Authors: Carolina Soto
Copyright © Carolina Soto
Edited by Trish Arrowsmith
Cover photography by Alejandra Laguna
Cover design by Carolina Soto
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without prior written permission of the above author of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
The following story contains mature themes, strong language, and sexual situations. It is intended for adult readers.
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products and brands referenced in this work fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
For mommy and daddy, my biggest possessions in this world. My brother, Sharon and my little Lilly. My family and friends whom I adore. Thanks for letting me be me!
This is not a love story. This is just what happened when two stubborn individuals crashed against each other and neither of them was willing to back off. Every time my best friend Michelle broke up with one of the “loves of her life”, she dragged me halfway around the country on a shopping trip. It didn’t matter that I lived a couple blocks from 5
Avenue in New York; the street with all the fanciest stores in the world. Apparently, it was part of her healing process to fly away and make her American Express bleed, causing mine to follow in a display of loyalty.
‘Honey, where are we going for dinner tonight?’
‘Church’s Chicken?’ I casually answered while folding my new clothes. The hotel room was nice and I had bought like crazy the last few days; that was enough to make me happy.
‘Oh no, Katherine, I am not eating that junk food again. We’ve been in Bennigan’s and Church’s Chicken all week. I need grown up food, now!’ Michelle didn’t share my eating habits and she was being a little bossier than usual.
‘Ok grown up, where do you want to go?’
‘I’ve already made the reservations. Just wear something nice, ok?’
I have been Michelle’s friend since the first day of fifth grade. As a new girl, she thought I was funny and decided we would be best friends forever. We stuck together, even throughout our “difficult” years; those moments when I decided to make myself as different as I could from the “Stepford wife” character I was supposed to become and when the girls of our high school learned that Michelle had slept with the entire football team. In her defense, she truly was searching for love in their beds.
‘Chelle, can we order room service and put on our PJs?’
‘No way in hell! This is our last night before I have to go to New York to put my heart back together.’
Oh no, God, now she’s pouting!
I threw my last shirt over the bed and menacingly stopped her whining.
Stop it, James! Just tell me where we are going so I know what to wear!’
‘Sustenio! In Eilan Hotel!’ She clapped and jumped up and down like a little girl. Apparently
she really wanted to go there.
With that name it didn’t seem to be a skinny jeans and Converse kind of place.
After an hour of girly grooming, we were on our way to Eilan Hotel. Michelle was wearing the tightest, red Lycra, “no underwear allowed” dress and I, an Issa wrapped black dress with black Louboutin heels. It only took me five seconds to notice that Chelle was in hunting mode. My dear friend had her blonde hair hanging in the sexiest way with smoky eyes and red lips to match. Seeing that made it more obvious that I had no idea where we were going. I was wearing my natural makeup and my hair simply straight, just like I did every day.
As soon as we entered Sustenio it was crystal clear; this was her first night back in the rodeo after that asshole had cheated on her… in her own bed. The entire place was filled with men in business meetings. Other than a pair of waitresses, we were the only women there.
The way everyone turned to look at us, was not a surprise. We probably looked, and by “we” I mean Michelle, like hookers.
God, please don’t let us finish in jail for solicitation, mommy would kill me!
The place was beautiful, the menu was amazing and we were lost in great conversation until the worst topic on my list came to the table.
‘Katie, you haven’t found anyone yet?’
‘Chelle, you’ll be the first to know when I do, I promise.’ I casually took a sip of soda trying to be as relaxed as I could.
‘I just don’t get it. You’re pretty, smart, funny; anyone would be lucky to have you.’
No one is interested though. I’m not that pretty, I’m a smartass and I’m not funny; I’m mean and people like to think I am joking…
You are supposed to say that! You are my best friend!’ My nervousness over the topic was obvious when I started playing with my hair. My big flaw, being single, always made its way to the conversation.
‘Sorry to interrupt.’ The nice waiter that had brought our menus was back at our table.
Thank God! Tip the guy big time!
The gentlemen from that table send you this.’ Pointing to the table in the left corner, the waiter gave me a handwritten note while Michelle smiled like a hyena.
Can we join you?
‘Sorry, tell them we are in the middle of a conversation and we would like to keep it private.’ I swear I was being gentle and polite while declining this poor attempt to flirt.
‘Oh Katie, bullshit, let’s meet these guys.’
‘Chelle, this is too corny and pretentious. We can’t meet guys like this. A note is just stupid, you know? What is this? 1992?’
Before I had finished talking, Michelle was already waving at them and flirting like a Barbie on drugs. Three guys, three young, handsome, not creepy at all, guys, were the target of her attentions. The first to approach our table was thin and tall with a surfer look and wavy, sandy-blonde hair.
‘Good evening ladies. We couldn’t resist the temptation to approach the most beautiful girls in the room. My name is Marc Bell, this is Spence Bradley, and that one over there is Dylan Berkeley.’
Fucking corny! We are the only girls in the room! I’ll kill Michelle!
Spence was also blonde, not as tall as Marc, but a groomed, fit, perfectly dressed, guy. He was smiling and seemed as kind as Marc, but slightly more reserved. I liked him immediately. He seemed to be a bit shy, and a little apologetic of Marc’s behavior, but that just made him even better.
Just when he moved to shake my hand, I saw “Him”; blue eyes, dark wavy hair, perfect bone structure, tall, strong body. He had a smile that could melt ice. I didn’t want to see his hip bones because I knew those were what would seal the deal. I would say he was perfect, but the word was not enough, he was beyond all expectations.
If his genes weren’t enough, he was dressed perfectly, but then I am a sucker for three piece suits. With his dark pink silk tie, navy blue suit, white shirt and light pink handkerchief on his pocket, he deserved a GQ cover, nothing less.
Whoa!!! Where did that come from?! Breathe Katherine! That description came from a book with Fabio on its cover!
Nice to meet you. My name is Michelle, this is my best friend Katherine.’ She was shaking her hair in that sultry way that means business.
The cheating waiter was already setting the table for the five of us. That hot Dylan guy was shaking my hand and he looked at me briefly, but seemed more interested in making his way to his chair.
‘I have to tell you, we never do this, but it is weird to find pretty girls on business trips.’ Marc had a million dollar smile on his face.
Spencer gave me a shy smile. ‘Yeah, I can’t believe we haven’t seen you around the hotel.’
‘Oh no, we’re not staying in this hotel. We are just here for dinner.’ Michelle established that fact with the hope to be invited to stay. I knew her too well.
Michelle, Marc and Spencer were talking while I was figuring out where the emergency exits were in case these three were on some kind of kidnapping hunt. I was dying to stare at Dylan a little longer, but instead I acted as the polite lady I was supposed to be, no interaction besides a quick smile.
‘Where are you from?’
‘Chicago, and you?’ Marc was directing his questions to Michelle while ignoring the rest of us and of course she was doing exactly the same.
‘New York, but we are not here for business. We are here on a “let’s forget that asshole” trip.’ She was making air quotes. I couldn’t believe how stupid my best friend was; we didn’t know who these guys were, and we were alone in a strange city with them. I could kick Spence’s ass, but Marc and Dylan would require a 911 call if they were dangerous.
‘You don’t speak?’ Dylan was not looking at me and I found his question a little rude. I do speak, but I hadn’t had a chance since Marc and Michelle were in a mating dance that deserved a Discovery Channel special.
Blue Eyes is talking to you princess! Impress him.
Yes, even my subconscious was condescending to me; mocking me with the nickname my parents gave me the moment they knew they would have a girl. Twenty five years later I was still “the princess”, at least for them and for my brain.
I don’t talk to strangers. It’s not safe you know?’ I was going for funny, ok, a little sarcastic, but apparently it came out in the worst way by the look on Chelle’s face.
And there goes our only chance!
Oh, Katie is just kidding. But tell us, what you do for a living?’ Michelle tried to soften my blow, she had always tried to make me a nice, flirty girl, but I had fought it my whole life.
‘We work for this guy.’ Spence was pointing to Dylan, and that jerk was staring at me. He was making me nervous, but besides his perfect looks I couldn’t point out why. I noticed Marc and Michelle were looking and smiling at each other like a pair of teenagers.
‘Wow, it’s nice that your boss takes you to dinner.’ My stupid friend laid her hand over Marc’s arm, this was step two in her attraction book.