Authors: Yvette Hines
Bound for Christmas
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to business establishments, events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Bound For Christmas
A Tease Publishing Book/E book
Copyright© 2012 Yvette Hines
Cover Artist: Kendra
Editor: G Martin
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.
Tease Publishing LLC
PO Box 3146
Des Moines, Iowa 50316
Tease and the T logo is ã Tease Publishing LLC. All rights reserved
Bound for Christmas
To my husband who puts up with my long hours on the computer when I’m on deadline. I love you. To my editor Gail, I appreciate your patience. To my readers, thanks for your support. Here’s to another Christmas in July!
“Excuse me, sir. I believe that’s my seat.”
“Are you sure?” The man glanced up from the papers he was reading and stared at her.
For a moment she was arrested by the intensity of his hazel gaze, a combination of green with brown flecks. Not because he was looking at her with any level of passion, more because his eyes reminded her of a dissolute field--undisturbed and forgotten. Whatever that man had on his mind, couldn’t be the papers in his hands that appeared to be some kind of business contract. The look was too emotional, too personal.
She was jostled from behind as another passenger attempted to locate their seat on the plane. Still in the aisle of the first class section she looked from her boarding pass stub to the numbers marking the seats on the lower edge of the overhead compartment.
“I’m pretty sure.” Zoey turned her pass around so that he could clearly see she had been assigned the window seat.
“Look, Miss, I always sit next to the window when I fly. If you don’t mind I’d appreciate keeping this seat.”
What? He’s got to be kidding me.
She’d never flown first class before, but she’d splurged on her round trip home just to treat herself. However, this man in his blazer, dress shirt and slacks appeared just the type to enjoy the section on a regular base. She chuckled more to herself then to anyone else. “No offense about where you normally sit, but I booked my flight five months ago just to make sure that I got a window seat in first class.”
The other part of that she left out was that she hated flying. She loved the efficiency of the travel mode, but she didn’t like the idea of so much sky between the plane and the ground.
One side of his mouth quirked up, not really a smile, but more like he was giving in, his following words proved it. “You know, you right. Forgive me.” He rose and made his way past her to the center aisle and allowed her to get to the window seat.
Good God the man was tall. She knew she was almost six foot in height, but very rarely did she meet a man that towered over her. She could see why he sat in first class; his legs would never fit behind the seat in the coach section.
As she gripped her purse tightly and moved by him she got a whiff of his cologne or aftershave. It was a scent of something woodsy and citrus, with a warm, musky male undertone that she assumed had to be his natural chemistry he brought to the fragrance. She liked it. However, that was an understatement. The scent evoked thoughts of curling into a man’s chest and having his strong arms around her. That was some cologne.
It was outside of her nature to go around complimenting men about how they smelled, dressed or looked. It wasn’t that she was shy. She just wasn’t overt or aggressive when it came to the opposite sex. She saved all her boldness for her job.
Relaxing back in the plush leather seat, she gave him a small smile. “Thank you.” She didn’t have to thank him for moving when he was in the wrong, but she didn’t want to spend the entire flight from Texas to North Carolina beside an annoyed passenger.
“No problem,” he muttered, barely allowing the words passed his lips as he slipped his papers into a leather portfolio and leaned his head back against the seat, closing his eyes.
It struck her how tired the man looked. She didn’t know if his exhaustion was physical or mental. Deciding that it wasn’t her place to determine either way, she turned away from him. Staring out the window she watched the ramp workers place the luggage from the cart to the belt that would carry it into the belly of the plane and tried to think of peaceful thoughts and not the take off that was soon.
“Ms. Carliegh can I get you something?”
Zoey faced the flight attendant. Things really were done differently in first class. The plane had not even taken off yet and they were serving her. In coach you were lucky to get a soda during the entire trip.
“Ginger ale, please.” She didn’t want to confess that she needed something to settle her stomach, but facts were facts. If a little flutter in the stomach was called butterflies than her stomach felt as if a hundred thousand of them were flapping around in her belly.
“Mr. Douglas, would you care for anything?”
Raising his head, he gave the brunette attendant a small smile. “No, thank you, Constance. I’m okay right now.”
Darn it. In first class were passengers expected to read name tags and address the attendants by their names? More proof that she was out of her league in this section, she was clueless on the protocol.
The woman’s smile got bigger as she said, “You let me know if you change your mind.”
Nodding, Mr. Douglas, as Zoey now knew his last name, resumed his napping or mediating. Maybe he was anxious about flying, too. Although as she took in his reposed form she didn’t think that was the case. Dressed as he was, he was most likely a commuting business man who took the flight all the time--the weekend traveler. She wondered if he lived in Texas or North Carolina.
Grateful that the flight attendant interrupted her thoughts, Zoey looked up as Constance returned promptly with her drink in a real glass, not the plastic cup filled to overflowing with ice and half a can of soda. No, this glass was a tall tumbler with ice, a straw and a wedge of lemon on the side.
Very nice. Zoey thought.
Her shock and surprise about the service must have been clear to Constance because she grinned at her, saying, “Once the plane has reached altitude I’ll be back with the lunch menu.”
First class seemed to be well worth the extra bucks. She had not eaten breakfast that morning dreading her flight and maybe getting something inside her stomach would help to keep her mind off her mode of travel. Settling back in her seat and sipping her drink, Zoey began to look forward to the flight home.
* * *
Leaning back in the seat by the aisle Evan attempted to ignore everything around him; the chatter of people moving down the aisle to coach, the preliminary cockpit discussion by the pilots and the flight attendants. Especially the woman now occupying his coveted window seat. When he looked up he had been struck by how striking she was. She had a round tawny face, high cheekbones and cat-shaped eyes that tilted up just enough in the corners to make them captivating and mysterious.
She was in casual business attire, a beautiful blue blouse that reminded him of the Indian Ocean and a hip hugging gray skirt. It only took his body a second to notice how the top accentuated her curves. It conformed to her chest and narrow waist, decorated with a thin black ribbon masquerading as a belt. As he stood, the drape in the front allowed him to see a hint of the dip between her breasts and the swells. Very nice breasts and more than a handful for most men. Not him, he’d played basketball in high school and could easily palm a Spalding. So, large breasts were always to his taste and the woman beside him had a beautiful set.
His mind reminded him that he was too much of a gentleman to ogle her. However, now that he was settled in his assigned seat, with his eyes closed his body overrode his mind’s directive and filled his nose with the woman’s scent--strawberries and champagne. It was both sweet and intoxicating. No woman should be so inviting during a plane ride.
He was thankful when Constance, the flight attendant, spoke to him and broke into his thoughts. There was no time for musing over a strange woman when he had only a few hours between him and a confrontation he was not looking forward to having; one that was ten years in the making. No, longer.
It was time for him to resume the life he wanted. He couldn’t make up for past mistakes or loss at the expense of his own dreams anymore. What he wanted out of life he had placed on hold for ten years.
Four months ago had been the anniversary of his brother’s death. The anniversary year of 9/11, eleven years passed now, and a day that changed both their lives. Evan had come to hate anniversaries. In his life they were just disappointments and dreams deferred.
It wasn’t that he regretted his discussion over ten years ago, but it had taken him that long to wake up and realize he couldn’t change the outcome of what happened.
As the plane began to taxi down the runway and lift, nose first, into the air his heart began to race and excitement ran like blood through his veins. In his mind he could visually see all the moves and adjustment the pilot made to settle into his course.
Oh, yes, it was time to get back to the way his life was supposed to be.
He wasn’t Derek and he was tired of trying to be in order to please his father.
* * *
Oh, my God, let me off this plane.
Zoey screamed in her head. As the plane made another drop and her stomach flipped she maintained her death grip on the arm rest. She no longer cared about the wide leather seats, the extended leg room, the food or even the stupid glass decorated with the lemon wedge. She wished she’d asked for a shot of vodka in her ginger ale. Because now she understood that no matter how much you paid or where you sat on the plane the ride was still the same. If it went down she would die regardless.
Heat began to press around her body as if she was standing too close to a fire, causing beads of sweat to pop out on her upper lip, her neck and breasts. She wasn’t feeling well, her head was spinning and her stomach felt like she would be returning the turkey club on rye back to the flight attendant pureed. Food on a plane was overrated, especially if it was going to come back up once the plane started dipping and diving in the sky.
Seating by the window was even worse, she had to pull the shade down, too afraid that if she looked out and saw the ground below them, when at the moment it still should be blue skies she would really freak-out.