Home > Dare Me (The Donovans #1)

Dare Me (The Donovans #1)
Author: Samantha Chase


Prologue

 

 

One year ago…

 

 

Life was unfair.

That was all Arianna Donovan kept telling herself.

She spent the world’s most perfect day with an amazing man and that was all they were going to have–one day. How could she have been in San Francisco for three whole months without meeting any guy who even piqued her interest, only to find the perfect one twenty-four hours before she was flying home to Laurel Bay?

She’d cried all the way to the airport and was convinced she would probably continue to do so all the way back to the East Coast when fate intervened.

He was on her flight.

And not only that, but she was sitting next to him!

“You want to know something wild?” she whispered to him.

“Sure.”

“My original ticket had me sitting practically in the back of the plane. When I arrived at the airport this morning, I took a chance and asked if there were any upgrades available, and there were! I mean…I just can’t believe we’re here together.” She knew she was rambling, and yet she couldn’t help it. Part of her wanted to jump up and tell everyone on the plane just how amazing this all was.

Of course, she wouldn’t do that, but in her head, she was shouting it from the tallest rooftop.

They sat in companionable silence as people continued to board and listened to all the preflight safety instructions. It wasn’t until they were taxiing to the runway that Will reached for her hand and held it in his.

“How do you feel about flying?” she asked him.

“It’s almost second nature to me. I travel a lot for my job, but this is the first time I’m traveling with a beautiful girl whose hand I could hold during takeoff.”

Arianna felt herself blush. Seriously, this man was almost too good to be true.

How did I get so lucky?

“I’ve never had a strong, handsome man to hold my hand during takeoff, so this is a first for me too,” she said, resting her head on his shoulder. They stayed like that all through takeoff, and as soon as their flight attendant came over to ask about a beverage, they both eagerly ordered coffee.

All day yesterday, Arianna told herself to keep things casual and that she shouldn’t ask anything overly personal because…well…it was only supposed to be one day.

But now, here they were, and while she had no idea how a long-distance relationship would work, it was obvious that the universe wanted them to be together. He was in D.C. and she was in North Carolina. The drive was just a little under four hours, so while it wasn’t ideal, it wasn’t impossible.

It wasn’t until they each took their first sip of coffee that she broached the subject.

“Hey, Will?”

“Hmm?”

“Truth or dare?”

Beside her, he chuckled. “Considering the confines of the airplane, I’m gonna go with truth.”

Smiling, she asked, “Would you want to see me again after we land?”

His eyes went a little wide, but he immediately reached for her hand again. “Arianna, you have no idea how much I want to say yes, but…I’m going to be traveling a lot over the next year. It wouldn’t be fair of me to start something. I wouldn’t ask that of you.”

“But you’re not asking,” she quickly corrected. “I am. And I’m starting a new job, and my life will be hectic and chaotic, and I’m not going to have a lot of free time for a while either. All I’m saying is maybe we keep in touch. Even if you’re traveling, we can video chat or text or…you know…anything.”

Will looked down at their hands and she didn’t take it as a good sign.

With a small sigh, she went to pull her hand away. “I didn’t mean to put you on the spot like that. I mean…we both knew we only had one day. It just felt like we were getting another chance by ending up on the same flight like this, so…I’m sorry.”

“You don’t have to apologize. And I didn’t say I didn’t want to try.” Pausing, he brushed his thumb softly over her knuckles. “There’s just a lot about me that you don’t know. My life’s kind of up in the air right now, and it’s hard enough for me to try to figure things out when I just have myself to consider. If there was you…”

“I get it,” she said before he went any further. The last thing she wanted was to be a complication for someone, especially Will. “I just hate the thought of this being all there is.” Her eyes met his and she saw the same defeat she felt there.

“Me too.” With a weary sigh, he rested his head back against his seat.

Several things hit her at once. First, she was someone who thrived on a challenge. She rarely took no for an answer and always went after what she wanted. So why was she backing down?

Taking a sip of her coffee, she twisted slightly in her seat to face him. “Okay, here’s the thing. I think we’re worth it,” she said earnestly. “I think we owe it to ourselves to at least try. I’m not asking you for a big commitment or to profess our love to each other; I’m just asking that we try. We can start with a once-a-week video chat or a quick text just saying hello.” Her shoulders sagged a little. “I feel like there’s a reason we ended up sitting here together today.”

Looking over at her, Will gave her a lopsided grin, and her heart practically soared. “I’m not usually someone who believes in fate or anything like that, but with you…it’s hard not to.”

It was hard not to jump out of her seat and crawl into his lap, but that’s what she wanted to do. Instead, she cupped his face in her hands and kissed him as if her life depended on it. When they broke apart and momentarily caught their breath, Arianna felt like she could finally ask him all the things she’d been dying to know since yesterday.

They’d talked the entire flight and made plans to see each other again. Will had one more year left in the Marines, but they were going to give the long-distance thing a try. It wouldn’t be perfect, but it meant this didn’t have to end. In a perfect world, they’d get at least another full day together where they’d get to make plans and really figure out how things were going to work going forward.

Sadly, it wasn’t a perfect world.

They were going their separate ways in Atlanta. Will had a flight to D.C. and Arianna’s flight would take her to North Carolina.

“Listen, um…I have a super short layover here,” he told her as they taxied to their gate. She hated how their time together was coming to an end. “Like only twenty minutes to get to the other concourse. There’s a train I need to catch to get to it and…” He sighed. “I’m going to have to make a run for it.”

She nodded but didn’t say anything. Instead, she held both his hands in hers.

“Arianna…”

Holding up a hand to stop him, she said, “Let me have your phone.”

“Um…what?”

Nodding, she said, “Yeah. Your phone.” Then she reached for her purse, pulled hers out, and handed it to him. “Put your number in here and I’ll put mine in yours. Then you can text me when you get on the plane so I’ll know you made it.”

He did as she asked while she took a picture of herself with his phone. “Now you’ll have something to put as my contact picture. I would have made it a little sexier if we had more time.”

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