Blush for Me (Fusion #3) read online free by Kristen Proby
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Blush for Me (Fusion #3)
Author: Kristen Proby

Chapter One

~Kat~

“So, it was just a kiss,” Riley, my best friend, says from the driver’s seat next to me. “And it wasn’t a particularly good one at that.”

“Dump him now,” I reply with a gusty breath, wringing my hands in my lap. “If he’s a shitty kisser, it only goes downhill from there. Trust me on this.”

“But the conversation was good . . .”

Sweet Jesus.

“Seriously. If there’s no spark, move on. The spark is out there somewhere.”

“You’re right.” She sighs and takes the exit off the freeway, following the signs to PDX. “How are you doing?” She glances at me and frowns. “You’re sweaty.”

“Am not,” I reply. Yes, I am. So damn sweaty.

“When was the last time you flew?” Riley asks.

“I’ve never flown,” I reply, and squirm in my seat. Why doesn’t it take longer to get to the damn airport?

“Seriously?” She changes lanes, and there it is. The airport. Straight ahead. “I know you hate it, but I had no idea that you’ve never flown.”

Fucking hell.

“I’ve told you, I don’t fly.”

“It’s only a two-hour flight, at the most, down there.”

“Two hours too long,” I mutter, and take a deep breath. Shit, I’m going to pass out. I can’t see. I can’t hear anything.

“Open your eyes,” Riley says with a laugh. “I’ve never seen you like this.”

“I’ll be okay.” It’s only the five millionth time I’ve said that this morning. “I don’t really have to go to this conference, do I? I mean, I have plenty of friends who will be there and they can tell me all about it when it’s done.”

“You need to go, Kat,” Riley says. “You’ll learn a lot, and meet new people, and get to tour vineyards and drink wine that you love.”

“I can do that in Washington, and drive there.”

“You’re not a wimp,” Riley says as she pulls up to the departures. “You’ve got this. You have plenty of time to stop by a bar once you’re through security to have a drink to calm your nerves.”

“You’re not coming with me?” I stare at Riley in shock.

“You know I’m not coming to Napa Valley with you.”

“No, to the gate.”

Riley laughs and I want to smack her in the head with my handbag.

“No, Kat. We haven’t been allowed to do that since 9/11.”

“See? One more reason that I shouldn’t go.”

“Get out of my car.” Riley climbs out of the car to retrieve my suitcase for me.

“I’ve never known you to be this mean.”

“You’re going to have a great time.” She hugs me close. “There are lots of signs and people to ask if you get lost in there, but it’s not a big airport, so you should be fine. Call me when you get there.”

“If I get there,” I say, and sigh deeply. “Why do I feel like I’m never going to see you again?”

“Because you’re being dramatic,” she replies, and smiles brightly. “Have fun!”

And with that, she waves and drives away and I’m left alone to figure out this airport hell.

But Riley was right. Checking in and retrieving my luggage. Finding security is easy.

Getting frisked by the TSA guy would have been more fun if he’d looked like Charlie Hunnam, but then again, everything would be more fun with Charlie.

I follow the signs, find my gate, and am pleasantly surprised to find a bar directly across from it.

There is a God.

But once at the bar, I’m just too nervous to drink.

That’s a first.

Who in the hell gets too nervous to drink? This girl, apparently.

So I wander back to the gate and pace, dragging my small black hard-sided suitcase with red cherries on it behind me. People glance my way, but I ignore them. I’m used to it. You don’t dress the way I do, covered in sleeve tattoos, and not get looks.

Finally, my flight is called and they begin boarding. Before I know it, I’m sitting on the plane, three rows from the front—if I’m going to die, it’s going to be in first class—in the aisle seat.

“Hello,” the man next to me says. I glance his way, taking in his light brown hair and green eyes, and if we were anywhere but here, I would totally flirt with him.

But we’re on a motherfucking airplane.

“Hi,” I reply, and swallow hard. The flight attendant asks us if we’d like anything to drink before we take off, but I shake my head no and stare at the pilot sitting in the cockpit. “Don’t they close that door?”

“Right before we take off,” my travel companion says. I’m surprised that I spoke aloud. “Hey, are you okay?”

“Fine.”

He’s silent for a moment and I keep staring at the pilot. I want to march up there and tell him to make sure that we get there in once piece. What are his credentials, anyway? I want to see his license, and a few letters of recommendation wouldn’t hurt either.

“I’m Mac.” I slide my eyes to him and nod, then whip my gaze back to the front.

“Kat.”

“Have you flown before, Kat?”

“No.” I swallow hard and tighten my hands into fists.

“Okay, take a deep breath,” he says. He’s not touching me, which is good because I’d have to break his nose, and this is already stressful enough. But his voice is soothing. “Good. Take another one. Miss, can we get a bottle of water, please?”

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