Enjoy 'Love Means Nothin'.'
Melody Gray visits New York City to attend her best friend's wedding, meeting tennis pro John Spencer at the train station, and stopping him from running away from his life. She loves spending time with him, finding herself wishing she could stay with him instead of returning to her abusive father in West Virginia. But she knows her father needs her to take care of him, and since John's famous mother and others surrounding John let her know she doesn't belong, she realizes she'll never be able to be near the man she loves again.
A strange man sat down at Melody Gray's table at the small diner inside the New York City train station, making her stare. Yes, she'd just gotten off the train coming from West Virginia, but this man seemed almost rude.
"I was sitting here," she said, just glancing at him. She didn't feel right staring at the handsome man sitting across from her, so she looked down at her sandwich instead, remembering his blue eyes and brown hair that framed his handsome face with high cheekbones. She looked up to check him out again, her face heating up, but she couldn't turn away. He was like a magnet to her, drawing her in.
"I was here first," he said, pointing toward a smashed can lying on the table. "I just needed to run to the bathroom. But you can stay."
"Thank you. I just want to eat and run. I'm in a hurry to get out of here." She looked off into the diner, trying to avoid his eyes.
He reached over and touched her hand, the heat from his fingertips searing her skin. "You're not from New York. Where are you from?"
"West Virginia," she said, staring at her hand. How did he do that with his touch? Could men really be that hot? And was someone truly that forward? This was an odd city.
He removed his hand from hers with a grin. "Why are you in New York City?"
"My best friend's gettin' married and I'm a bridesmaid." She forced herself to face him, feeling her mouth drop in awe. He was more stunning than she'd thought, and when he smiled, he looked like a model from a magazine in Aunt Shirley's beauty salon back home.
"I'd think you'd be the bride, as pretty as you are," he said. "Where are you staying?"
"At the hotel where she's gettin' married."
He chuckled as his eyes stayed on hers. "There are a lot of hotels in New York. Which one?"
She tilted her head, wondering why he wanted to know. Was he making fun of her or did he think she was stupid because she was a woman? No one would make her feel like a second-class citizen. Not on this trip and not like at home. "I'd rather not say. I don't know you."
He bit his lips and tried not to laugh. "I understand." He thrust out his arm, offering her his hand. "I'm John Spencer. It's nice to meet you."
She shook his warm hand and met his breath-taking gaze. "I'm Melody Gray. It's nice to meet you, too."
As soon as she let go of his hand, two men stood up near their table and began to yell.
"She's my wife! What do you mean you've been sleeping with her for two years?" The blond man shoved the dark-haired one into the table where Melody and John sat. He fell right into her sandwich and knocked over her drink, making her move out of the way while the liquid poured all over the table and onto the floor.
Stunned, she wasn't sure what else she should do and didn't see a quick path out of the restaurant.
John stood up and took Melody's hand. "Time to leave."
"Trust me." He took her suitcase and she grabbed her purse, walking around the fighting men. As soon as they left the building, police cars screeched to a halt at the curb.
"How did you know to get out of there?" Melody asked the sexy man holding onto her hand.
His smile lit his face. "I'm from New York. I know how it all works. Are you hungry?"
"Sure, but I can find somethin'. They didn't have anything good to eat on the train, so I'm famished. And that sandwich…" She shook her head. "How can they charge that much money for two pieces of stale meat and a few tiny slices of turkey?"
"Come with me and I'll treat you like you should be treated. Welcome to New York, Melody."
She stared at the man, stopping in her tracks as she pulled her hand from his. What was she doing? Why did she trust him?
"What's the matter?" he asked, turning toward her.
"I was warned about people bein' nice to other people in New York." She narrowed her eyes, facing him with a clenched jaw while her hand flew to her hip. "My daddy taught me how to fight, so if you're a rapist or a serial killer, I can take care of myself. You might just want to go find another victim—maybe some other naïve woman just got off the train. If you hurry, you might just find her." She grabbed her suitcase and walked away, but he grabbed her hand, stopping her from pulling it past him.
His laughter started out small, but grew until he bit his lip. "Do you know who I am?"
Pulling the suitcase to an upright position, she yanked her hand from his, raking her eyes down over him. "John Spencer—at least that's the name you told me."
"That's my real name, but do you watch television?"
"Sure, we have television in West Virginia." Her hands flew to her hips. "Are ya makin' fun of me now?"
Grabbing her suitcase, he walked her to a bench, sitting down beside her. "I need to talk to you, because it seems we're at an impasse and I really want to treat you right. First, I'm famous worldwide, which is why I asked you if you watched television. I'm not making fun of you, and never would. You're a beautiful woman and if it weren't for your accent, I'd have thought you were a supermodel from Ireland."
"Supermodel? Why from Ireland?"
He touched her hair with a breathtaking grin, moving a strand of it off her face. "The green eyes, curly dark red hair and light creamy skin. You look like you belong there. You're gorgeous."
"But my accent's wrong? What's wrong with a southern accent?"
"Nothing's wrong with it. It's makes you stand out as someone to get to know. Honestly. I have no other intentions and I can promise I'm not a rapist or a serial killer." He almost laughed at the last statement.
"So, you're famous? Who are you?"
"My name's John Spencer. I grew up in East Hampton on Long Island. New York's my home. I play tennis."
"You play tennis? Is that what makes you famous?"
He got to his feet and extended his hand to help her stand. "Yes, it is. Everyone knows me and I try to stay incognito. If any reporters see me with you, you'll become famous, too."
She thrust her thumb toward her chest. "Me? But I'm a nobody!"
He smiled and continued to hold out his hand to help her to her feet. "You're not a nobody. You're a beautiful woman who's hungry. Let's get something to eat."
She accepted his hand, the warmth of it making her stare at him. How did he do that? Were there nice men in New York? That wasn't what she'd been told.
He took her suitcase and walked with her toward a small diner down the street. "Do you like pizza?"
"Love it, but I'm payin' for both of our meals."
"No way. I don't let tourists pay for my meals." He leaned closer. "It doesn't do well for my image."
"I'm a playboy, according to the papers." He leaned up closer to her ear. "It's not true, but my publicist thinks it'll bring in more revenue." John held the door open for Melody, making her stare, because she'd never met a chivalrous man before. She entered the building, but couldn't take her eyes off the adorable man treating her like a queen.
"John!" The heavy man behind the counter wearing the apron extended his arm and shook John's hand as soon as he walked up to the counter. "Long time no see!"
"I've been touring," John said. "I'm finally back in town for the U.S. Open."
Melody felt her mouth drop, sucking in the spicy scented air of baking pizza. "The U.S. Open? You're a pro?"
"Sure," he said, facing her. "You don't get out much, do you? I'm all over the news because I'm finally seeded with the best."
"You don't know him?" the man behind the counter asked Melody.
"No. I don't have time much for television. I work too much."
"You're not from around here." The man shook her hand. "I'm Tony DiGlassie, and I own this place. Where are you from?"
"West Virginia," she said. "I just got off the train."
"Oh, a tourist. I should've guessed from that sassy accent. Love southerners. They're great for business." He turned and went into the kitchen. "The usual, John?" he yelled, glancing over his shoulder.
"Sure, Tony." John turned to Melody. "Want some pepperoni pizza with the works on it? It's really good."
"Make it two, Tony," he shouted into the back.
Melody leaned up on her tiptoes to whisper into John's ear. "I've never had the works. What is that?"
"Oh, you'll see. I promise it's the best pizza you've ever had."
She looked around the small diner. One man sat in the corner, watching the television mounted on the wall. "Why isn't this place crowded?"
John checked his watch. "It's almost eleven at night. This place is hopping at meal times."
"I thought no one slept in New York?"
"That's Vegas, not New York. There are places open until late, but some places close at eleven. This place doesn't close until midnight. So who's getting married?"
She thrust her hands into her pockets. If she didn't do something with them, she was tempted to put her arm around him. "Elsie Mae Johnson is gettin' married. Wait. She changed her name. It's Elise Johnson since she moved to New York to become a dancer."
"Did she make it as a dancer?"
"Sort of, but she met a very rich lawyer named Charles Westbrook the Third."
John's eyebrows rose. "Lucky Chucky? She's marrying him?"
"Do you know him?"
"Know him? We went to high school and law school together. We grew up in the same town." He studied her face for a moment. "Would you like an escort to the wedding? I'd love to see Chucky's face when I walk into his wedding."
"I don't know ya very well. Are you sure you want to go with me to the wedding?"
His smile grew. "I'd love to. I'd be there with the most gorgeous woman in the place."
She ignored him, but felt her face grow hot. "Don't you have some place to go? Oh, maybe y'all were at the train station to pick someone up. I'm so sorry if I messed up any of your plans."
He shook his head and placed his hand on her shoulder. "You actually helped me out more than you know. Thank you for being there for me."
"Me? I didn't do anything."
Tony walked from the back and put two paper plates with huge slices of pizza on the counter, then took two colas from the display refrigerator and put them beside the plates.
"How much?" John asked, taking out his wallet.
"No, I'm payin'," Melody said, opening her purse. "I don't ride for free."
Tony smiled. "It's on the house tonight. It's not every day I see a celebrity with a beautiful woman at his side."
"Liar," John said, smiling. He handed Tony fifty dollars. "I want you to take it, because no one saw me here tonight."
"Oh, running away again?" Tony asked.
"Something like that. Don't tell anyone, and definitely not my manager."
"Thanks, John. I'll keep it quiet."
All Romance eBooks
Barnes & Noble
Sony e-book Store
Have a great week!