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Authors: Britney King

Anywhere With You

BOOK: Anywhere With You
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Anywhere

With You

 

 

 

BRITNEY KING

 

 

Copyright © 2015 Britney King

Anywhere With You

By Britney King

ISBN:
978-0-9966497-0-4

 

 

Cover Image by © Vladimir Nikulin/Dreamstime.com

Cover Design by Lisa Jay

 

Formatting and Editing

Rogena Mitchell-Jones Manuscript Services

 

 

All Rights Reserved.

 

This book may not be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission from the author. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

 

All characters and storylines are the property of the author and your support and respect is appreciated. The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

 

The author and editor have taken great effort in presenting a manuscript free of errors. However, editing errors are ultimately the responsibility of the author.

 

 

 

For those who know wanderlust in their bones.

Their eyes made of love,

Hearts of gold.

To those who find their way home again.

 

 

One

Jack

I couldn’t stay.

HAVE YOU EVER held something so beautiful you wanted to hang onto it—and yet at the same time, put it aside just for fear of using it up? I have. It’s like that uncle of yours who owns several amazing classic cars, and while he tinkers with them daily—he rarely actually takes them out for a drive. Or—your Grandma and her fine china, which only sees the light of day on special occasions. Or maybe it’s that little black dress you keep hanging in the back of your closet despite the fact that you haven’t worn it in a decade because you assure yourself you’ll fit back into one of these days.

That’s how I felt about her. She was all of the things I mentioned above—compiled into one really amazing person. And I was afraid that I’d use her up.

Over time—I might’ve learned that there was so much more where that came from—if only I’d just kept looking. But that’s not what happened in South America. Basically, you could say I choked. And I’m not one who chokes. Yet, with her—it happened. With her… it always happens.

I’d spent such a long time trying to locate Amelie and traveling to find her. And then, when I did—well, it was beyond anything I could have expected. She was the same—only better. She was still as captivating as ever, smarter, and worldlier, too. In a sense, we were both better than the last time we’d spent time together. Just not good enough, I guess.

There’s also the fact that I left in the shittiest way possible. Unexpectedly and without notice. Which if you’re going to leave a woman, really, it’s the best—if not
the only
way to go about doing it. Before you hate me too much, let me say this—I did at least leave a note.

If I were to try and explain to you then
why
I left, I couldn’t. Mostly because I’m not certain I even really knew myself. But I know now.

It’s been two years since I walked out of that hotel room leaving Amelie lying naked tangled up in the mess we’d made only hours before. As I studied the way the early morning light poured in through the balcony doors and filtered itself over her tanned, bare skin, I ran my fingers through her hair and watched as she stirred a little. If I remember correctly, and I do, because I’ve thought back over those moments thousands of times, probably at least once every day since that morning, I remember she smiled in her sleep. She was happy. Too damned happy. And maybe that was the problem.

I do recall willing her to wake, willing her to get up, to ask me just what in the hell I was doing. But she didn’t. She merely sighed, pulled the covers up to her chin, and rolled over onto her stomach. So I kissed the top of her head, placed the note on the bedside table, and that was that.

Two days later, I received an email.

 

To: Jack Harrison

From: Amelie Rose

 

Subject: You’re an asshole.

 

Jack,

 

From here on out, leave me alone.

Life is better that way.

 

Amelie

 

It was just like Amelie to want the last word, but I wasn’t the kind of guy, not then anyway, to let her have it.

 

To: Amelie Ros
e

From: Jack Harrison

 

Subject: Tell me something I don’t know…

 

Dear Amelie,

 

I can’t. It’s against my nature.

I truly am sorry for leaving the way I did.

I just had to get back...

 

Love,

Jack

 

When I wrote that email, I expected a response. Basically, I wanted more from her. I wanted her to tell me that we could make it work this time. I wanted her to fight. I wanted her to tell me to go to hell—that I was wrong to leave. And in a sense, I guess she did—because I didn’t see or hear from her again for nearly two years.

 

 

 

Two

Amelie

Here comes trouble.

I was already in a bad mood. For starters, I’d overslept, my cab showed up late, and security lines were backed up—all factors that not only lent to my crappy mood but factors that also caused me to miss my flight. Then, as if that weren’t shitty enough, the airline informed me I’d have to wait another six hours before they’d have room on another flight. A flight, mind you that would get me
not
to my destination—but closer than I was currently. The attendant assured me her offer was better than my current predicament, her tone clearly reveling in my misery. So instead of one flight, I’d now need to take two, in addition to the six-hour layover I was about to endure. I told the indifferent airline attendant that I’d accept the offer—because, after all, what other choice did I have?

“You could always stay here.” She offered with a smile. They must train them that way, I thought. It’s as though they hold a special class or something on just how to serve the right amount of passive-aggressiveness. I wanted to ask as much, to find out where she learned to be so pleasantly rude. Instead, I simply smiled, shook my head, and offered my best thank you, but no thank you expression. I let my smile fade, just to drive home the point that she hadn’t completely won, and I reached down and grabbed the handle to my carry-on, the only luggage I travel with, which had, of course, fallen over at my feet, and walked away with my tail between my legs. Thoroughly exhausted, I searched for the respite of caffeine. I’d already decided the only thing that could possibly save me at this point was the combination of coffee and work—of which I had no shortage of to catch up on. It was just that I’d hoped to catch up on in the air.

And, anyway, not only was I not in the mood for a fight—I’d had enough of that in the past twenty-four hours—but also I wasn’t particularly in a hurry to actually reach my destination. Nonetheless, had I been in any kind of rush, it would have been a losing battle anyhow, as it happened to be the busiest travel day of the year—the day before Thanksgiving. I was traveling to see my part-time lover, full-time pain in the ass, also known as Ian. We’d had it out the night before, which was in part the reason for my tardiness this morning. I hadn’t slept much at all—and I certainly hadn’t planned on falling asleep when I did. The trouble was that Ian had been pressuring me for a larger commitment than I was willing to give. Worse yet, Ian was also my boss. I know, I know. It was stupid. Really, really stupid. I mean what kind of idiot gets involved with their boss? Well, this kind. Apparently.

In my defense, though, he was not my boss at the time we began sleeping together. He was actually my boss’s boss. Which probably sounds worse, I get it, but let me assure you—it wasn’t. At least back then, there was a buffer. And honestly, I didn’t plan to sleep with him. Like most mistakes, it just sort of happened. My heart was broken and Ian just so happened to be the first right—yet very wrong—thing to show up in my life. My boss—at the time—and the editorial team I worked with had gone out to celebrate the wrapping of the magazine’s latest issue. Despite the fact that I wasn’t keen on going anywhere after my latest romantic debacle, my boss had demanded that everyone be in attendance. Her boss, a.k.a Ian, had flown in, and one drink wouldn’t kill anyone, she’d assured me.

At any rate, she made it clear that it was a mandatory meeting and that my latest crisis, as she called it, was no excuse not to be in attendance. Little did she know, I actually liked the idea of having a drink. Or six. Minus the going out part.

Still, to prove a point, I waltzed into that hotel lobby looking about like I felt. Run down and out of fucks to give. I moseyed up to the group and took my place at the table. Then I promptly ordered a vodka and tonic and chased that one down with a few more. By my fourth drink, not only was I the life of the party, I was the boss’s
boss’s
new favorite person. This one has talent, I can tell, I remembered he’d remarked as he ordered another round.

Somewhere around drink five and a half, Erica, my assistant, grabbed my elbow, led me out of the hotel, and onto the street where she’d attempted in vain to put up with my drunken nonsense while simultaneously trying to wave down a cab. Perhaps if she would’ve succeeded, or if I would have left sooner or maybe hadn’t consumed so many drinks, my life would be less of a mess right now. But she didn’t succeed, and I did manage to once again not only drink myself under the table but everyone else, too. And so, as it turned out, Ian intercepted us out on the street.

“Wait up,” I remember him calling out, the expression he wore one of relief.

I eyed him up and down as he headed toward us. I liked the way he smiled warmly as he slowly jogged in my direction. Maybe I’d hoped this would happen. Maybe a part of me had wanted him to follow us out. Thinking back to the person I was then and the frame of mind I was in—otherwise known as ‘after Jack’—I can only assume I was glad to see the tall, tailored suit trotting my way. When he stopped just a few feet shy of me, his deep brown eyes bore into mine. The air was suddenly stagnant. It hurt to breathe. The sounds of the city, of traffic, and of voices laughing and arguing, the coming and going, it all faded into the background, and all I saw was the man standing before me.

“I was afraid I wouldn’t catch you,” he finally said.

My breath caught at the deep tone of his voice and the words he’d chosen. Of all the words, I thought, he’d picked those. And they were perfect. I didn’t know if I wanted to be caught—but I definitely knew a distraction couldn’t hurt. Which was partly how I’d found myself in the position I was in. Drunk and being led out of an office party by my assistant. As I considered this, I stumbled on my heel. Erica tightened her grip on my elbow and then released it all together. Whether she was willing to let me fall remained to be seen.

“I wanted to have a word with Miss Rose,” he said to Erica, although he didn’t take his eyes off of mine.

Then he turned. “About the upcoming issue… and the changes…”

Erica looked at me, but only for a second, and then back at him. I watched as she rubbed her lips together, her signature sign she made whenever she was unsure.

“I think Lisa was asking after you,” he said. “And no worries, I’m an expert at hailing cabs. I can take it from here.” His voice was calm, his words smooth and demanding, just the way I liked them. His demeanor reminded me of Jack. Or at least the Jack I thought I’d known.

“You’ll be ok?” Erica asked squeezing my forearm.

I smiled. Or at least I think I did. I must have given some reassurance because I watched as she walked away. My memory remembers her turning just outside the hotel doors and mouthing the words ‘don’t do it.’ Maybe that’s just wishful thinking though because, at any rate, I certainly didn’t listen, and the two of us had never discussed the matter again.

Ian placed his hands on my shoulders and squeezed. “I actually do have a few things I’d like to discuss with you.” He searched my eyes, for what I wasn’t sure. “First, though, perhaps some water.” He released my shoulders, took my hand in his, and pressed a room key into it. “Room 802.”

I don’t recall if I said anything, but I think I must have laughed because he steadied me on my feet, leaned in, and whispered harshly in my ear, “I’m not kidding here. I’ll see you in twenty minutes. You won’t let me down, will you?” He smiled. “I’m counting on you…”

I liked that he was serious. Finally, here was a man who knew what he wanted and asked for it.

“See you soon.” I swallowed.

And see him I did.

He opened the door to his room just as I was about to turn to go. He must have sensed my hesitation to knock, to actually go through with meeting him in his room. But five vodka tonics had gotten me there, and so far, they hadn’t been enough to override my good senses, so by the time he opened the door, I remember feeling relieved. He’d started this. I would finish it. He took me by the wrist and gently pulled me inside. It was the beginning of a secret. And the end of me.

He had a towel wrapped around his waist, his body still moist from the shower. The muscles in the upper half of his body glistened and I couldn’t help but stare. He was more toned than I’d thought with clothes on, his build tall and lean. He had a runner’s body. But even if he hadn’t—I’m not sure it would’ve made any difference. “I brought a drink up for you,” he said slipping my feet out of my heels, trailing the back of his hand up my thigh. “Vodka and tonic, right?”

“Yes,” I said.

And that was that.

I recall him making love to me tenderly as though I were a present he’d been waiting to unwrap. It was different than I’d expected it to be, more calculated—which, I would soon learn, pretty much summed up Ian Larson.

 

 

“Why didn’t you tell me?” I demanded two days later, shortly after I’d gotten word that my boss was being promoted, and Ian was stepping into her position in the interim—until a replacement was found.

He crossed his new corner office and stood before me. “I did tell you… Perhaps you were just too inebriated to remember.”

I knew he hadn’t told me. And I was pretty sure he knew that I knew he hadn’t told me. “No. I wasn’t. And, no, you didn’t.”

“Look, I’m sorry. Maybe there was a misunderstanding but—” He paused, walked over to the door, and closed it. He turned to me. “But it doesn’t change anything.” He shrugged. “No one has to know what we do.”

“What we did.”

His jaw hardened, but he recovered quickly. “That’s up to you.”

“You’re my boss. You knew you were my boss… and you still seduced me.”

“And I recall you liking it very much.”

I sighed. “It was unethical.”

“It’s funny you should mention that, Amelie. Because I hardly remember your actions that night, both before or after, being anything but ethical.”

I swallowed hard. He had me and he knew it. “Well, it won’t happen again.”

“Perhaps not. But at any rate, I’m glad you’re here. Actually, I’ve been meaning to speak to you about something—” Ian drew in a long breath and slowly let it out. “I really think if you play your cards right, that you have a real shot at this position,” he said using his oversized hands to elaborate by motioning around the office. “But at the very least, it would require a little pleasantry. You do know how to be nice, right, Amelie?”

I walked past him toward the door. “I wouldn’t count on it,” I said stopping just outside the doorframe.

But two very long days later, I found myself back in his bed. And as I recall, neither of us were very nice.

 

 

 

BOOK: Anywhere With You
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