by: Sylvie Fox
Series: L.A. Nights
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Penner Publishing
Warning: One kiss can lead to another...
Quirky cartoonist, Zoe Andreis puts her life on hold, flying back to the States to care for her ailing father. Spending her post-college years gallivanting all over Europe while capturing her adventures in comic form, Zoe grapples with the notion of being shackled to one city.
When she encounters Max Kiss, Zoe's true adventures begin. Although Max would love to branch out and take carefree and crazy chances of his own, he too is tied to LA, tending to his aging father. Stirred by Zoe's zest for life, Max longs for a future full of love and spontaneity.
While they struggle to find balance between caring for their parents and living a life of their own, Zoe and Max form a strong and sensual bond. When tough challenges surface, Zoe and Max search for a way to have the life they want without feeling the burden of guilt. Can they find of balance of duty and excitement while building a future together?
She pulled her phone from her purse and tapped furiously to bring up the route information before she missed her stop. “I have to get off at Clark Street. Can you let me know where that is?”
A tanned hand bent a microphone, his blunt-tipped finger beat against the mesh top. The sound reverberated through the bus, penetrating through the silicone in her ears.
“Gotcha covered, Wanderlust.”
How did he…? She looked down at her T-shirt for the second time that morning.
The shirt. The cartoon tee was the only clean thing from her hastily packed duffle. She hated the shirt and the compromise of principles it represented. But until she bought some kind of laundry detergent and collected even more quarters, it had the single most important quality in a shirt—it was clean. While the bus lumbered through the heavy rush hour traffic, Zoe spied a patch on a navy blue jacket hung on the back of the driver’s seat. It matched the patch on his uniform blue short-sleeved shirt: 27912.
“Thanks, two seven nine one two,” she said and jammed the ear buds in tighter.
When the podcast went quiet twenty minutes later, she glanced at the driver again. As she got closer to the stop her app promised was close to the hospital, she wondered if 27912 had a name. He was the first driver she’d seen this week who hadn’t been on the verge of retirement. Cocking her head to peer at him while not looking like she was spying, Zoe guessed his age at something south of fifty. Grunts of protest filled the air when the bus jolted to a stop. She looked through the mammoth windshield to see a sporty little luxury car zip across three lanes before making a left and disappearing. Zoe looked from the wisp of the car’s exhaust to the bus driver. His hazel eyes didn’t blink. He turned the enormous wheel, pushed at the gas and steered back into the choked traffic.
Doing quick math in her head, Zoe figured she’d ridden on hundreds of busses over the last ten years. The blue and yellow buses in Athens with the destinations all in Greek. She laughed as she remembered that her ‘It’s all Greek to me’ panel was still one of the most popular.
The bright purple and turquoise buses in Istanbul. And the myriad of blue buses in Budapest. In all that time, she’d never noticed a bus driver before. Had never seen anyone nearly as young as she. But they couldn’t turn into old guys overnight, she reasoned. Maybe she’d been too worried about getting lost in whatever foreign city she called home to notice their age.
Young ones must exist in the wild and she’d spotted one. Most bus drivers of her admittedly hazy memory were a blur of predominantly men, and the occasional woman, whose job it was to get her where she was going. Zoe shook her head, clearing it of thoughts about destination. The last thing she wanted to think about was where she was going.
The driver glanced right at the side mirror. He had those light yellow-green eyes she’d seen often in Eastern Europeans and middle easterners. Out of habit, Zoe smiled at 27912. She made a point of being nice to people doing hard jobs. Harder than hers anyway. Which was about ninety-nine percent of the population. She sat down all day at her big desk surrounded by pencils, fountain pens, and thin paint brushes and tried to find the humor in her everyday life. It sometimes made her brain hurt. But it was by no means digging ditches or driving a bus.
The closer she got to Cedars, the more the worry set in. Papa hadn’t been himself since the moment she’d landed from her sixteen-hour flight and schlepped her large nylon backpack, not to her brother’s new house, but straight to the hospital. She’d been grateful that Papa hadn’t been on the deathbed her brother had intimated over Skype.
The presence of his pale face and the absence of his usual acerbic wit had been disconcerting. It was then, for the first time, she thought about the possibility that her father, a fixture in her life, might not live forever. Losing her mother to cancer had been hard enough. Adult orphan wasn’t a moniker she wanted to carry.
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Sylvie Fox is the author of smart women’s fiction. Her compelling stories are boldly told, designed to keep readers turning the pages. Whether you’re reading romantic women’s fiction or legal thrillers, written as Aime Austin, she wants you to enjoy the heroine’s journey.
She splits her time between Los Angeles and Budapest, where she enjoys yoga, knitting, farm-to-table cooking, and life with her husband and son. When she’s not writing, her nose is stuck in a book.
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