It was the job of a lifetime…
When Bella Grant was offered the opportunity to create her own television travel show, she jumped at the chance. Turns out, she’s being paired with a partner in crime, a jaded former news photographer who will be her co-producer.
A consumate professional, Bella is prepared to work to make the best program anyone has ever seen. She can ignore the attraction she feels for her new partner, Luke McGillicutty. Right?
Here’s a little snippet from LUKE & BELLA.
As the cab drove from the airport and through town, Bella felt giddy, not at all like the sleek sophisticate she hoped to show to the world. It wasn’t as if she hadn’t traveled before. God knew, Nathan Epperson Grant, II, made sure he took his family to all the prestigious vacation spots—skiing at St. Moritz, Christmas in Paris, summers in the Caribbean… Couldn’t let the guys at the club outshine him. Her father had always had something of an inferiority complex. It only served to make her respect him less.
But this was different. She’d never been to Scotland before. More than that, though, was the idea that this was her job. She was about to create something new. Well, she and Luke. She glanced over at him.
He was looking out the window on his side of the car. A tuft of salt and pepper chest hair peeked out of his shirt where it was unbuttoned at the top. Bella felt a hitch in her chest, thinking to herself, Those twenty-something girls who want their guys all hairless are crazy. A woman wants a man, not a boy. Chest hair is sexy as hell.
As she shook her head slightly at the thought, she felt her nipples stiffen of their own volition. She tried to casually put her jacket back on before he noticed. Luke looked at her and she smiled. He winked, and her breath caught again.
The car stopped in front of the Balmoral Hotel, a large gray stone Victorian building resembling a castle, with a perfect view of Edinburgh Castle which was visible just beyond the hotel. They entered the hotel lobby, allowing the driver and doorman to arrange for their bags. Bella approached the front desk confidently.
“Reservations for Grant and McGillicutty,” she said to the clerk.
“Yes, Ms Grant, we have you in the Royal Suite,” he replied.
“Perfect. And how about Mr. McGillicutty?” she inquired.
“Yes, ma’am, you’re in the Royal Suite,” came the reply.
Bella frowned slightly. “Which of us is in the suite?” she asked.
The clerk pointed to his computer screen. “Ms Grant, Mr. McGillicutty, Royal Suite for the next four nights.”
“I’m sorry, maybe I’m jetlagged, but are you saying that we are sharing the suite?” Bella asked, her voice rising a notch. Luke watched with interest.
“Of course, Ms Grant. It’s a lovely suite, our very best,” the clerk assured her.
“I’m sure it is, thank you. I’m assuming the suite has two bedrooms?” she asked, regaining reasonability.
“One large bedroom, one bath. Of course there are the sitting area with a fireplace and a terrace with a view of the castle,” the man continued.
“Only one bedroom? That’s completely unacceptable. I’ll take a different room.” Looking to Luke, “You can have the suite, I don’t care, but obviously we need two rooms.”
“I’m sorry, ma’am, but the hotel is completely booked. The Royal Suite is the only available room.”
Bella blinked, shaking her head. “Completely unacceptable,” she repeated. To Luke, “I’m calling Charlie,” and she moved away from the desk.
“Sir, the suite comes with a complimentary couple’s massage,” the clerk informed Luke, helpfully.
Luke grinned and chuckled to himself. “Hey Bella, good news, the room comes with a complimentary couple’s massage!” From across the lobby, she covered the phone with her hand and shot him a death glare. He laughed again, enjoying the show.
A groggy voice answered the phone. “Um…hello?”
“Charlie, it’s Bella. We just got to Edinburgh and we have an issue,” she rapid-fired into the phone.
She had his attention. “What’s the problem?” he asked, concerned.
“Well, we’re ready to check in to the hotel and there’s a snag. Your office only reserved one room. Which wouldn’t be a problem, we could just get a second room, but they’re apparently booked solid and they don’t have any other rooms,” she finished breathlessly.
Silence. “Hello? Are you there?”
“Are you telling me that you woke me up for this?!” Charlie asked. “Seriously Bella?”
“I’m sorry to wake you, I forgot about the time,” she apologized, “but Charlie, really, this is unacceptable.”
“Knock it off and grow the fuck up, Bella. This is traveling for a living. Deal with it. Things happen,” he responded.
“But, Charlie,” she began, but he cut her off.
“Is this a deal-breaker, Bella? Are you saying you want out?” Charlie demanded grumpily.
Caught off guard, her eyes widened. “No, of course not, it’s just…Ok, Charlie, I’m sorry, I’ll deal with it,” she answered. “But next time, I’m making the reservations myself.”
“Fine, whatever,” he said before hanging up on her.
Bella sheepishly approached the front desk again. “Ok, well, I guess we’re in the Royal Suite, then. Thank you.”
Luke grinned and said nothing.LUKE & BELLA by Pandora Spocks