Summer Sky (Blue Phoenix #1)By: Lisa Swallow
A British Rock Star Romance
For Louise - thank you for your feedback, encouragement and friendship.
You know that moment when you meet someone, only to discover they’re the most arrogant, self-important asshole who you’ve had the displeasure of colliding fates with? Somewhere, on the edge of my normal life, this just happened to me.
Three hours driving non-stop from Bristol to Broadbeach, and I’m in a crappy mood. This trip would take three hours if every traffic cone in England wasn’t blocking the motorway, therefore forcing all the cars into a ‘traditional English traffic jam’. Or if I didn’t get stuck behind the slowest tractor in the world, after I had the bright idea of leaving the motorway for country roads to speed things up.
I whined when I was dragged to Broadbeach on summer holidays with my parents as a teenager, every time. At that age, the quiet seaside town was the armpit of the universe and no longer the sandy playground by the beach I loved as a little kid. There’s no place I’d rather be now, than the small house on the edge of the dunes. When I finally bloody get there.
Frustration mounts as the afternoon grows late, and skipping lunch to get away from Bristol as quickly as possible hasn’t helped. I took a wrong turn thanks to my stupid decision to take a short cut, and I’m lost on a narrow country lane looking for a road sign. So when a fricking dog runs across the road in front of me, I’m not exactly calm about the car behind rear-ending mine when I hit the brakes. There is one screech of tyres, one exchange of alarmed looks between the black and white dog and me, and one loud metal crunch.
I glance in the rear-view mirror. Some guy in sunglasses hastily puts down his mobile phone and starts gesticulating in a way that demonstrates he’s as happy about the collision as I am. Like this, is my fault? I throw open the door and slam it closed. Heading to the back of my small, silver car, I’m aware of his scrutiny as I inspect the damage. Great. There’s a broken light and a bloody huge dent.
I turn to his. I know nothing about cars but I’m sure this is going to cost him more than me. Sleek, black some-kind-of-penis-extension prestige vehicles like this costs more to fix than my I-have-no-money-and-a-crap-job ten-year-old hatchback.
The guy remains in the car, so I stomp over and indicate he should lower his window. The tinted windows seem a bit excessive in the English climate, but I guess this adds to the image of the car. All I can see of the man is dark sunglasses and spiked brown hair, with his hand waving at me to stand back. I huff and back away.
Out of the car steps a guy with an attitude as big as the dent in my bumper. He doesn’t speak, but his body language indicates an apology isn’t coming anytime soon. Six feet of tightly drawn muscles and a hard set mouth. I’m immediately drawn to the sleeve of colourful tattoos disappearing under his greying black t-shirt. Why do people get so many tattoos? They’re plain ugly when there’s so many they merge into one canvas of colour.
I shift my gaze to his face. His sunglasses remain in place, and I can’t see much beyond his sharp jawline and the fact he really needs a shave. My first impression is he’s trying to cultivate some sexy, edgy image to match his sexy, edgy car. The guy whips off his sunglasses revealing bright blue eyes circled by tired black marks. The looking rough is more than an image then. I figure he’s in his twenties like me, but his exact age is difficult to tell beneath the exhausted face.
Without a word, he stalks to the front of his car and rubs the dented paintwork, sucking air through his teeth. Flakes of silver paint from my car drop to the road. I take the opportunity to size him up. He’s grungy in an attractive way; or the way attractive people can be as scruffy as hell and still look okay. He looks more than okay. I’m momentarily distracted by how his dirty jeans hug his backside but blink the image away.
“It’s your fault if you ran up the back of me,” I inform him.
“You stopped without any indication!” he retorts, straightening and turning back to me. His accent is odd – English but as if he’s lived overseas too long and lost part of it.