Here’s a sneak peak at a scene from Chapter 4 of Pure Abandon…
I stand and wait, counting the seconds until the little hand of the DO NOT WALK sign tells me to cross. The skies open up even more and the rain falls so loud you can’t even hear yourself think. People take cover, and I prepare to run across the street.
That’s when it hits me like a tidal wave filled with soot. I am covered from head to toe. A car has slammed into a pothole filled with water, creating my own private waterfall.
“Ahhh!” My arms fly up as I scream in surprise. Pedestrians on the corner look at me in shock, thankful it wasn‘t them.
The car quickly pulls over and comes to a stop. A man jumps out of the backseat; another man follows him, carrying an umbrella. The first man takes the umbrella and signals for the other to wait in the car.
“Are you okay?”
Do I look okay?
“My driver didn‘t mean to get you. I couldn‘t believe it. It was like it was happening in slow motion.”
My body curves in at the feel of water soaking through my coat. “You couldn‘t believe it was happening? I can’t even…” I try to compose myself as the urge to cry takes over me. “I have a really important meeting this morning and…” I don’t even know what to say.
The rain is relentless. My hair is soaked, I’m covered in backstreet muck, and this stranger is kindly trying to cover me with his umbrella.
“Let me take you to where you have to go,” he shouts over the rain. “You can dry off on the way.”
I look at him, weary. Get in the car with him? Is he kidding?
He can sense my resistance.
“I’m not a psycho. I promise.” He holds out his hand, the umbrella temporarily covering neither of us. He pulls it back in place and gestures to himself with his free hand. “Look, I have a nice suit, a personal driver. I’ll even give you my cell phone to hold in case you feel the urge to call the cops.” His lip curls up to the side like he’s sneering at me, mocking me.
“I’m not usually this nice of a guy, so either get in now or stand here in the rain.”
I weigh my options. I can try to run the few blocks in the rain or get in the car. He looks harmless, and there is a driver to act as a buffer.
The rain continues to pour down on me and I can’t even see the other side of the street. I must be out of my mind. I shuffle my feet and head into the car.
Inside the black SUV and out of the rain, I realize just how wet I am. I pull out my compact and glance at myself in the mirror. I look like a wet dog.
Mystery man has climbed in beside me. I am immediately overcome with the most delicious smell of tobacco and vanilla. It’s intoxicating and divine.
“Where are we going?” He asks. For the first time, I get a good look at him. He’s… gorgeous. Beyond gorgeous. At least he doesn’t look like an ax murderer.
“Forty-eighth and Third. The Asher Building,” I reply.
He looks at me, puzzled, and motions toward the driver. His eyes never leave mine. “Devon, I believe we can honor this woman’s request.”
The car starts to move.
My body jerks as the car pulls away from the curb and I am suddenly nervous. “Oh, this is silly.” I concede. “It’s going to take longer navigating around the street than it takes for me to walk five blocks.”
He smiles and it’s a mischievous smile, almost Cheshire cat like. “Nonsense. We were headed that way anyway. Besides, I’m sure you’ll find this to be a most convenient excursion.”
He pulls a handkerchief from his pocket and offers it to me. Tentatively, I take it and wipe down my neck and chest with it. I catch mystery man’s eyes following the handkerchief. I reprimand him with my stare and he laughs at the little exchange.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name.”
“Kathryn,” I say automatically and then pause, almost hesitant to give out my full name. Oh, what the hell? “Kathryn Grayson.”
“Like the actress,” he states, then cocks his head and frowns, just a little, like he’s thinking.
“Yes.” That point is lost on most people. My mother was a fan. She was lucky when she married a man named Grayson. My mom, the old movie buff. I’m lucky she didn’t try to change my name to Marilyn after I married Gabriel Monroe.
“I’m a Lawford man myself,” he says with a naughty expression across his faultless face.
Peter Lawford was equal parts witty and sexy, but rumor has it beneath the charm was a troubled soul. Not many people my age know who he is. And from the looks of the man sitting next to me, he’s not that much older than I am.
With my hands folded over my bag, I try to look ahead, making sure the driver knows where he’s going. My attention can’t stay focused long as I risk a glance or two at the man sitting next to me.
His dark-blond hair is wet from the rain. It is just long enough for you to run your fingers through. I can tell from the way his legs stretch across the backseat he is tall, over six feet. And from the way he’s sitting, his thighs, lean and strong, can be defined through his black suit pants. He has a dominating quality about him.
His bronzed skin looks like he could be Greek or Italian. I can’t tell. And when he looks up at me, I see golden eyes. I’ve never seen golden eyes before. I really have never seen anyone who looks like him before. Maybe in a magazine, but not in real life. He is quite… breathtaking.
My fingers tremble, possibly from the chill of wearing wet clothes, I refold them over one another in an attempt to do something with my nervous energy.
“I’m sorry, what is your name?”
“Alex.” He holds out his hand. It is surprisingly smooth yet firm. “Just call me Alex.”