Come Away with Me (With Me in Seattle #1) by Kristen Proby

Chapter One

The light this morning is perfect. I hold my Canon to my face and press the s hutte r. Click. The Puget Sound is covered in color; pinks, yellows, blues, and for once the wind is almost still.

Waves gently lap against the concrete barrier at my feet, and I’m lost in the beauty before me.

Click.

I turn to my left and see a young couple walking along the sidewalk.

Seattle’s Alki Beach is pretty much deserted, aside from a few die hards, or early morning insomniacs, like me. The young couple is walking away from me, hand in hand, smiling at each other, and I point my lens at them and click. I zoom in on their sneaker-clad feet and locked hands and shoot some more, my photographer’s eye appreciating their intimate moment on the beach.

I inhale the salty air and stare out at the Sound once again as a red-sailed boat gently glides out on the water. The early morning sunshine is just barely beginning to sparkle around it, and I raise my camera again to capture the moment.

“What the fuck are you doing?”

I twirl at the sound of the angry voice and gaze into blue eyes, reflecting the bright

morning

water.

They

are

surrounded by a very, very pissed off face.

Not merely angry. Livid.

“Excuse me?” I squeak, finding my voice.

“Why can’t you all just leave me the fuck alone?” The handsome-really handsome-stranger in front of me is shaking in rage and I instinctively step back, frowning and beginning to get pissed right back at him. What the fuck are you doing?

“I wasn’t bothering you,” I respond, happy that my voice is stronger with my anger, and retreat back another step.

Clearly Mr. Beautiful Blue Eyes and Sexy Greek God Face is a looney toon.

Unfortunately, he follows my backward motion and I feel the panic start to take hold in my gut.

“I have had it with you following me.

Do you think I don’t notice? Give me the camera.” He extends a long-fingered hand and my mouth drops open. I pull my camera into my chest and wrap my arms around it protectively.

“No.” My voice is amazingly calm and I want to look around for a means of escape, but I can’t stop looking into his angry sea-colored eyes.

He swallows and narrows his eyes, breathing hard.

“Give me the fucking camera, and I won’t press charges for harassment. I just want the photos.” He’s lowered his voice but it’s no less menacing.

“You can’t have my photos!” Who the hell is this guy? I turn around to run and he grabs my arm, whipping me around to face him once again, grabbing for my camera. I start to scream, not believing that I’m being mugged practically outside my front door, when he lets go of me and braces his hands on his knees, bending at the waist, shaking his head and I notice that his hands are shaking.

Holy hell.

I take another step back, ready to run, but with his head still down he holds up his hand and says, “Wait.”

I should run. Fast. Call the police and have this whack job arrested for assault, but I don’t move. My breathing starts to calm, and my panic recedes and for some reason, I don’t think he’s going to harm me.

Yeah, I’m sure the Green River Killer’s victims didn’t think he’d harm them either.

“Uh, are you okay?” My voice is breathy and I realize I’m still clutching my camera to my chest almost painfully and I relax my hands and start to lower them when his head snaps back up.

“Do not take my fucking picture.” His voice is low and measured, controlled, but he’s still shaking and breathing like he’s just run a marathon.

“Okay, okay. I’m not going to. I’m putting the lens cap back on.” I do as I say, not taking my eyes from his face and he watches my hands carefully.

Geez.

He takes a deep breath and shakes his head and I get a good look at the rest of him. Wow. Beautiful face, chiseled, stubbled jaw and those deep clear blue eyes. He’s got messy, golden blond hair. He’s tall, much taller than my five foot six, lean and broad shouldered.

He’s wearing blue jeans and a black t-shirt, and both hug that lean body in all the right places.

Damn. He’d look fantastic naked.

Ironically, I’d love to get him in front of my camera.

He looks me in the eye again and he looks vaguely familiar to me. I feel like I should know him from somewhere, but the fleeting recognition is gone when he speaks.

“I’m going to need you to give me the camera, please.”

Is he serious? He’s still going to mug me?

I let out a short laugh and finally break eye contact, looking up to the now blue sky and shake my head. I close my eyes then look back over to him and he’s staring at me intently.

I find myself smiling as I say, “You are so not getting this camera.”

He tilts his head to the side and narrows his eyes again. Muscles low in my belly clench at his sexy stare and I silently castigate myself. No getting turned on by your sexy early morning mugger!

“You are not getting this camera.

Who the hell do you think you are?”

Now my voice is rising and I pat myself on the back.

“You know who I am.”

His response throws me and I narrow my eyes, staring back at him again, and get the strange feeling once more that I should know him, but I shake my head in frustration.

“No, I don’t.”

He raises an eyebrow, puts his hands on his lean hips, and he smiles, showing off a perfect line of teeth. The smile doesn’t reach his eyes.