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British Invasion

Chapter One

British-Invasion

British Invasion

Juliette Duval entered the VIP lounge to the site of her co-worker Tracy waving her hand like a flag in a stiff breeze as she signaled her to move faster.

“Get in here, quick!”

Juliette stepped behind the bar and glanced around. It was busy but not outrageously so, nothing to sound the alarm bells. Which could only mean . . .

“Hottie alert?”

“Major.” Tracy nodded toward the left-hand side of the room. “Alongside the windows, all the way in the back.” She sighed as if biting into a chocolate-covered strawberry. “And is he ever yummy.”

Juliette muddled mint leaves and lime quarters in the bottom of a glass while discreetly eyeing the area her friend had indicated. It was immediately obvious to whom Tracy referred. Casually lounging in an oversized chair, his posture belied the intense focus he gave to a stack of papers on the table before him. He spoke quickly into a cell phone and jotted down notes as the conversation progressed. A true multi-tasker, Juliette mused, leaning in for a closer look. Sandy-blond hair, tanned complexion, chiseled jaw. She whistled beneath her breath. Quite the looker. At that moment, as if hearing her, the hunk looked up from his papers, and Juliette realized that she recognized him.

“He’s been here before,” she said to Tracy, keeping her voice low. “Polite, but intense. Totally focused on his business. He held a meeting once in one of the reserved rooms.”

Airways, the first-class lounge at New York’s JFK airport where Juliette and Tracy worked, had been newly refurbished only a couple of years ago. After millions spent on the renovation, the airport now offered its VIPs an elegant lounge as well as stately meeting facilities. Business execs reserved the meeting rooms for “one stop shopping” frequent flyer style — jetting in, meeting with clients, and then jetting off to the next country, all from one easy and stylish location.

“He’s probably a commodities trader or something,” Juliette continued while pouring a pint of Guinness.

“He could be a pig farmer for all I care,” Tracy sighed. “With that divine British accent and phenomenal looks, I’d be putty in his hands.” A coy smile slipped across her lips. “Assuming, of course, that he’d put those hands on me in the first place.”

Juliette laughed and began loading the dishwasher. “Imagination working overtime tonight?”

“Can you blame me? I’ve been here for over eight straight hours. I gotta think of something to keep my energy up.” Tracy poured herself a diet soda from the beverage gun and leaned a hip against the bar as she surveyed the room. “Although in all fairness, he’s really more your type than mine.”

My type?”

“Definitely.”

Juliette grabbed a bar towel to dry her hands. “And what, pray tell, has brought you to this conclusion?”

“Well, for one he’s drop-dead gorgeous.”

“Oh, and that makes him my type because, what? You prefer the ugly guys?”

Tracy swatted a towel at her girlfriend. “Very funny.”

“So be serious. Why are you so sure he’s more my type than yours?”

Tracy paused before answering as a guest approached the bar to order a round of drinks for his table. Since it was a large group of people the girls filled the order together, efficiently mixing two cosmopolitans, a mojito, and a dirty martini with extra olives in under a minute. Order filled, Tracy turned back to Juliette.

“The main reason why Mr. Hunk is perfect for you is that he’s British.”

“British?” Juliette frowned. “So, what, he’d fulfill my secret desire for tea and crumpets?”

Tracy shook her head. “Girlfriend, you’re not getting it. It’s not his nationality that’s the appeal, it’s the fact that he doesn’t live in this country.”

“Ah.” Juliette finally understood where her friend was going with this. “So no commitment.”

“Bingo.” Tracy gave her hands a last rinse in the sink and prepared to leave. It was the end of her shift. “Look, Juliette, you’re the most determined person I’ve ever met,” she said, not without a trace of envy. “You’ve got drive, you’ve got ambition, and you’re completely focused on what you want to do. Your jewelry design business is going to be a huge success and it’s a hundred percent because of your efforts. You don’t let anything get in your way, including relationships.”

“That makes me sound like ten tons of fun.”

“No, don’t be so hard on yourself. You are fun, and I mean it. But right now you’re zeroed in on developing your business so you don’t have time for anything else. Which is why no-commitment guys are perfect for you.”

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with my webmaster, Alla. {photo credits: Alessandro Bologna}