It’s that time again…where I post the beginning of my next book.
Zach Monroe heard the door shut softly and rolled over onto his other side, assuming Amber slipped into the bathroom quietly like she had the last few mornings they’d been together.
Who would have thought this convention in Vegas would’ve turned out like this?
He never figured he’d find someone that he had so much in common with, someone he enjoyed being around who talked as much as him.
Someone he didn’t want to be without. All from a trip he hadn’t wanted to attend in the first place.
Love at first sight? No way. He’d never believed in it.
Until he saw Amber sitting by herself at the bar with a beer in her hand Tuesday night.
Okay, maybe it wasn’t love. Maybe it was more like instant attraction and deep lust. That was more like it. More like how he classified any relationship he’d ever had.
They shared a few beers, then retired to his room. The only time they’d been apart since was during the actual convention.
He must have fallen back to sleep because the next thing he knew, the sunlight was coming through the large window in his room, reflecting brightly on his closed eyelids. They’d been too busy to shut the blinds. He wondered if anyone had caught a glimpse of them last night, then smiled and decided he didn’t care in the least.
Turning on his back, he opened one eye to the space next to him. His other eye popped open when he saw it was empty.
Slowly, his hand slid over and felt the coolness on the sheets. There was an eerie silence in the room right now that sent his heart thumping.
He sat up and looked at the dresser and saw the drawers all neatly shut like they had been when they went to bed.
Swinging his feet to the floor, he walked naked to the bathroom and noticed the door open and a damp towel hanging. She must have gone for coffee, he thought.
Only something was telling him otherwise.
Opening the first drawer where she’d put the change of clothes she’d brought with her when they met up last night, he found it empty, so he opened another, hoping against hope, but he knew in his heart that it would be bare.
He was just ready to look in the hallway when he realized he didn’t have a stitch of clothing on, so he grabbed his jeans and a shirt, not even bothering to button or zip anything.
As he suspected, she wasn’t in the hall either.
He showered and dressed, then made his way to the front desk. “Hi, could you tell me if Amber Dustin has checked out?”
The young woman looked up and said, “I’m sorry, but we can’t give that information out.”
He stopped for a second and then asked, “Can you tell me if there is even an Amber Dustin staying here?”
He just realized he never found out what hotel she was in. They’d spent the entire time in his, and she always had a change of clothes with her when they met up each night.
“Sandy,” he said again, reading the name on her tag. “I know you’ve seen her with me. Here’s her picture to refresh your memory,” he said, giving her a charming smile that used to melt his grandmother’s heart when he was a kid. He’d pulled his phone out and showed her the picture he’d snapped of him and Amber sitting on the couch in his room.
Sandy looked right and left, then started to punch a few buttons. “I’m sorry, there is no one staying here by that name.”
“Is there anyone here with the name Amber?”
“I’m really sorry, but I’ve said more than I should already.”
Zach sighed. He knew the rules but had been hoping he could sweet talk Sandy just the same. He’d done it before. He could talk a saint into handing over his robe on a cold winter’s day, but right now he just didn’t have it in him. Bitter emotions were creeping up his spine, turning sour in his mouth.
“Thanks, Sandy. If she comes back, will you give her my card?”
Zach pulled it out and handed it over. Not only had Zach realized he didn’t know the hotel Amber was staying at, but they’d never exchanged numbers either. How could that have slipped his mind?
Probably because they were so in tune with each other when they were alone that details like contact information never came up. Or maybe it was the excitement of meeting up each day like strangers in the night.
Yeah, he was losing his mind.
The convention! He rushed through the doors of the main room to see if she was around. It was early yet, but maybe she went back to her hotel to shower and change for the last day.
She never showed.
By the end of the day, he’d given up. He’d asked a few people from the medical side of the convention who she was. Showing her picture around and hoping against hope he hadn’t been played.
Plenty had seen her, but no one knew anything else. No one knew where she was, where she was staying, or where she worked. The coordinator said that he couldn’t give out that information no matter how much Zach tried to bribe the man.
How could he not try though? There was this magical pull she seemed to have over him clouding all reason.
By the time he boarded his flight back to Virginia, he knew he was going to be on a mission to find her. Part of his job was finding and recruiting talent from all over the world, even when they didn’t want to be found. This should be a piece of cake.
How could she have done that? Just leave the way she did without a word. They still had one more night left in town.
Why would she have just disappeared like that? Didn’t she feel the same connection he did?
Once he got back to his office he was going to dig right in. And when he found her—because he would—she would have some explaining to do.
No one played him and walked away. Not again. Never again.
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