London's Calling chapter reveal!
“This is complete bollocks, mate.” I watch my chief inspector at Scotland Yard for any tell-tale signs of remorse. He buggered up my last assignment, but he’s putting the blame on me. Shouldering none of his own.
“Take it on the chin, chap, and enjoy your time off. It’s not like you aren’t getting paid for it.” I’d like to wipe the smug smile of his damn face.
Turning, I stop at my desk to grab my phone and walk out of the building. I’ve been a member of the force for ten years, after retiring from the British Army when I was twenty-five. Retired is a nice way of saying honourably discharged after an IED attack left my Humvee in pieces in Kandahar.
Shrapnel lodged itself in most of my left leg, and it took a lot of surgery and rehab to get me walking again. The Army thought I was a risk to any future units, so I was given a medal for saving two of my four comrades and sent home with a pat on the back.
Taking the stairs down the four levels to the main concourse, I said nothing as I left. I'm pissed beyond belief, so it was best not to speak to anyone. Otherwise, my fist might have ended up in someone’s face.
I head to my Land Rover in the carport and take off for home in Westminster, not far from Trafalgar Square. A trip to Garfunkel’s on my mind as I cross the bridge
Parking my vehicle, I ignore the bustle of the city to cross the street and bump into a pretty blonde, staring down at a map.
“Oh! I’m so sorry.” She smiles up at me, speaking with her American accent, and I’m lost in the swirls of blue and gold in her eyes. Her head tilts to the side as she waits for me to say something. When I don’t, she shakes her head and walks into the building.
“Bollocks,” I mutter to myself, following her in. It takes my eyes a moment to adjust to the dim lighting before I see her being seated at a booth in the back. Following behind, I sit across from her without an invite.
Her brows raise, but she doesn’t say a word, and neither do I. “Another menu please, dear,” I say to the server as she walks away.
The woman watches me. Assessing me. And I wonder what the hell I’m doing. Why I’m sitting with a person I don’t even know.
“Is there something I can help you with?” she asks, and there’s amusement in her voice.
“I apologize for being so rude out there. Your beauty struck me by surprise.” Her eyes cloud over and darken.
“Well, you can leave now.” She lifts up the menu, and when the server goes to hand me one, she strikes a hand out. “He’s leaving. It’ll be just me.” Her head doesn’t even lift.
“Are all Americans this rude?” I’m being snarky, and I know it.
She does look up then, and I’m once again ensnared in her gaze. “I’m Canadian, not American, and we’re rude when the occasion calls for it.” A blush works up her cheeks, and I continue to be transfixed by this little specimen.
“Why does my admiration of your beauty upset you?”
She bites the inside of her cheek before answering. “Because I’m more than a pretty face, and I’d like to be acknowledged for it.”
“Fair enough. How about we start over?” I stick out my hand and wait. When she nods and grips my hand, a zing of electricity pulses between us, and I’m drawn in closer to her. “Name’s Quinn Page.”
I watch as her pupils dilate a bit. and she licks her lips before responding, “London Manchester.” I’m lost in the velvety sound of her voice. Silky, soft, and then her name registers, and a booming laugh leaves me.
“You’re having a laugh, right?”
There’s that anger again. I don’t let her lovely hand go when she tries to pull back. “I assure you I’m not kidding, and now that we’ve gone through this rudeness twice, you can leave. Right now. I have zero desire to converse with such an asshole on my first night in a city I’ve been enamoured of since I was a little girl.”
London’s still tugging her hand. I stand and walk around to her side of the table. Sitting next to her, I crowd her space. “You must understand how amusing that is for a man born here, right? It’s irony at its finest pet.”
She studies me, and I can’t say I don’t like it because I’d love to feel her gaze travel across my body in a much more intimate setting as well. “Fine. I suppose I can see how it’d be funny to you,” she finally relents.
“Tell me there’s a story behind the beauty of your name.” I smile crookedly, hoping to get her to open up to me. I don’t understand why, but this sweet little morsel of a woman calls to me.