Friday, December 30, 2011
My new release, Midnight’s Sweet Kiss, is now available at Amazon.
Sophie Kurtz finds herself stranded in New York after catching her fiancé kissing another woman. But thanks to Noah Conley, a knight in shining armor, or rather, a kindhearted, attractive cab driver, her night turns around.
Sophie grabbed her airport carrier and dragged it behind her to the nearest bar. While not her scene, she had an affinity for bright colored drinks with fruit hanging off the rim. Late as it was, she decided on something less showy and ordered a mojito with its velvety mint garnish and clean, smooth taste.
Three mojitos later she was less pissed at Kyle, and just pissed in general. She moved to New York to start fresh with a new job, a new place, and a new life. It would be the start of an amazing year that included a walk down the aisle with her man of three years. Only now the plans didn’t look quite so promising. If she could somehow take herself out of the one to blame category, she would, but it all fell on her shoulders. No one twisted her arm to make the big move. She’d decided on her own and it was a bit late to change her mind.
Sophie tried Kyle’s number one more time and after cursing the voicemail message, paid the bartender. If she spent another minute in the airport, she was going to lose it. Luggage carrier in tow she headed outside into the cool December air and hailed a cab.
To her relief, one pulled up before her foot touched the curb. At least she could count on something. The cab driver opened his door to get out but she waved him off.
“Just pop the trunk, I’ll take care of my stuff.” There was no sense both of them being cold. Plus, all of her possessions were in the suitcases. It gave her comfort to load each one in. They felt like old friends.
She gave a final look back toward the airport and then scrunched into the cab. Ready or not she was on her way. She hoped Kyle would be thrilled by her surprise. And she hoped he had a real good reason for not picking her up.
“Where to, miss?”
The seductive deep voice from inside the cab sent shivers along her spine. She looked up and met steel gray eyes in the rearview mirror. They were deep-set and hypnotic and trained on her.
“Uh, Miss? I’ll need your destination.”
Sophie blinked to break her trance-like stare. “My fiancé’s place,” she blurted and felt her cheeks blaze red.
The driver’s dark brows arched. “I’m not familiar with that location. Maybe you could give me a street name?”
Heat spread from her neck on up. “Sorry, it’s on the corner of 9th and Davidson,” she replied with a shaky voice.
What was up with the knot of nerves forming in her belly? She might’ve been with Kyle for the last three years but it wasn’t like she’d never looked at another man.
A charming grin tugged the driver’s full lips. Even with his body half concealed by the front seat, her senses responded, and not with any subtlety. It was like he’d been chiseled out of a clay mold of perfection. His navy blue shirt fit him snug around the chest, and there was a slight vee in the collar area that made her want to hook her finger there, pull down, and check out the rest of him.
She returned her attention to the mirror and back to his eyes. They scanned the road, moving ever so slight from one side to the other and then for a brief moment at her. His gaze had her transfixed. With his take-me-I’m-yours looks, he could tell her to strip and she’d obey in a heartbeat.
You’re taken, she reminded herself and glanced down at her ring. It was a princess cut, though the diamond was larger than she preferred. Kyle insisted on the size despite her preference for something modest. She wasn’t naïve. He’d bought it big to impress people with how much he’d spent on it.
“So, I take it you just flew in?”
Again shivers flecked her skin. How did his voice have such a commanding effect over her? “Yeah, I mean, yes,” she said and wondered if he ever made his girlfriend wait hours for him to show up. She didn’t think so. For right now, or at least while she stayed mad at Kyle, this dark-haired dream was the ultimate sex god and could do no wrong. Olivia would be jealous.
“Is this your first time in New York,” he prompted.
“Yes.” Sophie sighed, though not because of his question. She was homesick and starting to doubt her decision.
“I thought so.”
“It’s pretty much stamped on my forehead, isn’t it?” She drew her bangs back to give him a better look.
He chuckled. “Nah. You just don’t seem like a New Yorker.”
“Not even close. I’m from Oregon. What gave me away, the scared shitless look on my face?”
“No, but there is that. It’s just little things.” He glanced her way and shrugged. “I don’t have much else to do from up here, so I try to get a read on people. I’m usually good at it too, but you’ve stumped me.”
She arched her brow. “How so?”
“You strike me as someone who likes things calm and easy going. You won’t find those things here,” he replied.
Boy, wasn’t that the truth. “I’m impressed,” she said and smoothed a wrinkle out of her skirt. “I do like things calm and simple, but not stagnant. I thought change would be good, a way to start over. New house, new job, new life.” Each time she listed them it made her more apprehensive.
“Sounds daring,” the driver responded.
“I guess.” She glanced out the window as a reminder of where she was. All the months that she’d readied herself for this move had been bearable because she’d still been home. Now she didn’t have that comfort to fall back on.
“To be honest,” she started, “moving here wasn’t my choice.” Her eyes widened at the frankness of her own comment and she tried to backtrack. “I mean, at first it wasn’t. Now I’m cool with it. My fiancé’s work is here and if I want to be with him then this is where I have to live.”
Wow, the way she explained it made her sound like she’d been held at gunpoint. Where was her enthusiasm? This wasn’t a life sentence. Was it? The cab shrunk around her while her ring grew three times its already ostentatious size. Was she having her first official nervous breakdown?
“At least you’ll have someone to help you through it. That makes a difference,” he offered.
“Sure does,” she agreed and rolled the window down for some much needed air. “I don’t mind a challenge.” Since she couldn’t even convince herself, she switched the conversation onto him. “So do you do anything else besides drive people around?”
“I drive them crazy,” he joked and started to laugh.
She snickered along with him. Handsome and charming, what were the odds? “I meant, is this a full time gig?”
“For now,” he said. “It keeps me away from desk jobs and starched uniforms. I’m allergic to both.”
“Same here.”A chill ran through her and she put the window back up. Head cocked to the side she asked, “Do you like driving a cab?”
He rolled his shoulders. “Most days. Driving relaxes me.”
“Even in this traffic?” She wouldn’t last ten minutes behind the wheel here.
“Yep. It helps remind me to slow down. It’s easy to miss things.”
Sophie liked his carefree philosophy. It differed from Kyle’s nonstop rambling about how successful he was in his career, and how everyone admired him. He’d spend hours on the phone with her rattling on about business mergers and conferences until her hand tingled from holding the phone to her ear so long. It was nice to hear someone be casual about their job, and not make money the topic of every conversation. She didn’t have the nerve to tell Kyle how much it bored her, and often worried she’d fall asleep with him still talking.
In the next breath she felt a tinge of guilt. Sure she was mad at Kyle for not calling to say he’d be late, but it wasn’t fair to find fault with him. She’d feel even worse when he explained what kept him. He was going to be her husband soon, and she’d need to show interest in the things he did.
“We’re coming up to your stop,” she heard the driver say. His interruption was more than welcome. “Is there somewhere in particular you want me to drop you off at, or right at the corner?”
She grabbed her purse and poised her hand over the seatbelt buckle. “Yeah, the corner will be…”
Sophie’s words faded off at the sight of Kyle in a steamy lip lock with some redhead in a tight little skirt, his hands freely roaming.
Her chest tightened.
“I didn’t catch that last part,” said the cabbie.
From the corner of her eye she saw him turn her direction, follow her gaze out the window, and then turn back to her.
Midnight’s Sweet Kiss. Available now.