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Authors: Liv Morris

Perfect Strangers

Perfect Strangers
Love in the City Short [2]
Liv Morris
Kiki Press (2012)

Kat Williams is a spirited young professional recovering from a painful breakup with her cheating ex-fiancé. Working late on New Year's Eve, she's one of the last employees to leave the office and hasn't heard about a snowstorm hitting the Chicagoland area.

Driving home on snow-covered roads, she loses control of her car and becomes stranded on Lake Shore Drive. Trapped by the storm's wrath, she's helped by perfect stranger Drew Michaels, a sweet and handsome cure for her broken heart.

From the Author

Installment #2 in the Love in the City short story series.

About the Author

A Contemporary Romance Best-selling Author

Perfect Strangers

A Love in the City Short

 

by
Liv
Morris

 

 

 

 
Copyright © 2012 Liv Morris

 
Digital Edition: December 2012

 
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are
products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance
to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely
coincidental.

 
All rights reserved. No part of this publication can be reproduced or
transmitted in any form or by any means without permission in writing from Author.

 
Cover image licensed by www.depositphoto.com, Copyright
Lomachevsky

 
Cover Photo design by Jada D’Lee

 
Edited by Dee Ward

 
eBook Design by AM Design Studios

 

 

Acknowledgments

Dedicated to innocent lives lost in the idyllic area of
Connecticut where I once lived.

 

Table of Contents

 
The Working
Girl
Danger Ahead
Cashmere
Knight
Warming Up
Hung By Her
Tongue
Unhappily
Rescued
Heating Up
True
Confessions
Watch Over Me
About the
Author

 

 
 

The Working Girl

 

My eyes are looking down as I type away furiously on my
keyboard. Just a few more numbers to enter and I’m finally going to shut this
computer down.

Ping, ping. Click, click.

After pressing “send” and emailing my yearend report, I’m
finished… Finally! Twirling around in my office chair, the walls of my little
cubicle blur before my eyes.

When the spinning stops, my chair faces the partitioned
offices of my neighbors. But something’s missing as I scan around me. There
doesn’t appear to be a single head peeking over the top of the other cubicles. It
looks like I’m the last holdout tonight. Which makes sense; it’s New Year’s Eve,
after all. Only crazy workaholics stay this late on a night made for the fun
type of alcoholic endeavors.

A door slams loudly in the distance. I jump out of my chair
turning quickly toward the noise once my feet land on the ground. Wobbling on
the heels of my boots for balance, my heart pounds away, startled. Someone in
the shadowy hallway moves in my direction. Thankfully, I recognize it’s my
stumpy, firecracker of a boss. He’s notorious for being quite the tyrant, but I’ve
found he’s really a softhearted man, at least where I’m concerned. He walks
toward me with a scowl on his face. His countenance is nothing new and a
welcome sight as I realize I’m not alone in this deserted building after all.

"Katrina Williams, what the hell are you still doing
here?" Mr. Stephens never yells but I know from his gruff tone and the use
of my full name that he means business. "Everyone was supposed to leave a
couple of hours ago. Gather up your coat and hightail it out of here."

"Okay, I’m leaving now,” I respond back to him. “I
needed to finish the yearend reports for Bentley. I'm gone all next week,
remember? And he wants the numbers by January 4
th
or else." I
cringe at the thought.

"Kat, it's New Year’s Eve for Christ's sake. And
haven’t you heard the news?”

I shake my head. I’ve been too busy with my report to even
care about what’s going on beyond my three partitioned walls.

“What’s up, Mr. Stephens?” I ask genuinely concerned when I
see the worried look on his face.

“For starters, Chicago is under a winter storm warning.”

“You’re kidding me? I thought we were supposed to get just
an inch or two.” I look out the glass walls of the building, but only see the
evening’s darkness reflected back at me.

“We’re way past a couple of inches already. The last report
I heard said the wind is really starting to pick up too.” Okay. He’s worrying
me a bit now. “So scoot and get started on that overdue vacation of yours.”

“Alright sir, I’m out of here.” I stand at attention after
pulling on my coat and give a little half-hearted salute. “Happy New Year, Mr.
Stephens.”

“Same to you, Kat. And please drive safely."

I nod and grab my purse out of my desk drawer but decide to
leave the laptop here. Out of sight means out of mind. At least that’s my plan
for the next few days.

I shout one last goodbye over my shoulder as I wind through
the labyrinth of office desks toward the elevator. I hear some cursing coming
from somewhere behind me. I laugh at Mr. Stephen’s silly mutterings. How his
sweet wife puts up with him and his sour moods is beyond me.

Standing in front of the elevator, my foot taps impatiently.
What’s taking so long? I push the down button a few more times for good
measure. Finally, the doors slide open and I practically jump in. As the cage
starts to descend, I do a little happy dance. My vacation has officially begun.
Yay, me!

I’m free for a whole seven days and plan on being a lazy
sloth. Days filled with wearing yoga pants and watching old Audrey Hepburn
movies are awaiting me. Oh, and ice cream. Lots and lots of chocolate ice
cream.

Unfortunately, the lazy times won’t start until tomorrow
because tonight I’m meeting my parents for a late dinner. It might be a bit of
a snoringly good time for New Year’s Eve, but it’s better than the alternative.
The usual New Year’s Eve party at which I’d make an appearance would likely be
attended by my ex-fiancé. He’s a super big jerk and I’m avoiding him at all
costs. Unless I have a GQ looking date by my side, that is. This would
counteract his Victoria’s Secret looking replacement for me.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to arrange even a semi-hot date
for tonight. Since breaking up with the ex, my dating life has amounted to a
couple blind dates that were orchestrated by my so-called friends. All of the
dates, utter disasters.

So, I’m off to meet my sweet parents, hoping they’ll have
mercy on me and not ask if I’m seeing anyone new. They know how hard the last
few months have been on me. It’s rather mind-blowing to come home early from
work and find your fiancé in bed with the hot neighbor down the hall…

Well, it definitely took the wind out of my sails. Now if I
could just find someone to re-inflate them. Hmmm… Maybe there will be a hot
waiter or bartender at the restaurant tonight. I could go for a little harmless
flirting. Of course, I’ll need at least two strong drinks to play that game.
Maybe even more with my parents supervising me.

God, I’m hanging out with my parents on New Year’s Eve. Could
I be any more lame? Probably not. At least I have my job to keep me busy. I’ve
thrown myself into advancing my career since my breakup, and my latest promotion
puts me way ahead of the ex-fiancé in the income department. Gloating isn’t my
normal style but right now, I can’t help it.

The elevator doors open to the garage parking in the lower
levels of the building. There are only two cars in view, Mr. Stephens’s and
mine. My sporty little SUV is all shiny and new. It was a little post-breakup
present to myself. It should be a big help with tonight’s weather, too.

Pulling out of the parking garage, I’m hit with a wall of
snow. The weatherman said flurries were likely this afternoon, but this is
close to being a complete whiteout. My palms are starting to sweat now.

I grip the steering wheel tightly and curse the white stuff
blowing around me. Dammit. I hate driving in the snow. One would think being
raised in Chicago would give me mad snow driving skills, but I have no love for
the snow. I’m always a ball of tension behind the wheel when it starts sticking
to the ground.

Since the roads are completely snow-covered and getting
treacherous I inch my way toward Lake Shore Drive. There’s a red light up ahead
and thankfully I ease into a skid-free stop and exhale. Removing my white
knuckled fingers from the steering wheel, I pull my phone out of my purse. I
need to make a quick call to my mother, let her know that I’m going be late. Real
late.

"Kat!” My mother’s voice is strained and anxious. “I’ve
been worried sick. Have you left work yet?”

"Yes, I'm just about to get onto Lake Shore. But I
wanted to give you a heads-up. The snow is crazy right now. Traffic is
horrible, so I'll probably be late."

"Oh, sweetie. I know how you hate driving in snow.
Maybe you should wait until the roads are better?"

"I'll be okay. This is Chicago, Mom. If there is one thing
they can do, it's clean up some snow. I'll be fine."

"Promise you’ll be careful and turn around if it gets
worse,” she begs.

“I promise. Please don’t worry. I’ll be okay.” I try to
comfort her and I think it works because she changes the subject.

“I baked one of your favorites today. Apple pie. As a matter
of fact, I’m going to thaw some steaks. We’ll just eat at home tonight.”

"Sounds good. I have no idea when I’ll get to the
house.” I see cars starting to move in front of me. “Oh, Mom, the light turned
green, better go."

"Bye, Kat. Drive safe, dear."

I say goodbye and end the call, as both of my hands are
needed on the steering wheel. My neck and shoulder muscles tense up as the car
moves forward. Hopefully, I can talk Mom into giving me a little shoulder rub
when I get home.

As my car inches along, my usual radio station breaks to broadcast
a Special Report. Chicago's mayor is asking, or more like pleading, that all
motorists clear the roads because the street plowing crews are making little
headway against the heavy snowfall. Add rush hour and New Year’s Eve travelers
to the mix, and the roads were totally jam-packed leaving a complete gridlock
across the city.

I just need to get home.
Home
. That’s my focus now.
Mom’s cooking and maybe some hot chocolate will be waiting for me. I imagine
Dad sitting in his comfy chair by a roaring fire. I can almost hear the wood popping
and feel the warmth from the flames.

Now I really do hear popping sounds as car horns blare all
around me. A bus has begun to swerve erratically in front of me and my foot
presses hard onto the brakes. I clutch the steering wheel for dear life as my
car skids toward the side of the still moving bus. It’s now sideways across all
the lanes of traffic on Lake Shore Drive.

 

 

Danger Ahead

 

As the bus fishtails in front of me, I get a sick feeling in
my stomach. The car next to me swerves out of the bus's way and ends up in the
ditch facing the opposite direction. I continue to slam on my brakes, but
realize a chain reaction wreck is about to take place and I’m going to be a
part of it.

The next few seconds transpire in slow motion. I pump my
car's brakes, turn the steering wheel as I've been taught, but still my car spins
out of control. It becomes clear that my fate is in someone else's hands, so I
close my eyes preparing for the inevitable crunch of metal. But it never comes.
Instead, I feel a thud against the passenger side door. My head keeps moving
and hits the window at my side, hard. Now my car has come to a halt, so I open
my eyes to see where I’ve had landed. My vision is a little blurry but
eventually focuses.

Somehow, I've ended up parallel to the bus with my car's
right side pressed against the back wheel well. I’m sure I have a large dent,
but the most important thing is I’ve thankfully survived to live another day. Putting
my car in park, I rest my forehead against the steering wheel and say a silent
prayer. Though my head hurts a little, my life was somehow spared.

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