There are many reasons women shouldn’t travel alone. But as foul-mouthed, sweet-toothed Kika Shores knows, there are many more reasons why they should. After all, most women want a lot more out of life than just having fun. Kika, for one, wants to experience the world.
But ever since she returned from her yearlong backpacking tour, she’s been steeped in misery, battling rush hour with all the other suits. Getting back on the road is all she wants. So when she’s offered a nanny job in London – the land of Cadbury Cream Eggs – she’s happy at the prospect of going back overseas and getting paid for it. But as she’s about to discover, the most exhilarating adventures can happen when you stay in one place…
Wise, witty, and hilarious, Girls Who Travel is an unforgettable novel about the highs and lows of getting what you want—and how it’s the things you least expect that can change your life.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.00(d)|
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TEN THOUSAND MILES away, my mom was probably wondering why I hadn’t called her. But when you’re living inside a tropical screen saver and having knee-weakening sex with a professional Irish rogue, you tend to neglect mundane tasks.
Today. I will call her today.
I knew she was going to ask if I found out Lochlon’s secret yet, and I had no update for her. Somehow, not knowing was bothering her more than it was bothering me.
“I don’t get it, Kika,” she protested during our last phone call. “You’ve been gallivanting around South India with some guy who admitted that he’s hiding his past, and you still haven’t gotten any details?”
But after a year of travel through countries that had obligatory coffee breaks and nap times, I had been slow-cooked into a state of tender, fall-off-the-bone relaxation.
“He’ll tell me when he’s ready,” I downplayed to my mom and to myself. Still, she wasn’t buying it and was clamoring for more frequent updates from me.
I will definitely call her tomorrow, I decided as I got out of bed. I pushed the mosquito net aside, writhed into my clammy bikini, and left the beach hut. Feeling the sand against my soles brought up flashes of last night, when Lochlon convinced me that a midnight “swim” was in order.
“Get in the water, gorgeous.” He didn’t know that no one in real life spoke like the heroes of paperback romances, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to be the one to correct him.
“And leave these”—he hooked his finger into the band of my bikini bottoms, snapping them against my skin—“safe on dry land.”
I could do little else but nod dumbly. I vaguely worried that my inability to say no to him might present a problem for me one day.
Oh, but that day was not today.
I found Lochlon scribbling away in his leather-bound notebook in a patch of shade. He had dreams of becoming a writer, and I thought of him as my Irish Hemingway: all sun-shy skin and minimalist, declarative prose.
Before he noticed me, I found myself peeking over his shoulder at his notebook, proving that maybe I was slightly more curious than I let on. But he detected my presence and turned. Without speaking, he knitted his fingers into the fringe of my sarong and lowered me to my knees into the sand beside him.
“Mornin’,” he hummed in his throaty Northern Irish brogue.
I put my face close to his, and he deftly slipped his hand into the pocket of my sarong and onto my stomach. He slowly moved his hand up, up, up until his sandy palm cupped my—
My face scrunched to a scowl. Why is Lochlon calling me “ma’am”? What a horribly unsexy pet name.
I rattled my head to dissolve the soft-focus soap opera scene from my memory and lifted my eyes to regard the strict eyebrows of a Long Island Rail Road conductor.
“Eek!” I squeaked like a chew toy. My face flared with heat, burning away my daze.
“Ma’am, I need to see your ticket,” he repeated with a look that said, Pull your shit together, lady.
I rifled through my fatally boring winter coat and most-adult-looking handbag.
“I didn’t realize you were talking to me,” I chatted to buy time, “because I’m not used to being called ‘ma’am.’”
I shot him a squinty-eyed smile in an effort to wring out some human emotion, but he gave me nothing.
“Aha! Here, good sir, is my ticket to ride.”
He punched it without ceremony and moved on to the next train car.
“Next and final stop is Penn Station,” announced the train’s speaker in a grainy belch.
I sealed my eyelids and willed time backward to that sugary beach day. What happened next? I interrogated myself. Was that the day Lochlon revealed his mysterious history? But the pressure to remember all the details in the correct order made the specifics shifty. It was like the tighter I squeezed, the more slippery my memories became, like a beach ball in water.
No matter—there was no more time for reminiscing, anyway. I buttoned my winter coat in preparation to join New York City’s rush hour crush. Somehow, when I wasn’t paying attention, I had become just another pleb carrying my chain-store coffee to a soul-destroying office.
My life was not supposed to be like this.