Auden Kelly is in need of a change.
She’s trading in her nine-to-five sales job for the adventure of a lifetime: a one year contract with a European tour company.
For one full year, Auden will get paid to see the world. What could be better? Her brother gives her a journal, instructing her to document all of her adventures as she travels from country to country. And that’s exactly what she does.
When a mysterious stranger enters her life, however, everything changes: her expectations, her priorities and her view of the world. And nothing for Auden will ever be the same.
I’d noticed him before. The first day of the tour, in fact. He reminded me of Henry Cavill. Broad shoulders, tight ass, bulging muscular arms and a gorgeous face. When he smiled, he had a boyish look about him, but when his lips were pressed tight, like when he was listening to Anabelle describe the sights, he looked like an alpha male. A hot, dangerous alpha male. I’d purposely avoided him because I didn’t want to give Anabelle any ammunition towards getting me fired. And now that I knew Tom had blabbed, I felt even more determined to keep my attraction in tact. I’d purposely stayed away. I hadn’t even heard his voice yet. Was he American? Canadian? British?
But, now he was staring and I couldn’t avoid him any longer.
“Auden, right?” he asked, offering me a fresh blueberry from a ziploc bag. I narrowed my eyes at him and his choice of snack. Here we were, in Amsterdam. He could buy a brownie laced with pot or a million different kinds of sweets. But, he was munching on blueberries.
“Thanks,” I said, grabbing a couple berries from the bag and popping them into my mouth. They were juicy and sweet. Almost intoxicating.
Stop it, Auden.
“Have you worked here long? I’ve never seen you before.” It was then that I really heard his accent. British. Delicious.
“I’m new. But, why would you have seen me before?” I tilted my head in confusion.
“My mates and I like to take trips every few months. Blow off steam.” He said, popping another berry into his mouth. His lips were a gorgeous shade of peach. “And Jordan’s the best.”
“I see.” I said, pressing my lips together, not knowing what else to say. It wasn’t often that a man could get me tongue tied. But, it was happening. All I could focus on was the dimple on his right cheek when he smiled. And how his left eye had a small patch of brown within the blue.
“Huh?” He snapped me out of my daze. “Uh, yeah. I guess.”
“Don’t hear it very often.” He said.
It was then that I realized I didn’t know his. And it was my job to know it. How was I going to get out of this one?
“Campbell,” he said,“Campbell Hutchins.”
“Like the soup?” I said. As soon as the words left my mouth, I knew they were unprofessional. But, he simply laughed.
“Wow, never heard that before.” He said, running his fingers through his silky brown hair, “My friends call me Hutch.”
“Seriously?” I asked, taken aback.
“What do you mean?” He looked confused.
“As in Starsky & Hutch?” I pressed.
“You are way too young to know that reference.” He said, shaking his head from side to side.
“They made a movie reboot when I was in high school. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson…remember?”
“Right.” He said with a lopsided grin. He had such a boyish charm to his smile, it was unnerving.
“Besides, you don’t seem old enough to know the original show either. That was the seventies.” I narrowed my eyes at him. He could be in his early thirties, but there was no way he was old enough to have watched that show when it was on the air.
“Saw it in reruns.” He said with a shrug.
“Nice to meet you, Starsky.” I said with a smirk. He shook his head at me and extended his hand like the English gentleman that he was. I tried my best not to feel the electrical current coursing through every nerve in my body. This was a brand new sensation. Which is saying a lot considering my boy-crazy history. This was unique and terrifying and wonderfully exciting. “Sorry, I mean Hutch of course. So, Campbell…where’d your parents think of that one?”
“Do you always interrogate tour members about their names?” he asked with a chuckle. My cheeks turned pink when I realized I usually didn’t give a crap about people’s names or the origin of said names. But, he was different. It was like I needed to know anything I could learn about this handsome stranger.
“Just answer the question,” I said, flirting with a tilt of my head and arms crossed across my chest.
For a second, everything stopped as Campbell looked down at my feet. He smirked as his eyes climbed up my calf and to my thighs. They lingered there for just a second before continuing up to my torso, my chest and finally my face. When our eyes met, he grinned and I suddenly felt as naked as the day I was born.
“Tradition.” He answered. When I looked confused (because obviously I’d forgotten the question since he’d studied every inch of my body as if he wanted to devour me). “I’m named after my great grandfather. He was kind of a hero in my town.”
“Where are you from?”
“Um, no. Try again.”
“What do you mean?” he asked with a chuckle.
“I’m from the states, pal. I know when someone’s from Joi-zee and when they’re not. And you clearly are not. Where are you really from?”
He threw his beautiful head back in laughter, that dimple once again making a grand entrance on his cheek. Something twitched in my belly—desire, I think. Until I realized he was laughing at me.
“And you call yourself a tour guide? The island of Jersey…one of the Channel Islands…” His voice trailed off as he leaned his forehead in my direction. If he could read my mind, this is what it would say:
You know those moments when you really just want to crawl in a hole and forget your poor excuse for a life? Yeah, this was one of those moments. I could never get that moment back. I could never convince this gorgeous man that I was not only aware of the Channel Islands, but had probably been to one or two of them as a child. I just wanted to slink back to the tour bus and hide behind the seats. So not like me. I didn’t let men get under my skin. Hell, I got under their skin. Who was this guy?
“Uh–Of course,” I said, stumbling on my words. “I was just kidding.”
Just then, I was saved by another member of the tour. A mousy brain haired American girl named Becca.
“Excuse me, Auden. Anabelle needs you.”
“I’d better, um…go,” I said.
“Until we meet again,” he said with a chuckle.
Not if I can help it. The next three weeks would be agony if I had to dodge that gorgeous man every time our bus made a stop. Lord, beer me strength.
I love books—everything about them. I love reading them, being surrounded by them in bookstores and libraries, and most recently, writing some of my own.