Lost in Amber
True love should always come with a convenient expiry date.
Amber O’Hara loves her life as a single woman. She does what she wants, when she wants and never answers to anyone. And when she wants someone to do? As far as Amber is concerned, that’s what friends are for.
After a childhood marred by casual neglect, Lincoln Zane craves a deeper connection – in life and relationships. He’s not about to settle for Amber’s offer to be friends with benefits, but he will counter with an offer of his own. He’ll give her the freedom from commitment she desires, but in return he’ll demand she not shy away from the intensity of their passion for the short time they’ll be together. After all, love doesn’t have to last forever to be real.
In Lincoln’s proposal, Amber sees her chance to experience the depth of a ‘real’ relationship, without compromising her future. It’s a temptation too great to resist. But as the bond between them grows, they discover love doesn’t always play by the rules.
Now they’re lost in each other, will they ever find their way back to freedom?
Lincoln wasn’t looking around the apartment or taking in the amazing view of Melbourne, visible through the glass wall of the living room. Instead, his gaze had settled on her and showed no signs of moving. “Who the hell are you?” To Amber, it felt like more than a simple request for her name. He was asking for everything about her. He wanted to know her inside and out. Get deep into her brain and dig around until he knew all her secrets.
She dismissed the ridiculous notion. He was just a man, and a horny one no doubt. Maybe he thought playing the ‘you’re such a mystery and I must figure you out’ card would be a good way to get into her pants. He wasn’t the first to try such a lame tactic. Sometimes she even allowed it to work, if it pleased her to do so. Though, she had to admit, this was the first time it had actually made her knees quiver.
She stood up straighter. “My name is Amber O’Hara,” she said with a straightforwardness intended to put a quash on the whole ‘mystery’ thing—quivering be damned. “I’m Julia’s friend and I work for Derek and Scott as an accountant.” She extended her hand in polite greeting. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Lincoln Zane.” There, mystery solved.
When he took hold of her hand, she gripped him firmly and gave his hand a few good pumps before letting go. He continued to stare at her, only now with his trademark smirk in place, as if her attempt at civility amused him.
“The whole staring thing makes you seem creepy,” she said after a moment. “You realise that, right?”
He grinned. “Yeah, sorry. I’m trying to figure out if there’s more to you than meets the eye.”
Amber glanced down at herself, a vague sense of indignation stirring. “Is there something wrong with what meets the eye?”
He crossed his arms over his chest and narrowed his eyes at her playfully. “I’m pretty sure women like you always know exactly how gorgeous you are.”
“That’s true,” she replied, giving one shoulder a practised shrug. She didn’t need some man to hand her compliments to know she looked good tonight. “What else do you think you know about women like me? Going only by what meets the eye, of course.”
“Of course.” He raised one hand and tapped a finger against his lips as he raked the length of her with his gaze. “Let’s see. You were running late tonight, but my guess is you had at least two hours to get ready. And that purse over your shoulder contains the latest smart phone, a tired credit card, and about a hundred other necessities you can’t possibly get through the evening without.” His head tilted in question. “How am I doing so far?”
“Wow, you’re pretty good at this,” she said, her words drowning in sarcasm. “Actually, I had three hours to get ready, but I couldn’t decide what to wear. And I do use my credit card for everything. It gives me points, which I use to shop for extra necessities to put in my purse. However, my phone is at least two years old. It’s practically a relic in modern terms. Therefore, technically, you lose.”
“Technically,” he repeated with a laugh. When he spoke again, his voice was low and dark. “So, what you’re telling me is, you’re nothing more than what you seem. A party girl, through and through.”
She moved closer, refusing to cower from his judgemental attitude, and looked up at him with wide eyes. “What can I say, Linc? You nailed me.” He choked on her choice of words and she gave a quiet chuckle, enjoying his discomfort. “At least my life is one hell of a good time,” she added as she stepped away. “Can you say the same?”