Walk with you (with you.., p.1
Walk With You (With You #1),
Walk With You
by Anna Heal
Copyright © 2016 Anna Heal
All rights reserved.
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Table of Contents
About the author
A quick teaser from Forever With You
This. This can't be happening.
I knew I felt that familiar warm fluttering feeling in my stomach and I ignored it.
I would face palm myself if it wouldn't make me look absolutely crazy in front of all these people I'm pretending to know.
I can do this.
Or I could just send myself sprawling across the floor and hide underneath one of the beautifully laid out dining tables until the charity gala is over. No, no I can do this.
He doesn't look that good, does he?
Yup, sure does!
I really have tried to forget about him. It doesn’t help when you’ve dreamt of the person almost every night for a few months.
So what if I've googled him over and over to see what he's been up to… with her.
I'm. So. Screwed.
As much as I've tried to convince myself in the last 6 months that that night meant nothing, that he has a girlfriend forgetting him has been the bane of my existence. I've felt like such a lovesick ass, that after I told my closest friends about that night a few months ago, I've avoided the subject ever since. I don't think my best friend Ella is convinced. She sucks like that, always knowing what I'm thinking before I realize I'm thinking it. She's too perceptive when it comes to my useless love life but damn I love that girl.
Now here he is, charming the panties off all of the women in the room and making the men think twice about their nonexistent gym memberships.
My stomach does another flip when I see a small hand in his bent elbow and then another being placed on his broad chest. Her melodic laugh sounding like nails on a chalkboard to my ears. That's her. The reason I cut that night off. The reason I ran with my tail between my legs even before I knew the truth. The reason we could never be.
6 months ago
“Seriously Ella, I'm going to be fine. It'll be good for me to do something other than work for a change." I sighed into the phone, knowing that my best friend is just worried about me being in the big city all by myself. I feel like all I've done lately is wake up, go to work, come home and sleep. Maybe even eat, if I can remind myself. I love my job, but working as a nurse in the NICCU at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles is definitely not boring or laid back.
They've sent myself and a few of my coworkers to New York City for a week for long conference on the further development of our Critical Care unit. So, technically I'm not completely alone. However, with our free time tonight and tomorrow I've decided to indulge in my usual solitary tendencies and venture out alone to see the sites.
"I'm not worried; I just want you to have fun in a safe way." Ella has been my best friend since we were 12 years old. She knows me better than I know myself. Which is annoying but I can't say that it hasn't worked in my favor a time or two in the past. She, along with my roommate Shannon and her boyfriend Jon, are the closest thing I've ever had to family. They hate it when I travel for work but it gives me a chance for complete anonymity in a new place to just relax and be free. Perk of an otherwise sometimes stressful career choice.
"I promise I will phone you tonight when I get back and text you a couple of times tomorrow so you know I'm not dead in a ditch somewhere." I laugh in her silence because I know the look she's giving me through the phone.
"Don't joke like that Izzy!"
There are only three people in this world that can call me Izzy, to everyone else I'm Isabelle and that's the way it'll stay unless someone wants to feel my wrath.
"Okay, okay, I'm sorry. Listen, I'm not going to go super far. Tonight I promised to have a drink with my coworkers then tomorrow I'm going to do a bit of sightseeing. It'll be fun and I'll be careful, Ellebell."
I knew I had her smiling with that one so all I got in response was "Love you, Izz! Text me tomorrow!"
"Love you too!"
I put my phone down on the hotel coffee table and go to the bathroom mirror to fix my makeup for the night.
Quick drink, then I'm coming back here and putting on the plushest robe I've ever felt, throwing on a mud mask and going to sleep to rest up for my day tomorrow.
True to my word, one drink later and I've had enough. Not that I'm a downer or anything but my fellow nurse and manwhore extraordinaire Mike has already bagged and tagged two different women and I'm pretty much over the giggles and sucking noises coming from the opposite side of the table. With quick goodbyes and ducking motions to get away from Mikes slimy hands I make my way back to my room and begin my relaxing night as a hermit. Tomorrow is going to be my day to get lost and maybe find myself all at the same time.
One thing you can count on in New York is you'll never be bored. Central Park, Empire State, Times Square, I saw it all and I know it isn't anywhere near enough to begin to understand the ins and outs of the city that never sleeps. The hustle and bustle is completely different to that of L.A.’s but I'm definitely smitten with this city already. The other different thing is the heat, thank god I put on a casual navy short sleeve sun dress today or I'd be one of the puddles the taxis frequently drive through. Choosing my black flats over my Saint Laurent nude pumps also earns me a pat on the back, even though I wrestled with wearing them just because they cost me a small fortune. Wearing them at every occasion is my way of telling myself that the purchase was justified.
Coming back to the hotel I drop off my pile of crap which I'll have to convince myself was needed later and the touristy souvenirs I got for Ella, Shan, and Jon. I decided to go back out for some food after the sun went down and when the cooler air sets in. I wanted to enjoy more of the city but most of all I was getting hungry and that needed to be resolved. Pizza needed to happen and now. Armed with just a Wristlet and enough money for food and maybe a taxi ride I make my way through the front doors of the hotel. I'm momentarily stopped by the immense number of people still walking around on the sidewalks, this city really just never quits. I'm starting to love it here.
After walking for what seems like an entire afternoon, I'm completely entranced by the traffics, people, buildings, and random things New York has to offer. I feel like those tourists who wear the fishing hats and sunglasses with cameras around their necks, taking pictures of every single building and interesting thing they can. Except I'm not wearing a hat nor did I bring a camera because apparently it needed to stay on my kitchen table. I didn't realize I'd left it until Sha
I decided to stop and ask a local (I assumed he was local by his accent and passionate hand gestures when he talked) where to go for pizza. Three people stopped and simultaneously said "Di Fara" so guess where I'm going! I hop in cab, a little nervous from hearing stories about how New York cab drivers drive, and tell him my destination. Just like that he knows, no need for a direction or address. Damnit New York, you're making it really easy to love you right now.
Pulling up to the curb I hand the driver who didn't kill me or drive us into oncoming traffic, some cash. A warm fluttering feeling happens in my stomach. Apparently I'm hungrier than I thought. I attempt to gracefully hop out of the taxi and by gracefully hop, I mean fall in the most unladylike way I could have possibly imagined.
Except I don't hit the ground.
I love that moment when you're in a relationship and you're so comfortable with each other that you could hold each other for hours and just be. This isn't that moment.
Stepping out of the taxi instead on hitting warm concrete like I thought was going to happen, I hit a wall of warm strong chest. Two arms corded in muscle wrap around me to keep my face from hitting the ground. Realizing I've been caught mid fall I pull back and stare at said chest covered by a dark grey t-shirt. Up even further, catching dark stubble across a strong jaw, full lips with quite possibly the whitest teeth I've ever seen in my life, a straight nose and two blue eyes shaded by a dark blue baseball cap.
It's the only word I can think of at this moment. Thank god I don't mutter it to myself to make this embarrassing moment just that much worse. "Hi!" A deep soothing voice comes out of those full lips I've been staring at and I finally realize that the gorgeous face is talking to me and I should probably switch where the blood supply is flowing and turn my brain back on to say something intelligent. "Hi!"
Noticing he's still holding me, I begin to peel myself away and instantly notice the lack of warmth and comfort. I regret my decision immediately.
"Thank you, for catching me. I didn't mean to be such a spaz and fall on you."
"No problem, it happens. Not that I have beautiful girls fall on me every day. Not that you're beautiful, I mean you're beautiful but…"
Did he just call me beautiful?
I would break out in a happy dance but let's not get carried away right now.
"Are you okay?" He asks rubbing the back of his neck. Strong biceps peeking out from his t-shirt momentarily make me feel like my IQ has dropped 50 points.
Now, I am not a girl who gets speechless around guys. I've dated before, had two previous boyfriends both for a few years a piece. I've been hit on more than I can count. Mostly when I'm out with Ella because she looks like a real life Scarlett Johansson except her legs go on for days, attached to a body that belongs to a Victoria Secret model.
But that's not the point.
I can usually keep my cool pretty well but right now this guy is making me feel like a goddamn fan girl.
"Fine, really." I say, trying not to blush.
"You going to Di Fara? Should I watch you go so you don't run into anyone else?" Smug bastard.
"No thanks, I think I can manage not to mow anyone else down on my way."
All I need is to locate my Wristlet which I probably dropped during my extremely elegant fall. Crap, where is it?
Did he pick it up?
I look up to find him looking at me like I've lost my mind not my money. Great, he's just getting all the best sides of me tonight isn't he?
"I think I must've dropped the wallet I was holding." I explain to him. Looking towards the ground he lets me know,
"I didn't see one when you stepped out of the cab."
That can only mean one thing. It's still in the back of the taxi that's long gone now.
Crap, crap, crap.
That means I have no money for a ride home, and worst of all no money for my pizza craving. Well I'm just rounding out this night quite well if I do say so myself.
"Oh god, I left my money in the back of the taxi! Do you think I can call the taxi company and see if they could come back?"
"You're not from New York are you?" He says while looking like he’s holding back a smile.
Is he laughing at me?
"No, I'm not, but thanks for the help." I snap back at him crossing my arms.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to laugh. Seriously though, that really sucks is there anything I can do?" At least that sounded a little more sincere.
"No I left my cell phone at the hotel because I didn't think I would come out this far and now I'm seriously regretting it." Especially now that it's getting dark out and I have no idea which direction my hotel is even in.
"Where are you staying?" he asks.
I reply before I can stop myself, “The Marriott Marquis.”
"Here, let me buy you a cab ride back." He reaches into one of his pockets in his jeans as I scope out how they fit him in all the right places and pulls out a black wallet.
"Uuum no, absolutely not! There is no way I'm just going to take some strangers money. I'll just walk back."
"That's like a 3-hour walk! You're not walking alone, at night, in a city you don't even know!" Geez, he sounds like Ella. Let's face it though if he knew me, he'd know my stubborn ass won't listen anyway.
"Thanks for the advice but I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself. Besides, I'll get to see the city up close and personal."
His face flashes with a look I can't quite place and I realize he looks a little familiar to me, like we've met before.
"Have we met?" Pulling his hat down, a slow blush creeps across his cheeks while he looks almost anxious.
"No, don't think so. I guess I just have that face."
Leaving it alone because I don't want to creep him out I reply with, "Thanks again for catching me earlier, I guess this is goodbye."
I really don't want it to be but if he's right and it’s that much of a walk I better get moving. Mentally fist pumping myself again for picking the flats over the pumps. Before I can even fully turn around he blurts out, "I could walk you."
"I meant what I said about you walking alone and if you won't take the money to get a cab then I'm coming with you."
"No really, it's fine. I can go alone you really don't have to."
Not taking no for an answer he takes a step closer to me and says, "I'm coming with you, and that's final. If you don't want me to well, then I'll just walk behind you the whole way and hope to god I don't get arrested for looking like a total creep. Is that what you want? Me to get arrested after I saved you?" Flashing the cutest half smile at me, I'm pretty sure my panties just disintegrated. At this point he could do whatever the hell he wanted.
What is wrong with me?
"Fine, but if you turn out to be a murdering psychopath I'll come back and haunt your ass!" A beautiful triumphant smile spreads across his face and again I'm hit with the feeling we've met before. If only I knew who he was, maybe I would've avoided the evening right from the start.
Completely abandoning my poor pizza craving, we begin the long walk back to my hotel. I can't help but sideways glance at the glorious being beside me. Trying not to blush like a nervous wreck I try for small talk hoping my shaky voice doesn't give me away. "So you live in New York?"
"No, L.A. actually! I'm here for work." What a coincidence.
"Me too." He stares at me like I'm one of those girls who likes the same music as each person they date.
"No seriously, I'm here on business from L.A. too."
Raising his eyebrow at me he asks, "Really, what do you do?" "I'm a nurse at children's hospital there. We're here to talk about developing some of our units so that when new technology comes in we are r
"I know!" I say with a wink, and he bursts into a laugh that I melt into. I'm about to ask what he does for a living too when he cuts me off with, "So you here all by yourself? No family? Friends? Boyfriend?"
Ah, the old fishing for information trick. Better keep him on his toes then.
"No I left my boyfriend back in the hotel room. Had to tie him up in order to go out by myself for the day." Trying desperately hard not to laugh, his face falls and a small scowl crosses his face. It's unbelievably adorable and again I find myself pondering why he seems so familiar to me. Still pouting, I decide I should let him off the hook. "I'm kidding, nobody is tied up in my room, my friends are back in L.A. Man, you should've seen your face!" I burst into laughter and watch as I see a big smile as he shakes his head at me, mixed with another unknown emotion. Relief?
"You like to think you're funny don't you?"
Why yes I do, random handsome guy who's walking me back to my hotel. Wait why is he walking me all the way? Is he expecting something? "This isn't some scenario where you walk me back and now you think I owe you, do you?" Looking genuinely insulted he stops walking and stares down at me. I really hadn't noticed just how tall he is until now. Of course I'm a short ass and can barely see over people in the seat in front of me at theaters so in my reality everyone is taller than me.
"No, why would you say that?"
Uh oh, dig yourself out of the hole Isabelle and dig fast.
"I'm sorry, I was only joking. Bad joke apparently. See not always funny, even though I think so." Looking up, I flash my best I'm-adorable-please-don't-be-mad-at-me smile and he seems to relax.
He starts walking again and I follow his step even though his longs legs make me walk a lot faster than I normally would on my own. We fall into a comfortable silence while I look around the busy streets. I start to notice just how many people, mainly woman, are staring at my escort for the day. Apparently he notices too and pulls his hat down lower so his eyes are now in complete shadow. I'm not sure why he's still wearing it considering the sun has gone down, but if I was wearing a hat I'd have hat hair so maybe he's just as vain as I am and that's what he's trying to avoid. He has to know how good looking he is, I mean how could you not with that face, that body, those arms… Focus Isabelle!
Walk With You (With You #1) by Anna Heal / Romance & Love have rating 3.4 out of 5 / Based on17 votes