When Faith Travers sets out on a vacation to sunny California, she didn’t expect to meet the man who is destined to change her life.
Faith Travers embarks on a dream vacation to California at the worst time in her life. A layoff at work precipitates her travels but her money cannot be refunded! Faith is all out of ‘faith’ when she meets Nick Constantine, the all too cheery tour guide who seems to be dead set on prying the travel guide out of her hands while taking one of his custom-made tours for her group of friends. Faith and Nick find out they have a lot in common and see the vulnerability within each other they both hide from the world while exploring scenic California. Nick shows Faith there is more to life than her worries at home…
Nick looked at her for a moment in disbelief then slowly turned to work his way back to the front of the bus. Why the hell would someone go on vacation and stay in a bad mood the whole time? He looked in the mirror and saw that she’d closed her eyes in defiance. With her eyes closed, he noticed how young she looked even though he was sure she was in her early thirties. Contrary to her friends wearing skirts, sandals, and pretty hair accessories, she looked like she was ready to scale a mountain. He’d never thrown anyone off his bus but today might set the precedent.
Nick dropped the ladies off at the Hollywood and Highland Center, allotting two hours to eat lunch and shop. He never tired of telling someone all the things he knew about Hollywood and the great state of California. The tours gave him a sense of fulfillment and something to do when he didn’t feel like being cooped up in the office. He found a good spot, parked, and then noticed Faith sitting on a bench with her eyes closed.
“Finished your sight seeing early?” he asked as he took a seat next to her.
She jumped. “You scared the crap out of me!”
“You should know better than to sit with your eyes closed on a bench in L.A.”
He took the California guidebook out of her hands and looked it over. “He,” he pointed to one of the names on the cover, “is a good friend of mine.”
“I won’t hold that against him.”
“So where are your friends?”
“Shopping, I think.”
“And you don’t like shopping?”
Faith turned and held a hand up. “Before we get into that old chauvinistic debate, why don’t we save ourselves the trouble? If you want to make small talk and engage in low-level flattery, don’t bother. I suggest you try one of my friends who find you oh so adorable with your dimples and your come hither eyes.”
Come hither eyes? That was a new one.
“Are you sure you’re immune to the dimples? Women always love my dimples,” Nick said with amusement.
Faith opened her mouth, her mind seeming to reel with a stinging retort, when the rest of the group showed up. Everyone, full from eating and shopping, were chatting and gazing up at the Hollywood sign. Faith continued to sit on the bench while the others followed Nick.
“Hey, Happy. Are you coming? We’re on a strict schedule,” he said then smiled.
Faith joined the group, dragging her feet the whole way.
After dropping the ladies off, Faith still in resistance mode, he headed back to the office.
Nick smiled to himself as he cleaned out the bus. Faith decided to remain mute for the rest of the day. To his surprise, he missed her butting in and trying to take over his tour.
As he made his way to the back of the tour bus he saw her MP3 player on the seat. She probably listens to devil worshipping music. He turned it on and scrolled through her playlist, pleasantly surprised. She had a good reason for ignoring him. Her taste in music was the same as his. He’d call the hotel and leave a message that he’d found it, but tonight it gave him something to do.
If intimacy could be achieved by listening to someone’s MP3 player, then Nick felt as if he’d known Faith all his life. He listened to her music into the wee hours of the night, looking forward to seeing her the next day so they could continue their sparring match. It was strange to want to know someone who, by first glance, he had nothing in common with, but that’s what he liked about the world, things weren’t always as they seemed and Faith was no exception.
He awoke the next morning, still listening to Faith’s MP3 player.
Nick readied himself then headed out the door for another day of touring with the ladies.
The group was waiting for him, all smiles, dressed in pretty sundresses and floppy hats. Faith was standing at the front desk talking to a clerk.
“Good morning, ladies.” He greeted everyone with a big smile.
“Good morning, Nick.” Kendra beamed at him. “We’re ready to go.”
“Just waiting for Happy.” He smirked, watching Faith at the front desk.
“She’s not coming today,” Kendra said sternly.
“No, you can talk without interruptions today.”
Strangely, today, he wanted an interruption. “The tour bus is open. Go on in. I’ll be right there.” He strode over to Faith, who was finishing her conversation.
“Your friend said you’re not joining us today?” he said with a raised eyebrow. “Was it something I said?”
“As if anything you say would turn my world upside down. Don’t flatter yourself, Dimples,” she said curtly.
“Then why won’t you be joining us?”
“I’ve decided to see Los Angeles another way.” He glanced at the map in her hand.
“Don’t worry, your groupies didn’t want me along today anyway. Now they can all drool and gaze at you like you’re some sort of misogynistic messiah.”
“What’s wrong? Scared I might know a little more than you?”
“I just got a map of Los Angeles from a man at the front desk named KiKi. It’s safe to say my courage level is up this morning. Do you have something of mine?” she questioned.
He reached into his pants pocket and pulled out her MP3 player. “You have very…interesting taste in music. I’m a big Eric Clapton fan too.”
“You thought I’d have crappy taste in music?”
“I didn’t say that.”
“But I think that’s what you expected.”
“Is not. I don’t know what to expect with you.”
“And you don’t have to,” she said snidely. “Your tour group is waiting.”
“I’m not going anywhere without you.” He stood in front of her with his arms folded.
*Buy links for all other retailers will be available 7/22!*
You can purchase California Bored and Tourism at the following retailers:
Sweet Cravings Publishing
All Romance eBooks
Barnes & Noble
Check out another sweet, short story Memories of You! Released March 2013. In case you missed it MVP, the sequel to For the Love of the Game released June 2013.