bakery. You looked upset, so I…”
He cocked his head. “You followed me?”
“Yes, and then I saw you jump off the end of the pier. It frightened me. I wasn’t sure what to think.” Could this be any more humiliating? She didn’t even know the man, and now he’d think she was some kind of stalker.
He jammed his big, bird-saving hands on his hips. “You thought I was trying to end it all, didn’t you?”
Her only response was a tiny lift of her chin.
“You did, didn’t you?” A tiny laugh escaped him.
At the sound of it, something inside Lacy snapped. “It’s not funny.”
“It is. A little. Admit it. I mean, it’s sweet. You thought I’d jumped to my death in three feet of water.” A smile creased his handsome face.
It was the first time Lacy had seen a look anywhere close to joy on his face. It would have made her heart sing, had she not been his source of amusement.
“Please stop laughing at me.”
“I’m not laughing.” He bit down on his bottom lip. His shoulders shook from the effort it took him not to burst into a guffaw.
Lacy narrowed her eyes, opened the box of cupcakes, pulled one out and threw it directly at Duncan. With a squishy sounding splat, it hit him square in the forehead.