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CHAPTER ONE

“Excuse me, Miss?” The voice was accompanied by a gentle nudge on the shoulder as Ellie Peavey removed her headphones and looked up from her laptop to find a flight attendant, much too cheerful for before six in the morning, trying to get her attention. The name badge said her name was Kelly.

“Sorry, yes?” Ellie responded, politely.

“It seems we’ve overbooked the flight, or at least made a mistake with the seating assignments, and we have a mum and small boy who find themselves seated in separate rows. We were hoping, since you’re traveling alone, that you might consider changing seats to accommodate them?” At this point, Kelly leaned in close to Ellie, her voice just above a conspiratorial whisper, “You’ll thank me. Three rows back, across the aisle, on the window.”

Ellie turned her head, craning her neck to see past the afro of the passenger behind her, catching a glimpse of her potential new seatmate, eyes widening and then turning back to make eye contact with her new friend Kelly.

“Ah, yes, sure,” Ellie stammered. “I think that should work just fine.”

Ellie gathered her things and Kelly escorted her to her new seat.

“Sir? We’re moving some passengers to make room for a mother and child, this is your new seatmate.” Kelly turned, motioning for Ellie to introduce herself.

“Aman…Ell…Ellie, I’m Ellie.” And with that, Amanda Eleanor Peavey locked eyes with the ice blue gaze of Patrick Sievert, instantly spellbound.

Ellie wasn’t usually a believer in love at first sight. She was far too pragmatic for such a thing. But anyone that caught a glimpse of someone like Patrick Sievert with his handsome face and athletic body would possibly reconsider their entire belief system to have a moment alone with him. Even on a cramped plane. As much as she hated to admit it, she was instantly drawn to him if only for the simple fact that he was such a damn fox.

“Nice to meet you, Ellie, I’m Patrick,” he said, extending a hand. With that, Kelly’s impromptu matchmaking was finished, and she scurried off in search of her final two passengers.

Before Ellie could settle into her seat, Patrick rose, insisting she take the window.

“I noticed you had the window up there. What sort of gentleman would I be if I made a lady who preferred the window take an aisle seat? Wouldn’t be a bit chivalrous, would it?” He smiled. Of course his teeth were perfect.

Ellie laughed nervously, wishing she’d taken a bit more time in front of the mirror that morning, chosen something more flattering to wear, maybe spent the past 26 years doing CrossFit, so she’d have a snowball’s chance of this Patrick remembering her once he’d taken two steps off the plane in Glasgow, probably into the arms of his supermodel girlfriend.

At least he isn’t wearing a ring, she thought to herself.

“Thank you, you’re very kind,” Ellie said, easing herself past Patrick towards the window seat, wondering how long into the flight she’d have to inhale and stop sucking everything in. As she squeezed past him, brushing against his body couldn’t be helped. He was lithe, moved easily, but he felt like granite. There was nothing soft about him. And those eyes. She’d only held his gaze for a moment before she had to look away. Any longer, and she feared for his safety. She, hell nobody, could be found guilty for just ripping the tailored shirt off him and kissing him wildly. He was a thing of beauty. If she’d been told he had just stepped off a shoot for GQ she wouldn’t have questioned it even for a second.

She adjusted herself in the seat, cursing the lack of even an extra millimeter of space into which she could cram her hips and thighs, to prevent herself from spilling into his space. Ellie was certainly not overweight, but her curves could pose a problem in the ever shrinking size of the economy sized plane seat.

He sat down next, sighing and turning towards her, “So, Ellie, what’s taking you to Scotland?”

There was a hint of an accent to his voice, English best she could discern, and only on certain words. As if he was either a Brit who’d spent most of his time in America, or vice versa. Or maybe Canadian. It’s not as if Ellie was any sort of expert on accents, the only ones she knew for certain were the ones surrounding her home state of Ohio. Michigan and Pennsylvania sounded distinctly different from one another, and nothing like Kentucky. Questions piled up in her mind, a habit picked up as she’d pursued a journalism minor at Ohio State.

What kind of accent is that? How did you get that scar over your left eye? Are those contacts or are your eyes naturally that color? How does it feel to be the most handsome man in any room you’re in? Why don’t you kiss me and never stop? How many of your babies may I please have?

Feigning the confidence of an experienced international traveler and seasoned flirt (she was neither), Ellie replied, “Oh, nothing exciting, going for work and hopefully I’ll get to visit a castle or something. It’ll be my first time there. First time in the U.K. actually.” (First time outside the U.S., she could have added, but decided against it. Better to seem worldly, as her self-diagnosed frump certainly wasn’t going to catch Patrick’s impossibly blue eyes.)

Little could Ellie know, however, that Patrick also felt a flutter at first being introduced to Ellie; first her smile disarmed him and then the refreshing scent of her hair as she moved past him into her seat delivered the knockout blow. Would it be rude to ask if I could smell her hair again? He thought to himself. Terribly so, he decided.

As they conversed, he found himself looking at the nape of her neck. The skin there was like soft porcelain, freshly fallen snow, flawless, seemingly soft. To spend a few hours standing behind her, pressed close, kissing that spot, below her ear and just towards the front, not quite her shoulder, not her throat, maybe her collarbone, he decided, would be a fantastic way to spend an evening.

“What sort of work do you do?” he asked.

Clearly, I’m a jet-setting international supermodel. Can’t you tell? Ellie thought to herself, bemused. She decided honesty was the way to go, just get it out in the open. “I’m a market research analyst, when my company wants to put a new product on the market, drones like me are dispatched all over the place to check with the locals to see if they like it or not. Then I get to process all the surveys and interviews and give my input as to whether or not we go forward with whatever the new thing is. Exciting, huh?”

“The travel doesn’t seem like a bad perk though, eh? I mean if your husband or boyfriend doesn’t mind you being gone so much?” Nice, Patrick. Don’t make your fishing too obvious. Why not just completely terrify her and ask her out right now? You’ve known her for all of what, four minutes?

Before Ellie could respond, bells, whistles, and the voice of flight attendant Kelly interrupted, explaining how best to survive the plane turning into a fireball somewhere over the Atlantic. She and Patrick pretended to pay attention, and Ellie glanced down to notice their hands were so close together they were nearly touching. Kismet. The universe wants us to hold hands, she thought. He may take some convincing, however.

When the lesson in seatbelts and life rafts concluded, Patrick turned towards Ellie once again, the setting seeming much more intimate than two strangers sharing space on a plane.

“Where were we?”

I think you’d just asked me to marry you, Ellie thought, but managed to put a more coherent response into words. “I think you’d just asked if I had anyone at home who missed me when I traveled.”

Patrick nodded, “That’s right, yes, I meant to ask if you traveled much or enjoyed it, that sort of thing.”

“Ah, yes, well, actually my travel is usually just domestic, I get to go to exciting places like Kansas City and Birmingham, mostly. This trip is part of a mini-promotion. And there’s no ‘Mr. Ellie’ waiting at home yet, so I figure this beats being stuck in a cubicle and going home to Maisie. She’s my beagle. I’m pretty sure she misses me, but when I’m gone my niece watches her, so she’s in good hands.”

“Must be Birmingham, Alabama, then? I used to work near a Birmingham, the one in England,” Patrick answered.

Seizing the opportunity to take the uncomfortable spotlight off herself and listen to Patrick’s deep voice with its wonderfully peculiar affect, Ellie asked “What do you do, if it’s ok to ask?”

“Thank God you’re American, Ellie,” Patrick laughed, then lifted both hands in a calming motion to allay her surprise. “I’m actually unemployed at the moment, although if you believe the rags and bloggers, I’m on the books of half the teams in Europe.”

Ellie was completely confused by Patrick’s words, but completely enthralled by the way he spoke them. Listening to him read menus, nursery rhymes, or the phone book would be equally charming, she thought. Hell, she’d pay to listen to him read her stupid market analysis reports if she got to watch him do it- preferably shirtless.

Sensing he was speaking a foreign language to her, Patrick Americanized his reply. “I’m a footballer. A professional soccer player. But I’m out of contract at the moment. Between teams. My agent and I have been plotting, and despite what all the tabloids suggest, I’m leaning towards playing in Scotland next year.

“Hence, the trip to Glasgow?” Ellie asked.

“Good word, hence,” Patrick chuckled. “Yes. Glasgow. Hence, indeed.”

“So, if the tabloids are discussing your upcoming plans, you must be a really big deal over in England, in soccer?”

“It’s not that I’m such a ‘big deal,’ it’s that football, sorry, soccer, is life and death in the U.K. Actually, there’s a famous quote from a guy named Bill Shankly, he was a manager at Liverpool. He said ‘Football isn’t a matter of life or death; it’s much more important than that.’ I’m probably paraphrasing, but that’s the gist of it. So if you’re a footballer who’s played in a few important matches, or for a top side, and you’re moving to a different team, it’s subject to all sorts of rumor, conjecture, and guesswork. Part of it’s my fault. In an interview last year, I mentioned that I might like to end my career in a far-flung place. Japan or Australia, maybe. Even India. Depending on which fish wrap you read, I’m bound for Qatar, Greece, or even back home to play in MLS.”

“Where’s home?” Ellie asked, her head spinning at the revelation of Patrick’s evident notoriety, her dad’s voice in the back of her head warning her that this Patrick, like every boy and man she’d ever been interested in, was not to be trusted, was only after one thing. Which, given her bedroom’s dry spell and Patrick’s crushing good looks, wasn’t necessarily such a bad thing. Although the whole thing did seem a bit much, and given that her expertise regarding soccer began and ended with the name Pele, she’d need a private moment and a good Wi-Fi connection to verify his story.

“That’s a loaded question, isn’t it? Home, home, let’s see. If you’re talking home, as in where my roots are, where I grew up, it’s South Carolina. A place called Moncks Corner. It’s near to Charleston. But home for the past few years has been my flat in London, although really I live out of a suitcase more often than not. If I’m able to work out a deal in Glasgow, I’ll rent an apartment there for a year or two, as long as my knees let me play. What about you, Ellie, where’s home for you and, Maisie, was it?”

The plane finally ascended into the Georgia sky, bound for London, as Ellie told her story. “I grew up in Ohio, near Columbus. I went to Ohio State, majored in English and minored in journalism. I live near Atlanta now, I moved down here after college, I have family here and I found my job has an office in Buckhead, so it was a win-win. I’m sorry I didn’t recognize you or don’t know about soccer, honestly my dad is a high school football coach, and it was all Buckeyes and Browns in my house. There was no other sport besides football. Although once I outgrew the little cheerleader uniform I wore to games in grade school, I had also outgrown football.”

Patrick’s imagination went to Ellie’s curves filling a cheerleader’s outfit, and he caught himself glancing again at her neck and down lower, wishing her ample breasts weren’t so covered by her business attire.

“Ellie, the fact that you’re not a soccer person is nothing for which you need apologize. It’s in my top five, mmm, let’s make it top ten, favorite things about you thus far. Talking football day and night is such a colossal bore. I’m quite happy to talk about anything but.”

This guy has a list of ten things he likes about me? Ellie thought, in complete wonderment. Since college, with an atmosphere conducive to partying and hooking up, she’d been on dates, but exclusively with guys who were attractive only because they were single, male, and breathing. Guys she’d met at the dog park, Barnes and Noble, the coffee shop. Second dates were rare, third hadn’t happened in her “adult” life. At 26, she was by no means an old maid, but watching pages on the calendar turn and seeing herself in the mirror getting further and further from what she considered her physical peak (her junior year at OSU) was disheartening. One of these days, she’d wind up settling down with some chubby accountant or salesman, have uninspired sex, pump out 2.5 kids, and live happily never after. Patrick was obviously unattainable, but when weren’t pro athletes known to sleep around? And would it really be such a terrible thing to wind up in his “London flat” for a night or two, letting Patrick’s perfect body have its way with her? He was clearly being at the very least charming, at best downright flirtatious. It could at least turn into a story to share with her grandchildren one day.

Her typical social nervousness with men was melting away as it never did without the aid of alcohol. Patrick had a way of holding her in the palm of his hand, making her comfortable, carrying the conversation when all she wanted was to skinny dip in the ice blue pools of his eyes.

“I promise not to talk about your job if you can somehow keep yourself from wanting to discuss my thrilling career,” Ellie replied with a playful pout.

“Deal,” Patrick smiled, extending his hand awkwardly in the tight space between them, and they shook, Ellie’s left into Patrick’s right, a firm grip she never wanted to let go.

CHAPTER TWO

Eight hours later, Ellie Peavey floated from her seat towards Terminal 4 at Heathrow, her voice growing hoarse. She’d planned to read her way across the Atlantic, had her Kindle loaded, but the conversation never lagged and Patrick seemed as content as she did to share the time and small space together. As they approached the end of the gangway, he leaned down and said something she hadn’t expected to ever hear spoken to her by anyone.

“I know how pretentious this is going to sound, and I apologize, but when we enter the terminal, people will be taking pictures of me and asking for my autograph. If we walk out together, there’s a good chance you’ll be showing up in the rags tomorrow as my ‘mystery Yank love interest.’ I don’t mind the tabloids, I’m used to them, but you deserve fair warning and the chance to escape, so here it is. Either way, we’ll be on the same flight to Glasgow, I’ll arrange us to be seated together. ” He grinned at her, a smile that made her knees weak and her heart feel like bursting from her chest.

Like anybody on Earth would look at us and think we were a couple, Ellie thought to herself, but she appreciated Patrick’s candor and deferred to his experience in such matters.

“I’ll let you go out first, I’d hate to cause an international scandal!” Ellie joked, half expecting the mirage of the day to dissolve into Patrick briskly walking away, meeting what must be his breathtaking wife and perfect kids at baggage claim.

“Alright, love, I’ll see you at our gate in 90 minutes, don’t be late!”

The butterflies that had been turning somersaults in Ellie’s stomach since first meeting Patrick became full-blown pterodactyls. Had he really just called her “love?” Her reverie was broken by the commotion just around the corner as the first child in a Chelsea Football Club jersey noticed Patrick Sievert emerge with the rest of the passengers into the busy terminal. A dozen mobile phones began snapping pictures as the 6’3 American and erstwhile Chelsea defender tried to slouch and remain inconspicuous. It took the first two children scant seconds to approach him, asking for autographs. The crowd buzzed, some hoping for pictures to share with their social media contacts, others, supporters of rival teams, tossing heckling insults in Patrick’s direction.

As Ellie took a step out of the path of her fellow disembarking passengers opposite the direction Patrick had taken, she marveled at the spectacle. A portly, red-faced lout to her left was clearly irritated by Patrick’s presence and kept calling him a “tosser” and a “wanker” in a louder and louder voice, obviously attempting to provoke a reaction. Patrick diligently signed shirts and took pictures, at one point making eye contact with Ellie and shrugging his broad shoulders with a sheepish grin. She rolled her eyes playfully and felt her phone buzzing away in her bag, remembering she was supposed to check in with friends and family at home to let them know she’d arrived safely.

The news of her demise or lack thereof could wait, she decided. What was most important was sharing the news of her impending wedded bliss! Ha! She watched as Patrick was ushered away through a nondescript door by airport personnel, probably to calm the furor his unannounced appearance caused, before finding a chair where she could text her best friend, Meg.*Google image search Patrick Sievert* Ellie sent, via text, to Meg.

*Welcome back to the world of cell service to you as well, Els*, replied Meg

Ellie’s phone rang moments later, the excited voice of Meg at the other end. “Who is THAT?”

“Oh, just the guy I spent the entire flight talking to. And who ended our conversation by calling me ‘love.’ And who I’m going to fly to Glasgow with. And probably marry. I wonder if they have a lottery in England. I should probably buy a ticket.” Ellie responded, breathlessly.

“Ok, first of all, I hate you. You’re my best friend, but I hate you. And I feel sorry for whoever the poor person is who gets to clean up the puddle you left on your seat on the plane.”

“Meg! Gross! Stop it! Anyway, I wiped it up myself when we got up to leave. Ninja-style. Ha!”

“Girl, you are crazy. Did you seriously meet this guy? He’s fucking gorgeous. They have candids on here from him on the beach in, let me see, Trinidad, I guess. He’s like a Greek god. O. M. G. I want to hear everything. Every. Thing.” Ellie had to admit, being that Meg was usually one with the salacious tales, it was nice to be the one with something to talk about for once. Even if it was probably nothing in the grand scheme of things.

“I was on the plane, looking at work stuff on my laptop, and the flight attendant asked if I’d mind changing seats. Next thing I know, I’m face to face with Mr. Perfect. And he’s, like, a total gentleman, and totally down to Earth, and we just started talking, you know, like old friends. It felt like a movie. One directed by Rob Reiner. After a while, I thought I must be getting Punked. No guy who looks like that, could be so interested in me. A guy from the comic book store taking a break from World of Warcraft in mom’s basement, sure, but a professional athlete who looks like a younger version of Don Draper? And his eyes, Meg. You wouldn’t believe his eyes. Glaciers in Iceland or Norway or wherever they have glaciers are jealous of how blue Patrick’s eyes are.” Ellie sighed to herself just thinking about them. She could practically hear Meg’s eyes rolling.

“Here I was, all excited to go to Applebee’s with Trent tonight, and Ms. Ellie Peavey, evidently the new Queen of Conyers, is hooking up with the American David Beckham. Fuck my life.” Meg and Ellie’s laughter echoed through their phones.

“Hate to be rude, but even the Queen of Conyers has to go to the bathroom. Or, wait, I have to ‘go to the loo’ as Patrick would say.” Ellie giggled at her own silly joke.

“Patrick, Patrick, Patrick, ok, I’m throwing up now, Els. Go find the loo and have fun with your stud. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do, you bitch!” taunted Meg.

“Patrick is a gentleman and I am a lady, Meg. If you must know, we’re planning to spend the flight to Glasgow discussing art and literature, then spend the evening drinking wine in a castle.” Ellie burst out laughing as they said their goodbyes and she scurried off to find the bathroom.

CHAPTER THREE

Heathrow security noticed the commotion at international arrivals and hastily assessed the situation. Celebrities always caused a stir, even aging, unemployed footballers. Patrick Sievert was escorted into a corridor away from the public, a hallway with which he was familiar.

“Thanks for the rescue, mate.” Patrick thanked the portly security guard who had helped him escape the crowd.

“No problem. I support Hammers. Any chance….” The guard looked hopefully at Patrick.

“Heh, sorry, no, no chance. I’m not leaving Chelsea for another team in the Prem.” Patrick’s plans weren’t finalized, but he’d made up his mind that his time playing in the English Premier League was over. New challenges abounded all over the globe.

“No worries, worth a try, isn’t it?” the disappointed security guard replied.

“You’ve got a good side over at Upton Park. The last thing your lot need is a slow, over the hill defender like me.” Patrick joked, reaching the end of the corridor taking him to the private lounge near international departures, where he couldn’t wait to resume his conversation with the younger American girl who’d so effortlessly burrowed her way into his heart on the flight over.

He couldn’t quite figure what it was that made Ellie so alluring. Did she remind him of home? There was something so kind, so honest about her. Not like so many of the slags he’d watched teammates bring round the team hotels and out to dinners and pubs with friends. They all seemed fake to him, desperate schemers the lot of them. Just a little more makeup, a slightly tighter top, shorten the skirt to the point of obscenity, and maybe they could lure a millionaire. The whole approach disgusted him, although it wasn’t what had kept him single throughout his professional career.

Patrick arrived at Furman University as a unique athlete, planning to play both soccer and basketball. Basketball had long been his meal ticket, he’d been widely recruited by schools up and down the east coast. Furman was one of the few places that offered him a chance to play soccer as well, and he jumped at it. Soccer had been an afterthought, he’d really only played during the high school season, eschewing summer select teams in favor of AAU hoops.

By the time his junior season arrived, however, he had become such a defensive force that he was getting some honorable mention All-American notice, and he decided to forego being a part-time starter on the basketball team to becoming a full-time soccer player. The single-minded focus paid dividends, and soon he began to be called in to train with the U-23 national team and drew the notice of Major League Soccer, the top American professional league.

A conversation with a national team assistant set his career path in motion. His physical style and strength could succeed in England, the coach assured him, and he had contacts to get him some trials in the UK. Becoming a pro would require complete dedication, though, meaning that at least for the short-term, his popularity with the ladies would have to take a backseat to proper diet and training.

Upon arrival in Birmingham to practice with lower league team Kidderminster Harriers, Patrick made a vow to himself that women would wait until he was finished playing. He had a chance to eventually earn serious money, making him attractive to scammers and gold-diggers. On the off chance he met somebody he truly cared about, what sort of relationship could he have, given his irregular schedule and constant travel? In fairness to both himself and any potential love interests, Patrick took a personal vow of celibacy. At 22.

The tabloids, of course, had a field day with the “American Monk” who seemed to go from home to the training ground and back home again, despite devastating good looks. As he moved up the ladder professionally, joining larger clubs and signing more lucrative contracts, he began popping up on “Most Eligible Bachelor” lists, and from there to finding himself the subject of nasty “closeted footballer” lists.

The truth was, yes, the life he lived was lonely, and he often reconsidered his intentional bachelorhood, but he also wanted to do nothing to jinx the career he enjoyed, a career beyond his wildest dreams growing up in rural South Carolina.

He’d been tempted before, of course, as no shortage of beautiful women threw themselves at team busses and players spotted out in public, whether at Tesco, the green grocer’s, or down the pub.

At 34, he’d been careful enough with his money to stop playing whenever he wanted to, but the passion hadn’t left him, and he expected to have 2-3 more seasons at the top level of the game. Legendary Scottish side Celtic F.C. reached out to his agent, Tom Borchers, with an attractive offer. They were stocked with young, talented defenders, but adding a player with the CV of a Patrick Sievert could give the crew something of a mentor, a hard man who’d seen it all and could lead the club to ever greater glory.

Somehow, the whole Celtic conversation had stayed out of the papers, although there was no doubt his visit to Glasgow would make its way into social media and it wouldn’t take much for the rags to pick up on his plans.

Plans that seemed solid until he laid eyes on Ellie Peavey.

CHAPTER FOUR

Amanda Eleanor Peavey was always “Mandy” or “Coach P’s little girl” while hanging around the football practices and games her father held sway over in the shadow of the gridiron juggernaut at Ohio State University. The youngest of four, and the only girl, Mandy was relegated to cheerleader, when all she really wanted to do was escape into books. In the world her imagination created, there was no football, boys didn’t care that she wasn’t blonde or skinny, and her dad and brothers included her in everything, rather than making her feel left out or “dumb” for liking the things girls were supposed to like.

It was probably why she’d had such a difficult time with men. She typically just couldn’t relate to them, and she was always so defensively watching out for mean that she didn’t give herself a chance to experience nice. She still couldn’t decide why Patrick was different, but she thought she could probably convince a jury that his overwhelming masculinity caused her defenses to crumble. There was just such a presence to him, his eyes, his shoulders, and his jaw, just everything. Flawless masculinity. Who could blame her for dropping her guard completely?

Even the way his deep voice said her name was different. She’d been a Mandy growing up, then an Amanda, but in 6th grade when Amanda Brinck put a banana on her chair in the cafeteria, a banana that wound up smeared over an ass she’d spent years trying desperately to conceal, an ass that was now the laughingstock of the entire middle school, she never wanted to hear the name of that horrible bitch again.

The obvious choice was her middle name, Eleanor, but no 11 year old wants a name that belongs to grandmothers and First Ladies, so she settled on Ellie. It always sounded like a little girl’s name to her, but it was a million times better than Amanda.

That is, it always sounded like a little girl’s name to her until it was spoken by Patrick Sievert. When he spoke it, fireworks went off inside Ellie’s body. In places no mere voice should be able to ignite them. Staring into Patrick’s eyes as he said her name was almost more than she could stand. She threatened to melt.

The whole thing was ridiculous, of course. As she finished up in the restroom she thought, I’m always going to call it ‘the loo’ from now on, to the point that it becomes a terribly annoyance to everyone, She stood before the mirror now, trying to devise a plan to MacGyver herself into something reasonably attractive before she next ran into the glorious Patrick Sievert. He seemed to enjoy their conversation enough, it had been absolutely “smashing,” to borrow something else she’d heard him say, but he couldn’t possibly have been attracted to her, Ellie was sure of that. Her black pantsuit concealed at least a few of her extra pounds, but nothing could be done at this juncture to fix the face and frizz she’d hated for 26 years. Would it be too desperately slutty to rip open the top of her shirt and at least distract him with what were, in her mind, unquestionably her best assets?

Truth was, Ellie was an incredibly beautiful woman, but it was hard to get the awkward years out of a girl’s head. She would never quite see herself for what she had become, but always as something she hadn’t been since high school. What she saw as frizzy hair, others saw as luscious and enviable curls. When she felt like she was “thick” others were admiring the curves of her body, not so different from a guitar, all smooth and sensual. It hadn’t gotten past Patrick Sievert. But Ellie would never allow herself to see herself as anything but ordinary.

She decided against it changing anything about her appearance for the moment, and face Patrick as she had when first they met. As Ellie Peavey. No use changing anything now. Against all odds, he actually seemed like he might possibly be convinced to maybe sort of be interested in her. Which was more than enough for her to cling to.

She was famished, having not dared to eat in front of Patrick on the plane, and she headed back out onto the concourse hoping she could squeeze in something before running into him again.

Comptoir Libanais caught her eye, a Lebanese restaurant with several dishes featuring lamb, a meat she loved, but rarely had the opportunity to eat back in the States. While enjoying a delicious lamb kofta, Ellie checked in with her parents and niece, assuring them that she’d survived the trip so far and making certain Maisie was wasn’t too distraught over her absence.

A few pages of Cheryl Strayed on her Kindle and a full stomach later, Ellie made her way back to her gate, after checking her appearance one final time in the loo. Patrick was close, she could absolutely sense it, and her giddy butterflies returned.


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

Alison Ryan is a writer, reader, and momma who lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband and their three boys. In previous lives she's been a singing waitress on a river boat, a limousine driver in Las Vegas, and front desk clerk at a dilapidated motel on the shores of the Floridian panhandle. She loves books about the south, drinking bourbon, and trashy reality television. She can be found on Instagram @alisonryanbooks

Q. This book is part of a series, tell us about your series.
A.
This book will be the first in the Alpha Soccer Saga which will be books that are all linked by the soccer world. They will be standalones with common characters. I have a thing for soccer players and figured I probably wasn't alone in my admiration.
Q. Where can readers find out more about you?
A.
I love talking to readers! They can find me on Facebook and on Instagram at alisonryanbooks. They can also email me at alisonryanbooks@gmail.com

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