Read Crossing Abby Road Online

Authors: Ophelia London

Tags: #New Adult, #Romance, #na, #Embrace, #entangled, #Ophelia London, #Abby Road, #surfer, #Cora Carmack, #Jennifer L. Armentrout, #J. Lynn, #Colleen Hoover, #Tammara Webber, #marine sniper, #famous pop star

Crossing Abby Road

BOOK: Crossing Abby Road
13.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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Todd Camford went from Marine sniper to owning a beachfront surf shop in Florida, and he couldn’t be happier. Unfortunately, the programming from his training hasn’t quite been eliminated. His ex called him an unfeeling cyborg, but he’s a free-flying, unfettered hawk, damn it. Relationships outside of family are out of the question...

And then she comes into his shop.

Everyone knows who Abigail Kelly is—mega rockstar, tabloid fixture. Still, nothing prepares Todd for Abby’s smoky gray eyes or the swift breathlessness of their instant chemistry. He’d be an ass (or possibly insane) to think he can resist her. Just for today, maybe he’ll keep an eye on her to make sure she doesn’t get mobbed. Because really, how much damage could one day with a super-hot, kick-ass celebrity really do?

Table of Contents

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Copyright © 2015 by Mary A. Smith. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.

Entangled Publishing, LLC

2614 South Timberline Road

Suite 109

Fort Collins, CO 80525

Visit our website at
www.entangledpublishing.com
.

Embrace is an imprint of Entangled Publishing, LLC.

Edited by Stacy Abrams

Cover design by Heather Howland

Photography by Shutterstock

ISBN 978-1-63375-245-0

Manufactured in the United States of America

First Edition March 2015

This book is dedicated to my dad, who introduced me to the music of Frank Sinatra when I was a teenager with mono, said it would help me fall asleep. It’s been love ever since, though I still can’t sleep.

Chapter One

“The Girl from Ipanema”

On the worst of days, my walk from home to work took ten whole minutes, and that was if I stopped for coffee. This morning, I used my ten-minute “commute” to make the phone call I’d been dreading since last night.

“Nikki. Hey, it’s Todd.”

“What are you wearing?”

Before answering my sister’s question, I slid on my sunglasses and waved to the guy opening the bike rental stand. “I’m your brother, Nik. That’s inappropriate.”

“Yuck—no,” she said. “I meant, I assume you’re on your way to work. What’s your outfit?”

“Oh.” I glanced down at myself, though I didn’t need to. This was the twenty-sixth day in a row I’d worn a different version of the same clothes, and at least the hundredth time I realized what a kick-ass job I had. “T-shirt and shorts.”

“I hate you.” My sister growled into the phone. “But I guess since you’re your own boss now, you can wear whatever you want. So, why are you calling me at this unholy hour?”

It was after nine o’clock, and the June Floridian sun had been up for three hours. But I gave Nikki a break, since she was in Manhattan; maybe sunlight hadn’t pierced the skyscrapers yet.

“Sophie’s engaged.” I said this, then waited.

In real life, my sister’s voice had a way of blasting through walls like gunfire. Over the phone, the volume was only slightly less deafening. In preparation for her reaction to my news, I held my cell a safe distance from my head, not needing any more shrapnel—not even the figurative kind.

“Well, well, engaged again,” she said. “That’s…interesting.”

Wait for it.

“And when I say interesting, I mean
appalling
!”

Yep, her reply was loud enough that a flock of seagulls scattered and veered the other way. “Damn, Nik. Tell me how you really feel.” I crossed the single-lane, sandy street and passed the row of silver food trucks on the other side of the boardwalk. “And before you ask how I feel about it, I’m fine.”

“No, you’re not, Todd. She was engaged to
you
first. It’s not normal for you to be so apathetic. Though, I mean, I guess that’s kind of how you have to be these days.”

I could practically hear her clicking through WebMD psychology tabs, the ones about the residual effects of being a sniper had on me—and there were plenty. No one enjoyed psychoanalyzing me more than my sister. Yeah, I was pretty young to have baggage, but that was what the Marines did. They programmed you to be exactly what they needed, but they never
de
programmed you.

“I prefer to be called stoic,” I said, rubbing my jaw.

“Don’t bury your feelings like some tough guy. Be honest, are you really okay?”

Oh, if we were being honest… No, I probably wasn’t 100 percent chill that my ex had just informed me she was engaged to another guy. Six months didn’t seem long enough to get over someone then completely commit to another completely different someone.

Or maybe it was. Hell if I knew.

“Trust me, Nikki,” I said, rounding the corner toward the cluster of beachside retailers. “I’m better than okay, I’m— What was that sound?” I switched hands, pressing my cell against my ear. “
Chiacchierone
,
you better not be conference calling—”

“Hello?” A new voice broke in.

“Jess, it’s Nik, and we’re on with Todd. It’s an emergency.”

“What’s wrong?” my other sister asked, worry in her voice.

“Nothing’s wrong,” I said, pulling out the key to my store and unlocking the glass front door. “Nikki’s overreacting, as usual.”

“Nik? What happened to him?” Jessica asked, talking over me.

“Did you know Sophie got engaged to that MBA student?”

“Already?” Jess snorted. “That was fast.”

“Right?”

I let the door close behind me, relocked the floor latch, and weaved around standing racks toward the back office. There was no way in hell to stop the runaway talking train known as the Camford Sisters. I pictured them, so similar-looking that they were often mistaken for twins. They got every corpuscle of Italian blood from our mother, giving them dark hair and eyes. I got the hair, but inherited Dad’s green eyes and pro-sports height. The latter I appreciated whenever teams were divided for hoops.

“Todd,” Jessica said. “Are you okay?”

“Of course he’s not, Jess. His fiancée just got engaged.”

Ex
-fiancée.

“On a scale of Marilyn Monroe to Kurt Cobain, how depressed are you? Todd?”

“Who, me?” I flipped on the lights with an elbow. “Didn’t think you needed me in a conversation about my life.”

“He’s in denial,” Nikki said.

“Classic denial,” Jess agreed. “It’s ’cause he’s good looking and thinks that makes it easy to bounce back.”

“Yeah, he’s like, ‘I was a hotshot Marine and all girls fall at my feet.’ Todd, you need to work on your humility.”

My cell was on speakerphone now, as I simultaneously turned on my laptop and pointed a remote to the iPod dock in the corner, activating my Rat Pack in Vegas playlist. How was that for hotshot? “I’ve never made any girl fall at my feet,” I said, sitting behind my desk. “That I know of.” But then I thought of a few who had.

When it came to sex, it wasn’t completely tragic having battle scars and a complicated upbringing. A lot of girls were into that. Then again, a lot of girls craved drama, and I was never into those kinds of girls. In fact, nothing was a bigger turnoff. The least amount of potential drama, the better. Zero drama was the best.

“He should start dating again.”

“No way,” Nikki said. “It’s too soon.”

Too soon? I
had
been dating. Sort of, I guess. Though never anything more than one or two nights—dates, I mean. I was right at that sweet spot between eighteen and thirty when there was no reason to be alone if I didn’t want to be.

Anyway, now was the worst time to get wrapped up in a serious relationship; I had way more important things going on. I glanced at the clock on the wall. My appointment with the bank was this afternoon. It still seemed weird that I was old enough to have an “appointment with the bank.” But this wasn’t even my first one.

Hell, no wonder I wasn’t dating. It wasn’t where my head was at the moment, or for the past few months, or probably since the day Sophie threw her engagement ring at me and called me an unfeeling cyborg.

“What about that paralegal at your office?” Jessica was asking Nikki as my attention drifted back to the phone conversation. “Would they hit it off?”

“Don’t even think about trying to set me up,” I cut in. “This hawk has to stay free, and fly unfettered.”

Silence.

“Um, Todd?” Jessica said. “Did you just call yourself a free-flying-unfettered hawk?” Both sisters broke out in cackles. “You’re lucky some girls think you’re hot.”

“Bite me,” I muttered, then rolled my eyes and laughed at my own lame-assness.

I opened Gmail. Another message from Rex, a buddy from the Marine Corps, sat in my inbox. I leaned on my fist and read the email, then typed a reply one-handed, listening to my sisters planning the next family reunion, slipping into Italian when they became overly animated. Right as I finished the email, I heard a
gong!
from the front of the store, alerting me of a customer’s entrance. Weird. Hadn’t I relocked the door?

“Guys, there’s a customer, gotta go.” I deactivated the speakerphone. “I’ll be right with you!” I called out. A female voice answered something back that I couldn’t make out. “Listen, Nik, Jess,” I continued, “I just thought I should be the one to tell you about Sophie—”

“Big ol’ hoe bag,” Nikki muttered. “Want us to tell anybody? You know, spread the news so there won’t be awkward questions later?”

I shrugged to myself as I scraped back my chair and stood. “I don’t care.”

“Already on it, Hawk,” Jessica announced, as I heard her tapping on a keyboard.

“Never call me that again.
Ciao
.”
I hung up and set my phone on the counter as I passed through the doorway toward the sales floor, scanning for the customer.

She stood alone in the far corner. Tall, early twenties—a little younger than me—and running her fingers through her long blond hair. She faced my way but didn’t notice me.

But I had a perfect view of her.

I stopped in my tracks and leaned against the counter, watching her finger through a rack of T-shirts. Before she’d tucked her chin, I’d caught a glimpse of her eyes. They were huge, and a kind of smoky gray I’d never seen before.


Bellissima
,” I said under my breath, brain stuck in Italian.

Though not frowning, she wasn’t smiling, either. In fact, she looked kind of annoyed as her big eyes kept flicking toward the front door.

Being surrounded by bikini-clad bods all day, every day, I was used to double-taking at women. But damn, my gaze didn’t leave the gray-eyed girl long enough to take a second look. She was seriously hot, like cover-of-
Sports-Illustrated
hot.

She moved over to my newest display I’d set up just yesterday. Amid the beachwear, surfboards, and wetsuits, I’d laid out a small exhibit of high-end ceramic, brass, and blown glass nautical statues. She picked up the blue crystal figurine of a dolphin. With her eyes lowered, she turned it over in her hands, running a finger across the glass. I was about to ask if she had any questions, but when I tried, my mouth was dry and my brain wiped blank.

Well, damn. I knew how to talk to girls. I’d rocked my fraternity’s keggers, I was a Marine-sniper-turned-brand-new-business-owner, and the size of my ego could rival that guy from Maroon 5, for hell’s sake. Of
course
I knew how to talk to girls. I stared at the back of her head, wondering what made me tongue-tied in front of a woman for the first time in my damn life.

Say something to her. Say something slick. No, something smart. No, something funny.
Even my mind couldn’t make up its mind.

“Six
hundred
dollars?” she said. Her voice sounded completely appalled. “For
what
?”

“That’s an original,” I answered with a typical salesman-like reaction.

Her head jerked up and she spun around, her steely eyes locking on me like the scope of a rifle. The startled gasp still hanging off her lips brought life to her face. Her blond hair was a little wild and tangled from the baseball cap that was now in her hand. Girls in baseball caps. Talk about sexy.

If I’d thought she was good-looking from a distance, holy living hell if she wasn’t gorgeous up close. As I found myself looking at her full lips, my mouth salivated then dried up like a raindrop in the desert.


Stupendo
,” I muttered under my breath, the witty side of my brain still blank. “That’s a Hans Schoster. Just arrived from Denmark.”
That’s it, playa, wow her with your knowledge of imported blown glass.
“They’re the first in his collection to be sold outside his home country.” I pointed at the tag that was covered in Danish. “He calls it
Dyreliv
.”

Shut the hell up, Camford. Why are you obsessing over this? Change the subject. Tell her she’s got amazing eyes or a…a Mona Lisa smile…whatever the hell that is.

No dude, no. This isn’t a bar.

“Interesting. I’ve never heard of him.” She kept her tongue on the back of her front teeth after speaking, like she was purposefully drawing my attention to her mouth. Which, ya know, totally worked.

“Yeah, so obviously, six hundred is a steal,” I said. “But if you like dolphins, I can show you something in a different price range.”

And now I’d insulted her. This was quickly shooting down the crapper.

“I like this one, but thanks.” She did a quiet laugh/wheeze thing under her breath, glanced at me, then lowered her eyes. And…was she blushing?

It was cute, the way her tan cheeks turned all rosy and a little splotchy. She wore jean cutoffs, short enough to give me an awesome view of her long, toned legs.

“Want me to hold it at the register while you look around?”

“Nope, I’m good.”

“You sure?”

She rolled her eyes. “I’m not going to steal it, if that’s what you’re worried about.” Her chin stuck out, giving her face a brand new expression. Tenacious. Damn, I did love sass, or more specifically, taming sass.

She returned her gaze to the front window and bit her lip, and I was sure she was about to bolt. But no, she moved away from the exit and toward the hat wall, put down the baseball cap, tapped her chin, then pulled a fishing cap off the top hook.

I straightened a rack of logoed T-shirts but couldn’t keep my eyes off her for long. It made me want to smile, the way she went from hat to hat…this one too small, this one too big, like a sexy kind of Goldilocks. That reminded me of a shipment I hadn’t put on display yet. I moved behind the counter and pulled out the box of straw hats. One had ugly orange daisies, another an overly floppy brim, and one had blue and yellow flowers around the edge.

Just right.

A logical excuse was that I didn’t have an extra mannequin, so I grabbed the hat, ran a hand through my hair, straightened my posture, and marched directly to the gray-eyed girl.

“Try this one,” I said, causing her to whirl around.

Note to self: Do not sneak up on her
. My training as a sniper made the tendency natural, though I did wonder why she spooked so easily. But it only lasted for a moment, because she was doing that cute blushing thing again. Her changing of expressions was like watching a sunrise after a hurricane.

BOOK: Crossing Abby Road
13.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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