Here’s my last little teaser of Deserve A Chance.
You can buy Deserve a Chance on Amazon.
“Hey, Mallory. How come you’re answering Nick’s phone?” Zach asked.
“He’s in the middle of painting right now. It’s Zach,” he heard Mallory’s voice whisper. “He says give him a few minutes to finish. Do you want him to call you back, Zach?”
“Nope, I can talk to my second favorite person while I wait.”
“Second, huh? When did I get upgraded? Last time I heard, Rene was your second favorite person. Or is it whoever you’re talking to at the moment that gets that title?” she teased.
He laughed at her. “You’re the wife of my best friend and Rene is his sister, so I guess you’re tied now.”
Nick was more than his best friend. He was the brother he’d never had growing up. Sure, he had a half-sister and half-brother, but they were more than fifteen years his junior and he’d only seen them a handful of times.
Hell, even his own mother was only sixteen years his senior, so she could be considered his sister if he really wanted to think about it. But he didn’t; he never did. The only parents he had in his eyes were his grandparents. They were the only ones worthy of the title of family to him.
“If that’s the best I can get…” she said.
“Oh, you love me, you know it.”
“Everyone loves you, Zach. We have no choice since you tell us it all the time.”
He snorted on the other end of the line. Only Nick was ever straightforward enough to say that to him, and he was glad Mallory felt comfortable enough voicing her thoughts honestly.
“What can I say? Some people just need reminding more than others.”
“Or you run out of things to say and that’s your go-to line.”
“That too.” It was no secret he tended to get on people’s nerves with his tenacity and persistence. “How’s Junior doing?”
“Junior is doing just fine. Still baking along slowly.”
“No name yet?”
“Nothing that we can agree on.”
“Zachery Buchanan has a nice sound to it.”
He heard her giggle. “There is only enough room in my life for one Zach. Sorry.”
“How about as a character in your next book? I’d love to be a hero in a romance. Hell, I’m already the perfect guy now, so you could just mirror it after me and make your job easier.”
“No romance books in the works just yet. I’ve got my hands full finishing up my next mystery. How would you like to be a murder victim? You could drive someone insane with your nonstop chatter. That’s reason enough for murder.”
“Very cute, Mallory. Stop listening to Nick badmouthing me.”
“Dude,” Nick replied through the phone this time. “Stop trying to give Mallory ideas on names. I’ve got one picked out and I’m waiting for the right time to tell her.”
“You have to wait?” Zach asked.
“Yes. If I say it too soon, she’ll have a reason she doesn’t like it…or she’ll love it so much she’ll want it to be a character in her next book. I’ve got to plan it just right.” There was a pause and then Nick said, “You know it’s the truth, Mallory, so, no, I’m not telling you yet. Anyway, Zach. How was the trade show? Sorry I dumped it on you last minute and I haven’t returned your calls. I’ve been swamped with coding and trying to get the house ready for the baby.”
They’d been friends for way too long for Zach to think Nick was purposely ignoring him. At this point in their relationship, if Nick didn’t want to talk to Zach, he’d just tell him to his face. He always had.
Besides, Nick would have gone to Vegas if he could have, but Zach knew he’d never leave Mallory at this point in her pregnancy, especially with her battling a cold last week.
“No problem. I sent you a report. Not sure if you’ve had a chance to look it over yet.”
“Not yet. Maybe later tonight. Anything of interest I need to know right now?”
Zach wanted to tell Nick about Amber but didn’t. Maybe next time they saw each other, he’d bring it up. Or maybe not. It was embarrassing the amount of time he’d spent the last few days trying to track her to no avail. Nick was liable to just bust him about it, and Zach didn’t think anything about this situation was funny.
“There was a lot of interest. I spoke with some hospital administrators who were going to go back and see if it’s a product that they might want to push to the local doctors. Legal angles if any and so on are in the talks. It’s all in my report.”
“Sounds good. Other than that, nothing much going on?” Nick asked again.
It was almost like Nick knew Zach had more to add. “Nope, just trying to catch up here at the office.”
“All right. I’ll let you go. You know where to reach me if you need anything.”
Zach hesitated and finally said, “Sure do. You can’t hide from me even if you wanted to.”
“No one can. You always find us and then lecture us for even trying. There’s never been any escaping you.”
Zach hung up the phone grimacing. If that was so true, then why couldn’t he find Amber? The question wasn’t if at this point, but when—and when he did, she’d better be ready for him.
Amber grabbed the remote and turned the music on in her office. It was an hour past closing and she still needed to finish up her notes for the day. As far as she knew, everyone was gone but her and Max.
She’d been in surgery at the hospital with Max at six this morning, not finishing until almost two. Then they’d returned to the office only to deal with one emergency after another while Dena and Rene dealt with the scheduled patients for the day.
Days like this made the time fly, and though she loved the thrill and excitement of it all, she was beat.
She hadn’t been sleeping well for the last week. Not through lack of trying. Nope, it had more to do with a dark-haired, brown-eyed man invading her dreams.
The song on the radio switched over and her mind started to drift back to a bar in Vegas just last week.
“I’ll have another one,” Amber said, holding her beer glass up to the bartender. The first day of the convention was done and she was just relaxing at a local bar, then she was going to turn in for the night.
The minute her drink was placed in front of her, she felt a presence at her back and swiveled on her bar stool.
He was tall and thin, handsome even with his short brown hair and light brown piercing eyes. They were almost golden, if she looked long enough.
“I’m Zach Monroe,” he said, reaching his hand out to hers.
“Amber,” she said back, placing her hand in his. He had a nice firm grip. She liked that about a man.
“No last name?” he asked.
She debated and then said, “Dustin.” Better safe than sorry.
He had a nice smooth tone to his voice. “Mind if I join you?”
“The seat is empty,” she said, nodding her head toward the bar stool to her right.
So he sat next to her and they chatted for an hour about the people in the bar. He was funny, with a personality similar to her own. Not everyone appreciated her warped sense of humor, but this stranger not only got her, but enjoyed bantering with her, too.
When the band changed directions and started to play ballads, he pulled her off her stool and onto the dance floor.
She’d fit so nicely in his arms. He wasn’t as tall as she first thought, maybe six foot, but since she was on the tall side for a woman, they fit really well together.
“I’m going to be awfully disappointed if you end up being a high-end call girl,” he whispered in her ear as he held her close, their hips swaying to the music.
She leaned her head back, her lips quirking. “I’m trying not to get insulted that you just said that.”
“I said high end,” he reminded her.
“And you said you’d be disappointed, too. Maybe I’m an undercover officer just waiting to nab some pervert paying for sex.”
He laughed, and the sound sent shockwaves crashing in her belly then traveling up to her chest. “It’s Vegas.”
“Point taken. How about I tell you I’m here for a medical convention?”
“Are you a doctor?” he asked, his eyes looking straight into hers. She could lose herself in him, she could feel it.
“No. Physician assistant.”
“So, just shy of a doctor,” he said, his hand roaming down her back and causing tingles to erupt everywhere.
She was surprised he knew that. Most people didn’t and often felt a physician assistant was below a nurse. “How do you know that?”
“My best friend’s sister is a PA, too. Spent a boatload of years in school and for the life of me I couldn’t understand why she didn’t just continue on.”
“It’s not for everyone,” Amber said. A lot of people said the same to her. “What about you, Zach? Are you from this area just trying to pick up some tourist in a bar for the night?”
“Would you be surprised to hear I’m here for a medical convention, too? Probably the same one you are.”
“Are you a doctor?” she asked, surprised. He seemed confident and cocky, but not enough to be a doctor in her eyes.
He laughed lightly. “Hardly. How about I impress you by saying I’m the Chief Operating Officer for a software firm.”
“Ah, one of those Silicon Valley…people…trying to sell their software.”
“You wanted to say nerd, didn’t you?” he asked quietly in her ear again.
Pushing away the shivers, she said, “Of course, but I caught myself.”
“Good catch. But no, not Silicon Valley.”
“You seem awfully young to have such a big title. Were you one of those people who had a start-up in your parents’ garage?”
“College dorm,” he corrected. “And my best friend—old college roommate—is the brains behind the software.”
“And your job?” she asked.
“My job is to bring in the talent, run the operation, sell the product, and get the job done so that he can continue to be the brains behind the software.”
She could see that. He had a smooth way about him. He’d gotten her on the dance floor when normally she’d just walk away from a stranger in another city. Wild child or not, her momma didn’t raise a fool. The smooth ones were the ones you had to watch the closest.
“So I guess we’re at the same convention, though you are on the other side of the building from me.”
“I am. If it weren’t for our chance meeting here, I might not have seen you.”
She was right, he was a smooth one. “Maybe it’s our lucky night.”
“Is this lucky night going to end here on the dance floor?” he asked.
“And if it did?” she asked back, wondering what his reaction would be. It’d been longer than she cared to admit since she’d had a draw toward a man. Nothing like this. Nothing this strong and this fast before. And nothing this fierce.
“Then I’d suggest we meet here again tomorrow night, same time, same drinks, and hopefully some better music.”
So he wasn’t pressuring her. The angel on her shoulder had always been tainted, so the devil had no problem saying, “We could do that, along with continuing this night, if you’d like.”
“I would,” he said, his lips moving over her neck. “Your hotel or mine?”
“Yours,” she said. Since she’d lied about her last name, she wasn’t about to show him where she was staying.
“Then let’s see where the night goes,” he said, taking her hand and leading her off the dance floor.
“Amber!” Max yelled her name. She turned her head to see Max standing in the doorway staring at her intently. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, why?” she asked, feeling the heat creep up her neck. She’d been so lost in her memories that she had no clue how long he’d been standing there.
“You’re just staring at the wall in a daze. Why don’t you go home and get some sleep. I came in to say I was leaving, too.”
She shook her head and smiled. “I’m almost done. I’ll lock up soon. Go home and get some action from your wife before she boots you out of bed for knocking her up.”
Max laughed, used to her saying those things. “You’re a piece of work. Have a good night,” he said, then walked out.
Once she knew he was gone, she typed Zach Monroe into a search bar to see what she could find. Unfortunately, there were too many results and she had no clue where he was from, so she couldn’t narrow it down.
They’d spent three wonderful nights together and yet they never exchanged phone numbers. She didn’t realize it until she’d snuck out on Friday morning and left the convention a day early.
What they had those three nights scared her silly. Enough that she ran for the first time in her life. But now that she was home again, she was wishing she didn’t, only she had no way to find him.
It was probably for the best. She’d bet she was nothing more than a fling to him, which was why she never told him her real name. As smooth as he was, she was sure he had a lot of “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” experiences. She didn’t need complications like that in her life anymore.