Home > Collide (Collide #1)(4)

Collide (Collide #1)(4)
Author: Gail McHugh

On her way out the door, Antonio stopped her with a to-go box filled with food. “Emily, my delivery boy quit,” he said, his eyes thick with worry. “Do you head in the direction of the Chrysler Building?”

“I don’t, but it’s only a few blocks away, right?”

“Yeah, it’s right on Lexington and 42nd.”

“Do you need me to take that there?” Emily asked, pointing to the box he was holding.

“Yes, please.”

Emily shrugged. “Not a problem. I’ll walk it over and just take a cab home from there.”

“Thank you so much.” He handed her the box, letting out a sigh of relief. “I’ll throw a little extra cash into your pay next week.”

“No need, Antonio. I like sightseeing anyway.”

“Nah, nah, nah, I insist. We’ll see you tomorrow, Country.”

Laughing, Emily shook her head, amused at her new nickname. She rocked onto the rounded heels of her waitressing shoes and stepped out into the hot, humid air. June in New York was undoubtedly warmer than Colorado. She made her way through the city wide-eyed, still in awe at the fact that she lived there.

The air was thick with the bustle of traffic and the aromas from food vendors’ carts. She was adjusting to New York better than she had anticipated. From the vibrating subway underneath her feet to the mixed array of faces, everything about the city intoxicated her mind. It was sensory overload at its finest. Three short blocks later and quite sweaty from the walk, she arrived at her destination.

Though his father had told him stories about it happening, until that fateful afternoon, Gavin Blake had believed that love at first sight didn’t exist. Even though he had the full attention of the blonde sitting at the information desk, his eyes locked on to Emily when she walked in. He took in the way she smiled as the security guard approached her. Her beauty instantly hit him. But more so, he felt drawn to her as if a rope bound his waist, and she was on the other end pulling him to her. Blinking twice, he shook his head at the magnetic connection.

“Miss, can I help you with something?” the security guard asked.

“Hi, I’m making a delivery,” Emily replied, glancing at the receipt. “Floor sixty-two.”

Before the security guard could answer, Gavin called out from across the lobby. “I can take her up, Larry.”

The receptionist, who had gained Gavin’s attention prior to Emily walking in, pouted her lips as he walked away.

Emily’s gaze slid over to where the voice came from. Her breath hitched at the sight of the tall, devastatingly beautiful man who was making his way toward her. She felt thrown off kilter as though her equilibrium had skewed itself all over the building. Her eyes raked across his inky, black hair cut short and styled in a slightly haphazard way. He had breathtakingly chiseled features; his mouth seemed to have been painstakingly carved to perfection by an expert sculptor. Her eyes flicked down to what appeared to be a toned body hidden beneath his gray three-piece suit. Trying to make it seem as though she was unbewildered by his insane male hotness, she turned her attention to the beefy-looking security guard.

“Are you sure, Mr. Blake? I can show her up.”

“I’m very sure, Larry. I was on my way up anyway.” Gavin turned to Emily. “Let me help you with that,” he said, gesturing to the box.

His voice was as smooth as brandy and made Emily’s stomach flutter. She tried to find her words. “It’s alright, really. I’m okay holding it.”

“I insist,” Gavin smiled. “Besides, it’s an old Boy Scout thing.”

Forget about the charm that bled from his pours or his piercing blue eyes, his dimpled smile alone had Emily instantly convinced that unlimited amounts of women dropped their panties for him on his command.

Daily.

Reluctantly, she handed him the box and tried to play cool. “Okay, well, since you put it that way, you’ve earned your merit badge for the good deed.”

“Why thank you. It’s been a while since I’ve earned one,” he laughed. Turning in a leisurely pivot, he led the way to the elevators.

Emily followed and caught a glimpse of herself against the brushed aluminum doors. She knew that she looked like a shitty, sweaty mess just coming from work, and all she seriously wanted to do was run away when the doors opened.

“After you,” Gavin said with a smile.

As Emily walked in, Gavin’s eyes devoured her auburn, silken hair that fell just above her waist. He had never favored a woman in a ponytail—nonetheless one that looked like she had just been in a food fight—but to him, in that moment, she was the most magnificent creature he’d ever laid eyes on. Between her heart-shaped face, petite coke-bottle physique, and the smell of her perfume wafting in the air around them, Gavin found it hard to catch a decent breath. Stepping in, he tried to ignore his heightened awareness of her—but it was no use.

“Looks like Armando’s been replaced?” he said, pressing for the sixty-second floor.

Emily tried not to fidget as she met his gaze. Being this close to him only made her realize exactly how gorgeous he really was. He was a potent force in such a small confined space. She parted her lips to accommodate her fast breathing. “Armando?”

“Yeah, Armando,” Gavin smirked, looking down to the box of food. “Bella Lucina. My office orders from there almost weekly. Armando’s usually the delivery boy.”

“Oh, of course, but I’m not the new delivery boy. I mean, I work there. Well, obviously, I do since I have the uniform on, and obviously, I’m a girl, not a boy.” Emily cringed, knowing just how asinine she sounded. Drawing in a deep breath, she started over. “I waitress there; my boss asked me to drop off the food on my way home because the delivery boy quit.” She started to blush and wanted to drop dead right there. Literally. Drop. Dead. “Really, I can articulate educated complete sentences.”

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