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Evan tipped his head and eyed the ceiling. Prompt replies, punctual people. Striking deals and hitting deadlines. These items made his world tick. Not loitering around a miniscule airport pulling a Waiting for Godot moment on infinite repeat for a no-show, flakey designer from California.
God grant him patience and balls of steel when he showed up without the designer and the all-important wedding dress, because his future sister-in-law Darci would certainly be unhappy. […]
He took a deep fortifying breath and froze. Airport smells assailed his senses—the sharp tang of bleach and lemon-scented cleaners, […] coffee, donuts, fried fast food, and under it all, the distinct musk of wolf.
She smelled damn good. His wolf perked up, and his legs propelled him toward the empty baggage claim, where one bright-pink suitcase covered in Hello Kitty stickers sat, unclaimed, on the unmoving L-shaped conveyor belt. Her scent, stronger here, socked his gut, and his gaze shot to the corner.
The chaos around the woman stunned him silent. Large, paper coffee cup, half-eaten banana, and a quarter of a powdered doughnut perched on a brown paper bag next to her. Crumbs splattered the linoleum and the woman’s long-sleeved blue blouse in a thick layer of white, sugary dust. On her other side, two pink garment bags lay like corpses, along with a bubblegum-pink unzipped duffel as long as her outstretched, denim-clad legs. Some of the bag’s contents—pads of drawing paper and large swaths of fabric—protruded over the opening, the fabric splaying over her legs in a rainbow-colored blanket. Her feet peeked out of the mess, encased in sparkling pink UGGs. Good grief, sequins? She smacked her shiny boots together in a poor imitation of Dorothy and bobbed her head from side to side in time to some music only she seemed to hear. Her shoulder-length red hair, the color of ripe dark cherries—his favorite fruit—gleamed under the harsh airport lighting and curtained most her face from his view, save a pert nose and small chin, both speckled with a generous amount of freckles.
He’d always liked freckles.
Clearing his throat, he stepped closer, but she didn’t flinch in surprise or look up. Her attention remained on the tablet on her lap, the stylus between her pale, freckled fingers swiping without hesitation over her screen. […]
He positioned himself right in front of her wiggly, booted feet. “Excuse me, J—”
“Sh.” She raised her arm and flicked her hand in the universal get lost gesture.
He gaped at her. “Excuse me?”
Another wave of her hand while her stylus streaked across her tablet screen with the other. “Not interested.”
Nice voice. Low and husky. Her attitude, on the other hand… “But—”
“Go away.” Her velvet voice carried a stubborn edge.
In other circumstances, he would’ve admired her strength. But he’d wasted copious amounts of time hunting for the clearly inconsiderate and irresponsible female. “Fine. Get your own damn ride to Los Lobos. Jasmine.”