Until ashlyn, p.1
Until Ashlyn, p.1Part #3 of Until Her series by Aurora Rose Reynolds
Aurora Rose Reynolds
Copyright © 2016 ARR-INC. E-Book and Print Edition
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used factiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons or living or dead, events or locals are entirely coincidental.
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Table of Contents
Excerpt from Until Sage
Other books by this Author
About The Author
“Large iced coffee, cream and two sugars.” I smile at Melissa behind the counter of my favorite coffee shop and pull cash out of my purse as she types my order into the computer.
“Anything else, Ash?” She looks up, and I try to fight it, but I can’t.
“Two cake pops, both chocolate. Oh, and a cranberry scone.”
“Got it.” She grins, knowing me, since I come in and order the same thing almost everyday, unless it’s fall—then I always go for something pumpkin. “You can pick it up at the end of the counter.”
“Thanks.” I give her one last smile and tuck the change into the tip jar in front of me then make my way down the line to wait. Pulling out my cell phone, I type a message back to my dad letting him know I’ll be over after work.
“Coffee black, one sugar.” A deep male voice slides over every inch of me and my head lifts. The moment I spot the commander of that voice, my body freezes. I’ve seen thousands of good-looking men in my life, but with long, dark-blond hair, sun-kissed skin, broad shoulders covered in a tailored suit jacket, a slim waist, and long, thick legs encased in slacks, I know he’s the most spectacular.
“Ash… Ashlyn?” Turning my head and coming out of my daze, I find my order in front of me and Dane, Melissa’s husband, staring at me with concern. “Are you okay?”
Oh, God. I probably look like an idiot. “Yeah, sorry. I spaced out.” I smile, taking my drink and the bag holding my goodies, then reach over and grab a straw.
“No problem.” He grins then I feel heat hit my side, and my eyes travel up and up, until I find the object of my sudden fascination looking down at me through crystal-blue eyes.
“Hi,” I breathe, feeling myself involuntarily lean toward him. His eyes scan my face and he lifts his chin ever so slightly before turning back to the counter.
Feeling like a total moron, I book it out of the coffee shop and down two doors to the dental office I work at, unlocking the door and turning on the lights as I enter. Heading to the reception desk, I set my coffee down on my desk along with my bag of goodies and stow my purse as I start up the computer.
“Hey,” I greet Gregory as the chime sounds and he steps into the office.
“Hey, darlin’.” He smiles, taking off his hat and suit jacket. “We need to have a quick chat.”
“Sure,” I agree as he walks past me, back toward his office, and I follow with my coffee while shoving a whole entire cake pop into my mouth, chewing quickly.
“I’ve got some news.”
“Okay.” I take a seat, watching him tuck his coat away and put on a scrub jacket that is in major need of ironing.
“I found someone to buy my practice.”
“That’s great.” I smile, feeling relieved. Gregory isn’t as young as he used to be, and we are constantly losing patients. People are fearful of him, with his thick glasses, shaky hands, and his old school attitude that no one really needs to be numbed before a procedure.
“He’s going to be here soon. I just wanted to give you a heads up.”
“You know I adore you, darlin’.”
“I know,” I concur. “The feeling is mutual.” I smile, and he smiles back then looks toward the door when the chime signals someone came in.
“That’s probably him,” he mumbles, buttoning the jacket up.
“Do you want me to send him back?”
“Yep, business as usual. He can talk while I get stuff set up,” he says, and I nod then head out toward the front of the office. As soon as I reach the reception desk, the smile on my face slides away and my steps falter. The guy from the coffee shop is standing with his hands on his hips, looking around the reception area with a look on his face that says it doesn’t meet his standards. Taking in his expression I can’t say I blame him for his distaste. The paint is peeling in spots and the furniture is worn and out dated. The whole office needs an update.
“Hi, can I help you?” I ask, and he turns at the sound of my voice. As soon as his eyes meet mine I see something flash behind his gaze, but it’s gone before I can read it.
“I’m here to see Gregory. He should be expecting me.”
Oh, God. This cannot be happening.
“He’s in the back. Let me take you to him.”
“You are?” he asks, raising a brow.
“Oh,” I let out a short laugh filled with nervousness, “Ashlyn.” I stick out my hand and his eyes drop to it before his fingers wrap around mine. A zing surges through my body, leaving me paralyzed.
“Huh?” I breathe, staring at him once more.
“Right.” I tug my hand free, shaking it out, then turn on my heels, hoping he’s following me, but I’m too afraid to check. Once I reach Gregory’s office, I point. “He’s right in there.” I wait for him to enter then reach in and close the door, wondering what the hell is wrong with me.
“Darlin’, Dillon would like to have a word with you,” Gregory says, and I look up from Jane, who is having her teeth cleaned, to find him standing in the doorway and pull my mask down.
“It won’t take long. I’ll take over for you until you get back.”
“Sure.” I give Jane’s shoulder a reassuring squeeze when her eyes get big and fill with fear. “I’ll be right back.” I slip off my gloves, tossing them in the trash, then take off my mask and head past Gregory and down the hall to his office, finding Dillon leaning against the desk.
“Gregory said you wanted to speak with me?”
“I do. Have a seat.” He nods toward one of the chairs. I really want to say something about him being bossy, but instead, I move to the chair and sit with my hands folded in my lap.
“I understand you’ve been working here for a while.”
“I have,” I confirm with a nod as he crosses his arms over his massive chest.
“With me taking over, things around
“Good,” I state, really meaning it. This office needs change if it’s going to last much longer. There are dental offices popping up all the time, taking business away from us.
“If you want to keep your current position, I’m going to need to re-interview you.”
His eyes scan the length of me slowly, making my skin feel suddenly too hot and too tight. “I don’t need pretty objects around to look at. I need someone who knows what they’re doing working with me, and I need to make sure you understand that.” Blinking, I stare at him wondering if I heard him correctly. “I’ll be in town this week. Hopefully that will be enough time for you to get a resume together.”
“Absolutely,” I grit out, faking a smile that says I really want to take his head off and use my four-inch heels as soccer cleats.
“Great, I’ll call the office and schedule a time for us to meet.”
“Great,” I agree, standing. “Is there anything else?”
“Not at this time,” he mumbles, watching me closely.
“It was nice meeting you,” I lie, while plotting his untimely death in my head.
“You too.” He lifts his chin, and I turn and walk out the door, wondering why the hell I thought he was attractive when he’s obviously a major dick.
“Hey, Mom,” I greet, tucking my phone between my ear and shoulder as I shove another dress and matching heels into my suitcase. I smile while I do, because Dillon will likely flip his lid when he sees my choices in attire for the weekend, but there is not one damn thing he can do about it since we won’t be in the office. So technically, his stupid rules don’t apply.
“Are you all packed?”
“Almost,” I sigh, looking at the clock and realizing I only have ten minutes to finish before my cab is set to arrive. I wasn’t planning on going to Vegas for the dental convention, but Dillon insisted he needed me with him, and like an idiot, I agreed.
“Is Dillon picking you up?”
“No, I’m meeting him there. His flight left a couple hours ago.”
“Oh.” She lets out a defeated breath. “Is it just you and him going?”
“I hope so. I swear if the Wicked Witch shows up, I’ll sell her on the strip to the highest bidder, or pay someone to take her out to the desert and drop her off,” I grumble, digging under my bed for my tickler—just in case of an emergency.
“Call me if you need an alibi.” She laughs, and I smile, shaking my head, because I know she’s not lying; she would find a way to be my alibi if something happened.
“I’ll call,” I mutter, heading to the bathroom so I can gather my shower supplies.
“Dillon’s so nice,” she says quietly, and I grit my teeth.
Dillon is annoying, bossy, and… fine, he can be nice sometimes. Plus, he’s uber-hot, but I hate him. Okay, I don’t hate him… but I really, really want to.
“How long are you going to be gone for?” she questions, breaking into my internal rant.
“Just four days. My flight gets back Monday night around seven.”
“Promise you’ll call everyday and check in.”
“I’ll call or text,” I agree, grabbing my cosmetics case from under the bathroom cupboard, filling it with all of my makeup.
“Please try and have some fun while you’re there. Make Dillon take you out to a nice dinner or dancing.”
Snorting, I mutter, “Sure, Mom. I love you. I’ll message when I land.”
“Okay, honey, and don’t forget your dad and I leave Monday for Florida and we’ll be gone for three weeks.”
“I haven’t forgotten. Have fun, kiss Grandma and Grandpa, and tell Dad I love him.”
“Will do,” she promises softly before I hang up and shove my cell into my back pocket. Looking at the clock I let out a quiet curse, getting my ass in gear to finish packing so I don’t miss my flight.
Dragging my bag behind me toward the reception desk, I’m stunned by how many people are here wearing nametags stating they’re attending the dental convention. Dillon mentioned this weekend is one of the largest gatherings of dentists in the United States, but sheesh, this is crazy. Finally making it to the front of the line, I smile at the cutie behind the desk.
“How can I help you, gorgeous?” he inquires once I’m close, and I set my purse on the counter and pull out my ID, handing it over to him.
“Hi, I have a reservation.” I yawn, covering my mouth while I listen to the sound of slot machines going off in the distance. I love the slots—or penny slots to be exact, since I’m too chicken to play the real ones.
“I’m sorry, but there is no reservation under your name. Are you sure you’re staying with us?” he asks, handing me back my ID, and I frown.
“I’m positive. It may be under my boss’ name, Dillon Keck. He made the reservations,” I say, and he starts to type again then smiles.
“Got it. I see here that Mr. Keck has already checked in and requested we give you your own key to the suite upon arrival.”
“Uh… what?” I blurt, feeling something close to dread fill my stomach. “Are you saying he’s staying in that room too?”
“Yes, it’s a suite with two kings.”
“I don’t care how many kings are in the room. It’s one room. Right?” I panic, leaning half over the counter, trying to see his computer screen. “Please tell me you have another room available?”
“I’m sorry, but we’re completely booked. This is one of our busiest weekends of the year.”
“Of course it is.” I shake my head. “Can you recommend another hotel nearby?”
“Sorry, but I really doubt anywhere else has an opening.”
“Oh man… oh man,” I breathe, squeezing my eyes closed. “It’s not a big deal. You can share a room with him. You’re an adult, and it’s not like you even like him, right?” I whisper, balling my hands into fists.
“Um, so do you want me to get you your key?” Opening my eyes, I nod once and his face softens. “Call down and check. Sometimes we have people call off their reservations last minute. You never know. Something might open up between tonight and tomorrow.”
“Sure, I’ll call,” I agree, wondering what the hell I did to deserve this kind of karma as I wait there for the room key.
Standing in the hall outside the door to our room ten minutes later, I pause with my key card in my hand, not sure if I should knock or just go in. I seriously cannot believe Dillon booked us in a room together. Actually, I can believe it, because I think he gets off on annoying me.
“Screw it. It’s my room too,” I mutter to myself, shoving the key into the card reader, watching the light turn green. Pushing down on the handle, I turn, using my shoulder to hold the door open while I drag my suitcase into the room, fighting with its weight as the door closes, trapping it half way through.
Turning my head, I look over my shoulder and almost fall on my ass when my eyes find Dillon standing in the middle of the room, completely naked, with a pair of boxers in his hand. His once long hair now short and wet, and a tattoo I didn’t know he had along his muscled ribs on his side.
“Oh, my God,” I breathe, turning quickly while attempting to shove my suitcase back out of the room. I totally did not need to know Dillon looks hotter without clothes than what my mind had made up, and believe me—my mind had unfortunately tormented me with thoughts of him naked many times.
“Christ, you’re a mess,” is muttered from behind me while a very strong arm wraps around my waist, lifting me off my feet, and my suitcase is tugged from my grasp. Before I know it, my suitcase and I are both in the room and the door closes with a soft hiss, trapping me inside.
“Please tell me you’re not still naked,” I whimper, squeezing my eyes closed, feeling his arm release me and his heat leave my back.
“I’m not naked.”
Opening my eyes, I clo
“Don’t tell me you’ve never seen a naked man before.” He chuckles, and the sound of his laughter makes my teeth grind and my hands drop to my sides.
“I don’t want to see you naked.” I glare at him while he buttons up a pair of dark slacks that fit him perfectly.
“You could have avoided all of this if you had knocked.”
“Really?” I raise a brow. “You could have ‘avoided all this,’” I make air quotes, “and gotten me a separate room.”
“They messed up the reservation.” He shrugs like it’s no big deal, and I feel my eyes narrow further.
“You should have called to tell me that, so I could have—”
“You would have avoided coming,” he cuts me off. “If you knew we were sharing a room, you would have found an excuse, and I need you with me this weekend.”
“Whatever,” I grumble, knowing he’s right. I would have canceled the trip if I knew we were sharing a room, even knowing that being here is a great way to build connections with other dentists. Especially, if I want to open my own practice in the future. “We need to set a few ground rules.” I cross my arms over my chest while I watch him walk across the room toward the bed near the window.
“Later.” He picks up a dark-blue, almost black, dress shirt and starts to put it on, which is unfortunate, because now that I’ve seen him shirtless, I’m thinking he should never cover up again.
“No, now,” I growl, annoyed with myself for being attracted to the dick.
“Later.” He holds my glare. “Right now, you need to get dressed. We have reservations in forty minutes.” He takes a seat on the side of the bed and starts to put on his shoes.
“What?” I look at the clock on the wall. It’s after seven at night and I’m exhausted. All I want to do is climb into bed, order room service, and watch some bad TV.
“We have a reservation in forty minutes,” he repeats, then stands. “The restaurant is twenty minutes away, so you have twenty minutes to get ready, unless you want to wear that.” He motions to my sweats, flip-flops, and hoodie. “I suggest you change.”
Until Ashlyn by Aurora Rose Reynolds / History & Fiction / Romance & Love have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes