“With an endearingly awkward female protagonist, a swoon-worthy male love interest, and Siskind’s superb storytelling, this is one of the best New Adult contemporary romances I’ve read to date.” — USA Today bestselling author K.A. Tucker
Dear Mom & Dad, I dropped out of school. I’m going backpacking. Sorry. Love you both.
At nineteen, Nina has endured two lifetimes’ worth of humiliation. Tired of waiting for it to get better, she decides to get going-across the globe to New Zealand. There she soon faces what she most fears: a super sexy guy ready to be Nina’s next mistake.
Once Sam’s life was all about having fun. That was before the accident. Now his friends have bailed and his world is broken. But when a gorgeous girl on his flight looks at him with passion instead of pity, Sam feels his old self coming back to life.
Now traveling together, Nina and Sam know this isn’t just a fling. They’re falling fast, hard, and deep. More than anything, Sam wants Nina to forget her fears. But to help her do that he must reveal his own painful secret-and risk Nina never seeing him the same way again.
Another big, sweaty guy squeezes from the door and returns to his seat at the rear of the cabin. With my eyes on the prize, I pick up the pace. My steps get longer. Quicker.
I don’t break eye contact with that door. I don’t look down. If I had looked down, I might have seen the large black boot sticking out in the aisle. If I had looked down, I might have stepped over it. But I didn’t.
In one glorious move, my sandaled toe smacks into the black boot…and I tumble.
Hard. Fast. Face first. The corner of the book in my hand slams into my full bladder, and my vision from earlier comes to life. Every. Horrifying. Detail. Like a pathetic five year-old child, I wet myself. I manage to stop the Niagara Falls portion of the flow, but I pee myself nonetheless. Frickin’ perfect.
Lying with my face smashed against the rough airplane carpet, I squeeze my eyes, willing this to be a horrible nightmare, when two hands grip my shoulders. They pick me up effortlessly and place me on my feet. Mortified is not a strong enough word to describe my current state of being. My underwear is sodden, the front of my skirt is damp, and there’s a pretzel bit stuck to my eyebrow. Still, that doesn’t hold a candle to the level of horror I experience when I turn to find Hot Guy in front of my face.
His eyebrows pull together. “You okay?”
An animal sound explodes through my lips, something between a caw and a yelp, as I spin away and dash for the still- green vacant sign. I slam the door and fight with the stupid bar thingy to get it locked, then I whirl around looking for those god-awful paper toilet covers. The bathroom reeks of some sort of foul I can’t describe. The guy before unleashed a whole lot of awful in here. I dance from foot to foot, knees knocking, as I get the cover down. Underwear off, skirt up, and the stream flows before my butt hits the seat.
It keeps flowing. And flowing. And flowing.
I stretch the neck of my fitted white T-shirt and stick my nose inside while the marathon continues. I pick the pretzel bit off my eyebrow and fling it on the floor. There must be something seriously wrong with me. Here I am, trying to start fresh. New me, new life. And I can’t make it a minute without creating havoc. Maybe it’s all the pot my folks smoke. No matter how many times they’ve denied it, I bet Mom smoked boatloads while pregnant with me. Boat. Loads.
When the trickle ends, I stand and stamp my foot on the flush button then step back to avoid being sucked into the atmosphere. Although, nose-diving to earth might be preferable to facing Hot Guy Who Saw Me Pee when I leave the bathroom. I could lock myself in this tin can until we land. Unfortunately, it smells like a Taco Bell meal gone wrong.
With no other option, I prepare to exit the lavatory. I remove my underwear and cram it into the trash. Barely. I dampen some paper towels and blot the front of my skirt. Luckily, the blue and purple floral pattern is busy enough to hide the wet splotch stretched across the fabric. I shove two wads of paper under my armpits to soak up my stress sweat. After shaking out my red hair and retying it into a ponytail, I wash my hands a third time. Finally, I shove the latch to vacant and push the door.
I almost yank it shut.
Hot Guy Who Saw Me Pee is leaning against the side of a seat with his arms crossed. His are eyes locked on the bathroom door…and me. Double shoot.
He straightens and shoves his hands into his pockets. I try to hurry past him, but he steps in my way. Taller than me by a head, he dips down toward my ear. “You should watch where you’re going when you’re running inside an airplane, Ginger.”
What the…? Ginger? Is Hot Guy making fun of my hair? To my face?
With my nails biting into my palm, my whisper-yell explodes before I can stop it. “I should watch where I’m going? Maybe you shouldn’t sprawl across the entire aisle, Mister…Man.”
Wow. I just said that. I called Hot Guy Mister Man. I can’t even get angry right.
Mister Man, Hot Guy…whatever, he looks more amused, a suggestive smile on his lips. He leans closer, his brown curls flopping on his forehead. “I was joking, all right? I’m sorry about the tripping thing. Seriously. You sure you’re okay?”
Before I can answer, a girl pokes her head around his shoulder. “Excuse me. Mind if I get by?” She nods toward the bathroom.
Hot Guy slides his arm around my waist and draws me against his chest to let the girl pass. I suck a sharp breath. Hot Guy definitely works out. The hard contours of his pecs are unmistakable through his cotton shirt, the sharp ridges of his muscles firmly against my body. His palm flattens on my lower back, and he pulls me tighter. Oh God.
My fingers itch to touch him. Every chiseled inch. If he didn’t see me wet myself, this would be way better than picturing warm suds dripping down his body. In a shower. My hands trailing between his legs.
Then I flash to the last time I was this close to a guy. Hypnosis couldn’t repress that memory deep enough. Better for me and everyone involved if I stick with fantasies. Placing my hand on his chest, I push back from Hot Guy, a little disappointed to lose the contact.
Two long fingers find my chin and lift my gaze. “Look, Ginger, I’ll let you by when you tell me you’re okay. So are you hurt, or are you cool to make it back to your seat?”
There’s a scar on his chin, long and jagged. I blink to stop staring. “First, don’t call me Ginger. And second, yes. I’m fine. No thanks to your boot. Can I go back to my seat now?” I fiddle with my skirt, sure everyone nearby knows I’m flying commando.
Hot Guy studies me a beat, then raises his hands. “Watch your step on the way back.” But he barely moves, so I’m forced to rub against him (pantyless) to get by.
Holy heck, that chest.
Two steps away, I see my book still on the floor from my fall.
The rest happens in slow motion, an instant replay of pure awful.
I bend down to grab my book, and the airplane jiggles as though it’s bouncing from cloud to cloud. The floor tilts back. I reach to grab the nearest armrest, but a man’s arm is planted there ‘resting.’ Next best option: launch myself forward to grab the back of the man’s chair. This super- smooth move occurs as the plane rights itself. The laws of gravity kick in, and I pitch forward. I don’t do this elegantly. No points for good form. I land on my elbows, and my skirt flies up to my hips.
Yes. My skirt. The skirt that covered my pantyless behind is hitched around my waist. OhGodOhGodOhGod. I flip on my back and tug the flimsy cotton down to my knees. I do it just in time to see Hot Guy close his mouth. His eyes darken ten shades before he slips into the bathroom I recently exited, where he’ll for sure assume it was I who dropped the atomic stink bomb.
Reminder to self: always pee before boarding an airplane.