Excerpt from Wheeler, available on Kindle.
Through the rest of the afternoon, Graham Atherton couldn’t keep his thoughts from returning to the cyclist on the stone wall. He would be reading a bit of script when her smile would intrude on his concentration, or he would think of something he could have said to make her laugh again.
He groaned, pushing his hair away from his face. “Why didn’t I ask her name!” He then grabbed his laptop and opened a search engine.
She must be a professional. I drove by her team not long before I came upon her. And that bicycle was very expensive looking. Damn, what was she wearing?
He closed his eyes and instantly saw her, scowling at him. Strong shoulders, trim waist, legs for miles. Blue-gray eyes, high cheekbones, kissably full lips that widened into the most glorious smile. And her laugh. He then focused his inner vision on the one area he tried not to stare at in person, her chest. Graham opened his eyes and snapped his fingers.
“Lightbulb!” he sang. “There was a lightbulb logo on her jersey.”
After typing some keywords, several hits for cycling lights came up, but only one for a cycling team. Innovative Design Cycling, with locations in Enfield and Harrow. He clicked on the link to the website.
“Oh good, there are pictures.” He scanned through the images, finding several that he thought might be of her with her teammates, smiling and carrying on. While their names were indicated, he didn’t know who was who until the last one.
His lips parted as he gazed at her image on the screen. “My goodness.” The photo was of her crossing a finish line with both arms raised. It wasn’t just that he found her attractive; it was the expression of pure joy on her face that held him. He then read her name.
“Loren Mackenzie. Hmm, I wonder if she’s Scots.” He took out his mobile and chose a contact. Ron Hudson, his PR agent, answered.
“Graham, are you back in London?”
“No, I’m at home,” he replied, then hesitated. “Mate, I need to ask a favor.”
There was a brief pause. “I’m not sending you another case of Tastycakes. Do you know how hard those are to get in New York now that the Philadelphia factory is shuttering?”
“Oh, come now, you know that’s not going to happen,” Graham scoffed, then cleared his throat. “Anyroad, since you say I’m not allowed to do it myself anymore, I need you to contact someone for me.”
There was another pause. “Nine months. Are you finally returning to the land of the living?”
He grimaced. “Perhaps.”
“What’s her name?” Ron chuckled.
“Loren Mackenzie,” Graham replied. “She’s an American pro cyclist, but perhaps of Scots descent.”
Ron scoffed. “She can’t be that perfect.” The clicking of a keyboard came to through the speaker, then silence. “Well, she’s quite a sporty bird.” He muffled a cough. “Alright then, I’ll let you know what happens.”
“Do it quick, yah?” Graham winced. “Sorry. I don’t mean to dictate.”
“She must have made quite an impression.”