Published by Entangled
Title: PUSHING HIS LUCK
Author: Kira Archer
Pub. Date: September 23, 2019
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC (Indulgence)
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Today is the biggest day of my professional career. I’ve got one shot to prove I can play with the big boys and the Lachlan account is my ticket. I’ve never been more prepared for anything in my life. So of course that went up in flames.
In hindsight, stopping to get my chocolate milk fix right before the big meeting might not have been the best decision. Neither was fighting for the last jug with a flirty Thor-lookalike. In my defense, not even a Disney-prince-smolder delivered by a sweaty sex god is a match for an anxiety-fueled chocolate craving.
And had I known before walking into that meeting that my sweaty, sex-god, milk-thief was none other than Christopher Lachlan, the new client on whom my career hung, I’d have definitely skipped my morning stop.
Curse my dumb friggin’ luck. I would be attracted to the one person I can’t have.
Charley Claybourne turned into the nearest store and hightailed it to the dairy section. She needed some chocolate milk. STAT.
Well, the lactose-free variety. Her stomach had enough issues dealing with her anxiety over her upcoming meeting without trying to process dairy.
Her phone buzzed, but she ignored it. Someone walked by the cooler and grabbed a quart. There was one left. Only one. And that baby was hers.
She picked up the pace and reached for the last jug on the shelf, her fingers wrapping around the handle just as a larger set of fingers wrapped around the bottom of the jug.
She sucked in a breath and pulled lightly, testing the other person’s determination before she looked up to pin the would-be milk thief with a glare. He didn’t let go.
“Excuse me, but I believe I had that first.”
Her phone buzzed again, and she yanked it out of her pocket, silencing it with a groan. “I believe you’re mistaken,” she said, trying to keep it civil. After all, the poor man on the other end of her jug couldn’t possibly know he was about to ruin her already stressful day. “I clearly had it first.”
Her phone buzzed a third time, and Charley shot the tall, vaguely familiar-looking Thor lookalike a mild glare before glancing at her phone to see who was blowing it up. Izzy. Of course. Because Charley was late, an issue not helped by the sweaty beefcake on the other end of her chocolate milk.
“No, I’m pretty sure I had it first,” he said, his deep, slightly gravelly voice drawing her attention from her phone.
She looked up at him, freezing for a second. He looked a lot like…naw, his hair was too long, and he was more muscley than—
Her phone buzzed again, and she swore under her breath and answered. “Izzy, I’m on my way. I just had to grab something from the store.”
As soon as she dealt with the imminent brawl that was about to break out over the last jug of Choco-Lact-Ish. She wasn’t leaving without her crutch of choice.
She nodded her head at her fingers wrapped around the handle. He returned the gesture, nodding at his own hand with a firm grip on most of the rest of the jug.
She interrupted Izzy’s constant stream of chatter in her ear. “I gotta go, Iz. I’ll be there in fifteen. Just need to pay for my milk.”
She hung up and renewed her grip as the guy at the other end of the jug raised an eyebrow.
“I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree on the whole your milk thing.”
She gritted her teeth to keep her jaw from dropping open. Was this guy really going to fight her over a jug of chocolate milk?
“Look, not to go all cliché and stereotypic on you, but isn’t chocolate milk a bit too kid-friendly of a drink for…” She looked him over, from the top of his spiked blond hair to his easily size fifteen or more feet. “Someone who’s obviously not a kid?”
“How do you know I’m not buying it for my kid?”
She frowned. She’d never considered herself to be one to take milk from a baby, but dammit, there were special circumstances today.
“Are you buying it for your kid?”
He flashed a brilliantly white grin that had her knees shaking. Or maybe that was the hunger. She hadn’t eaten all day.
“Unfortunately, no,” he said. “However, chocolate milk happens to be an amazing post-workout beverage. Helps keep my muscles from seizing up and replenishes faster than other drinks, according to my trainer. I didn’t really pay attention after the words ‘chocolate milk is good.’ That sold me. All I know is it tastes amazing and does a body good.” He ran a hand down abs that were obviously—even through his well-fitting shirt—toned and rock hard and winked at her. She gave him what probably looked like a spooked owl blink in response.
Was this guy for real? To be fair, he wasn’t wrong. It was so doing him good. He must be bathing in the stuff. But still. Focus!
“So, get the regular chocolate milk. Why do you need the lactose free?” she asked.
He shrugged. “I don’t know. Trainer says to get lactose free, so that’s the kind I get.” He tugged a little, but she didn’t let go. “What about you? Do you have a houseful of milk-deprived children waiting at home?”
His brilliant blue eyes sparkled down at her, but she wasn’t going to give in to their power. Power he was obviously used to wielding. Damn, the Disney Prince smolder was strong with this one. Only the thought of something cool, thick, and chocolatey filling her anxiety-ridden and sadly empty tummy could fight those baby blues.
She renewed her grip on the jug. She really didn’t want to get into this with a stranger, especially not an insanely good-looking one she’d normally be trying to impress, but time was short and so was her patience.
“No. I’m buying it for myself because I haven’t eaten all day, I’m stressed out of my ever-lovin’ mind, and I’ve only got about two minutes to cram some sustenance into my face before I have to jet to a really important business meeting.”
“And chocolate milk is the answer to all your ills?” he asked, that disconcerting smile still in place, which was making it really hard to stay mad at him.
“Yes, it will. It’ll fill my stomach, the chocolate will calm my nerves, and I need the lactose-free brand because—”
She stopped short, horrified she had nearly told him all about the ill effects dairy tended to have on her system. Especially when she was anxious.
His smile broadened, obviously grasping her gassy meaning. She gripped the jug so hard her knuckles turned white, wishing on whatever gods happened to be listening that the floor would open up and swallow her. Or, better yet, swallow him. Then she could get her milk and get the hell out of there.
Her phone dinged with a reminder that her meeting started in an hour.
Ugh. Forget it. He could have the damn milk. She’d chug some water and pretend. She didn’t have time for this.
But before she could push the jug toward him, he let go. And since she still had a tighter-than-average grip on it, the sudden absence of resistance sent the jug flying. It crashed to the floor behind her, the plastic making that unmistakable cracking sound followed by the ice-cold whoosh of her chocolate salvation splashing up the back of her clothes and leaking all over the floor.
“Oh wow, I’m so sorry,” he said with a chuckle. “I thought you had a good grip on it.”
Charley closed her eyes and took a deep breath. There was no way her life was this cursed. She’d always had bad luck. She’d pull the one box off the shelf that was missing parts, her luggage always got lost or damaged when she flew, and her tires would find any nail in a ten-mile radius of her car. She once moved her car in a windstorm so the trees she’d been parked under wouldn’t fall on her car only to have her neighbor’s tree fall into her driveway and crush it anyway.
She was used to the ridiculous things that happened to her and let the running inside joke that was her life slide off her back most days.
But the fact that she was standing in the dairy section on the verge of crying over literal spilled milk on the most important day of her professional life had to be some violation of the universe’s cruel and unusual punishment laws. The fact that she was doing so in front of the most drop-dead gorgeous man she’d ever been within eyeshot of was just the icing on top of the world’s most craptastic cake.
“I really do apologize,” he said, though it would’ve sounded much more sincere if he hadn’t been trying to hold back his laughter until he was red in the face. “I was trying to let you have it.”
Yeah, he’d let her have it all right. Lovely. “It’s all right. Totally my fault.”
An irritated employee had already put up a caution cone and slapped a mop into the mess, splattering more dirty milk all over her. She didn’t even complain. She’d have been pissed to have to clean up that mess, too. She apologized profusely, her cheeks flushing with embarrassment and frustration. She was still freakin’ hungry and stressed and… Her phone dinged with another reminder she needed to get her ass moving.
Crap on a cracker. She needed to go. Maybe Izzy would have something in her fridge that wouldn’t kill her stomach. And something in her closet she could change into because milk splattered clothes were not going to make a great impression.
Her milk thief, meanwhile, looked like he was going to try and keep the conversation going. She gave him a weak smile and backed away.
“If you’ll excuse me,” she muttered. She gave him a weird half nod and hightailed it out of there.
If a simple trip to the store for some milk ended in this kind of spectacular disaster, it definitely didn’t bode well for the rest of the day.
USA Today bestselling author Kira Archer lives in Pennsylvania with her hubs and two kids. And 3 ridiculous cats. She’s one of those people who laughs at inappropriate moments (especially overly emotional occasions like weddings or funerals), and she has an insanely overactive imagination which is great when she’s writing but not so great when she’s shutting all the lights off at night and then has to go up the stairs. She has a PhD in Procrastination (or would if there was such a thing and there soooo should be because she’s seriously at expert level here). And if she’s not writing, she’s reading, or thinking about reading or writing. And running her kids around because they are busy and she’s the taxi driver. She also writes historical romances as Michelle McLean.
- What is on your nightstand?
JR Ward’s The King. I’m behind on the Black Dagger Brotherhood series so I’m trying to catch up!
- What author would you totally fan?
Oh, so so many lol Diana Gabaldon. Nora Roberts. JR Ward. JK Rowling.
- What makes you cringe?
When words are really incorrectly pronounced. Like when my husband says “woof” instead of “wolf.” Pretty sure he does it on purpose just to drive me nuts lol
- Do you obsessively plot out each point or just go with the flow?
Hmm, a bit of both. My beginnings and endings are pretty well plotted out before I start writing. My middles are more vague and then about a ¼ of the way through the book I’ll stop and flesh out those middle plot points better.
- Is there a word you love to use?
LOL when writing, I really overuse the word “just”. I don’t even notice it in there but I always have to go back through and delete as many as I can. In everyday speech…I use the word “dude” way more than I should. I’m working on it 😉
Also, if you have any pictures of your pet you would like to share, please attach them. My readers love animals!
Ohhhhh I have so many LOL In fact I just looked on my phone and I think there are more pics of my puppers Luke than my kids LOL I tried to not go crazy and just sent a few. Plus one of my sweet kitty Cyrus. The other two cats wouldn’t hold still LOL
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