Iraq war widow Katie Simmons hasn’t considere
d giving love another chance since the devastating loss of her husband. She’s happy sharing her love with her six-year-old daughter, Jessica. What more could she want from life?
Evan Waters is headed for the big time. He’s plowing his time, money and energy into recording Spires’ debut album. Following on in his British rock legend father’s footsteps, he has big shoes to fill, a mission made more difficult by his alcoholic mother.
When Katie and Evan meet on the London Underground, she denies his advances. Evan must find a way to demolish the walls she’s built around her heart. But even if he’s successful, will he be able to provide her with the commitment she deserves and still fulfill his ambitions?
Suddenly, she felt a stare aimed at her. Her stomach churned and her skin prickled as she turned in that direction. Her shoulders rose with the movement of her head. Sea-green eyes bored into her from beneath thick blond brows.
Her throat burned as she looked away from the man’s avid scrutiny. His body shifted beside her, and she tensed as she took a low, sweeping glance back in his direction. Her sight traveled his long legs to his torso where definition clearly stood out beneath the tight, sky-blue T-shirt he wore. She quickly looked away again when she observed his muscular arms as they folded across his chest.
Her cheeks flamed. The weight of his stare hadn't subsided. It had intensified. She cleared her throat and shuffled along the wall away from him. Her head snapped up when he chuckled. His eyes danced with amusement under the dim subway lights.
An air of arrogance radiated from him, seeming almost visible. Her mouth snapped shut, and her eyes narrowed on him. “Can I help you?”
“Yeah, come for a drink with me.” He scraped his chin-length, floppy blond hair away from his face, but it fell back to where it had been.
The American accent threw her off kilter. She hadn’t expected that or, least of all, his crazy request. She squeezed her brows together.
“And why on earth would I do that?”
“Because I’m worth the risk.” He shrugged and offered her a white, perfectly straight-toothed grin.
The irony of what he’d said wasn’t lost on her. He wasn’t a just risk. He stank of danger. Her tut sounded out immediately. “And modest, so I see.”
The train clattered into the station, and Katie joined the horde scrambling to get aboard, in the hope she could lose the smug bastard. She wouldn’t go for a drink with him if her life depended on it. Plus, she wasn’t interested. Love, relationships and even sex were the last thing on her mind and had been for years.
“Excuse me, excuse me,” he called out behind her.
She remained fixated on getting through the carriage doors, trying to convince herself that if she made it through she’d be home free.
The car was jam-packed, with standing room only. She selected the nearest available space and grabbed the yellow handrail to claim the spot as her own. She cringed as she looked up and observed the guy squeezing into a small gap opposite her, getting in other passengers’ space with a guitar case and his gigantic ego. A man wearing a suit and tie stepped into the carriage and glanced up and down him as though to say, Move out of the bloody way, but, this stranger wasn’t going anywhere—she could tell that by the shit-eating grin he wore while his unwavering gaze seemed to shoot through her.
“It’s only a drink.” He shrugged, continuing the conversation from the platform as though it had never ended.
She raised an eyebrow and pursed her lips, trying her utmost to portray disinterest to his unwanted advances. It was difficult. No one had given her the come-on for years. Being a single mother, she’d gotten to thinking of herself as unattractive, as could sometimes happen to a woman. Or perhaps the brick wall she’d built around herself was the cause? The one that clearly stated “go away”?
She cleared her throat, realizing her steely glare had gone on for too long. “I doubt you’re even old enough to buy me a drink.”
Against her will, a smile tugged at the corner of her lips when the blue-haired, Asian girl next to her released a giggle. The guy shrugged again. Every time he did it, she felt a spark of something she hadn’t experienced in a long time. Despite being vertically challenged at a little over five-feet, she’d always been attracted to tall, well-built guys. His physique did nothing to help her resolve.
“I’m twenty-one. Sure I can buy you a drink,” he said, ignoring their suddenly interested audience.
Katie groaned aloud. Twenty-bloody-one, if you ever stood a chance, which you didn’t, you just completely lost it, mate.
Katie smiled, and his expression morphed into something she hadn’t felt for a while. Hope.
“Okay, you may legally be able to buy me a drink, but I must regretfully inform you that I don’t date guys who were still wearing nappies when I chose which high school to attend.”
The blue-haired girl snickered. Katie glanced over to see pure glee on her face. It seemed like she wanted to high-five Katie for her witty comebacks.
“Ah, come on,” he spoke with breathy laughter. “What are you? Like twenty-five? So unless you started high school early, I’m eligible. Besides, age is merely a number.”
“Try again, love. Trust me, you were still wearing nappies, and with my wealth of experience, I happen to know what ‘a drink’ actually translates to in man speak, or in this case, boy speak.”
“I don’t really care how old you are, and your fighting is making me want that drink with you all the more. I promise to behave honorably.” He pressed a palm to his chest, still wearing that annoying, yet devilishly handsome grin.
Her skin prickled. She doubted she could put up a fight for much longer. Not having sex for five years could do that to someone. His blatant attraction stirred something in her stomach she didn’t want, like a sickness bug or something equally unpleasant and destructive.
That smile got to her. She silently prayed he’d stop moving because whenever the carriage juddered, he clung tighter to the handrail and his bicep flexed deliciously.
This is ridiculous. No. No way. Don’t do this to yourself. She gritted her teeth, determined not to give in and trying to conjure up another smart retort.
The carriage rolled into West Hampstead. She quickly glanced at her watch. She had twenty minutes to get to work, if she got off the train there, as she wanted to, she’d never make it. She couldn’t lose her job, but she couldn’t risk letting this guy get to her any more, either. An idea suddenly hit her, a way to get rid of this pesky temptation.
“How about you give me your number, and I’ll sleep on it?” She worked hard to inject a genuine tone into her voice.
She nodded. Katie had always been a crap liar, so speaking might give away her game. She dodged his gaze, her eyes landing on the girl who’d delighted in her earlier display of rejection.
The blue-haired girl’s mouth pressed into a thin line. She shook her head clearly put out by Katie’s seeming change of heart.
The guy patted around his jeans pockets, keeping the guitar case steady between his knees. He pulled out a card and reached around the unamused man in the suit to give it to her. She shoved it into her work-issue tunic pocket without taking a solitary glance at it.
“Thanks,” she muttered, her mouth downturned. Her cheeks burned as a few other commuters offered her knowing glances, some of them filled with narrow-eyed envy.
“What’s your name anyway?”
Katie cringed, wondering when the guy would get off her back. She still had two stops to go. She glanced down at her feet, not wanting to give him any idea that she might be remotely interested in talking to him, let alone anything else.
“Mel.” Her best friend’s name rolled off her tongue without hesitation. She wanted to slap herself. This guy had been a bad influence on her since the moment they had met. She’d experienced attraction, temptation and she’d lied, not once but twice. The problem being that she now realized he’d know where she worked. Well, he would if he were smart. The logo on her tunic spelled it all out for him. If he were crazy enough to show up there, he’d get an entirely different person. One who wouldn’t show any hesitation in telling him where to go? Or would she?
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L.T. Kelly lives in rural Lincolnshire with her husband, two children and a mentally unstable Cockapoo named Mylo. She enjoyed a successful eleven-year career in the Royal Air Force which put plenty of stories in her writing cap.
L.T. now divides her time between writing, being a wife, mother and an Emergency Medical Dispatcher for the ambulance service.
It’s the writing that keeps her sane.
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