Read an Excerpt
Dashing to pick up her belongings from the conveyor belt, Annalise pulled her watch, bracelet and shoes back on, then grabbed her carry-on and made her way towards the departure lounge. She made a conscious effort not to walk too fast, thinking she’d look suspicious if she did. She knew it was utterly ridiculous, but the whole damn process made her feel guilty of something, even though she wasn’t.
She walked past the shops selling clothes – who on earth bought clothes at the airport anyway? – toiletries and duty free,and made her way into her safe haven – the book shop.
As she stepped over the threshold, Annalise did what she did every time she entered a bookshop: she took a deep breath. The delicious smell of new books always had a calming effect on her, which was why she was glad the shop was so close to the damn airport security. Her travel schedule was always the same: arrive at airport; check in; go through security; get stressed; dash to bookshop; alleviate stress before boarding flight.
Today was no exception. Annalise moved deeper into the store, wondering where to go first. A glance at her watch told her that she’d got through check-in in record time and had some time to kill before her flight. She smiled – extra time in the bookshop was never a bad thing. She knew it was sad, but hey, everyone has quirks, right?
Annalise made a beeline for the travel section, but just before she got there she was stopped in her tracks. Impeding her entrance to the aisle was a man. And, judging by the flutter of her heart and the heat coming to her face, a very attractive one. Annalise watched him as she waited for her rational thoughts to catch up with what her body was telling her.
Seconds later, it became apparent they were in total agreement. The man – who, judging by his attire, was a member of staff – was indeed cute. He looked to be around Annalise’s age. He was taller than her, even though she wore heels, and he had a slim build. His long curly hair was tied back, and something about the way he was cradling a book in his hands made Annalise suspect she’d found a kindred spirit. He wasn’t the usual tall, muscular type she went for, but she hadn’t had much luck with those guys, anyway, so looking at someone a little different couldn’t do any harm, could it?
She continued towards the travel section before someone saw her acting like some kind of weird bookshop voyeur. Annalise figured the guy was new here. She came into this shop often enough to know the staff, and she’d never seen him before. She’d definitely have remembered him.
He looked up as she drew close, a pair of intelligent green eyes behind dark-rimmed glasses adding to the guy’s bookish appeal. His lips curved into a smile and he shuffled forward to let her by. Annalise gave a polite nod of thanks, moved past him and put her bag down at her feet.
Standing next to him as they both perused the shelves, Annalise caught the scent of his cologne. She had no idea what it was or how to describe it, but she did know it smelt totally divine. Almost mouth watering. Could this guy be any more appealing?
Reaching forward, Annalise grabbed a book from the shelf in order to distract herself before she got into trouble for sexual harassment. The two of them flicked pages in silence for a few minutes, until the quiet was suddenly broken by the sound of his voice.
‘Do you know,’ he said, quietly, as though they were in a library, rather than a bookshop, ‘I’ve quite forgotten myself. I’m supposed to be working here, and here I am browsing books and completely ignoring the customers.’