Callie Kirkpatrick promised herself she’d never fall in love again.
After catching her boyfriend Ethan cheating on her, Callie decides to retire from the dating game at the ripe old age of twenty-four. Unfortunately for Callie, she’s going to have to see Ethan at her best friend’s upcoming wedding. Stranded in the airport during a weather delay on her way to the nuptials, Callie meets Nate Wright. He’s sexy and uncomplicated, and a one-night stand is just what the doctor ordered for a girl with a broken heart. Callie thinks she’ll never see Nate again —until he shows up at the wedding.
Nate is hell-bent on making Callie forget about her ex, and he makes her question whether she was ever really in love with Ethan at all. As she begins to fall for Nate, Callie wonders if promises were meant to be broken…
A year ago, if someone had told me that I would be spending a Friday night in an airport trying to pick up a guy, I would’ve laughed in their face.
A year ago I was still with Ethan.
Back then I would’ve thought that I would be getting married this weekend, not traveling across the country to my best friend Gabby’s wedding. But Ethan had other plans, like fucking some random chick he met at happy hour on my 1,000 thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets. He thought I was working late. I came home early.
Ethan is the reason I don’t work late anymore. He’s also the reason I promised myself that I wouldn’t fall in love again. I’d be crazy to open myself up to that kind of heartbreak again, right?
Staying out of the dating game is easy, but I would be lying if I said that I don’t miss the scratch of Ethan’s stubble on my face when he kissed me, or that I don’t long for the feeling of his weight on top of me when we were in bed. I suppose that’s why I’m at a bar in the middle of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, sipping on a cocktail and sitting next to the most gorgeous man I’ve ever seen.
We’ve been talking for half an hour, both of us waiting out a line of storms that have delayed every outbound plane in the area. I’ve booked a seat on a flight leaving first thing in the morning, and there’s a room waiting for me in the hotel that’s attached to the terminal. I should go up there and get some sleep, or finish one of the many projects that I have going on right now. But there’s something about this man that makes me want to stay right where I am. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he’s incredibly nice to look at.
I don’t even know his name, but I like the velvety look of his close-cropped light brown hair and the sexy ruggedness of the couple of days’ worth of stubble on his face. I like the cool depths of his bright blue eyes and the infectiousness of his smile. I want him, there’s no doubt about it. I want to see him naked at some point this evening, but I’m completely unpracticed in the art of the one-night stand. I have no idea how to be even remotely sexy, but I’m flirting with him shamelessly.
And he’s flirting back.
“What happened here?” I ask, tracing the long, jagged scar that stretches out a few inches below his thumb. His skin feels electric beneath my fingers and when I touch him, he looks at me like he never wants me to stop. Unless my raging hormones are making me imagine that, which is entirely possible.
“This?” he asks, leaning in closer as he twists his wrist. “I was rappelling down the side of a cliff and my harness slipped. I reached out for leverage and cut myself.”
He grins. “Yeah, it’s when you descend from a rock face using ropes and-”
“I know what rappelling is,” I say, laughing. “I just thought that you were trying to impress me.” I want to rappel him. Start at his head and work my way down, down, down.
“I am trying to impress you, but that’s actually what happened.” He looks down at what’s left of the beer in his glass, and then he slides to his right a little, until his arm is touching mine. “What about you?”
“What about me?”
“Any impressive scars?” He smiles again, and its imperfection is endearing. His bottom lip is a little fuller than the top, and one of his front teeth is just the tiniest bit out of alignment with the rest. I’m pretty sure he knows how charming that smile is and the effect that it has on women. He’s using it to his advantage tonight.
“Nothing really impressive, but I do have this,” I tell him, pointing at my chin.
He slides his fingers along the underside of my jaw and tilts my head up so he can get a better look. The pad of his thumb grazes my scar, and I shiver. I hope he doesn’t notice the way my breath catches when he touches me. I don’t want to come off as desperate for him as I actually am.
“What’s the story?”
“It’s not even remotely cool as rappelling,” I say. He looks at me expectantly. “I was at Girl Scout camp when I was, I don’t know…seven maybe? It was my troop’s turn to clean up the mess hall, and we were all running around and acting stupid. One of the girls started chasing me and I tripped, fell, and hit the edge of a bench.”
He sucks in a breath through clenched teeth as he grimaces.
“Ouch. I guess you’re not good in situations where fleeing is required?”
“I generally avoid situations where fleeing is required, actually. I’m small, so I guess I could always hope that someone would take pity on me and pick me up to expedite the fleeing process and limit the amount of damage I could do to myself while running.” I’m talking way too much, but I just can’t seem to help myself.
“I’d pick you up, but it wouldn’t be out of pity.” There’s a mischievous look in his eyes that makes me want to wrap my body around his, and I’m beginning to get a sense that the two of us might have the same endgame in mind.
“So,” he says, rubbing the palms of his hands on his jeans. “Are you going to tell me your name?”
For a split second I consider making one up, but even though he’s a complete stranger, it feels wrong to want to lie to him.
“Callie. My name is Callie.”
“Short for…” He draws out the ‘r’ as he searches for a name to guess. “Calliope?”
He seems really proud of himself for thinking of another name, and it’s disarmingly cute.
“Good guess,” I tell him. “It’s Callista. And your name is?”
“Short for…Michael?” It’s an idiotic thing to say, but he laughs anyway.
“It’s nice to meet you, Callie.” My name sounds like heaven when he says it, and he takes my hand in his. His palm is a little rough, and I imagine what it would feel like sliding across the small of my back.
“It’s nice to meet you, too,” I say. For a very brief moment, I think about asking him where he’s headed, but I decide against it. One-night stands aren’t supposed to get invested, and I don’t even want to know the slightest bit about his personal life, including where he’s from or where he’s going. I wish there was a way for me to turn off my mind and think with my vagina. Sex should be easy, but my brain has a way of complicating things.
“I was pissed when my flight got canceled, but now…” Nate says, looking down at our fingers which are loosely entwined. Somewhere in the back of my head I know that he’s playing me, but I don’t care. I just really don’t care.
When he looks up, I catch his gaze, and we look at each other for a very long time. Butterflies circle my stomach, flapping their wings against my insides, and I feel like it might kill me to look away from him. It’s been forever since someone has made me feel this way, and I want to keep feeling it. I’m trying to figure out a way to ask him upstairs to my room without sounding like I’m asking him upstairs to my room. I’m such a failure at casual sex.
Thankfully the bartender interrupts my frenzied thoughts when he walks over and asks if we’d like another round.
“No,” I reply softly, still looking at Nate. His face falls with disappointment for just a split second before understanding lights his eyes.
He holds up has hand and shakes his head. The bartender walks away.
“Callie, I never do this, but-”
“I have a room,” I say, interrupting him to keep him from finishing that sentence. Because ‘I never do this’ is the kind of thing that people who typically do this a lot tend to say. And I’m okay with that, really. But I don’t want to hear it.
“Okay.” Nate flashes a smile as he stands up and takes my hand, threading his fingers through mine. Then, he slings his duffel bag over his shoulder and leads me out of the bar.
We make our way through the crowded terminal to the hotel, looking at each other every few steps and grinning like a couple of fools.
The elevator can’t come quickly enough.