Jake Bradford hated waiting for people. For the umpteenth time, he uncrossed his jean-clad legs, checked for the time on his wristwatch and ran his hands through his thick, black, curly hair.
She was forty five minutes late.
But what could be done? She was Stella Madsen, Senior Editor of Valerie times, one of the most renowned publishing companies in all of the United States.
And she was doing him a huge favor by accepting to meet him over a cup of stale coffee and doughnuts, at a local cafeteria, which was always scanty, due to poor customer service, and of course, tasteless foods.
He looked down at his blue covered manuscript on the worn out table and sighed. His reputation was at stake here, following the epic failure after the release of his third novel, two years ago.
According to the review of Daniel Edwardo of Library Journal, it was one of Bradford’s best books to date. But then, New York Times came along and used words like ‘racist and judgmental’ to sum it up.
For the first time in ten years, Jake doubted his writing capabilities. His image was tarnished; the press made sure of that. So he had gone into reclusion to heal his bruised ego. During that period, he worked as a literature teacher in a local high school.
Then his gloomy cloud received some sunlight, three months ago, when Stella Madsen visited the school, as part of her heroic deeds to inspire the youths. They had bumped into each other there, and she had recognized him almost immediately, and even had pity on him.
So here he was, three months later, in a grey coat and with great expectations. If anyone had the power to raise his fallen head, it was she.
So he waited.
Until he was distracted.
‘I’ll have a mango juice and hamburger,’ Raihana ordered at the counter impatiently.
She had been patiently waiting on the line for fifteen minutes, but the red-haired, freckled face girl at the front desk, blowing bubbles, was beginning to irritate her.
‘Well, you’re gonna have to wait your turn,’ Freckled face drawled indifferently.
Raihana stared at her in disbelief. Vladlena had warned her about this place, and she was damn right. But this was the only option she had, since she didn’t want to hit town yet, for the fear of bumping into anyone that recognized her.
‘You can shove it up your ass then!’ Raihana retorted and stormed off.
And bumped right into- she looked up to see- the most attractive man she had been this close to in a long while.
It startled her.
Since she had met Vladlena, she rarely appreciated masculinity. But this man right here, someone she barely knew, was about to change all that.