Chance Encounter – Lane Champion

Chance Encounter cover

CHANCE ENCOUNTER
BY LANE CHAMPION

A fateful ride in an elevator takes a strange turn after Donna Blakely meets the handsome and mysterious Michael Chance.

If you enjoy a twist in the tale (as found in some Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock stories), you may like “Chance Encounter”.

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EXCERPT

After exiting the restroom, Donna Blakely hurried across the polished lobby floor toward the elevators. She was running late for her appointment because of the stormy weather and because she hated going into the city alone. A country girl at heart, busy metros and skyscrapers with more than fifty floors like this one unnerved her.

She usually made the trip once or twice a year with friends to shop. This time she was by herself, where it had been necessary to catch a bus into the city and then a cab to Macray Tower to visit the lawyer’s office on the top floor. She preferred her cozy house and five acres in the quiet, quaint town far enough off the beaten path to make an excursion into the city an all-day ordeal.

Dark clouds and intermittent downpours made it even more unpleasant. Donna loved storms and wind and rain, but not while trying to navigate the city. She wished she were home sitting on the porch with a cup of coffee and a cat curled in her lap while distant lightning split the clouds and thunder rumbled across the sky.

Almost breaking into a run to catch one of the three elevators, Donna just made it. A man held it open for her with one arm against the jamb. After she slipped in, he released the doors and they slid noiselessly together.

“Number?”

“Top floor, thank you,” she said breathlessly. After her mad dash across the expansive lobby, she sounded like the winner of the Kentucky Derby seconds after crossing the finish line. While re-organizing her damp raincoat, drippy umbrella, and purse, she concentrated on keeping her breaths quiet and even.

The man had pressed the button for floor number 46 as well. He was tall and handsome, quite distinguished-looking with threads of silver running through his neatly trimmed black hair and eyebrows, silver sideburns, and patches of silver at his temples. He wore black leather wingtips, a tailored dark pinstripe suit with vest, dark gray shirt, and black silk tie. Plain silver cufflinks and tie clip were his only jewelry. His attire looked to be of good quality, none of it flashy or in-your-face expensive.

“Miserable weather,” he commented, his voice resonating with a deep, sensual timbre.

She nodded. “One of the few days I come into the city and it has to be storming.”

“I know what you mean.”

“You don’t work here, then?” She usually wasn’t one to chat up strangers, but she liked the sound of his voice.

He shrugged. “I…freelance. I come into the city more often than I care to.”

The elevator stopped at the sixth floor, several people coming aboard. Donna and the man moved to the back of the car. It stopped at the seventh floor, and more people squeezed in. She inched farther toward the corner and then was pushed into the man. He caught her, holding her steady.

“Oh, I’m sorry. Lost my balance.”

His arm eased around her back, giving them both a little more room. “No problem.”

She caught a whiff of his cologne. She had spritzed her pulse points with gardenia perfume, but having become accustomed to it all morning, she could no longer smell it. The fresh scent of his, something lemony and spicy and completely masculine, made her feel things she hadn’t experienced in a long time.

“Donna Blakely.” She spoke quietly so only he could hear and looked down at her hands, at the gold band still on the ring finger of her left hand. She looked back up into his dark eyes. “Widow.”

He nodded. “I’m sorry.”

“Thank you. It’s been five years, so I’m finally getting used to it.”

“I understand.”

And looking into his eyes, she could tell he truly empathized with her pain and knew all too well how it felt to lose a loved one. Although he didn’t open up with any experiences, she sensed he had his own sad story of loss. Of course, anyone would have gone through losing loved ones at their age, but the solemn expression in his eyes suggested he knew it more intimately than most.

“I’m Michael Chance,” he said.

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