Baltimorean Reagan Kelly was expecting an uneventful weekend in New York City visiting her sister between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Though in the holiday spirit, the last thing she thought she’d find on a cold, wintery night was a chance at romance.
Two days in New York City for business and a chance to see his best friend was all Crime Novelist, Keith Jackson had time for, or so he thought. He soon found time to extend his stay when the chance of a lifetime to spend four incredible days with the most beautiful woman he’d ever encountered landed at his feet.
An unforgettable weekend is one thing, but can that weekend turn into a lifetime of unconditional love for Reagan and Keith, two self-professed workaholics, who didn’t have a reason to slow down and smell the roses until now?
Read an excerpt below and then get your copy on January 24, 2021
Reagan Kelly rushed through BWI Marshall Airport in hopes that she would be able to escape an encounter with the last person on earth she wanted to see; her ex-boyfriend, Collin Evers, a man she once thought she’d one day share a last name with. The fact that he dumped her on the night of an important celebration of a career accomplishment in her life hadn’t just embarrassed her when she thought she would be getting an engagement ring, but disappointed her when she discovered the reality was that he saw her more as a competitor than as a lifelong mate.
The heels of her Goldy Tall leather boots in Cognac, the closest to her favorite color, burnt orange, clicked loudly as she moved swiftly. The click, clack noise sounded like bombs dropping in her ears as the evidence of her rushing echoed all around her. People stared in her direction as if her movement bothered them. She saw faces leering at her with looks of wonder as to why she was moving expeditiously since she wasn’t heading to catch a flight, but heading out of the airport. She ignored them and without caring what anyone thought, she kept it moving.
Seeing Collin after five years was a shock to her system and she could only hope that though she’d seen him as clear as day as she hurried to pick up her luggage, that he hadn’t seen her, allowing her time to escape facing him as the mortifying events of their last encounter played in her head. She could still hear him telling her that he wanted a woman who would be happy just being his wife, taking care of his home and raising their children and not a woman as ambitious and definitely not more ambitious in the business world than him. His words were an insult to everything she’d worked hard for and still, even the thought of the conversation cut through her like a knife.
She was happy the moment she reached the luggage belt just as bags in all shapes and colors started careening down, falling in all directions. Pulling the faux-fur collar of her full-length leather coat, which matched the color of boots, up around her face as much as possible, she tapped the sole of one of her boots nervously on the epoxy floors of the airport terminal, trying to mentally persuade her luggage to fall quicker to allow for a dignified retreat. What was Collin doing back in Baltimore? Was he coming or going? She didn’t know and she didn’t care. She kept her mind on the prize, which was getting to her car in the long-term parking lot.
Excitement zipped through her when she saw her red and black single piece of luggage fall to the baggage carousel. Pulling her favorite Louis Vuitton Monogrammed Canvas purse close to her side, she moved quickly to the belt and just as she was about to grab the handle, another hand reached for it and lifted it for her and out of her reach.
“Let me, Reagan Kelly. It is still Reagan Kelly, right?”
She cringed. She knew that voice and without thinking about what she was doing, she inhaled deeply, knowing she would get a whiff of his favorite cologne, Aventus by Creed. The moment the aroma tickled her nostrils, their entire relationship flashed through her mind and she shivered, not out of desire, but out of disenchantment.
The fact that he had to stress the point that he knew she hadn’t married by now was disconcerting on so many levels, but she stood tall, turned to him and smiled. The minute her eyes landed on his handsome face and the chiseled features she remembered so well that all women found magnetic, she wished she’d never looked his way.
“Yes, it’s still Reagan Kelly. How are you Collin?”
“I’m married with two beautiful children. Did you hear that I’m married to the former Miss Texas?” he exclaimed with more excitement than was needed for the conversation.
Reagan shook off the extra information he provided without her asking, but she played along. She was feeling quite petty today.
“Oh, she wasn’t a high achiever, not reaching Miss America status or did you finally meet a woman who would give up her dreams just so that she could be called Mrs. Evers?”
Not realizing until after she’d spoken, Reagan noticed that each word felt like she had spit them out in disgust.
“Still hating I see.”
His smirk made her want to slap him, but she didn’t – he never was and still isn’t worth it.
When she tried to get her bag from his hands, she huffed when he started walking toward the exit as if he was using his mind to summon her to follow. She didn’t have a choice; he still had her bag.
“I can carry my bag from here. Thanks for picking it up for me.”
“No problem. I take it you’re coming from some business trip for the bank, Miss Senior Vice President. Yes, I heard about the promotion and I guess congratulations are in order. You got what you wanted, but it’s easy when your father owns the bank where you work.”
Reagan turned her head and looked up at him as they stepped outside into the cold November air. Every ounce of will power was in use as she resisted the desire to remind him that her achievement, no matter how she got it, still outweighed any he has made. Just as he’d kept track of her life, she was well aware of his and she knew he needed to still keep hope alive that he’d reach her level one day.
“I worked hard for it,” she proudly boasted.
“I’m sure you did. Still no time for fun, huh? I saw your sister and some of your friends earlier this month when I was flying into BWI for a meeting outside of Washington, D.C. I understand they were going on a girl’s trip and when I asked her about you, why was I not surprised that you weren’t with them, instead, choosing to be off on a business trip? Same old Reagan, huh? You still can’t figure out how to have fun? All business and no play?”
Reagan formed her mouth with another petty comment about how she loved her life, but she didn’t. She didn’t need to explain anything to a man who led her to believe that they had a future together, only to toss her aside when she got the job that he was sidling up to her for two years, thinking he would get instead.
Exhaling, she found herself rising above and this time reaching for her luggage, she was able to get it from him and turned to walk away.
“Never a pleasure, Collin,” she yelled over her shoulder as she walked away from him.
“Enjoy your, no fun at all having, next business trip, single boss lady; or not!”
His parting words unnerved her, but she wouldn’t dare let him see it on her face.
Ignoring him, she headed for her car and home to get a shower to wash off their encounter. Why did he have to remind her of how her life consisted of work, work, work and not much else? She didn’t even have to tell him that was the case; he already knew.