Book Three in The Holiday Series.
This isn’t supposed to be something serious. It’s meant to be one night. One perfect night. But one night leads to two. And two leads to breakfast. And breakfast leads to…
He’s the perfect holiday romance. No expectations. No pressure.
Until I accidentally meet his mother. Suddenly, everything changes. Not only does his mother find us in an awkward situation but he is not the man I thought he was. He’s actually a Duke and his mother thinks I should be his Duchess.
Me? A Duchess? Does that even make sense?
Juicy Mangos is a holiday romance and can be read as a standalone. Although, once you're done with this one, you might want to check out the rest of the Hanleigh's London Saga.
‘Tonight is going to be amazing!’ My best friend is almost giddy with anticipation. I’m exhausted, my body aching from our plane ride over the Atlantic. All I want is to check into our hotel and crash out, preferably with a black and white movie and a tub of ice cream.
Alice has other plans, though.
I want to remind her that we’re going to be here for six weeks, but I know that she’s carved out every waking moment of those six weeks. She has written a crazy itinerary for our holiday.
‘Can’t we start all the holiday stuff tomorrow?’ I ask, even though I know it’s pointless.
‘No. Tonight we’re going out!’ Her excitement is tangible and if I was less tired, I’d easily go along with her plans. I usually do. She’s never had to work particularly hard to convince me. Mostly because we’re guaranteed to have a great time. Except when I’m this tired. I’m a grouchy bitch when I miss even an hour of my required sleep. A fact she knows full well.
She grabs my hand. ‘Come on! You know you want to.’
The taxi we’re sitting in comes to a stop outside a swanky hotel and I have to admit that Alice has outdone herself. When she suggested a graduation holiday, I didn’t need convincing to come to London with her. After four years of college together, we’ve become practically inseparable. She said she needed a little time away to plan her next steps. Unlike me, she has no idea what she wants to do with her life. I’ve always known what I wanted to do. Ever since I was a little girl.
We pull our cases behind us as we enter the hotel. Approaching the reception desk, a sudden burst of energy runs through me. All the tiredness from the flight almost magically leaving me. I’d like to say it’s because it’s finally hit me that I’m in London.
But that’s not it. It’s him.
His fingers are tapping on the desk as he waits to be checked in. My mouth dries and I swipe my tongue across my lower lip as I look him over, my eyes roving from the top of his head all the way to his feet.
He’s wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and yet somehow he looks anything but casual. It’s something about the way he holds himself. Tension radiates from him. Power too.
Alice is talking away about our plans for tonight, but I’m not paying attention. I’m too busy watching him, cataloging details of his appearance and mapping his every move. His movements are so precise, nothing done without thought. His head lowers slightly as he checks his watch.
I catch my breath. Not that I’m sure why. I haven’t even seen his face and yet I feel abuzz with excitement.
The man glances at us, and I register his impatience. He’s not used to being kept waiting, that much is obvious. His eyes are dark as his gaze lands on me. For a second, I think he might say something.
My body tightens with anticipation.
‘Mr Armstrong,’ the woman working the desk says, forcing him to look away, ‘there’s been a bit of a problem with your booking.’
‘A problem?’ His voice. It floors me. And it’s not just because he has a British accent—although that definitely helps. It’s the way his voice seems to drip honey, even those two words ‘a problem’ sounding insanely seductive. I wonder if he even knows that he sounds like he’s offering the woman a good fuck.
‘We’re double booked,’ she explains awkwardly. She’s blushing. She wants him. And I think I might hate her for it.
‘Right. Do you have another room?’ That honey rich voice now gives off waves of authority, boredom and frustration. And he’s still not looking at me! I want him to look back. I want—hell, I don’t know quite what I want, but I wouldn’t mind offering to share my bed with him.
‘There’s a room on the fourth floor. It’s a lot smaller than the one you booked, though.’
‘It’ll do.’ He’s clearly not pleased with the room change, but he’s in no way impolite. ‘Thanks for your help.’
The woman hands him a key card and then he’s walking away. I watch him go, my gaze dropping to his pert arse.
‘I wouldn’t say no,’ Alice says under her breath.
I don’t bother to tell her that I don’t disagree. The man is perfection. I’d have to be a fool not to notice. But he doesn’t look back. Not even for a second. He strides away and pressed the button for the elevator and then not thirty seconds later, he’s gone.
With a shrug, I try to push him from my mind. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of sexy British guys here. We’re in London after all.
I stand to the side while Alice sorts out our reservation, ignoring the butterflies in my stomach when the woman tells us that our rooms are on the fourth floor. I wonder if I’ll see him again.
Not that it matters. He’s just one guy—one insanely hot guy. And I’m not looking for a holiday romance. A one-night stand or two perhaps, but nothing more than that.
‘I’ll have someone bring up your bags,’ the woman says, and then we’re walking over to the elevator that the man—Mr Armstrong—just left on.
‘So what’s on the itinerary for tonight?’ I ask, my lethargy suddenly returning.
‘There’s a restaurant on the river that I’m dying to try, and then there’s this bar by the same owners that is supposed to be amazing,’ Alice begins. Before long, she’s forgetting to breathe as she runs into a long description of some bar called the Kent Mockery. But I’m no longer really listening. I’m too busy imagining that the sexy man from downstairs might be in the very next room to mine.
But that’s just a silly fantasy. Wishful thinking. That’s my biggest problem. I live in a fantasy world most of the time. It makes for being a good author, but it really isn’t conducive to actually living my life.
Alice suggests taking a quick nap before dinner, and I’m extremely grateful. I don’t think I could handle tonight without at least an hour of sleep.
Once Alice has left for her own room, I throw myself down on my bed, squeezing my eyes closed only to open them again. With a sigh, I reach for my bag and pull out my notepad and pen. I jot down the line that just came to mind—thinking that will be enough to clear my mind so that I can sleep—but no, after that line, a second follows and a third until I’ve filled almost four pages and there’s a knock at my door.
I groan, the words I was just thinking falling away like sand between my fingers.
Pushing up off the bed, I go to let Alice back in.
‘Time to wake up, sleepyhead,’ she says brightly as she pushes past me. She gives me one look before sighing loudly. ‘You didn’t sleep, did you?’
‘At least tell me you wrote something worth the grouch you’re going to become tonight.’
She grabs the notepad off the bed and begins leafing through it.
‘Not bad,’ she says, nodding her head. ‘You described him perfectly.’
I blush when I realise she knows I’ve just been writing about the man we saw downstairs.
‘So what is he?’ she asks.
‘A vampire, werewolf… A monster, perhaps?’
I laugh at that. She knows me so well. I write paranormal romance. At least, I’ve written one paranormal romance novel. And now, of course, it’s expected that all my characters will be mythological beings.
‘Haven’t decided,’ I tell her honestly.
‘Hopefully we’ll see him again and then maybe you can ask him,’ she teases.
‘I couldn’t do that!’
‘Dunno. Just would.’
I close my eyes, picturing him again. ‘He’s a god. Definitely a god.’