Wherever It Leads by Adriana Locke
Smooth. Sexy. Irresistible.
Those qualities equal only one thing.
Big. Freaking. Trouble.
Brynne Calloway knows that anything that seems too good to be true usually is. Fenton Abbott and his cashmere voice, Adonis body, and a magnetism like no other clearly falls into that category. But what’s life without a little risk?
It was supposed to be a rebound, an uncomplicated escape from reality. But nothing ever goes as planned. Fenton turns out to be so much more … in ways Brynne never sees coming.
Excerpt Wherever It Leads by Adriana Locke
“Tell him I got his message yesterday and I don’t need him to blow me. But thank him for the offer.”
Grabbing the nearest shopping cart and sliding it in front of me, I toggle the phone against my shoulder. It nearly slides off my rigid muscles, a mix of workout fatigue and work stress setting up shop across my back.
Duke sighs through the phone, not even pretending to hide his frustration. “Fenton, that’s not true,” he says, exasperation thick in his voice. “He didn’t ask to blow you.”
“Obviously it’s not fucking true. I just want to hear him have to deny it.”
“You know what? Just forget I called. I’ll come up with a response myself.”
“That’s probably the best idea you’ve had yet.”
Duke sighs again, louder this time. I’m sure I’ve been an asshole to deal with since I hired him, but I gave him plenty of warning what he was getting into. This entire situation, the one he was hired to deal with, has been a complete clusterfuck from the start. There’s nothing more vexing than not being able to fix a problem and having your hands tied behind your back while being needled that the problem exists. I know it exists. I’m keenly aware and no one wants it fixed more than me.
“I’ll just tell them the status hasn’t changed.”
“I could’ve taken care of this,” I bite out.
“I know. I know.”
“And they wouldn’t let me.”
“I know you know. Try to impart some of that knowledge to them. I’m playing by their rules right now, but I’m starting to lose patience with their—”
“Fenton, you have to play by their rules. Otherwise—”
“I’m heading into the store,” I interrupt. “The service is going to get shitty.”
“Talk soon,” Duke says, ready to end the conversation anyway, and the line clicks off. I shove my phone into the pocket of my black athletic pants. My jaw pulses, the buzz from this morning’s workout now vanished.
Ignoring the eyes of an uptight man perusing the apples, I skirt my cart left to avoid interaction. I have no idea why I chose today of all days to do my own grocery shopping. I could’ve waited three damn days until my housekeeper gets back from vacation.
Steering clear of the apples and the negative energy rolling off the shopper, I head towards the bananas. I need to find the optimism I had five minutes ago before Duke called from the office and ruined my Saturday morning.
The bananas are organic and perfectly ripe, so I pluck a bunch off the podium. I start to push away, but the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. A ruffle of unease scatters through my subconscious. I pause mid-step and glance around the store. People mill about, minding their own business, nothing out of the ordinary. I start to push away again when I spy the offender. A black piece of plastic peeks out from behind a bundle of bananas, the overhead light ricocheting off it and catching my eye.
I reach behind the produce and pull out a black cell phone. Turning it over in my hand, it looks no worse for wear. I press the round button on the bottom and the screen lights up.
Starting back at me are two gorgeous girls, probably a couple of years younger than me. Mid-twenties, I’d say. The dark-headed one is flashing a peace sign in a barely there white bikini. She’s hot as fuck. But it’s the blonde that draws my attention. She sits crossed-legged in shorts and a tank top on the beach, her hair falling around her narrow shoulders. Her body is covered, her stance demure, but there’s something striking about her that I can’t pinpoint. I almost can’t look away. Her blue-green eyes taunt me, tease me with a look that’s downright beguiling. The touches of vulnerability hidden behind her confidence intrigue me, make me want to hear her voice and know what she’s thinking.
Laughing at my ridiculousness despite the heat roiling in my blood, I skim the store again. No one seems to be searching for the phone.
I glance back at the screen and my gaze goes immediately to the blonde. The curve of her hip has my thumb gliding over the screen.
I should turn the phone in to management. It’s the logical, responsible thing to do.
My feet don’t move.
Losing your phone in the bananas doesn’t exactly shout responsibility.
Taking a deep breath, I ponder my options. I can turn it in to Lost and Found and hope that they actually give it to her if she comes looking. Or … I could try to get in touch with her myself.
Keep telling yourself you’re playing the Good Samaritan.
Leaning against the produce display, I do a quick analysis. The odds of her finding it at the Help Desk aren’t great. Maybe fifty-fifty. Some bagger boy will probably see the lock screen and take it to the bathroom and jerk off. The odds of that are phenomenal. The odds of me breaking the passcode aren’t great either, but if possible, would greatly increase her chances of getting it back.
And the chance for me to see those eyes in person.
I type in 0000.
“Try again” flashes on the screen.
Steering the cart with my elbows towards the customer service desk, I run through possible passwords before I commit to my final try. I have one more chance before it locks me out for good and I have no choice but to turn it over to Bagger Boy and his bathroom break.
I go for 1111, another overused password.
It makes a clicking sound and the lock screen opens. The phone toggles in my hands, my jaw dropping in disbelief. It worked. The home screen is filled with apps over shiny gold wallpaper, waiting to be explored.
Should I or shouldn’t I?
My thumb glances over the photo album and I see the first photo.
I definitely should.