Authors: Kimberley Reeves
glanced at the man sleeping next to her in disgust
He’d wolfed down his dinner
he hadn’t eaten for days and a thin line of spicy mustard still clung to his double chin
Now he was mumbling in his sleep
was all she could do to keep from taking her pillow and pushing it over his face
Concentrating on the report she was working on was a complete impossibility; even with earphones on, she could hear his constant droning.
Nudging him with her elbow gave Beth a blessed reprieve from the nonsensical drivel, but just as she set her fingers to the keyboard and began to type, his head rolled to the side and his pudgy cheek landed on her shoulder. Her patience had reached its limits
this was the last straw. She lifted a finely manicured finger to the overhead call button and waited impatiently for the flight attendant to respond.
“May I help you?”
he smiling attendant whispered, apparently
to wake the dead.
“This,” Beth pointed to the beast
her, “is totally unacceptable.”
Shrugging in an attempt to dislodge his head from her shoulder proved fruitless; the man mumbled even louder
settled back in the same position
Beth gritted her teeth
“I’m trying to work,” she said tersely, “which I find exceedingly impossible when doughboy here keeps flopping all over me
like another seat, preferably with a vacant one next to it.”
The attendant shook her head
“I’m sorry, Miss
, but the plane is full
The only empty seat is next to Mr. Travis
nodded to the front of the plane.
Beth craned her neck and spotted the empty seat next to a dark
“I’ll take anything as long as I can get away from
The woman smiled indulgently
“I understand your frustration, but I can’t ask Mr. Travis to give up his seat.”
Beth’s brows drew together
“I’m not asking him to give up his seat; I’m asking to be moved to the empty seat next to him.”
“I’m afraid you don’t understand
Mr. Travis always pays for two seats so he doesn’t have to sit next to anyone
I wish I could help you
“You won’t even ask him
“Mr. Travis is…difficult,” she said in a hushed tone
“He doesn’t like to be bothered at all during the flight.”
Beth snapped her laptop shut
“Well, I can’t take this any longer.
She shoved against the man again with the same useless results
“Listen, would it be okay if I asked Mr. Travis myself?”
“You can,” the attendant
grimaced, “but I wouldn’t advis
Once when we were overbooked, I asked
he would mind letting someone take the seat next to him
The way he glared at me, you’d think I committed a felony offense
To tell the truth, he kind of scares me.”
“Well, I don’t scare easily and I’m desperate to get this report done.
the man’s head off her shoulder,
to her chest
skirted around the flight attendant.
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” the woman shrugged, moving on
to the next demanding passenger.
Beth made her way down the narrow aisle of the airplane, a look of determination on her face
Mr. Travis was staring intently at his laptop when she stopped next to the empty seat
see why he gave the attendant a case of nervous jitters
He was a big man, not like Mr. Pudgy back there, but broad in the shoulders with a heavily muscled chest
Even sitting, she could tell he had to be at least six foot three or four.
She opened her mouth to speak, but the sound that came out was little more than a primal grunt
Piercing green eyes lifted to meet hers
Beth stared back, idly wondering how long her wobbly legs would support her
Mr. Travis was quite possibly the most breathtakingly handsome man she
His dark hair and green eyes were impressive, but the firm jaw and full
lips made his rugged good looks downright devastating
Then he spoke, and her perfect ten rapidly
to a five.
“Are you catching flies or does your trap always stay open?”
Beth’s mouth clamped shut
, teeth grinding as she struggled to control her temper
What an arrogant ass!
His brow arched
“I assume you have a reason for gawking at me?”
“Yes,” she said with a lift of her chin
“I have a very important report to finish
next to a passenger who keeps falling all over me in his sleep
His mumbling is driving me insane.”
“What has that got to do with me?”
“You have an empty seat next to you.”
“Yes, and I paid for that privilege
Now if you don’t mind, I have work of my own to do.
He turned his attention back to
laptop, effectively dismissing her.
Beth eyed him irritably
The man was
rude but she was desperate
“I’ll pay you for the seat,” she offered boldly.
Sam looked up with a deep scowl on his face
“I don’t want to be paid for the seat
I want to be left alone
I’m afraid you’ll just have to find someone else to bribe.”
“There is no one else to bribe
This is the last vacant seat.”
Sam plucked his briefcase from the floor and dropped it on the seat
“Now it’s occupied,” he said curtly and turned back to his laptop
When Beth remained rooted to the spot, he grunted impatiently
, I’m sorry your seating arrangements are less than desirable, but I have
to do and you’re interrupting me
so go away.”
“No, I won’t go away,” she stubbornly
, ignoring the storm brewing behind those jade green eyes and rushed on
four hours left on this flight and I need to finish
before we land
All I want to do is work undisturbed for a few hours
her tone was caustic
, “I have no desire to get to know you better.”
The thunderous look slipped from his face as his eyes swept over her
Beth shifted uncomfortably, suddenly feeling like a bug under a microscope.
“You live in Los Angeles?”
“Santa Monica,” she answered
“What does that have to do with letting me sit here?”
His eyes scanned her once more
“You’re not a bad
I guess you
“I’ll let you sit here on one condition.”
Her eyes narrowed suspiciously
“And what would that be?”
“I need a woman to accompany me to a business dinner tonight
I was going to use an escort service but by the time we land, I may not be able to arrange it
Come to the dinner with me tonight and you can sit here.”
“You’re kidding, right
Beth met his stony gaze and didn’t think the man had a humorous bone in his body
“How do I know you’re not some sexual deviant just trying to get me alone so you can rape and kill me?”
A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth
“I assure you,
, you’re not my type
be perfectly safe
Look, you need a quiet place to work and I need a dinner partner
It’s your decision, but I suggest you make it quickly before the offer is withdrawn.”
Beth stared at him for a moment
then glanced back at the pudgy man
halfway across her seat
“If I don’t get this finished before we land, I’m toast anyway so I guess we have a deal.”
moved his briefcase, Beth dropped into the seat and immediately opened her laptop
She reread the last few sentences
to focus on the report, but something he’d said nagged at her and for the life of her, she couldn’t stop the words from tumbling out of her mouth.
“What did you mean when you said you guessed I
“No offense, honey, but you’re not as beautiful or sophisticated as the women who usually accompany me to dinner.”
“You mean the ones you
Beth grinned smugly at the indignant look on his face and returned to her typing.
She continued to work on her report but his comment kept floating back to her
traveling for days
tend to look
Well, maybe a little worse than that, she admitted to herself
She hadn’t bothered with make-up at all and had donned a pair of old sweats and a baggy t-shirt
her hair up into an unflattering bun.
the fact it was more comfortable, Beth found she was less likely to get hassled by men when she dressed down like this
just have to take extra care with her looks tonight to show the arrogant Mr. Travis how wrong he was
They’d worked in silence for quite some time when she lifted her head to find him staring at her.
“I assume you have a reason for gawking at me,” Beth threw his earlier insult back at him.
mean when you said you had no desire to know me better?”
“You’re not exactly my type either, Mr. Travis,” she said dryly
spurred her into adding,
“Let me guess
You’ve never been told that before?”
“Quite frankly, no.
“Well, I guess you can’t say that anymore,” she quipped
to her work.
Sam smiled at the slender woman next to him
“You’re not intimidated by me in the least, are you?”
Beth glanced up at him in surprise
“Why should I be?”
“Most people are.”
“And you like that, don’t you, Mr. Travis?”