It must be a stroke. Or a heart attack. Because it can’t be love at first sight.
One brief moment in a crowded hotel lobby is all it takes. A stranger’s gaze meeting Björn’s is a lightning strike, a game changer, bad for his heart and his sanity. And when the stranger, Lucky, starts flirting with him, he’s in real trouble.
Björn erected walls around his heart a long time ago, but Lucky is passionate and determined. Will Lucky’s sunshine be able to thaw the ice in Björn’s heart? Will meeting Lucky give Björn the fairytale happily ever after he never knew he wanted?
“Why did your brother call you that? Lucky bastard?”
He moves out his right leg from underneath the table into my field of vision. “Because twelve years ago today, I was in an accident. I rode with my boyfriend on his bike. I know, I know, we were stupid, it was too early in the season, and he hit a spot of black ice and crashed. He barely got a scratch, it was a miracle really, but I broke my leg --” he slides his palm over the still-shaking thigh, “-- my arm, a bunch of ribs ... and my neck. I wasn’t supposed to survive, but my siblings say I live to prove people wrong, and breaking my neck was no different. But my leg still aches if I walk too much. Or if it’s cold outside.”
His neck? He broke his goddamned neck?
Without taking my eyes off his thigh, I swallow a substantial gulp of wine from the new glass, then rub my face with a shaky hand before I let it fall to the table. After a deep breath, I meet his gaze. “Did you just say you broke your neck, or am I having red wine-induced auditory hallucinations?”
He laughs. “No hallucinations.”
“How can you laugh at such a thing?”
“Because when people tell you you’re gonna die, and then you don’t, you carpe the fuck out of the diem.”
“I don’t think I’ve carped a diem in my whole life.”
“Then it’s time to start.”
“How do you suggest I do that?”
He grins. “You allow me to flirt with you. Live a little. I’ve never seen anyone as tightly buttoned up as you. I want to ruffle your feathers.”
“My feathers are unrufflable.”
That makes him snort. “Are you sure about that?” He looks pointedly at my still trembling hand.
I lift it and look at it, ticking off the symptoms in my head. Unsteady hands, a racing heart, warmth spreading in my stomach, blurting whatever comes to mind. It must be a stroke. It can’t be anything else. “I’m positive,” I croak, convincing nobody.
“What’s your name?” His voice is deep. Smooth. Giving me goosebumps.
“B-Björn.” Now I’m stuttering, too?
“Hello, Björn. It’s very nice to meet you.” He holds out his hand and I don’t hesitate to take it.
It’s not a handshake, not really. It’s two people desperate for an excuse to touch each other ... or at least that’s what I think he’s doing. Me, I just need to hold on to someone in case I pass out from this Lucky-induced stroke I’m having.
“What am I interrupting?” he asks without letting go.
“Work. Overflowing inbox.”
He hums and strokes the back of my hand with this thumb, before giving me a light squeeze and letting go. My skin tingles after his touch, as though he wrote his name with invisible ink, reminding me Lucky was here.
“Do you need to keep doing your thing? Should I leave you?”
I lean forward and grab his hand again. “Yes.” I shake my head. “It would probably be best.”
What am I doing? Why am I touching him?
Let go. Come on Björn, let go of the man.
My body refuses to listen to my brain.
He lays his free hand atop mine. “Yes. I can tell you really want me out of your hair.”