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Playboy Pilot

By:Penelope Ward

I flipped the page of the American Airlines Worldwide Destinations catalog through the section on Australia. The pages were filled with colorful pictures—kangaroos, turquoise water, that big white building that looked like a bunch of sails blowing in the wind. Pretty. But not what I was really interested in.

Liam Hemsworth. Australian accents. Oh my God. Two of them.

The next page had a worldwide map. I followed the dotted route line, my finger tracing Miami to Sydney. Crap. That’s a long ass plane ride.

Sighing, I moved on. The next page—London.

Robert Pattinson.

Theo James.

More sexy accents, with less than a third of the flying time. I dog-eared the corner of the page and kept flipping.

Italy. George Clooney. Who cares if he’s practically the same age as my father? The man was like a good bottle of Cabernet—better with age and meant to be savored in your mouth. Another dog-eared corner.

The bartender interrupted my destination shopping and pointed to my half empty martini glass. “Can I get you another Appletini?”

“Not yet. Thanks.”

He nodded and headed to the other end of the packed bar. I was already on my second drink and had no idea how many hours I was going to be stuck in this airport lounge. It was probably a good idea that I pick where I’d be spending the next ten days before the alcohol kicked in too much.

Santorini. Hmmm. The pictures looked beautiful. Stark white buildings with bright royal blue doors and shutters. Yet…I really had no idea where I wanted to go. Nothing was jumping out at me; not even a tropical island was calling my name.

Blowing out a deep breath as I realized I was just about at the end of the thick vacation catalog, I lifted my drink to my mouth and mumbled to myself, “Where in the world should I go?”

I wasn’t expecting an actual answer.

“My place isn’t far.” A deep, baritone voice said from next to me. Not realizing anyone had taken the bar stool on my right, I startled, tipping my martini glass and spilling what was left of my drink all over my brand new top.

“Shit!” I stood, quickly grabbing for a napkin from the bar and started to blot at my brand new blouse. “This is a Roland Mouret.”

“Sorry about that. Didn’t mean to scare you.”

“Well then don’t sneak up on people.”

“Relax. I’ll pay for it to be dry-cleaned. Alright?”

“It’s going to stain.”

“Then I’ll buy you a new one, sweetheart. It’s just a shirt.”

My head snapped up. “Did you hear me say it was Roland Mouret? It was eight hundred dollars.”

“For that? It’s a T-shirt.”

“It’s designer.”

“It’s still a damn T-shirt. Don’t get me wrong. You fill it out pretty nicely. But you got ripped off. Ever hear of the Gap?”

“Are you joking?” I asked before finally giving up on my blotting and looking up at the man who had some nerve.


He had some nerve alright.

Some tall, dark and handsome nerve. Gorgeous, actually.

I walked away for a moment to grab my bearings and went in search of more napkins. There wasn’t another one in sight. When I returned to my spot, Mr. Beautiful called to the bartender, “Hey, Louie. Can I get a glass of club soda and some paper towels down here?”

“Sure thing, Trip.”


“Your name is Trip?”


“I’m in a freaking airport bar with a guy named Trip?” I couldn’t help but chuckle.

“And you are?”

What the heck, I would never see this man again. I glanced down at the travel catalog I’d been sifting through when my eyes landed on the cover. “I’m…” I hesitated, then lied. “Sydney.”

“Sydney…” he hissed out, skeptically.

“That’s right.”

Swallowing, I had to look away for a moment. Even with my gaze pointed away from him, I could feel the weight of his big hazel eyes on me. The heavy scent of his musky cologne was all-consuming. His tall, overbearing presence in my periphery made it difficult to focus my attention elsewhere.

The bartender returned and handed him a glass and a handful of napkins.

Trip lifted his brow at me. “You want to get the stain out?”

I nodded, my skin prickling as he leaned in. Within a few seconds, everything went from hot to cold as a shock of wetness hit me, seeping through the material of my shirt as he poured the soda water slowly and directly onto my chest.

“Ah! What the…what the hell are you doing?” I spewed, looking down at the wet spot on my designer shirt.

“You want to lift the stain out, don’t you? The carbonated water will do it. It just needs to soak for a while.”