Home > Adrian (Ironfield Forge #1)

Adrian (Ironfield Forge #1)
Author: Sosie Frost

1

 

 

Adrian

 

 

Clover Crosby was the sort of flight attendant who could make buckling a seat belt kinky.

She was a wink served with a bag of pretzels, wielded a smile that could combat jet lag, and had a laugh as warm as the coffee she said never to trust on a flight.

But after hauling my dead-ass tired body onto the redeye flight from San Francisco to Ironfield, I’d risk a water-born illness for a little caffeine.

Or a stiff drink.

Because Clover wanted something from me. And she wanted it bad enough that she’d used her dirtiest trick—a lovely spicy-sweet smirk that blended secrets, sensuality, and innocence. Even the twitch of her lips could confuse a man. Never knew if I was the butt of her joke or if I’d taken Cupid’s arrow straight through the heart.

But my best friend’s smile did mean one thing.

Trouble.

Yet somehow, she always trapped me in the middle of her craziest schemes. If I got lucky, this flight would turn out better than our trip of a lifetime to Belize…one of the few vacations in which I was arrested by customs’ agents. Apparently, I had looked like a man who’d smuggle exotic animals out of the rainforest via his pants. Fortunately, the only wild beast I’d tucked away in my Dockers was my own anaconda. Unfortunately, a good portion of my signing bonus that year had landed in the pockets of the commanding officer to facilitate my release.

But that’s just part of the adventure, Clover had said. Who wants to do all the regular touristy things…?

Certainly not Clover. Chaos rode shotgun on her trips around the world. She was five feet and a buck fifteen of wanderlust and mayhem. If she wasn’t racing to Germany to fulfill a craving for a Bavarian pretzel, she was camped out on my couch following a four-day, fifteen flight shift.

Usually, all she needed was my arm around her, a bowl of salt-only popcorn for the movie, and someone to remind her of the correct time-zone. On the rare occasion, I had to use my seat as a floatation device.

This was one of those times.

So, when she slid into the first-class seat next to me, smiling her ball-busting, boy-are-you-going-to-regret-this grin, I braced myself for a crash landing.

“I have a proposition for you,” Clover said.

Her voice was a soothing whisper, a soft twinkle just loud enough to be heard over the drone of the plane’s engines without disturbing her passengers. Too bad the other twenty people aboard were already asleep. I could’ve used the witnesses.

We had First Class to ourselves, and it was a hell of a lot better than the previous flights I’d taken for the chance to see Clover. Standby was a bitch, but it was the best way to catch a flight when our schedules happened to cross.

“I’m still reeling from your last proposition.” I tapped my armrest. “You know…when you suggested that I buy a ticket I didn’t need, for a flight I didn’t want, so I’d travel to a place where I should’ve been yesterday, just so we could meet up while you worked.”

The woman spared me no pity, but she did ease my frustrations with a polite kiss to my cheek. Hers were lips destined to blow a man’s mind…and his more demanding parts. But that was a forbidden fantasy. I grunted and rubbed away the red lipstick.

“Getting you on the plane wasn’t my proposition,” Clover said.

“You’re right. It was an order.”

Her eyes were the color of Earl Grey Tea—the fruity, bergamot concoction that punched me in the face every morning. After my injury, she had insisted that I drink a mug to help start my day. Said it was good for me. And so, I’d crawl out of bed, groggily stagger to the kitchen, and brew an aggravatingly feminine breakfast, just for her.

And damn it, if she wasn’t always right.

“I must be a glutton for punishment…” I said.

“Mostly self-inflicted.”

“If I said I was immune to your charms, would you believe me?”

“Nope.” Clover kicked off her heels and gave her stocking’ed toes a satisfying stretch. Never thought I’d be a guy who liked panty-hose, but I’d never seen a pair of legs that looked so good concealed behind the nearly transparent tights. Perfect dancer’s legs that looked good in heels and would look even better wrapped around a man’s waist. “I’d just try harder.”

“Then I better take one for the team. The men of this world aren’t strong enough to resist the Clover Crosby experience.”

“That’s why I like you, Adrian. You’re willing to tough me out.”

“Helps that I play hockey,” I said. “Getting roughed up every game is good practice for when you trap me on an airplane with a proposition.”

A proposition which filled her eyes with a radiant, bubbly excitement. Hadn’t seen anyone so amped since last season’s championship game.

Of course, it was the other team who’d won, and I’d been forced to watch a heartbreaking loss in Game Seven from injured reserve.

But Clover hadn’t let me mope—or drown my sorrows with single-barrel bourbon. She’d arrived at my apartment the day after the championship, threw open the curtains in my bedroom, and accidentally spilled hot coffee on my chest.

Wasn’t pretty, but it got my ass moving just in time for the call from the newly created Ironfield Forge expansion team. And the rest was history…

Or potentially the worst decision of my career.

Clover smoothed the non-existent wrinkles from her navy-blue skirt. Somehow, the woman was always prim, proper, and bewilderingly perfect, even when sitting sideways in the seat and using my knees for her leg rest.

Despite the five-hour flight, the gold wings pinned to her buttoned-up blazer never even tilted. Must’ve been some sort of magic. Made a guy feel guilty for his mile-high thoughts about her hazelnut skin and hair that spilled like ink over her delicate shoulders.

Clover stared at me with big, I-promise-this-won’t-hurt-much eyes.

“What if I told you my proposition comes with perks?” she asked.

“Half a can of Ginger Ale and a packet of pretzels?” I wasn’t impressed. “These are mostly crumbs and salt, you know.”

She snuck another packet from her pocket and stuffed it in my hands.

“Don’t tell anyone,” she said.

“My prayers are answered.”

“There’s more where that came from.”

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