One Night in Buenos Aires ONLY
As a reward for a hard-won contract, best friends Drea and Joe head to Buenos Aires for sun, wine, and the tango. But their week of relaxation is off to an ominous start when a reservation mix-up leaves them with only one option: one room…and one bed.
Exhausted from travel, the two friends figure it won’t be a big deal to share a bed for one night—right up until they wake wrapped around each other and seconds away from, well, you know.
When the two decide to follow through on their impulse, they protect their friendship by agreeing that when the vacation’s over, the fling’s over. While Drea’s convinced it’s nothing more than a mutual itch, Joe discovers Drea might be everything he’s ever wanted. Now all he has to do is convince her that what happens in Buenos Aires doesn’t always have to stay in Buenos Aires.
Title: One Night in Buenos Aires
Author: Amanda K. Byrne
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 116 pages
Release Date: July 2014
Pricing is not guaranteed
One Night in Buenos Aires
by Amanda K. Byrne
Copyright © 2014 by Amanda K. Byrne. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA
Drea stifled a sigh and dug down for more patience. Joe looked about ready to explode. Red-faced, tight-lipped, eyes narrowed, the whole deal. She didn’t blame him. It had been an aggravating day, and it had just gotten worse.
She turned back to the desk. “Are you certain there’s no reservation? For either of us?”
The clerk shook his head. “My apologies.” His accent was thick, and the two words were difficult to understand. “We have a room available, if you would like—”
“We’ll take it,” she said, elbowing Joe before he could open his mouth to say no. And he would say no. With the mood he was in, he wouldn’t stop at no. He’d add in a whole lot of cussin’, too.
The clerk handed her the key card. Before she could pick up her bag, Joe nudged her hand aside, grabbed it, gave her a tired smile, and headed for the elevator. She hurried after him and caught up as the doors were closing. He set the bags down and muttered something unintelligible, flexing his hands. She ignored him. If she didn’t, she’d do something stupid. Like hit him.
He was her friend, she reminded herself. A good friend. A close friend. This trip was supposed to be a celebration of sorts. The hotel chain wanted to expand their advertising presence in the States, and they’d ended up with the winning pitch for the San Mateo account. Their new client was so excited, they’d ponied up an all-expenses paid trip for a week in their newest hotel in Buenos Aires.
A trip that was supposed to have included a suite with two bedrooms.
Their room proved to be quite lovely, albeit much smaller than the suite they’d been promised. The walls were painted a soft gray, the spread on the king sized bed a shinier version of the same color. She shivered. The air-conditioning was on high to combat the ninety-plus-degree heat outside. A long way from the freezing temperatures and snow in Boston.
He set his suitcase down and scowled at the bed. “I’m gonna—”
“Do what? Throw a temper tantrum at the front desk? They lost the reservation. We’ll deal with it. I’m sure they’ll give us another room when one becomes available.”
“Right,” he grumbled.
She stopped her tour of the room by the balcony doors and glared at him, her temper slipping its leash a little. “You know what? I get it. It’s been a long day. A very, very long day. Nothing’s gone right. But we’re here, and I intend to enjoy myself. You have two choices: you can shut up and deal with it, or you can march your skinny ass out that door and go back to the airport.” She ignored his narrow stare. “I’m going to take a shower, and then I’m going for a walk. Alone.” It would give her temper time to cool.
She brushed past him and hauled her suitcase onto the bed and pulled out clean clothes, then shut herself in the bathroom.
The shower stall was huge. Sandy-brown tile threw her whimper back at her as the hot water hit her shoulders, and she wallowed in it for several minutes. The back-to-back flights on little sleep had worn her out, and listening to Joe gripe about it hadn’t helped.
She was never traveling with him again. Not if she could help it.
Clean and feeling marginally more alert, she pulled on the dress she’d taken from her bag, pinned her hair into a messy bun, and went back to her suitcase to dig out a pair of sandals.
He was stretched out on the bed, his shoes off, dark stubble covering his jaw. She softened. He looked as exhausted as she felt. She jostled his foot. “Hey. No falling asleep on me. I’ll be back in a little bit, and we’ll go find something to eat. Unless you decide you’d rather drag yourself back to Boston and hole up in your apartment for a week.”
He grunted and pushed himself into a sitting position.
“Are you sure you should be walking around by yourself? Let me come with you. It’s a strange city, Drea, and it’s going on nine at night.”
She smiled. “I’ll be fine. I’ve got my phone, and I’ll stick to the busy streets with lots of streetlights. I need a little time to myself, okay?”
He stared, uncertainty giving way to exhaustion as he nodded his head. “Sure. I’m still going down to the front desk.”
Oh, for the love of—
“Fine.” Scooping up her purse, she stalked out the door.
The fierce heat felt amazing, at first. Until it sapped the last of her strength. Drea shuffled through the lobby toward the elevators, slumping against the wall of the car as soon as she stepped on. She counted backward to figure out how long she’d been up. Almost twenty-four hours. The flight from Boston to Miami had only been a few hours, but the best they could manage and still make the connection to Buenos Aires meant they’d had to leave obscenely early. There’d been some issues with security in Miami, and they’d had to run all the way to the gate. The flight to Buenos Aires was turbulent for most of it, and neither of them had eaten much as a result. Or slept. Traffic from the airport into the city was miserable. Then there was the mix-up with the reservation. This day needed to end soon.
She’d collect Joe, they’d go out, grab something to eat, and come back and pass out.
He was stepping out of the bathroom, clad in a pair of boxer shorts and rubbing a towel over his hair when she opened the door to their room. She couldn’t stop the shriek of surprise. “Crap. Sorry!”
He dropped the towel. “It’s fine. Didn’t know when you’d be back.” The crack coming from his jaw as he yawned made her wince. “Ouch. Fuck.” He rubbed a hand over it.
She waited while he pulled on a pair of shorts and a shirt, trying not to stare at the intriguing ropes of muscle flexing and stretching in his back. Her cheeks heated as she realized what she’d been doing, and she dropped her gaze to the floor as he turned around, shoving his wallet into his back pocket.
“What?” She lifted her head. “Oh. Um. I’m fine. Tired. Ready?”
He watched her a moment, then shook his head. “Tired’s not the word I’d use.”
Out on the street, her feet grew heavier with each step. There was no way she’d be able to make it through an actual meal without her face ending up in it. Maybe they should skip the food and go back to the hotel. She was about to suggest it when she spotted the food cart. Well, she’d planned on eating street food at least once on this trip. Now was as good a time as any.
She grabbed his hand and made a beeline for the cart. Tamales. She’d heard about these. Not trusting her broken Spanish, she held up four fingers, then jabbed her elbow into his stomach.
“Ow. You could ask, you know.” He pulled his wallet out and removed a bill, and the vendor handed over the tamales.
She burned her tongue on the first bite. Too hungry to care, she gobbled down her first tamale as they walked slowly back to the hotel. The second one disappeared by the time they arrived back at their room.
The sight of the bed, cover rumpled from where Joe had been lying on it, drew a low moan from her. “Teeth. I need to brush my teeth.” She rooted around in her bag until she found the tank she’d brought to sleep in and stumbled for the bathroom.
She brushed her teeth and exchanged her dress for the tank, then stared at her hair in the mirror. It was so long, she normally braided it before bed. Otherwise it got trapped and yanked as she moved in her sleep.
Screw it. She was tired enough she’d be out as soon as her head hit the pillow.
Her hand froze on the doorknob. She wasn’t wearing any pants. She never wore sleep pants or shorts to bed. It made her legs feel trapped. Better to sleep unencumbered. But that was before she’d been informed she’d be sharing a bed.
This was ridiculous. She was an adult, and she’d act like one. They were friends, and there’d never been any hint of flirtation between them. She liked her men tall and muscled, and while he was tall, he was far too slim for her taste. Likewise, he always dated tall, willowy women. No curves to be had. Which she had. In spades.
Yeah, they’d be fine.
She stepped out of the bathroom. He was sitting on the end of the bed, head down. He lifted it as she approached and dumped her suitcase on the floor. “Bathroom’s all yours.”
He stared at her bare legs, and she forgot her fatigue for a moment as her face flushed. “What?”
“Don’t you have some pants or something?”
She groaned. “No, I don’t. This is what I brought to sleep in. We’ll be fine. The bed’s huge. I doubt you’ll even notice I’m there. Now, please, can I go to bed? I’m about to fall over here.”
“Sorry,” he mumbled. He stood and ran a hand through his hair. “I’m sorry. About earlier. International travel always puts me in a bad mood.” He reached out and pulled her into his arms, and she rested her head on his chest as he held her.
She resisted the urge to rub her cheek on the soft cotton of his shirt. Times like this she missed Zach. The breakup had been amicable and a long time coming, and she rarely missed him. Except when it came to things like this. Zach had loved seeing new places, and that had been the reason they’d stayed together long after the love was gone. “You need some sleep.”
“Yeah.” His voice brought on a frisson of pleasure as it rumbled through her. She pushed it away. Just because she was having a lonely moment didn’t mean she needed to indulge in something that would make things awkward between them. His friendship meant far more to her than pursuing some vague urge.
He eased back, frowning as his hand caught the bottom of her hair. “I didn’t realize it was this long.” Tugging gently on the ends, he wound some of the dark brown strands around his fingers as he studied it. “Looks good.”
Then he released her and walked into the bathroom, the door shutting behind him witha decisive click.
Weird. Totally, completely weird. Almost as weird as the jolt she’d gotten earlier when she’d seen the muscles of his naked back. The naked back that, now that she thought about it, made her wonder what the rest of him looked like naked.
She was more tired than she thought. Imagining things.
The sheets were delightfully cool and soft as she slid between them, the pillow giving way under her head. Sleep rushed toward her, and she was dimly aware of the bathroom door opening. He settled into the other side of the bed, and she surrendered to the welcoming black.