Authors: Christy Pastore
Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Suspense, #Contemporary, #General, #New Adult
Pen Name Publishing
Pen Name Publishing
Copyright ©2014 by Christy Pastore
First edition, 2014
Cover Design by VividOranje
Cover Image by Milk&Cookies
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever, or stored in any information storage system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without written permission of the publisher. For more information regarding permission write to Pen Name Publishing Attn: Permissions Department, P.O. Box 173, Bargersville, IN 46106
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any similarities in story or characters are merely coincidence.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available on request.
Printed in the U.S.A.
This book is for all the women who identify with Ashleigh, Emily, and Amanda in some way. Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen no matter what. Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today. And realize, sometimes the best lessons in life are learned through pain.
Ashleigh Preston sat with her legs crossed, hurriedly typing her notes while waiting at Gate Eight in London’s Heathrow airport. She had just spent the last five days visiting the newly restored Great Northern Hotel, sipping couture cocktails at the GNH Bar and enjoying the luxurious comforts of the Cubitt room. Ashleigh was in the city to review the hotel’s sleek and sophisticated redesign, which combined timeless elegance with modern touches. High ceilings hosted glamorous circular hanging chandeliers. Lustrous etched glass mirrors lined the walls, while sweeping staircases and expansive wide curved corridors seemed to go on for miles. Grand floor to ceiling and sash windows allowed light to flood nearly every space of the building. These features are most likely what she will highlight in the final draft of her review for the travel and lifestyle blog,
The Business Travelers’ Wife.
Looking at her phone the time read 8:45 P.M., reminding her of what she was doing at that exact moment only twenty-four hours ago. Pulling her dark hair up into a tousled bun, her mind lingered, taking her back to the corner booth at Plum + Spilt Milk where she could see the candles flickering and hear the music playing softly in the background. As she imagined the radiating glow from the gorgeous hand-blown pendant lights, Ashleigh felt her skin getting warmer. For a moment, she could smell seared olive oil on wood with a hint of garlic and felt her mouth begin to tighten, remembering the taste of the Yorkshire pudding and lemon posset with fresh raspberries.
“Excuse me, is this seat taken?” someone asked in a low voice.
Ashleigh snapped out of her daydream and saw a petite woman holding a large leather handbag dressed head to toe in black. With her brown eyes narrowed, the woman pointed at the seat next to Ashleigh.
“No it’s not taken, you can sit there,” she replied moving her own handbag next to her suitcase.
Ashleigh couldn’t help but smile glancing at the shiny Union Jack flag keychain dangling from her Michael Kors handbag. Retrieving her iPhone from the side pocket of her carryon she clicked on the Foursquare app checking in to Heathrow Airport.
The keychain was a gift from Liam, just one of many tokens she could add to her collection. Liam Oliver Frost—her handsome Englishman, although he’s not officially “hers,” technically Liam’s not even English. Liam is actually Welsh, and yes there’s a difference just ask anyone in the UK. They’re just friends and sometimes more, but never a couple. Ashleigh was in love once, deeply in love. When it was over, she was completely gutted. She made a promise to herself that she would never allow that kind of pain in her life again. Serious relationships are not in Ashleigh’s repertoire. But it doesn’t hurt to have a good-looking friend with benefits. For the past few years, Liam has been that friend.
Terminal four was busy and the empty seats at all the gates were quickly filling up. Tired families were dragging heavy shopping bags from last minute stops at Harrods and Burberry, while kids pulled their small rolling suitcases behind them in one hand, clutching bags from Caffé Nero and Simply Chocolates in the other. College students with headphones around their necks hurriedly made their way to power stations to recharge their electronics as overstuffed backpacks slid down their shoulders, most likely filled with all of their belongings and souvenirs.
Stretching her legs out and crossing her ankles, Ashleigh hoped her flight was not full. She definitely needed to relax after her exhausting few days in London, days that were full of both work and play.
The metal of the keychain felt warm as she rubbed it between her thumb and index finger. She gently grazed her thumb over the top of the glossy Union Jack design. Hearing a familiar vibrating sound coming from her purse, Ashleigh retrieved her phone and saw it was a tweet notification from
She laughed to herself, knowing her friend, the social media maven, never missed a beat.
Ashleigh decided to check Facebook while she still had the chance before boarding the flight home. Scanning the news feed she saw: Amanda Parsons had checked into the boutique, My Sister’s Closet. Ashleigh rolled her eyes, but hit “Like” begrudgingly. Emily Greene’s status said: CANNOT
She already had half a dozen comments and twelve “Likes.” Make that thirteen now.
Liam Frost’s last posting was a check-in at Starbucks earlier that morning with a comment that said: NEED
Ashleigh giggled to herself, knowing she was partly responsible for his much needed caffeine fix. With that Ashleigh went to Liam’s status and hit “Like.” She commented with only a smiley icon then closed the Facebook app on her phone.
While Ashleigh was looking forward to sleeping in her own bed back in Grand Rapids, she was always sad to leave London. Her love affair with the city began at an early age. Her father frequently travelled to Europe on business, and she, her brother and mother would accompany him. When Ashleigh was in high school she dreamed of living in London one day. She pictured herself shopping at Selfridges and enjoying afternoon tea at Claridge’s where she would run into her then style icon, Princess Diana.
A few years ago when Ashleigh left
Maison Bleue Magazine
to begin freelance work, writing and taking photographs, her first assignment was to review the Corinthia Hotel’s grand re-opening in London. This is when she met Liam.
A smile crossed her lips as she began thinking about him. Liam was quite tall, about six foot three, with a slender fit build, gorgeous thick dark brown hair, and soulful deep brown eyes. He always looked like he stepped out of a fashion editorial in
magazine. The man could wear a suit like no one else, thank goodness for fine English tailoring.
Liam grew up in a hotel, rather a castle that was renovated by his parents into a hotel. Since the renovations, Frost Castle has become a popular spot for tourists vacationing in Wales. Meeting new people and hearing stories of where they had traveled from to visit Wales was a major contributing factor to why Liam eventually became a Travel Writer.
Ashleigh’s thoughts were interrupted by an announcement over the loud speaker:
“We will now begin boarding our first class passengers for flight nineteen with non-stop service to Detroit.”
Slowly pushing to her feet, she gathered her items, including her now empty coffee cup, and walked to the nearest trashcan throwing it away. Gazing out the windows of the airport and then back down Terminal four, she noticed a handsome man with dark brown, slightly curly hair standing by Costa Coffee. He was wearing a soft grey sweater and dark denim jeans holding a silver coffee mug with a black trench coat draped over his left forearm. He looked familiar to Ashleigh. Could he have been someone she knew from college? As he walked by, a dreamy expression appeared on Ashleigh’s face. All of a sudden a small boy with blonde hair ran in front of the guy, who in turn accidently knocked over Ashleigh’s carry-on.
In an American accent Ashleigh heard, “Whoa, there young man.”
The little boy smiled and ran towards his parents who were sitting down near Harrods Food Hall. The mother had her nose firmly in a book, while the father was looking around seemingly unaware of his son’s whereabouts at that moment.
“Here you go,” the guy said, propping Ashleigh’s suitcase right side up on its wheels.
Captivated by his steely greyish-blue eyes, Ashleigh found herself lingering a bit too long with her words. Finally, after several seconds, which felt more like minutes, she coolly replied, “Thank you very much for the help.”
The man smiled and nodded to Ashleigh, her gaze followed him as he was swallowed up into the mass frenzy of people.
Familiar indeed, she thought to herself. But, how did she know him?
The loudspeaker came on again.
“We will now begin boarding our Business Class passengers for flight nineteen with non-stop service to Detroit.”
Ashleigh made her way towards the gate agent and handed him her boarding pass.
Emily Greene grabbed her iPhone, favorite ink pen along with her organizer case, and quickly walked to the executive conference room for her weekly management meeting. Per usual, she was the first one in the room. She was a stickler for two things: punctuality and organization. Looking around the room she noticed that someone had left a bunch of file folders and sales brochures sprawled across the conference table, and the back table was in complete disarray. Pens, loose blank papers and dry erase markers were all haphazardly left lying out instead of placed back in the cabinet.
Doesn’t anyone take pride in being neat?
Finally, her co-workers began to file into the room.