Chapter 1 Sample
London and Aja were in London’s office where Aja was bent over walking London through pulling up the New Client Questionnaire on her laptop when the outer door chimed. Aja’s head swung to the time display on the screen.
“Oh, he’s early.” Aja swore under her breath, which caught London by surprise. Unable to help herself, she snorted a laugh. Her cousin, the consummate professional, dropping an F bomb, was hilarious.
Aja turned to London with an expression that made her quickly drop the grin. “His name is Donovan and he’s here about his grandmother. Just follow my lead. I will ask questions and you can take notes on the questionnaire.” She stood up straight and adjusted her suit jacket, her game face fully on. “You ready?”
Attempting her own game face, London managed a sickly grimace, prompting Aja to frown and ask if she was all right. London dumped the game face. She would just smile instead. She followed Aja to the receptionist area where the client was waiting to greet them.
London’s first client was tall, dark and, she realized, familiar. Ok, she had to admit, he was also very nice looking. She gauged his height at a couple inches over six feet as she had to look up a bit to see his face. He had the lean, muscular body of a distance runner with locs that grazed broad shoulders.
London assumed he had come from an office as he was wearing the standard casual dress office uniform: dark slim cut jeans, striped blue shirt and sports jacket that fit like it was custom made for him. London studied his face. Smooth brown skin with dark brown eyes and lashes most women would kill for coupled with full lips. She knew his face but couldn’t place it.
Why was this beautiful stranger so familiar? He didn’t give her model or professional athlete vibes so that wasn’t it. She was racking her brain when she heard Aja call her name.
“I’m Aja Lewis, we spoke on the phone last week, and this is London Lewis. She’s going to be handling your inquiry. She’s our best research analyst.” London felt a quick elbow jab from her cousin, causing her to jump. Aja wanted her to say something, she guessed. “London, this is Donovan Willis.”
Donovan shook her hand. “Same last name, Lewis. Any relation?” London saw his eyes dart from her face to Aja’s and land on hers.
“We’re cousins.” Aja smiled, poking London again. “Our dads are brothers. Keeping it in the family, right, London?”
As Donovan spoke, London realized even his voice was slightly familiar. Her brain went into overdrive scanning for where she’d seen and heard him before. Although she often forgot a name seconds after hearing it, she was good with faces and voices.
Suddenly, London snapped her fingers and gasped. “You won the World Cyber Games Tournament when you were younger. You were on the news because you got to go to South Korea and everything. That’s where I know you from!” London pushed at his arm enthusiastically, fangirling big time now. “Your scores were amazing.”
As soon as London touched him, Donovan jumped back as if threatened. London quickly dropped her arm, letting it hang awkwardly at her side. She hadn’t meant to get so handsy with a man she just met. “Sorry.”
“No worries.” Donovan lifted a brow. “You saw me on TV back then?” London saw another realization hit him. “So you must be a gamer then?”
“Yes, I loved all things Quake back in the day. You’ve done a few of the QuakeCons too, right?” London asked, referring to a gaming conference for a popular first person shooter video game.
Donovan nodded, stroking his chin. “Yeah, I went in 2003 but I came in like sixth place during that one. The competition was crazy that year.” He pointed at London. “Did you go?”
“Please, my father would have banned me from the computer if he’d known I was playing a shooting game. So, no tournaments or conferences for me. Do you still play?”
“Not as much these days. Since I work in game development now, I have this annoying habit of analyzing the games and finding design flaws which ruins the fun of it. Do you play much?”
London happily chatted about the games she played now and how she missed some of the old school games from her childhood. Donovan agreed and added some games of his own. London glanced over at Aja catching her cousin roll her eyes ever so slightly. Aja wasn’t all that into video games when they were kids and London imagined she certainly had no interest in gaming now.
Aja clasped her hands together. “Let’s head into the conference room to talk. London, can you grab your laptop?” London excused herself and Donovan gave her this wide, slightly gap toothed grin that tapped her in the pit of her stomach. Flustered, she practically ran to her office.
Reaching her office, London took a deep breath. What the hell was wrong with her? Ok, so the man was amazing at a game she loved as a kid. So what? Not a big deal and certainly no reason to act like he was a celebrity. She was a professional and would conduct herself as one. There. She took an aggressive gulp of water from the bottle on her desk, almost spilling it, and grabbed her laptop, working on her game face.
When London entered the conference room, Aja was sitting at what was considered the head of the five seat table and Donovan sat to her left facing the door. They were chatting about the stock market, causing London to roll her eyes as her cousin did earlier.
Donovan quickly rose and held out a seat next to him for her. Trying to recall the last time any man held her chair, she awkwardly sat down, thanking him. London had planned to sit on Aja’s right to make it easier to look at the client while taking notes, but now she would have to turn to the right to address him. She was also close enough to be very aware of his scent, a pleasing combination of spice and citrus, which made her want to close her eyes and breathe it in fully. There was just something enticing about a man who smelled good.
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