“Ellie Cahill is definitely one to watch!” raves bestselling author Cora Carmack, and this steamy, upbeat modern romance about connecting in all the best ways proves it once again.
Clementine Daly knows she’s the black sheep. Her wealthy, powerful family has watched her very closely since she almost got caught in an embarrassing scandal a few years ago. So when Clementine’s sent on a mission to live up to the Daly name, politely declining isn’t an option. Of course, the last thing she does before boarding the plane is to grab a stranger’s phone by mistake—leaving the hunky journalist with herphone. Soon his sexy voice is on the line, but he doesn’t know her real name, or her famous pedigree—which is just the way Clementine likes it.
Despite all the hassles, Justin Mueller is intrigued to realize that the beautiful brown-eyed girl he met at the airport is suddenly at his fingertips. They agree to exchange phones when they’re both back in town, but after a week of flirty texts and wonderfully intimate conversations, Justin doesn’t want to let her go. The only problem? It turns out that Clemetine has been lying to him about, well, everything. Except for the one thing two people can’t fake, the only thing that matters: The heat between them is for real.
“What the hell?”
Honor looked over. “What’s wrong?”
“My phone is going completely nuts. It sent me a whole bunch of text messages from myself. Look at this.” Was it possible to get a virus or a worm on a phone? And when had it happened? I held it out.
Honor squinted at it, then looked up at me, eyes going wide. “Oh shit.”
“That’s not your phone.”
“What!” I pulled the screen back to look at it myself.
Below my number the content of the messages was only partially visible, but it wasn’t hard to figure out.
+1 (847) 555-2015
YOU HAVE MY PHONE! PLEASE COME BACK TO . . .
+1 (847) 555-2015
WHO IS THIS? I HAVE YOUR PHONE . . .
I thumbed the lock open and had to search frantically for the messages app. It wasn’t where I kept mine on the screen. When I found it, it had the number 15 in a little red circle. The phone app showed another red circle, this one with the number 6.
Oh double fuck.
I said it out loud. “This is definitely not my phone.”
“I already said that. So whose is it?”
I scrolled through the increasingly frantic messages from my number. Whoever had my phone didn’t give a name.
I tapped into the phone app and selected my number. Tension drew me up high in my seat, stomach flopping like a fish, and all traces of drowsiness gone.
No no no no no no no, this could not be happening to me.
Honor must have grabbed the wrong phone at the airport!
Who the hell had my phone?
God, it could have been anywhere. It could have been on its way to Katmandu by now!
The sound of my own voice startled me. “Hi, you’ve reached Clementine. Please leave a message.”
As the automated voice gave me my options at the end, I realized I had no idea what to say. But it was too late to think about that now. Beep.
“Um, hi. I’m the person who has your phone. I am so sorry. I don’t know how this happened, um . . . I’m, um . . . please call me so we can figure out what to do.”
When I disconnected, I shot Honor a look of death. “You took the wrong phone!”
“It was the only one there!” he protested.
“Obviously not.” My hands curled tight around the strange phone as I fought the urge to punch him in the shoulder.
“I swear to god, Clementine, it was the only one there. You left it plugged in; I grabbed it, end of story.”
“Then how did this happen?”
“How should I know?”
Serena the flight attendant appeared in the aisle looking concerned. “Is everything all right here?”
“Fine,” Honor snapped.
“Don’t be a dick. It’s not her fault.”
“Well, it’s not my fault,” he said.
“Well, it sure as hell isn’t mine!” I said through gritted teeth then looked at Serena. Time to channel my grandmother. I gave her my best Miriam Schulman-Daly patrician smile. “Everything’s fine. Just a little problem with my phone. Thank you.”
The pilot hit the brakes as we arrived at our gate and the plane filled with the metallic chatter of seatbelts releasing. Serena hurried back to the head of the plane and Honor got up quickly, like he was determined to be the first one off. I guessed he was avoiding talking about this any longer on the plane.
Probably for the best. Because I was going to kill him after all.
He seemed determined to stay ahead of me the whole time, using his longer legs to eat up the terminal all the way to the escalators to baggage claim. I was out of breath by the time I got on behind him, but that wasn’t going to stop me. Oh no. The longer I had to think about this, the madder I was getting. I poked my brother in the back of his head.
“I swear to god, Honor, if we weren’t surrounded by witnesses—”
He turned, looking sullen. “It’s possible there were two phones plugged into the outlet, okay?”
“Uh, ya think?”
Just then the phone started vibrating in my hand.
It was a call, and it was coming from my phone.
“Oh god, it’s him—her—whoever.” I didn’t even know since I hadn’t listened to the no doubt angry voicemails. The texts had been enough.
Was I about to get screamed at?
“Answer it!” Honor exploded.
I swiped the phone to life. “H-hello?”
“Hello?” A masculine voice replied and I practically jumped out of my skin. There was a fifty-fifty chance it would be a man answering, genius.
“H-hi,” I stammered. “I’m the idiot who took your phone.” Probably best to approach this humbly.
He sighed, making static in my ear. “Hi there. Thank you for calling.”
“I’m very sorry,” I said.
“Yeah, me, too.” He sounded resigned. “What are we going to do?”
“Um . . .” I had no idea. What were the options, even? Probably the easiest thing to do would be for me to get a new phone, disable mine remotely, and import my number to the new phone, but that would leave this stranger with a dead phone and I’d still have his. Now theoretically, he could do the same but that presumed he could get a new phone where he was. And that he had the cash to do it.
“I could FedEx it to you, I guess,” I offered. My heart quailed at the thought of trusting my precious phone to any kind of delivery service.
“Meanwhile we’re both phoneless while they’re in transit.”
“Right.” I followed Honor to the baggage claim area on autopilot. All my concentration was on the phone.
“And that assumes that they don’t lose our packages.”
“Yeah,” I said, sounding much cooler than I felt. “Not my favorite option . . .”
“Mine either . . .” the voice said softly. “The thought of never seeing my phone again hurts in a way that I’m a little embarrassed to admit.”
I laughed, glad to hear I wasn’t alone. Though probably for way different reasons. “Okay, so what then?”
“Where do you live?”
“Chicago. But I’m in California until Friday.”
“You’re from Chicago?” he asked. “So am I. But I’m in Florida until Friday, too.”
“So, do we wait until we’re both back and trade?”
He made a soft whimpering sound. “I guess we have to.”
“I promise you I’ll guard it with my life until I get back,” I said.
“I’ll take good care of yours, too.”
Ellie Cahill is a freelance writer and also writes books for young adults under the name Liz Czukas. She lives outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her husband, son, and the world’s loudest cat.