Chapter Ten

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"Los Angeles?"

"I'm afraid so. Did you not check the tag when you received it at the Miami airport? Do you see here? It says LOS instead of LON." She tapped my crinkled ticket.

I shook my head. I hadn't paid attention to anything back in Miami. I heaved a sigh. What was I going to do?

"Can it get here by tomorrow? The next day?"

"Realistically, no." She tapped on her computer with fury.

I pressed my lips together. I'd have to go shopping in the morning. The woman pushed a paper toward me, and I filled out my contact information with the address of the London hotel where June, my chief assistant, was staying. There was no chance the bag would reach me before I left Iceland, apparently.

"Okay, so, I'm stranded in Iceland for possibly three nights and I don't have my luggage..." My voice trailed off. I had an idea. "I'm going to call my assistant now to help me get a hotel room." Maybe June could also get some clothing delivered. June, my first and oldest employee, could do anything.

I stepped out of the tiny office adjacent to the baggage claim and pulled out my phone. I only had a bit of battery left, and of course I'd left my phone charger and the power cord for my computer in the suitcase.

Brilliant, Samantha.

I tapped on my phone and it connected. "June? June?" I heard voices and music in the background.

"Sam? I'm at a party. Where are you? Aren't you supposed to be on the plane? Jesus, did you not get on the flight? Did you have another panic attack? Karl is going to be pissed. I'm not going to be the one to call him."

"I did get on the flight." My voice was sharp. "It made an emergency landing, a crash landing, in Iceland."

June let out a shriek. She was my opposite: loud, brash, and totally loveable.

Once I recounted the story—I left out the part about Colin, because I didn't want to admit he was gone forever—June swiftly declared she'd find me a hotel room and a car with a driver. I knew that when she took on that clipped tone, she could move mountains. We hung up.

I sank into a hard, plastic seat and stared at the empty baggage claim. Maybe this whole incident—crash landing, losing my luggage, being stranded in a place I'd never been due to a volcano—was the universe's way of drawing me out of my shell. I closed my eyes and inhaled fifty times, like my therapist had told me to do when I was feeling anxious.

The thing is, I wasn't feeling too panicky, which was odd. Had I actually died on the plane and gone to some pleasantly panic-free heaven—one without my luggage or a place to stay?

I vowed to email my therapist the minute I reached the hotel to tell him about this existential breakthrough.

"What are you smiling about?"

I opened my eyes. Colin was standing over me. I beamed. Maybe this was heaven. Because he was so tall and I, so short, it was difficult for me to hear him clearly from a sitting position, so I stood up.

"Oh, I thought you'd left," I said, trying to keep my voice moderate. Somehow, he looked even more handsome now that he was standing next to me.

Right then, my phone rang. I held up my finger to Colin, indicating he should wait. From his annoyed smirk, I could tell he wasn't used to waiting. I didn't much care.

"Sam. There are no stupid hotels. None."

"What?" I caught Colin looking me up and down. He no longer seemed annoyed. I turned my back to him as I spoke to June, my body flashing with heat.

"I called the travel agent and she came up with nothing. We're looking for Airbnbs now."

"What about something in the countryside? Something far-flung?"

"It seems all the hotels there are booked with volcano watchers and people at a music festival."

"Volcano watchers." I didn't ask this as a question, only repeated the words dully. I rotated to face Colin, staring at his wingtip-clad foot, which was tapping on the tile. I looked up into his eyes, and he raised an eyebrow.

"Well, what should I do, June? Sleep at the airport?"

"Sit tight, and I'll call you back. Don't panic, Sam."

"I'm not panicking," I said, rather defensively, and hung up.

"What I came to tell you," Colin said, his voice low and rumbly, "is that there are no hotels."

"So I hear. Did you manage to book something?"

He shook his head. "I called a client of mine who owns a chain of properties. Even he couldn't help with a room, not at his boutique hotel or any of the large hotels. All booked. But he did offer up his vacation flat in the city center for the weekend. Turns out his in-laws are from here, and he and his wife keep a place in the center of Reykjavik for holidays."

"How lucky for you."

"And you, as well. I've taken five laps around this airport trying to find you. I wanted to see if you'd like to share the condo with me until you can get a flight out."

My jaw dropped. "Well. That is a generous offer. But..." My voice trailed off. My default answer to everything in recent years was always no. I muttered something about my lost luggage.

With a quick scan around the airport, my eyes landed on the hard, plastic seats. I fiddled with the edge of my pashmina, wondering if I could use it as a blanket. My back ached at the thought of sleeping on those seats.

After a crash landing, a dearth of hotels in the entire country of Iceland, and a seemingly imminent volcano eruption, saying no to Colin's offer probably wasn't the smartest idea.

And surely any business client of his would have a luxurious pied-a-terre.

"I've also secured a car and driver to take us into the city."

I took a deep breath and stared into his impossibly blue eyes.

"Yes. I'll go."

* * *

Oh my. We know Colin's history with women. What will he do with Samantha? More importantly, what will Samantha do to him?

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