At First Sight
By Ruth Roberts
It was a beautiful morning in downtown Los Angeles. The sun was shining, the streets were full of people rushing to get to work and cars coming and going. The crisp morning air still held the sweet scent of the ocean breeze. Sean didn’t notice any of that as he strode quickly and purposefully down the street, holding his cell phone to his ear. He was completely focused on one thing, to negotiate the biggest merger in the history of Farrell Telecommunications. If he could pull this off Farrell would be the largest telecommunications company in the nation and it would be a great boon for him as the youngest CEO Farrell had ever had.
“Jimmy, are you sure everything is set up and ready to go?”
Jimmy, Sean’s new assistant was extremely competent, but Sean didn’t think anyone could do a job as well as he could, no matter how competent they were.
“Yes boss. Everything is ready. I’ve double checked it myself.”
“Okay. I’m right down the street. I’ll be there in five minutes.”
He snapped his phone shut as he turned the corner and his chest collided with a petite blonde woman who let out a startled scream. Instinctively Sean’s arm went around her waist to keep her from falling. Between them Sean felt a liquid heat seep through the layers of his clothing, warming his skin. Her long blond hair brushed his hand and he couldn’t help but notice that she smelled wonderful.
“Oh my! I am so sorry,” she said.
Now that she had recovered her balance she took a step back and began to dab wildly at the front of his suit with a napkin, the liquid heat he felt was her coffee which they were both now wearing down the front of their dark suits.
“It’s okay. It was entirely my fault, I’m the one who should be apologizing.”
He grabbed her hand to stop her attempt to clean his suit.
Miranda felt the electricity of his touch and her heart seemed to jump to the hand he held. When she looked up at him her heart lurched. He had smoky gray eyes and black hair, he reminded her of a panther. Strong, lean and powerful. For a moment she couldn’t hear nor see the sounds and people passing by them. She couldn’t believe this strong reaction she was having to him, it almost frightened her. The strong scent of coffee and the feeling that her clothing was sticking to her skin made her drag her gaze away from his and look down at her own suit. “Oh know!” she said, noticing the coffee soaking her suit. “I’m late and look at me! I really have to go. I’m so sorry about this.” How could she approach the board looking like this? Although she wished she could stay and get this incredibly handsome stranger’s name, she knew she couldn’t because she had to get to her appointment, it was imperative that she get the grant for the foundation. Yet, her attraction to him was overwhelming, compelling her to stay.
Sean didn’t want to let her go. The moment he looked into her beautiful lavender eyes he felt something for her. A feeling deep down in his chest that left him feeling winded. He had never seen anyone so exquisitely beautiful, her eyes reminded him of a magnificent purple sunset he had seen only once in his lifetime but had never forgotten. He knew he had to get to that meeting but he felt that he couldn’t let her walk out of his life. “Wait.” He reached out and grabbed her hand. Looking around he spotted what he was looking for. “Come on, let’s go.”
“Where are we going?” she asked before following him.
She couldn’t believe she was considering going anywhere with a complete stranger but his magnetism was so powerful she couldn’t resist the pull.
“There is a woman’s boutique across the street. You obviously have somewhere important to be and you don’t want to show up looking like this. Since it was my fault the least I can do is replace the suit I’ve ruined.”
Miranda followed him, the only reason was her need to change into some clean clothes. Yeah right, it was more than that, there was something about him that made her feel instantly alive, and she wasn’t easily affected by a handsome face. A man needed to have depth of feeling and strong moral’s to get her attention, she had no idea if there was anything more to this man than a handsome face, so why did she feel a pull to him.
“That isn’t necessary,” she said. There was no way she would allow a strange man buy her a suit.
He ignored her comment and instead laced his fingers with hers and continued on. They stepped into a small elegant boutique. Miranda knew she couldn’t afford anything in here, but it was an emergency.
The proprietress approached them immediately. “May I help you?”
“Yes. The young lady has had a mishap and needs to be outfitted as quickly as possible.”
The proprietress let her gaze fall on Miranda. “Of course. If you’ll follow me we will see what we can do.”
Miranda was reluctant to leave the gray eyed stranger who had her heart soaring out of control. As she followed the proprietress she turned to see if he was still there. Her heart skipped a beat when she saw the look on his face, it mirrored the feelings churning inside her. “I’ll be right back,” she said, before she could stop herself.
“I’ll be here.”
After she disappeared behind the curtain Sean checked his watch and realized he was now fifteen minutes late. He pulled out his phone and called his assistant. He sounded hysterical when he answered. “Sean, where are you? Everyone is waiting!”
“I had a small accident and I’ll be a few minutes late. Stall them, make my apologies and tell them I will be there as soon as possible.”
“An accident? Are you okay?”
“I’m fine. Buy them breakfast. I should be there within a half-hour.” Sean didn’t want to hear anymore of Jimmy’s hysterics so he hung up. If he was as competent as he claimed he would be able to handle the situation until Sean arrived. At the moment he had something more fascinating occupying his thoughts. What it was about this girl that had him mesmerized? There was a connection between them, which was odd since they had barely spoken to each other. This was an entirely new feeling, he had to find out if there was anything to it.
Miranda decided on the first suit she tried on. A lavender chenille, two-piece suit that fit her like a glove and matched her eyes. She had never worn anything that felt so good against her skin. Would notice how great the skirt and matching shoes made her legs look? Shaking her head and rolling her eyes at her absurd spurt of vanity she walked out of the dressing room praying he was still there. The moment she stepped out she felt his presence rather than saw him. There he was, his back to her standing at the boutique window looking out, his hands in his pockets, the fabric of his jacket straining over broad shoulders.
He must have sensed her presence because he turned and looked at her before she spoke. His gaze moved over her body slowly, boldly. When his eyes reached hers her heart leapt nervously at the look of approval she saw and had to hold back a giggle.
“How do I look?” she asked him playfully doing a pirouette for him.
“Lovely.” His voice had turned husky, even to his own ears. Time seemed to stand still as they looked at each other. There was that connection again, like a lightning bolt connecting with the earth.
The proprietress startled them both when she spoke. “Will that go on the company account Mr. Hayward?”
They both answered at the same time. Miranda rushed forward reaching in her purse for her wallet. “You really don’t have to do that. It was as much my fault, maybe even more since it was my coffee.”
Sean took the credit card she handed to the proprietress and dropped it back into her purse.
“The company account will be fine,” he said, leaving no room for argument. He spoke without taking his smiling eyes off Miranda’s.
“Shall we go?” He took her hand again, lacing his fingers with hers. The contact sent a quiver through her, she hoped he didn’t feel it.
When they stepped out into the bright sunshine he turned to her, “Sean Hayward,” he said.
They both thought that it was strange introducing themselves when it felt as though they’d known each other a lifetime.
“Now we need to get you to that appointment you were on your way to when I ran you over.” His gaze was as soft as a caress.
Miranda reluctantly took her eyes from his to check her watch. “I’m already fifteen minutes late, they may not see me anymore, but it’s worth a try. I’m going to Farrell Telecommunications.”
“Are you applying for a job?” Sean’s eyes, so tender a moment before, now looked sharp.
Laughingly she replied, “No, I have one of those. The literacy foundation where I volunteer is applying for a grant from Farrell. I’m meeting with their charity board.”
Sean nodded his head. “I see. I’m sure they’ll see you. Let’s go.” There it was again, that air of confidence. It drew her to him.
Sean fell in step beside her but he was no longer holding her hand and she missed the contact with him. Ridiculous
“What makes you so sure they’ll see me?”
“I work at Farrell.”
Miranda got that playful look in her eyes he had seen when she did a pirouette for him. “Well then it’s a good thing you insisted on paying for the suit. If all else fails and I get turned down today I can always sell it and pay for enough reading supplies to teach fifty people how to read, all compliments of Farrell Telecommunications.”
Sean threw his head back and laughed. She was a unique woman. A breath of fresh air compared to all the women he knew. The women of his acquaintance would never consider parting with an original Armani suit to help teach illiterate adults to read. He had to know more about her.
Teasingly he asked, “So if trying to wheedle money out of Fortune 500 companies is not your day job what do you do?”
“I’m a schoolteacher. Fifth-grade math.”
Sean couldn’t remember any of his teachers looking like her. He surely would not have forgotten how the sun shimmered on golden hair like hers, or hips that sway like hers, or the way her skin seemed to glow.
“A teacher.” He sounded disbelieving.
“Yes, a teacher. What do you do at Farrell?”
“A little bit of everything.” His answer was evasive.
Miranda figured he didn’t want to admit that he was an entry-level employee, which surprised her because since the moment she met him she noticed he had an aura of power about him. It fascinated her. If she had to guess she would have said he was an upper-level executive.
“Well, let’s hope your little bit of everything is enough to get me into that meeting.” Her jaunty sideways smile made his pulse quicken.
“Here we are.” He opened the large glass door for her.
In the elevator ride up they were both aware of the electrifying attraction building between them. Sean abruptly pressed a button to stop the elevator. He paced the length of the elevator twice, running his hand through his jet black hair, his long graceful strides once again reminding her of a panther. He stopped in front of her. “Do you feel it Miranda? This thing building between us? It’s strong. And it may be nothing more than pure desire or it may be something more, something deeper. I don’t know but I’d like to find out.”
When Miranda didn’t respond immediately he cursed himself for opening up like that, what had possessed him to do so? He turned around to start the elevator when Miranda’s voice stopped him.
“I feel it too,” she said it so quietly he almost didn’t hear her.
Sean looked at her and he couldn’t believe she looked shy. She raised apprehensive eyes to his. “I’m not very good at this Sean. The whole flirting, dating thing. I haven’t had much practice.”
Looking at her sultry lavender eyes and pouty lower lip he found that hard to believe, she was seducing him just by looking at him.
“Really? You’re doing a very good job of that flirting thing right now,” he said softly.
He wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her close to him. His other hand ran through her hair, it really did feel as silky as it looked. Bringing a handful up to his face he closed his eyes and breathed in her sweet scent. He opened his eyes. Slowly and seductively his gaze slid to her lips.
Miranda’s senses were vibrantly alive. He was going to kiss her. Her heart was throbbing in her ears. His lips slowly descended to meet hers. As if some force were pulling her to him she raised herself up on her tiptoes to meet his kiss. The moment their lips met they were both stunned at the feelings racing through them. How could two people who just met fit so perfectly? She was startled at the way she responded to him, she felt this was the most potent, incredible and meaningful kiss she had ever experienced. Her senses were spinning yet she knew that at this moment her life had taken a turn towards happiness and nothing would ever be the same again.
Sean had never held such a sweet creature in his arms. Her response thrilled him. It was mildly innocent yet passionate and warm. He had never known such complete and utter peace. It was as though all the pieces of his chaotic and crazy life had fallen into place like the pieces of a puzzle fitting together to make something beautiful, and this kiss they were sharing was the most beautiful experience of his life. Miranda was a dream he never wanted to let go of. He wanted to know everything about her, wanted to give her everything in his power, beginning with his heart and his name. With that warm thought drifting through his head he lifted his mouth from hers, resting his jaw on her head until their breathing evened out.
“Wow. That is some connection we have,” he said as he leaned back to look at her. His gaze searched her face. What he saw in her eyes made his heart slam against his ribs, he had hoped but never dreamed this would happen. Her eyes were brimming with the same unidentified emotion coursing through him.
He gazed deeply into her eyes that a few moments ago were lavender but were now a deep shade of violet, they were the most beautiful eyes he had ever seen. “You’re going to think I’m crazy but when I looked in your eyes right now my first thought was, I love you. I don’t even believe in love, much less love at first sight.” Tracing his finger down her cheek he continued, “but I think I could love you Miranda Collier.”
This was insane, he could be a serial killer for all she knew. So why did her mouth open and say, “I think I love you too.” What was it about his man that made her feel so strongly, so quickly. She should be terrified of the way e made her feel somehow it felt right, complete. She rested her cheek on his chest. Sean held her to him, one hand at the small of her back the other cupping her head. They both felt this was the most poignant moment of their lives.
Two strangers, rushing down a city street, collided straight into love. Lasting love. True love.
By Ruth Roberts
Rebecca had been looking for a way to meet her new neighbor. He was gorgeous, and as far as she could tell, single. A rainstorm that knocked out the power was her chance. After two days the rain finally stopped and she went up to her roof to inspect the damage.
“How did your roof fare with all the wind and rain?”
Rebecca was climbing down the ladder when she heard a deep male voice. Looking down she found herself captivated by emerald green eyes. Her heart fluttered. It was him, he looked even better close up.
Hoping her voice came out steady she said, “It looks okay but I’m still calling my insurance adjuster to be sure. How’s yours?” She jumped from the third step.
“I’m not as brave as you. I’ll wait to see if my ceiling starts leaking.” She laughed. He jokingly added, smiling. “You could offer to check it, save me from putting buckets all over my house.”
She liked his smile, it reached his eyes. “I recommend you get those buckets,” she bantered back.
“Since you won’t help me with my roof maybe you could help me with my fridge. It was full of food and with the power still out I thought I’d grill everything and have a few neighbors over. Want to come?”
Yes! “Sure, what are neighbors for. I’ll even bring my own bucket.”
“Very funny. Is six ok?”
“Sure is. I’ll be there.”
“My name is Randy by the way.”
“See you at six Rebecca,” he said as he winked.
She rang his doorbell promptly at six. The house seemed to glow from inside and laughter floated out to her. He opened the door dressed in black slacks and a black sweater. “Hey Rebecca, I’m glad you could make it. Come on in.”
There were dozens of candles lighted throughout the house, which explained the glow. “Thanks for inviting me.” Rebecca suddenly felt shy as she removed her coat and handed it to him. She caught his quick appraising look, from her long, blond hair down to her red, high heeled shoes. His eyes held a look of approval when they met hers, making her happy she’d worn her little black dress, despite the cold weather. “I couldn’t find a bucket so I brought this instead.” She held out a bottle of red wine.
“It’ll be perfect with dinner. Come meet everyone.”
She followed him into the living room. White leather sofas, black accent tables and splashes of red, it was exactly what she would expect from a bachelor. The guests included an elderly couple from across the street. She greeted them first, then made her way around the room to all the others. After two days of being cooped up inside, good food and conversation flowed for several hours.
When the last couple was leaving Rebecca figured she should go also. Reluctantly she reached for her coat. “I’d better go. It’s late.”
He looked at his watch and raised his brow. “It’s ten-o-clock. Do you have to be up at four a.m.?”
“On a weekend? Heavens no! My eyes won’t see daylight until ten.”
“So stay,” he said, pouring them both more wine. He set the bottle down and opened his arms. “Dance with me.”
She hesitated. “There’s no music.”
He picked up a remote, pressed a button and soft music began playing.
“I thought the power was out,” she said, as she stepped into his arms.
“It was until two hours ago. I liked the candlelight better so I didn’t say anything.”
He smelled incredible without cologne, his scent was pure male. They danced in comfortable silence awhile.
“Do you play cards?” he asked when the song ended.
“I can play poker but not very well,” she said, as innocently as she could.
“I’m sure you’re no good at all.” He joked as he pulled out a poker set. “And there’s no chance I’ll lose.” He sat, rolled up his sleeves and proceeded to deal the cards.
She took her seat across from him. “Not a chance,” she said.
Three hours later, after Rebecca had won every hand, they laughed hilariously taking turns dealing each other outrageous hands. “If I’d known you were a cheat I’d have invited you to Vegas instead,” he said.
Her eyes danced with laughter. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve never cheated in my life.”
He raised his brows and held up a royal flush. “Really, how do you explain this?”
She met his gaze, unashamed. “Lucky hand?”
He shook his head and reached for her hand. “You’re beautiful Rebecca.” He softly kissed her palm.
The gleam in his eyes told her it was time she left. “It really is late now, I’d better go.”
He stood behind her, helping her with her coat. “I had a great time,” he said.
She smiled shyly. “Dinner was delicious.”
“When can I see you again?” He lifted her hand to his lips and kissed it again.
“I’m planning on going to the zoo tomorrow.”
“What time shall I pick you up?”
“Perfect.” He pressed a kiss to her forehead before she left.
Rebecca felt warm inside as she walked home in the snow. Tomorrow just might be the first day of her future.
by Ruth Roberts
Jennifer rushed around the kitchen, tasting this, stirring that. They had a large lunch crowd today due to the writer’s conference at the hotel across the street. To make matters worse the babysitter had called in sick, so she’d had to bring Katie to work with her. Trying to run a kitchen with a baby on your hip was nearly impossible. To top that off the produce man had forgotten her strawberries for today’s dessert special so she spent the morning making chocolate ganache. She’d scream if one more thing went wrong.
“Jen, a customer is insisting on speaking to you.”
Handing Katie off to her head waiter Craig, she ran to her office to put on the black blazer she kept there. She kicked off her white Nike’s and slipped into some black patent leather pumps. “Why? Is something wrong with the food?” she asked as she pulled her long blond hair out of the bun she kept it in while cooking. A dash of lip gloss and she was in professional mode, ready to soothe the most dissatisfied customer with her smile.
“He refused to say.”
“What’s he having?”
“The Monte Cristo.”
She frowned. She had made those herself. There couldn’t possibly be anything wrong with it. “Which one is he?”
“Table four. Gentleman in the blue shirt.”
With her head high, shoulders back she approached the table calmly. “I’m Jennifer Wyatt. What can I do for you?” she asked with a smile.
The first thing she noticed when he looked up were startling blue eyes set in a handsome face, a lock of black hair falling on his forehead.
“Ms. Wyatt. I felt this was something for your eyes only. This wasn’t quite what I ordered.” He lifted the corner of his sandwich to reveal a pink baby teether. “A secret ingredient perhaps?” Amusement laced his voice.
Jennifer closed her eyes in embarrassment. She’d noticed it was missing but assumed Katie had dropped it and it had rolled under something.
“I’m so sorry. Let me get you another one right away.” She reached for his plate. “It’s on the house. Please order anything you want from our dessert menu. I can assure you nothing like this has ever happened before at the Stanford.”
Still smiling he leaned back in his chair looking relaxed and friendly, not mad or upset as he had every right to be. “What I’d like to know is how it got there. I’m sure it’s a fascinating story.”
“I could explain but you wouldn’t believe me. I’ll be back with your food.”
As she walked away she heard the other man at his table ask. “You going to tell me what was in the sandwich?”
Jennifer dropped the teether in the sink and the sandwich in the trash. She looked up to see Craig watching her, brow raised. This was humiliating and disastrous. Never in her entire career had she made a mistake like this. If she wasn’t the boss she would be fired.
“Not a word.” She turned to the stove. “Get me a bottle of Vietti from the cellar and put it in a gift box.”
She slid the sandwich onto the plate just as Craig emerged with the wine. Taking a deep breath she walked into the dining room. He was sitting alone. She panicked wondering if she’d made him late. Laying the plate on the table she said. “I hope this is more to your liking Mr……?”
“Blade. Jake Blade.”
“Mr. Blade. I see the rest of your party left, would you like me to box it for you?”
“Clay had an appointment but I have nowhere I need to be anytime soon. Have a seat.” He gestured to the chair opposite him.
Considering what he had found in his food she figured having the chef sit with him while he ate was a reasonable request.
She laid the wine on the table. “Please accept this with our compliments and apologies Mr. Blade.”
He pulled the bottle out of the bag . “Vietti 1995. Very nice. I will accept it on one condition.”
She raised a brow questioningly.
“Share it with me over dinner tonight.”
Thankfully her sister and brother-in-law would be picking up Katie today. “I’d like that.” She smiled warmly. Katie chose that moment to let out a loud wail. “Excuse me. I need to take care of something.”
A flustered Craig emerged from the kitchen with a wailing Katie. “I don’t know what to do!”
Jennifer took her niece in her arms and she instantly quieted.
“The owner of the toy I assume.” She turned to find Jake standing right behind her. He playfully reached for Katie’s hand, she grabbed his finger tightly.
“My niece Katie. I’ve been watching her while my sister was out of town and today the babysitter called in sick. I had no choice but to bring her with me. Unfortunately, she doesn’t work on a schedule.”
“Will she be joining us tonight?”
Jen laughed. “No. Her parents will be home today.”
“A pity, having dinner with two beautiful females is every man’s dream. Is seven ok for you?”
“Sure. Pick me up here?”
“Not a problem. See you at seven.”
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