“A sassy, steamy and sometimes sweet read that had me racing to the next page to see if Samir would be on it. Mmm, Samir…” – New York Times Bestselling author Chelsea M. Cameron
“I See London is fun, sexy, and kept me completely absorbed.” – Katie McGarry, author of Crash Into You
George dropped my bags off at the front of a long hallway marked by a number of heavy doors.
“This is as far as I go.”
“Do you turn into a pumpkin past this point or something?”
He laughed. “No. But your roommate is number one on Residence Life’s hit list.”
Oh, god. “She can’t be that bad. Please tell me she’s not that bad.”
“Oh, she’s worse. We were in the same class last year. Trust me, I know.”
I never considered they would put me with someone older. “Worse, how?”
George grinned. “We call her the Ice Queen.”
“Apparently she used to model before coming to school. She was in a French rap video or something. Thinks she’s better than everyone else and isn’t afraid to let them know it.”
“Awesome. What about Noora?”
“I don’t know her. She must be a freshman.”
“Why don’t they put all the sophomores together?”
“Because none of the sophomores would have Fleur as a roommate. She was supposed to have a single but something fell through. She’ll probably be even more pissed off now.”
“Look, if you want to apply for a roommate change, come by our office. We’re on the ground floor.”
I smiled weakly, mentally already racing to the office. “Thanks.”
I walked down the hall, dread filling me as I searched for room 301. I stopped in front of a door with three name tags on it. I looked down at the room code on the piece of paper, struggling to punch in the numbers on the little metal keypad. I turned the knob. Nothing. I stared back at the numbers.
Three tries later I was in.
I swung open the door, dragging my first bag over the threshold, stopping short at the sight of the room that was to be my home for the next year. It was small. Ridiculously small. Everything was pretty basic, three small beds, three wardrobes, three desks…and two big windows. I walked over, peering out at the view of Hyde Park. The lush green trees, the expanse of grass, the heavy iron gates— the magic of it all— made up for everything else.
I spent the next hour unpacking my suitcases, hanging clothes up in the tiny wooden wardrobe the school provided. Thankfully I was the first one to arrive. I set a few things out—my favorite books, a few mementos from home, pictures with friends.
The sound of the door opening startled me.
A girl stood in the doorway, bags on her shoulders. Her hair was covered by a gorgeous purple silk scarf.
“Please tell me this is the right place.”
“I’m Maggie. Are you Noora?”
She waved with her free hand. “Nice to meet you.”
I grinned. “Nice to meet you, too.”
She dropped her bags down on the empty bed. “Is this it?”
“Yeah. Hard to believe they mean for three of us to live here, isn’t it?”
“Have you met the other girl?”
“I haven’t. I heard she’s a sophomore, though.” I didn’t mention the rest.
“Are you a freshman?” Noora asked.
“Nice. Where are you from?”
Way more glamorous than South Carolina. We chatted for a few more minutes, talking about our backgrounds. I liked her immediately; she was so friendly and outgoing, it was impossible not to. If Fleur was the Ice Queen, Noora was her polar opposite. I spent an hour helping Noora unpack before she left the room to go visit with a friend from home. Still no sign of my third roommate. Maybe she wouldn’t ever show up.
A girl could dream.
As soon as Noora left, I called my grandmother. It was early morning in the U.S., but she’d always been an early riser.
“How are you settling in?”
A wave of homesickness rushed over me at the sound of her voice. I even missed the Southern accent I’d worked so hard to erase from my own. I leaned back against my bed, tucking my knees against my chest.
“It’s going. It’s still early, though.”
“Have you made any friends?”
“The people seem nice so far.” I didn’t mention Fleur. My grandmother worried enough as it was.
“Have you been getting enough to eat?” She was always trying to fatten me up.
I grinned. “I promise I’m going to go get lunch soon. Although I bet the food won’t be anywhere near as good as yours.”
Ever since my mom left, my grandparents had raised me. They were my parents more than my biological ones were. And still—
Not quite the same.
“Have you heard from Dad?”
“Sorry, honey. I haven’t.”
I pushed down the familiar hurt that rose in my throat, forcing the words out. “Do you know where he is now?”
“Somewhere in the Middle East, I think. You know how these things are, honey. He can’t say where.”
“When do you think he’ll be back?”
“Hopefully by Christmas. He said he might be able to come home this year. We could spend Christmas together again.”
I hadn’t spent a Christmas with my dad in at least three years. But I didn’t want to disappoint her. He did enough of that.
“That sounds great, Grandma.”
We talked for a few more minutes before I hung up the call, tears welling up in my eyes. We’d never been apart for more than a day or two. I wiped at my face, surprised by the emotion filling me.
For a moment I just sat there, wallowing. I felt disgusting. I’d been traveling for fifteen hours and jet lag was creeping up on me. I needed a shower. I grabbed a towel and my bath stuff, heading for the door. The school had communal bathrooms on each floor— thankfully divided by gender. It was one of the things I had been dreading about dorm life. I wasn’t exactly a get naked in front of everyone kind of girl.
The bathroom, like my dorm room, was a bit of a disappointment. Definitely keeping my flip-flops on for this one.
I settled into the shower just as the first tears began to fall.
It felt weird walking back to my room in just a towel, but the only places to change in the bathroom were fairly public. This seemed like the lesser of two evils. I clutched the top of the terry cloth with a tight fist. At least I felt a little more human after my shower.
Luckily the floor was still pretty empty as I padded down the hall. This was the first day students could move into the dorms but school didn’t start for a few days. I’d come early to get the lay of the land and learn my way around London. I stopped in front of my door, shifting my bath caddy to the other hand so I could punch in the code. This time I got in on the first try.
Shutting the door behind me, I set down my bath stuff and grabbed the clothes I’d left on the bed. Then I unwrapped the towel from my body, letting it drop to the floor.
“I was wrong. You’re definitely my type.”
I whirled around in shock at the sound of that voice, smooth and teasing, my gaze colliding with the boy from the steps—
And then his gaze traveled lower, and he wasn’t looking at my eyes anymore.
I SEE LONDON February 3, 2014
I SEE LONDON Copyright © Chanel Cleeton Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.
Originally a Florida girl, at seventeen Chanel moved to London to attend an international university. In the four years that followed, she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, learned how to dance, travelled through Europe, and made lifelong friendships. Chanel fell in love with London and planned to stay there forever. But fate intervened on a Caribbean cruise, when an American fighter pilot with smooth dance moves, swept her off her feet.
Now, a happily ever after later, Chanel is living her next adventure in South Korea. An avid reader and hopeless romantic, she is happiest curled up with a book. She has a weakness for handbags, puppy cuddles, and her fighter pilot husband. Chanel writes New Adult contemporary romances and Young Adult thrillers. Her New Adult debut, I SEE LONDON, will be released by Harlequin (HQN) on February 3, 2014, followed by a sequel, LONDON FALLING, later in the year.