From New York Times Bestselling author Lauren Blakely, comes THE ONLY ONE, a sexy new standalone novella in her One Love Series, brought to you by 1,001 Dark Nights! Be sure you grab your copy and heat up your holiday!
The clock mocks me. As the minute hand ticks closer to eight in the evening, I wrack my brain to figure out if I got the time wrong. Maybe we picked two. Maybe he said ten. Maybe we’re meeting tomorrow. My chest twists with a desperate anxiety as I toy with the band on my watch. But as the fountains of Lincoln Center dance higher under the waning light, I’m sadly certain there was no error in communication. The only error was one of judgment. Mine. Thinking he’d show. Drawing a deep, frustrated breath, I peer at my watch once more, then raise my face, searching the crowds that wander past the circular aquatic display at Manhattan’s epicenter for the performing arts. This fountain is so romantic; that’s why we chose it as the place to meet again. One week later. Foolishly I hunt for the amber eyes and dark wavy hair, for the lean, tall frame, for that mischievous grin that melts me every time. I listen for the sound of him amidst the melody of voices, wishing to hear his rise above the others, calling my name, apologizing in that sexy accent of his for being late. My God, Gabriel’s accent was a recipe for making a young woman weak in the knees. That was what he had done to me. The man melted me when I first met him last month in Barcelona at the tail end of my summer of travels across Europe. When I close my eyes and float back in time, I hear that delicious voice, just a hint of gravel in his tone, and a whole fleet of butterflies chase each other in my belly at the resurgence of that faraway romantic dream. I open my eyes, trying to blink away the inconvenient intrusion of memory. I should go. It’s clear he’s not coming tonight. But, just in case I mixed up the times, maybe I’ll give him one more minute. One more look. One more scan of the crowd. I let the clock tick past eight. I still don’t see him. I’ve been here for more than two hours sitting on the black marble edge of the fountain. Scouring the corners of Lincoln Center. Peering left, then right down Columbus. Circling, like an animal at a zoo—pathetic modern-day female waiting for male to stay true to his word.