Zac Xavier is called from a meeting to find his wife, a teacher, is in a lockdown situation at her school. Rushing across town, he remembers when they first met.
In fear for her life, Emma is determined to protect her students at all costs. But while danger lurks closer, she flashes back to meeting her beloved husband.
Zac won’t stop until Emma’s safe, and Emma will do what she has to in order to protect her students. Will their love affair meet a tragic end or will they get their happily ever after?
Publisher’s Warning: Getting To You involves an Active Shooter school shooting with casualties and may be a trigger for some readers.
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Copyright ©2021 ML Uberti
The first time I met Emma, I was sitting at the end of the bar, a hole in the wall in the new neighborhood where I had just bought a five-bedroom Tudor in a burgeoning area of Chicago. Oprah, the Obamas, other Hyde Park celebrities were snatching up properties left and right — and I had found a gem that needed restoration but after I flipped it, I could make a mint on it.
And at thirty-seven, that was my life’s goal: making money. I had a lot of it, wanted a fuck ton more, and did everything I could, 24/7, to make it happen. So the four-level Bridgeport Village luxury house with ten foot ceilings was mine to crash in while it was renovated, then I could find somewhere else with the profit and do it all over again.
This would be my sixteenth house in the last decade that I’d make money on. It was just a matter of how much and when.
But while that happened, I needed some place to get a whiskey at the end of the day. I didn’t keep alcohol in the house — another hold over rule from my childhood I couldn’t seem to break. When there was liquor around, my dad drank too much and took out his aggression on me and my brothers’ faces. Then my mom would dump it out, dad would sober up, and things would return to their normal level of dysfunction before disintegrating again.
Master’s Saloon was where I ended up today. It was a three-block walk, not that my driver Wilcox would ever let me fucking walk it, but close was what I wanted. Drunk was what I actually wanted, but I had a five a.m. call with London so that was out. Two whiskeys and home to fall asleep watching the Bulls stomp the Knicks. The hipster bartender with the skinny jeans and cardigan made his way over and took my order, and I read through emails as I sat on a stool and thought about ordering dinner.
“Hi, Silas,” a bright voice sounded beside me, and for some unknown fucking reason, since I usually don’t give a shit about strangers, especially those in a bar with Grey Goose as top shelf, my eyes shifted over.
I didn’t turn my head, just took in the peripheral. I saw a girl, thin, tall, with dark hair pulled high in a ponytail on her head, fingerless mittens on her hands, jumping on the balls of her feet in a pair of Converse that were worn the fuck out and most likely wet from the sloppy inch or two of snow outside.
“Hey Ems — you looking for the box, babe?” the stringy-haired bartender asked as he filled a pint glass.
“Yep! Is it full? Tell me it’s full,” she said, her voice light but deep, raspy. Even sexy-sounding — so much that I actually twisted my neck to take her in.
She was a stunner, that much I could see. Young, way too fucking young for me, probably just out of college. Tight jeans that cupped her perky little ass, with a rip in the knee. A decades-old wool coat that was buttoned up over a sweater that went up to her chin, and when she glanced my way and shot me a casual smile, a smile I could tell she gave to everyone she saw regardless of the circumstance, I saw her eyes were a swirl of green and gold, with long dark lashes that made the face of a pretty girl spectacular.
The bartender chuckled at her brimming excitement. “It’s pretty full, Ems. Gimme a sec and I’ll grab it for ya. Todd locked it in the office so no one swiped anything.”
“Silas, who is going to steal hats and mittens for second graders?” she asked incredulously, then slid into the seat beside mine. “And I’m in no rush. Take your time.”
I wanted to tell him I agreed — he could take his fucking time while this little cutie wiggled her bottom on the chair to try to get comfortable on the hard wood, a scent of citrus and honey wafting from her skin.
She couldn’t sit still, her energy bursting from every inch of her, and I was drawn in by it and her easy, open smile. Which she gave me a second time and I knew if I didn’t talk to her, if I ignored her like most women I came across, I’d regret it.
“You want a drink?” I asked, tipping my whiskey to my lips and taking a small swallow.
She swiveled her head and blinked at me. “Me?”
I looked around, but we were pretty much alone in this corner of the bar by the windows. “Yeah, you.”
“Oh, I’m just picking something up. Some friends of mine put out boxes to collect hats and stuff for my students. I have to swing by three other places tonight if I want to get everything ready for tomorrow,” she explained, keeping those gorgeous eyes on me.
“What’s tomorrow?” I asked, turning toward her in the stool.
The side of her mouth tipped up. “It’s Christmas Eve Eve,” she told me as if that meant something. “It’s the last day of school before the holiday break. And I have like two hundred fifty bundles to make up before tomorrow at seven fifteen a.m.”
“Bundles,” I repeated.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Starbucks aficionado, lover of throw blankets and betrayer of all things kale, ML Uberti is a Wayne State University graduate and Metro Detroit author with a predilection for oddities and happy endings. She is mom to three autistic kids, 2 ridiculously stupid dogs and wife of a teacher and musician who has endless patience for her impeccably bad taste in Netflix shows and murder documentaries. She is thrilled to dip her toe into scifi romance from contemporary and hopes you enjoy her big, brooding alien alphas and resilient fairy tale queens.