Find Me by Cynthia Knoble
Drowning his sorrows in a hotel bar, jilted groom Colin is intent on knocking back scotches until he forgets his horrid day. Enter Jillian, herself enduring an awful day, and eager to find an ear. Resistant at first, he soon finds himself intrigued by her and their mutual sour moods lead to an exciting night.
The next morning, he awakens alone, and strangely forlorn. The discovery of Jillian’s forgotten earrings lends an opportunity to see her again although he’s unsure she’ll want that. Both rebounding from failed relationships, a one-night stand is a poor basis for a union, but Colin can’t drive Jillian from his mind, and embarks on a mission to find her, return her earrings, and, hopefully, begin dating her.
However, more than only sharing a passing fling influences Jillian. She’s guarding a secret, one that could change both their lives forever.
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Movement to his right drew his attention to a woman sliding onto the barstool beside his. She wore a floor-length evening gown, her long red hair swept into an elegant up-do, and her delicately boned face wore an unmistakeable mask of fury. As she dropped her jewel-encrusted clutch onto the bar top, she sighed loudly. The bartender moved to face her.
“What can I get you?” he inquired.
Her eyes settled on Colin’s glass of scotch before flitting back to the bartender. “What he’s having but make it a triple.”
The bartender moved away to prepare her order, she nodded curtly to Colin, and he returned the gesture. Despite her obvious sour mood, he couldn’t help but notice her beauty. Dressed, as she was, her make-up appropriate for a gala-event yet not overdone, she could have graced the cover of a fashion magazine. Tall, slender, and graceful, she was an extremely appealing sight.
When she received her drink, she lifted her glass up to Colin. Once more, he mirrored her movement. They both drank, he taking a small sip, she a considerably larger one. Her eyes widened as she thumped her glass down and then swallowed her mouthful with obvious difficulty. She coughed once and then turned watery eyes to him.
“Jesus Christ! Are you trying to get drunk or kill yourself?”
He shrugged. “I’ve had a bad day.”
“It can’t possibly get better drinking that,” she remarked, before waving her hand to get the bartender’s attention. “Two dirty martinis.” After placing the order, she regarded Colin again. “My treat. Your stomach will thank me tomorrow.”
“I’ll pay for them,” he said with a shake of his head.
“Don’t worry about it. In fact, let me buy you several. They’re going on the company’s tab anyway. Trust me, it’s the least they can do tonight.”
While it appeared there was a story behind her caustic words, he didn’t care to hear it. “Thanks, then,” was all he offered.
When their drinks arrived, she lifted her glass, as did he. “To better days,” she toasted.
That was a sentiment he could support. “To better days,” he echoed, slightly surprised when she clinked her glass against his.
They both drank, and he nodded as his mouthful slid down his throat smoothly. His head might not thank him tomorrow for swapping poisons but he thought she might be right about his stomach. They spent the next several moments in silence, Colin staring absently at the bar top as thoughts of Nat consumed him again. At the sound of the woman’s voice, he turned back to her.
“So,” she began, her voice still tinged with anger, “What’s your story? Did you get jilted or something?” He nodded glumly and watched her eyes widen.
© Copyright 2017 Cynthia Knoble
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