Designed by Destiny is due to be released August 5th.
Fate – kismet – whatever it was, it turned Interior Designer, Wendy Seidel’s world upside down. From a chance meeting at the airport to Florida and back to Ohio, Wendy can’t believe the strange circumstances that put her and Bill Johnson together.
“Ugh!” What the hell? Wendy’s feet slipped out from under her. Splat, she landed flat on her back. Her carry-on bag slid across the floor.
Suddenly, someone fell on top of her. Pinned to the floor, the breath knocked out of her, she lay still a moment.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” She caught her breath and pushed him off. “Everyone’s always in such a big hurry.”
“Why’d you slow down? You darned near stopped in front of me.” He stood up, brushed himself off and held out his hand to help her up. “Sorry.”
Wendy pushed his hand away, got to her knees and stood. She didn’t need his help. Not his or anyone else’s for that matter. What she needed was to find her carry-on bag and get on to her gate.
“Look, I’m sorry. It was entirely my fault. I shouldn’t have been in such a hurry.” He held his hand out to her again, but she ignored it.
“Here, let me get that for you.” He hurried to pick up her bag, only to have her grab it first.
“Look, Mister, I have a plane to catch, so excuse me if I don’t have time to chat.” Wendy straightened up her bag, grabbed the handle and started toward her gate. Good looking though, she thought, in a rustic sort of way. Probably worked outdoors or at least spent a lot of time outside. Not that it made any difference. She didn’t have time for him. Or any man for that matter. She had a career to build, and men didn’t figure into it.
It wasn’t that she didn’t like men. She did. Even dated occasionally. Eventually she’d like to have a relationship, even get married. But relationships and marriage took time, not something she had right now. Her career came first. Something about him, though.
She couldn’t resist looking back. Great, he stood watching her with a silly grin on his face. Nice eyes, though, soft gray. She loved gray eyes. Maybe because her grandfather had gray eyes. He lifted his hand and waved at her. Heat burned her face.
Wendy turned and hurried off in the direction of the gate and looked at the signs above. Only at gate 2. Not even close. Of course her gate was at the farthest end of the airport. Thankfully, she had plenty of time to get there.
She avoided a heavyset man, hell bent on his mission. Crap, she hated this time of year. Everyone was in such a big hurry.
To make matters worse, her butt hurt but she resisted rubbing it. Didn’t need to look like any more of an idiot. Ah, gate 11, finally. May as well sit down and relax, she still had forty-five minutes before her flight. She took a book out of the side pocket of her carry-on and settled back to wait. Not that she could concentrate. She was still angry at her boss. Who in their right mind set up a meeting with a client right before New Years? And in Florida, no less. Besides, she had plans for New Year’s Eve.
So she was getting out of Ohio, big deal. So her friends thought she was lucky, especially with the predicted snowstorm. Didn’t make any difference to her. She liked snow.
She glanced out a window. Already it was coming down pretty heavy, and there was still a good half hour before her flight.
Damn it, she hated flying. She could have Fed-Ex’d the samples. What was so important that she had to personally bring them? Besides, she thought they’d settled everything before the client left. Why the sudden big change? Couldn’t they have at least waited until after the holidays?
Nick Donatello, her boss, promised she’d be home by New Year’s Eve. Yeah right. She knew how these things went. First this problem, than that one. She’d be lucky to be home in time for her nephew’s birthday on the sixth. Nick better not have any funny ideas. This was strictly business. She’d heard about his reputation with women. So far he hadn’t shown her any interest, and that was fine with her. Good-looking though he was, nothing about him attracted her. Definitely not her type. Not that she had a type
“Looks like we’re on the same flight,” a masculine voice said.
Wendy looked up and almost groaned out loud. This couldn’t be happening. What were the chances they’d be on the same flight? She tried to ignore him, but something drew her gaze to his.
“Bill Johnson.” He extended his hand toward her. “I really am sorry about knocking you down.”
Wendy shrugged and took his hand. “No problem.” A quiver started deep in her stomach when he held her hand a bit longer than necessary. Rough, calloused hands. Does hard work. Maybe construction. Wendy pulled hers away and turned her attention back to her book. She hated talking to people at airports. Lord, tell me he doesn’t have the seat next to me. She couldn’t be that unlucky, could she? She peeked at the ticket sticking out of his coat pocket. Seat 16A. No way, what were the chances? She hoped he’d take the hint and leave her alone.
“Are you staying in Fort Myers?” He sat down next to her.
Figures, no such luck. She nodded. If she didn’t contribute to the conversation, maybe he’d be quiet. She kept her eyes on her book but couldn’t concentrate. She had the irresistible urge to look at him. What was it about him?
“Visiting or business?”
Wendy looked up from her book. He just wasn’t going to quit. “Business, no time for pleasure.” Maybe that would shut him up.
He smiled. “Everyone has time for pleasure. All work and no play...” He let the rest of the saying hang.
Wendy picked up her book. “I guess I’m a dull boy then.” Why didn’t he just leave her alone? Let her read in peace. She couldn’t be much ruder. Some people just couldn’t take a hint.
Bill laughed. A big hearty laugh that caused people to stare. Wendy wanted to crawl under her seat. “What’s so funny?”
“Honey, you look like anything but a boy.” His eyes took her in from top to bottom and came to rest on her breast.
Heat rushed to her face again. Crap, why did she blush so easily? Her face was probably as red as her hair. “Okay, so I don’t look like a boy. Just finishing the saying. And DON’T call me honey!” She put the book in front of her face and tried to read. Lord, spare me friendly people. Especially men.
The last thing she needed was a man trying to pick her up. She wished he’d just go away. She could call airport security, but she didn’t want to cause a scene. He’d done enough of that.
“Since you won’t tell me your name, I don’t know what else to call you.”
“Don’t call me anything.” Wendy slammed her book shut, stood up, and walked to the window. Some people just couldn’t take a hint. What more did she have to do to let him know she wasn’t interested? She stared out the window. Things didn’t look good outside.
“Full blown blizzard.” Bill’s deep voice came from behind.
Wendy shivered from the warmth of his breath on her neck . Or was it from his nearness? She looked at her watch. Still a half hour before take off. So far they hadn’t cancelled the flight. As if her thoughts magically conjured it up, a voice came over the PA system. “We regret to inform you that all flights to and from Cleveland Hopkins Airport have been cancelled until further notice. New flights can be rebooked as soon as we resume our schedule. Sorry for any inconvenience. Airport shuttles are standing by to take you to a hotel. If you can’t get a room, you’re welcome to stay at the airport. Concession stands and restaurants will remain open for your convenience.
Great, just great. What more could go wrong? At least she could go home. If she could get a cab that is. With the way it looked outside, she had a feeling most of the roads were closed too.