when we met. | l/locker room. #atozchallenge

when we met. l/locker room.

Our prank war had admittedly gotten out of control, but neither Nathan nor I had any intention of giving up.

Earlier that day, in the middle of history class, I reached into my backpack for a pen. I felt something strange inside. I grabbed it nervously and pulled it out. In my hand was a rather large fake spider, which at that moment, I didn’t realize was fake. I screamed and dropped it. It was humiliating. I gave Nathan the death stare as he laughed his ass off. He was a dead man.

That afternoon, I slipped out of French class early. With the help of my favorite teacher, who had the best sense of humor of any teacher I’d ever had, I filled a bunch of balloons with water. We stacked them up inside Nathan’s locker, carefully propping them up just right so they would fall the moment he opened the door.

When the final bell rang, I hid down the hall peeking from around the corner to watch the balloons fall. As Nathan got drenched, I couldn’t hold in my laughter which was bad because Nathan spotted me immediately. He wasn’t pleased. What he was, was wet. Sadly, one of the balloons didn’t pop, so Nathan had ammunition. He grabbed it and came after me.

I ran down the hall, weaving between students trying to leave for the day. I kept looking back over my shoulder to see if I was safe. I wasn’t and I needed to hide. Approaching the gym, I grabbed the door to the locker room and slipped inside. I leaned back against the inside of the door, panting, trying to catch my breath. I closed my eyes and rested my hand on my chest.

When I heard a noise, I knew it wasn’t Nathan because I was still leaning against the closed door. I opened my eyes. No. Definitely not Nathan. And this was definitely not the girls’ locker room. Fuck.

I found myself staring at a perfectly sculpted nude male. Holden Matthews. Smart. Gorgeous. Irresistible. I swallowed hard. I should focus on his face, not his… naughty bits. Not his abs. Not even his arms. No. His face. But that proved difficult.

“Hello there,” he said. His voice tore me out of my trance, and I finally looked at his face. His beautiful smiling face.

“I’m so sorry. I was being chased. We play these pranks and… water balloons… and I had to hide and I wasn’t thinking and I’m so sorry.” I was rambling, speaking at an unnatural speed.

“Hey,” he said, coming closer. Holy crap. He needs to cover up before I pass out. “Relax, sweetheart.” He rested a hand on my arm. “Do you need me to hide you?”

“I… um… I don’t know. It might be safe now. I don’t know.” I was rambling again, and that only made him smile more. “Do you want to… um… cover up?” My eyes involuntarily turned down, much to his amusement.

“Do you want me to cover up?”

“Fuck.” I mumbled under my breath. “I’m supposed to say yes, right?”

“Not necessarily, Amanda.” Again he smiled.

“You know my name?”

“Of course I do. You’re the hot girl in my physics class.”

“What?” Holy shit. The hot girl? “Did Holden Matthews just call me hot?”

“He did.” He smiled again. And I smiled back.

I don’t know what happened to me then. But something did because suddenly, my hands were grabbing his face and pulling his mouth to mine. For a moment, he was shocked, but then his hands sank into my hair, and he kissed me back with more magic than I ever thought possible.

When our mouths parted, I found the sexiest smile on his face. I couldn’t stop my eyes from dropping once more. And I was faced with irrefutable evidence that our kiss was as good for him as it was for me.


p.s. — You’re going to have to imagine the towel not being there (if you are so inclined). 

Hot guy: French model Corentin Huard (He is 26 years old—not a teenager. Just so you know.) 

©2022 what sandra thinks

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when we met. | k/kindergarten. #atozchallenge

when we met. k/kindergarten.

“It’s going to be okay, sweetheart,” Cassidy’s mom said as she walked her to class on her first day of kindergarten. Cassidy was scared, but her mom held her hand even once they reached the classroom.

Cassidy thought the room looked like it might be fun. She saw a corner with a rug and pillows and lots of books. And she saw crayons on every desk. Still, she didn’t want to let go of her mom’s hand.

Just as Cassidy’s mom was going to say goodbye, a boy walked up to Cassidy and smiled.

“Hi! I’m Duncan. What’s your name?”

Cassidy was shy, but she quietly replied. “Cassidy.”

“Do you want to be my friend?” Duncan asked. Unlike Cassidy, he was not shy.

“Okay,” Cassidy said, looking up at her mom to make sure it was okay.

Her mom smiled. “Go ahead, Cassidy. Go with Duncan. I’ll see you right after school.”

“Okay, Mom. Bye.” Suddenly kindergarten didn’t seem so bad anymore. As soon as Cassidy’s mom left, Duncan took her hand and pulled her with him.

“Come sit with me, Cassidy.”

And she sat with him. And talked to him and colored with him and looked at books with him.

At the end of the day, when it was time to go home, Duncan ran over to his mom. Cassidy turned away to find her mom waiting right behind her. But before Cassidy said anything to her mom, she felt someone tap her on her shoulder. She turned around and found Duncan and his mom.

“Mom,” Duncan said, “this is Cassidy. She’s my best friend.”

With a smile, Duncan’s mom said hello to Cassidy. Cassidy said hello, too. As Duncan’s mom introduced herself to Cassidy’s mom, Duncan looked at Cassidy. “Am I your best friend, too?”

“Yes,” Cassidy said, smiling to him.

“Okay. Good.” Duncan hugged her.

And that was the day Cassidy met the love of her life.


p.s. — Cassidy and Duncan many years later…

Hot guy: model Simone Bredariol (Do you see a pattern emerging here? I love this man.)
Woman with hot guy: unknown lucky bitch
Kids: unknown stock photo

©2022 what sandra thinks

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when we met. | j/junk mail. #atozchallenge

when we met. j/junk mail.

I felt a little guilty. I was supposed to meet the girls for a drink, but I was not in the mood. I wanted a hot bath, a sexy book, and glass of wine.

On my way up to my apartment, I stopped to get my mail. As I flipped through the pile of mostly junk mail, I felt someone near me. Maybe too near me. Ever hear of personal space? I turned around ready to actually ask that question aloud, but when I saw the man standing in front of me, I couldn’t speak at all.

This was not like me. I didn’t get flustered. I was never speechless. Until now, I guess.

“Hi,” the impossibly handsome man said.

I cleared my throat. “Hello.” I didn’t move and neither did he. He was so close I could feel the heat radiating off his body. And what a body it was. Yes, of course he was dressed, but I could tell. Underneath that extremely well-fitting suit was a body I’d love to touch.

“Could I…?” He gestured to his mailbox behind me, which I was blocking.

“Oh. I’m sorry.” I took a step back, but not a big one.

“Thanks.” He turned to get his mail, but I could see his smile.

“You must be new.”

“Yeah,” he turned back to me. “I’m in 3B.”

“You’re right across the hall from me. I’m in 3C.”

“So you’ll be seeing a lot of me.”

I’d like to see a lot of him. “I hope so, 3B.” I gave him my most inviting smile.

“Grayson,” he said, smiling back.


We were silent as we walked up the stairs to our floor, but the tension was screaming at me. When I reached my door, I dug out my key and turned it in the lock. I glanced back over my shoulder.

“Nice to meet you, Grayson.”

“See you soon, Harper.”

I closed my apartment door behind me and leaned against it. I couldn’t stop smiling. With a sigh, I dropped my bag and pulled off my shoes. I went into the bedroom and undressed. Wrapped in my soft white robe, I went to the kitchen for some wine. But before I could pour myself a glass, I heard a knock on my door.

I opened it to find Grayson standing there, jacket off, tie loosened, sleeves pushed up. Jesus. His arms. His fuck-me eyes. His… everything.

“Grayson. What can I do for you?”

“Could I borrow…” He paused and his gaze fell to my feet and slowly rose to my eyes. “A cup of sugar?”

He didn’t need sugar.

I stepped aside and opened the door a bit wider. “Of course. Come in.”


p.s. — I tried *so hard* to find a picture of “jacket off, tie loosened, sleeves pushed up,” but it I couldn’t. I won’t even share how many hours I spent looking.

Hot guy: model unknown (I did extensive research but could not identify this man)
!!!Update: Found him. model Jannick Wilke (I hope this is right.)

©2022 what sandra thinks

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when we met. | i/inheritance. #atozchallenge

when we met. i/inheritance.

I knew something was wrong when I didn’t see Henry at the coffee shop. He came in every day, and I always took my break as soon as he showed up. We spent the whole time together talking. He was the most charming man I’d ever met.

I’d never seen Henry outside the coffee shop, but I had given him my number just in case he ever needed anything. He was eighty-six years old, and he lived alone. I worried about him. He always assured me that his grandson checked up on him, but I wanted him to be able to reach me anyway.

Not seeing him for a week scared me. But I had no way to contact him. He was just… Henry. I didn’t even know his last name. I tried not to dwell on it, but I found myself looking up at the shop door every time I heard the bell signaling that someone had come in. But it was never Henry.

I was lost in my thoughts, trying to stop myself from thinking the worst, when my ringing phone startled me. I usually wouldn’t answer a call from an unknown number, but with Henry’s disappearance, I took the call.

“Is this Riley Evans?”

“Yes,” I said nervously.

“My name is Jonathan Foster. I’m calling on behalf of the estate of Henry King.”

I took a moment to register what he was saying. Estate? Oh no. I said nothing.

“Ms. Evans?”

“Yes. Sorry. I’m here.”

“Mr. King passed away on Wednesday. He died peacefully in his sleep.”

“Oh God.” Tears immediately welled up in my eyes.

“I assume you didn’t know? I’m so sorry.”

“Thank you.”

“I will need you to come to my office tomorrow afternoon to go over the terms of your inheritance.”

“My what?” I was crying and confused.

“Were you not aware that you are named in Mr. King’s will?”

“What? No. I didn’t even know his last name. He was just Henry to me.” What is happening?

“I will explain everything tomorrow.”

• • •

“Who the hell is Riley Evans, Jonathan?”

“I don’t know, Declan. Henry left a letter that I’m not to open until she arrives.”

“I’m going to fight this. Gramps and I worked all of this out a long time ago. His assets were all to be transferred to me. I don’t know what this woman did to get into his will, but I won’t let this happen.”

“Calm down. Let’s just wait until Ms. Evans arrives and…”

As if on cue, an impossibly beautiful woman walked into Jonathan’s office. But she didn’t stride in with confidence or any sense of entitlement. Instead, she appeared shy and sad. Was this an act?

“Ms. Evans?” Jonathan said, standing. I stood as well. I might be angry, but I had manners.

“Yes,” she said. “Please, call me Riley.” She shook his hand. I offered mine and introduced myself.

“Declan King.”

“You’re his grandson,” she said, shaking my hand. “I’m so sorry for your loss. Henry talked about you often. He adored you.”

She barely got the words out before her eyes welled up. If she was acting, she was very good at it.

Jonathan offered her a seat in the chair next to me. She sat, and I returned to my chair beside her.

Her eyes were on her lap, but mine were on her. As Jonathan began speaking, she looked at him, but barely. I discretely watched her the entire time Jonathan read Gramps’ letter.

I’m writing this letter for Riley Evans in the event of my death.

My dear Riley,
At the time of this writing, we’ve known each other for over a year. I remember the day I met you at the café. I didn’t know then that you would become so dear to me.

I saw you behind the counter every day, always with a warm, welcoming smile on your pretty face. You spent your breaks with me, every day, listening to me, talking to me, and making me smile. You have been a light in my life. The world today is filled with selfish, cruel people, but you gave me hope and restored my faith in humanity.

I saw tears falling from Riley’s eyes. She wiped them away with her fingers, but they kept coming. I began to feel guilty for thinking the worst of her.

It broke my heart when you told me how you lost your mother. And it broke my heart that you struggled to keep your family together after she was gone. I wanted to help you. And I offered to help you. But you always refused. I think you may have assumed I didn’t have the means to help you. After all, I never told you my last name. To you, I wasn’t the billionaire founder of King Enterprises. I was just Henry. But you can’t refuse my help now.

Opening your heart to a stranger is not something many would do. You are family to me. You’ve shown me kindness, consideration, support, and love. And I want to do the same for you. (I’m positive that right now you think that I already have, but I want to do more.)

Riley shook her head and let out a little laugh through her tears.

For you, my dear, I leave the sum of ten million dollars. I also leave you my second home at 435 Ocean Drive. And finally, I leave you a ten percent share in King Enterprises.

I turned to Riley when I heard her gasp. She had covered her mouth with her hand and was visibly shaking. Before I realized what I was doing, I had reached over to her and covered her free hand with my own. She turned to me with a mix of gratitude and shock.

I wish you a beautiful, happy life filled with the same kindness and love you share with others.

With love,

• • •

I could barely breathe. Ten million dollars. A house. Shares in a multi-billion dollar company. To say I was shocked would be a gross understatement.

“I can’t believe this.” My words were quiet mumbles, nearly whispers. With a hand on my forehead, I shook my head.

“Riley?” Declan said.

I turned to him, only then noticing that his hand still covered one of mine.

“Are you alright?” he asked.

“I had no idea. I didn’t know.” My words suddenly fell from me in a flood. “I only found out he was gone yesterday. I was worried. He didn’t come for coffee. I had no way to contact him. No last name, no number. Nothing. I just… I can’t believe he’s gone.” I took a deep breath. “I don’t know if I can accept all of this from him. It’s too much. It should be yours.”

“No,” Declan said, giving my hand a squeeze. “It should be yours.”


p.s. — Maybe I need to get a job in a coffee shop. 

Hot guy: model Simone Bredariol (the love of my life)

©2022 what sandra thinks

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when we met. | h/hockey. #atozchallenge

when we met. h/hockey.

Chloe finished tying Sophia’s ice skates and stood up in front of her.

“Are you ready?” Chloe asked her.

“I’m ready, Aunt Chloe!” Chloe took Sophia’s hand and helped her to the ice.

“Remember, Soph, we have to stay on this side of the pond.”

“I know. Because we have to stay away from the boys.”

Chloe laughed. “We have to stay away from the hockey boys. But not all boys.”

“Daddy says I’m too young for boys.”

“Of course he does.” Chloe shook her head, having no trouble imagining her brother saying that to her niece.

“Those don’t look like boys,” Sophia said as they started skating. “They’re men. Like, your age.”

“I guess they are.” Chloe looked at the men playing hockey. Yeah. Definitely men.

After skating for a while, Sophia asked for hot chocolate. Of course Chloe agreed. She rarely said no to her niece. As they skated toward the edge of the pond, a hockey puck flew over from the other side. Chloe didn’t see it coming, and when it smacked into her skate, she lost her balance and fell.

“Are you okay, Aunt Chloe?” Sophia looked worried.

“I’m okay, sweetheart.” Chloe reassured her.

Before Chloe could get herself up, one of the hockey men arrived at her side. She looked up at him.

“I am so sorry,” he said. “Are you alright?”

Chloe nodded. But she struggled to speak because this particular hockey man was breathtaking.

“Let me help you.” He dropped his hockey stick and reached for her. She took his hands and he pulled her up. A little wobbly on her feet when she stood, she fell toward him, her body crashing into his. He released her hands and wrapped his arms around her to steady her.

Chloe looked up into his eyes and felt the blush on her cheeks. “Thank you.” She finally managed to speak.

Now he was speechless. Their eyes locked and they both froze—until Sophia grew impatient.

“Aunt Chloe, are we getting hot chocolate now or are you going to kiss that man?”

If Chloe hadn’t already been blushing, she certainly was after that. “Oh my god,” she mumbled, her eyes dropping.

“Chloe,” the man said, causing her to look back at his face. “Let me buy you hot chocolate.” He peeked at Sophia. ”Both of you.”

“You don’t have to do that,” Chloe said.

“But I think I do.” He smiled as he reluctantly let her go.

“I guess that would be okay.”

“Yay!” Sophia said, taking Chloe’s hand. “Hey mister,” she said looking at the man skating off the ice with them, “what’s your name?”

He looked down to Sophia. “Zach. What’s your name, princess?”

“I’m Sophia. I’m too young for boys. But Aunt Chloe isn’t.”

He laughed. “Good to know.”


p.s. — A picture of a hot hockey player outside on a lake? Really *really* hard to find. So here’s a bonus hot guy. You’re welcome… it’s my pleasure. 

Maybe this is later… after Chloe returned Sophia to her brother. God, look at that face.

Hot guy the first: some random dude
Hot guy the second: model Simone Bredariol (with whom I am in love)

©2022 what sandra thinks

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when we met. | g/glove. #atozchallenge

when we met. g/glove.

Late again. I couldn’t believe I was late for work again yesterday. I am so going to get fired. I tried. I really did. The bus was running late. I ran once I got off, but there were so many people on the sidewalk. I was weaving around them as fast as I could, but it was hopeless.

Today I was going to be on time if it killed me. I hated that my boss thought I was flighty. That’s what he called me. Flighty. Well, today I wasn’t going to be flighty. I was thirty minutes early.

I grabbed my coat and my scarf and my… glove. One glove. Damn. I pawed through my closet, but I couldn’t find the other one. I remembered pulling my gloves off as I reached the office yesterday. That must have been when I lost one of them. I gave up looking and shoved the single glove into my coat pocket.

• • •

Yesterday a stunning woman ran past me on the sidewalk. Much to the displeasure of others around me, I stopped and turned to watch her. When I noticed a glove she’d dropped, I picked it up, giving myself a perfectly legitimate reason to follow her. But before I could reach her, she disappeared into a huge office building at the end of the block. I hurried after her, even entering the building. But by the time I got inside, she was gone. I had no way to find her—not in a thirty story building.

Today I made my way to her building earlier than I’d seen her yesterday. I leaned against the brick wall near the entrance and looked in the direction she’d come from when I found her glove. I had already decided that I’d come back every day until I saw her again. But I didn’t have to.

This time, when she approached her office, she wasn’t in a hurry. And she wasn’t wearing gloves. I couldn’t help smiling. When she was near, I pushed off the wall and took a step in her direction.

“Excuse me?” I said.

She turned to me, and I froze for a moment. Warm light brown hair falling in waves on her shoulders, eyes sparkling blue, and an inquisitive but captivating smile—beautiful.


I reached into my pocket and pulled out her glove. “You dropped this yesterday.”

She looked at her glove in my hand and then back into my eyes. “And you came back here today to return it?” She was clearly surprised.

“Of course.” When I smiled, she smiled back. So pretty.

She took her glove from my hand, barely taking her eyes off mine. “Let me buy you a cup of coffee to say thank you.”

“That’s not necessary,” I said, although I definitely wanted more time with her.

“I insist.” She extended a hand to me. “I’m Hayley.”

“Donovan.” I took her hand for a moment—a moment that wasn’t long enough.

• • •

I can’t believe he brought my glove to me. I had to thank him properly. But most of the ways I wanted to thank him were entirely inappropriate. I settled for offering him coffee.

I might be late for work again, but I couldn’t bring myself to care.


p.s. — This was one of the letters that I struggled with, but I’m happy with what I settled on. Just for fun, here’s a list of g-words I considered: graduation, girlfriend, gallery, glass, goat (no fucking idea where I was going with this one), gardener (still might want to develop this one), guitar, graveyard, gym, gift, glove.

Hot guy: model Justice Joslin

©2022 what sandra thinks

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when we met. | f/fire. #atozchallenge

when we met. f/fire.

“911. What’s your emergency?”

“There’s a fire. In my kitchen. It’s not a big fire, but there’s a fire. I tried to put it out, but I couldn’t.” I was talking too fast. But I suppose 911 operators were used to that. Panicked callers. Like me.

“I’m sending help now. Are you inside the house?” she asked.

“Yes. But it’s okay. I’m not near the fire.”

“You need to go outside.”

“I can’t! I can’t find my cat! I can’t leave him!”

“Miss, the fire department will be there in just a minute. Please go outside.”

I was in tears, Spike, I hope you’re okay. As I stepped out onto the porch, I heard sirens. I sat on the bottom step and watched as the flashing lights came closer. When the truck stopped in front of my house, I stood. Two firemen rushed toward me. With their helmets and face shields and me trying to see through my watering eyes, I could barely make out their faces. One of them went inside. The other rested his hands on my shoulders.

“I need you to move away from the house.”

He sounded so calm. I did not. “My cat is inside. I couldn’t find him.” I wiped a tear that had fallen onto my cheek.

“I will find him. Don’t worry.” He disappeared into my home. How were his words so comforting? His deep, smooth voice helped me stop panicking. It actually distracted me for a moment, leaving me wondering who that fireman was under his helmet and jacket.

Moments later, the other fireman emerged. “Fire’s out. It was confined to one side of the kitchen. You’ll need some work in there, but the house is safe.”

“Thank you.” I was still frazzled when he walked away.

Spike. I stepped up to the porch, but before I reached the door, my calm, comforting fireman appeared, holding Spike in his arms. I rushed over and took Spike from him.

“He’s fine,” he said.

I took my eyes off my cat and looked up at his rescuer. “Thank you,” I grabbed him in a half-hug while I held Spike in my other arm. He wrapped an arm around me, half-hugging me back.

When we separated, he pulled off his helmet and ran a hand through his hair. And I got my first real look at him. My breath caught. Not only because of how incredibly sexy he was, but because of the way he was looking at me. I melted a little. And I couldn’t take my eyes off his. I was finally about to speak when one of the other guys yelled from the truck.

“You coming, Beckett?”

He turned to the truck. “Yeah…” But he didn’t leave. Once his eyes were back on mine, he smiled and rested a hand on my shoulder. “Are you gonna be okay?”

I nodded.

He started to go, but after a few steps, he turned back to me. “Would it be okay for me to come by and check on you?”

I smiled and nodded again. “Yeah. That would be nice.”


p.s. — Yeah, I totally stole that firefighter from Chicago Fire. When I searched for “sexy firefighter” you cannot imagine the images that came up. Or maybe you can. *None* of them were wearing shirts, and while that was pleasant and all (for me), it didn’t work for the story. I even found a shirtless firefighter holding a cat! But still… not quite right.

Hot guy: actor Taylor Kinney

©2022 what sandra thinks

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when we met. | e/elevator. #atozchallenge

when we met. e/elevator.

I hate elevators.

It was all I could think as I stood there, staring at my shoes, waiting for it to arrive. I would have taken the stairs, but my interview was on the thirty-fourth floor. And my beautiful new heels were not meant for stair climbing. Especially not thirty-four flights.

When the elevator doors opened, I sighed and stepped inside along with several others. Too many others. I didn’t like elevators when I was alone, but I liked them even less when they were crowded. I could feel the panic beginning to build.

Twelfth floor.

A couple of people left the elevator. I let out a little sigh. Good.

Eighteenth floor.

Three more people got off. Just as I let out a breath, feeling the panic subside a touch, someone new got on. Someone tall. And gorgeous. And… Fuck! I’m staring. The moment I realized my gaze lingered too long, I tried to look away, but then I caught the sexiest little smirk on his face. His perfect face with perfect stubble and perfect lips and a perfect angular jaw. I wanted to reach out and touch him.

Fuck! I’m still staring.

I smiled, thoroughly embarrassed, and turned my eyes down. He took another step closer to me and turned to face the elevator doors. I could feel the heat radiating off him. And I could smell him. Musky and masculine and… Oh God. I need to focus. I have an interview, for fuck’s sake.

Twenty-sixth floor.

The last four people left the elevator. The last four except for me. And Mr. Tall and Sexy.

I could feel my knees shaking. I was nervous for my interview, but that was not the reason for my trembling. It was him. I took a deep breath as subtly as I could and looked up at the numbers changing as the elevator ascended. But out of the corner of my eye, I could see that his eyes were on me.

Oh God. Is my hair okay? Is my skirt too short?

Suddenly, I was too aware of my every move. I didn’t know what to do with my hands. I let them hang at my sides. Then I clasped them together in front of me. Then I reached up and tucked a strand of hair behind my ear. (It fell again immediately after.) I was overwhelmed by my anxiety over the interview, the elevator, and the beautiful man beside me. This was not good.

And then it got worse.

The elevator came to a stop with a sudden jolt. It was so jarring that I nearly stumbled, but Mr. Perfect reached for me and held me by my upper arms, steadying me. His touch ignited something in me. And I felt anything but steady. I took a few deep breaths trying to stave off a full-blown panic attack.

When he released me, I started hitting buttons, willing the elevator doors to open.

“Oh God.” I whispered. That’s when I felt it. His hand took mine from the buttons and held it.

“Hey, it’s okay.” He spoke softly. His voice was deep and comforting. It felt like velvet.

“I’m sorry.” My voice was a little shaky. “I don’t do well in elevators.”

“Look at me.”

It took me a minute, but I finally turned to him and looked at his face, my eyes meeting his. “Hi.”

He smiled. I think he was holding back a laugh. “Hi. I’m Nick.”

“Stella.” I looked down and realized he was still holding my hand. And I knew he could feel mine trembling in his.

“I’m going to make a call to get us out of here, okay?”

I nodded, but when he started to let go of my hand, I clutched his like it was the only thing keeping me standing.

“Nick?” The panic was taking its toll. “I think I might pass out.”

He let go of my hand and wrapped both of his around my waist. “I won’t let you fall.”

God, he has nice hands. And he smells so good. Not the time, Stella!

Nick cautiously lowered me until we were both sitting, leaning against the elevator wall. I took a few calming breaths, but with Nick’s eyes on me, they weren’t so calming.

“How do you feel now? Better?”

“Yeah.” I closed my eyes and covered my face with my hands. “God, this is so embarrassing.”

“Stella.” He took my hands away from my face. I stared at him, awaiting his next words. “No need to be embarrassed.” He smiled at me. “I like that you’re flustered, though. It’s fucking adorable.”

Oh God.

At that moment, the elevator started moving and promptly stopped again. It was jarring and it completely freaked me out. Without a thought, I grabbed onto his arm. He covered my hand with his and kept it there.

“I think I need to distract you. Why don’t you tell me about yourself?”

I took a deep breath—again—and tried to remember something about myself. Anything. “I…” He made me so nervous. “I have a cat that likes to eat donuts.”

Oh my God. That’s what I thought of? Kill me.

Nick laughed. “Fucking adorable,” he mumbled. “This doesn’t seem to be helping you relax, though.” He smiled again. “I have another idea to distract you.”

“What is it? Please… anything.”


He took my face in his hands, and I nodded.

And then he kissed me.


p.s. — When we finally reached the thirty-fourth floor, I walked out of the elevator and Nick followed. I approached the desk and smiled to the receptionist. “I’m Stella Layne. Here for an interview with Nicholas Hunter.” The moment his name fell from me, I made the connection. Nicholas. Nick. Oh fuck.

Hot guy: model unknown (but I’d be happy to work on him… I mean *for* him)

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