Come Away with Me (With Me in Seattle #1)(3) by Kristen Proby

“Husband waiting at home?” he asks, glancing at my ringless finger.

“Uh, no.”

“Boyfriend?”

I give him a small smile. “No.”

His face relaxes. “Girlfriend?”

I can’t stop the laugh that comes.

“No.”

“Good.” He’s giving me that big smile again, and I want desperately to say yes to this beautiful stranger, but my common sense kicks in and I remind myself that this is not safe, I don’t know him, and as swoon-worthy as he is, he’s still a stranger.

I, of all people, know about stranger danger.

So I ignore the clenching between my legs, give him another small smile, and I say as politely, and as forcefully as I can, “Thanks anyway. Have a good day, Luke.”

Of course, politely and forcefully sounds all whispery from me right now.

Crap.

I hear him murmur “Have a good day, Natalie,” as I walk briskly away.

***

I walk home quickly, feeling Luke’s eyes on my Kardashian-esque backside until I turn the corner toward my house.

Why didn’t I wear a longer shirt? My heart is thumping, and I just want to be safe inside, safe from sexy-smiled muggers. My body hasn’t responded to a man like this in a long time, and while I admit it feels nice, Luke is just entirely too… Wow.

I close and lock my front door then follow my nose to the kitchen. Jules is making breakfast!

“Hey, Nat, get any good photos this morning?” Much to my delight, my bff Jules is flipping pancakes and I smell bacon crisping in the oven. My stomach growls as I place my camera on the breakfast bar and pull up a stool.

“Yeah, it was a good morning,” I reply. I wonder if I should bring up Luke. Jules tends to be on the romantic side, and she’ll most likely have us married off by the end of the conversation, but she is the one person I confide in about everything, so, why not? “I got some good shots. Almost got mugged… pretty standard morning.”

I smile to myself as Jules twirls around, dropping a pancake on my tile floor, gasping.

“What? Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.” I let out a snort. “Some guy was pissed that I might have taken his picture.” I describe my encounter to her, and she smiles sweetly when I’m finished.

“Sounds like he likes you, friend.”

I snort. “Whatever. He’s just some random guy.”

Jules rolls her eyes and turns back to the pancakes. “He might just be some random guy, but if he’s as hot as you say he is, you should have gone to breakfast with him.”

I scowl at her. “Gone out to breakfast with

the

hot

mugger?”

I

ask

incredulously.

“Oh don’t be dramatic.” Jules flips the bacon in the oven then ladles more pancake batter onto the griddle. “It sounds like he was really nice.”

“Yes, when he wasn’t trying to steal my obscenely expensive camera, he was a perfect gentleman.”

Jules laughs and I can’t help but smile in return. “What do you have going on today?”

Pleased

with

the

change

in

conversation,

I

walk

around

the

breakfast bar and start loading a plate with delicious food. “I have a session at noon, and I need to make some deliveries this afternoon. I really need to try to get in a nap this morning.”

“Couldn’t sleep again?” Jules asks.

I shake my head. Sleep never comes easily for me.

I reclaim my stool and take a bite of bacon. Jules is next to me. “How about you?”

“Well, since it’s Tuesday, I guess I’ll go to work today.” Jules is a very successful

investment

banker

in

downtown Seattle. I couldn’t be more proud of my long time best friend. She’s beyond smart, beautiful and successful.

“We gotta make a living,” I am devouring the delicious pancakes on my plate, then rinse both our plates and load the dishwasher.

“I can do that.” Jules starts to come into the kitchen, but I wave her back.

“No, you cooked. I got this. Go to work.”

“Thanks! Have a fun session.” She wiggles her eyebrows at me and heads for the garage.

“Have a good day at the office, dear!” I call after her and we both giggle.

I climb the stairs to my bedroom and strip naked. I really need some sleep.

My clients pay me very well to give them a fun, beautiful photo session, and I need to be well rested.

My room is large, with floor to ceiling windows. This is the one room of the house that has any pink in it. I love my soft pink duvet and fluffy pink pillows.

My bed frame is simple, but the headboard is an old barn door that I nailed to the wall to give the room a rustic feel.

I fall into my king sized bed, the soft sheets hugging my naked body, and gaze out the window to the ocean view. I love this house. I never want to move.

Ever. This view alone is priceless. The sapphire blue water outside calms me and as my eyes get heavy I think of deep blue eyes and a killer smile and slip into sleep.

Chapter Two

I’m out and about, delivering framed photos of flowers and beach scenes to the restaurants and shops along Alki Beach.

“Hi, Mrs. Henderson!” I smile at the gray-haired, plump woman behind the counter in Gifts Galore, one of my favorite trinket shops. I happily note that my work is hanging behind the cash register. There are shelves and shelves of beachy knick knacks, jewelery, and other art work. It’s a fun place to wander around in.