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Midnights in Bali by Carla de Guzman
Ava Bonifacio has always been the girl with The Plan —a life plan that would give her everything she’s ever wanted, including becoming a lawyer, a role she was sure she was born into. Sure, her determination may be seen as heartlessness, but Ava doesn’t care. What she does care about is getting into law school —but she doesn’t. She cares about her boyfriend Matteo—who breaks up with her.
In an act of desperation, Ava books herself a ticket to Bali and tries to get over her own failures. In Bali she meets Scott McLeod, a rude and grumpy Scottish traveler who thinks there’s a lot more to Ava than meets the eye.
But as Ava reveals more about herself, she finds Scott slowly pulling away from her. He was never part of The Plan, but Ava is determined to make sure he doesn’t slip away.
“There you are, darlin’,” He exclaimed, jogging up to her and placing an arm around her shoulders like they’d done it a million times before. “Sorry, I really had to take a pee.”
Ava was so small that the top of her head only came up to his shoulders. Scott had to bend a little just so he could squeeze her upper arm affectionately. There was a strange, sweet smell from her that wafted towards him, he had to scratch the tip of his nose to stop himself from sniffing. Her cardigan had fallen over her shoulder, and the skin he’d grasped was soft, warm and smooth. Electricity prickled his skin at the contact, and he wondered if it was just static in the air.
She looked up and glared at Scott, her gaze of a thousand burning daggers not affecting him in the least. He gave his companion a big, toothy grin and turned to the driver, who looked at him incredulously.
“Hallo,” he said. The key to lying was always attitude, and Scott had that in spades. “My name should be there…Scott McLeod? I brought a guest with me.”
The driver looked at the pad in his hand and squinted, nodding in approval. “Ah yes, Welcome Mister Lee-Ood. We are just waiting for Mister Charlie.”
Scott heard the woman in his arms giggle at his butchered last name. Ah well. He’d been living in Hong Kong for the last two years, this wasn’t the worst way anyone’s said his last name.
“Can I… your guest name, Missy…?” Ekha asked, looking expectantly between Scott and his guest. He was about to go into a whole bit where he would make a joke about his mystery girl and her name when she supplied the driver (and Scott) with her name.
“Ava Bonifacio,” she said plainly, releasing herself from Scott’s arm to look over the driver’s clipboard to make sure he spelled her name right. ”Yes, B-O-N-I-F-A-C-I-O.”
He felt his arm tingle at the loss of contact, and he felt himself visibly relax when Ava placed it around her shoulders again. Not good.
“Okay Miss Ava,” Ekha said, pronouncing her name as ‘ah-bah.’ “Good good. We can go to the car and I will look for Mister Charlie, ok?”
“Okay,” Scott said, his arm still dangling over Ava’s shoulder. “Shall we go, love?”
Ava looked at him, her mouth jutting forward in a frown. She had never expected to see Backstr—Scott, his name is Scott—again, and certainly not like this. But why should that bother her? She already knew what he thought of her. While she didn’t like it, Scott was her ticket to a hotel. It was the only place so far willing to let her in the van, since she hadn’t exchanged her money yet (no way was she going to get scammed with airport exchange rates). So if he wanted to play fake boyfriend, she was going to play fake girlfriend.
Ava gave Scott a sweet smile and expertly swung her trolley bag onto his cart after refusing his or the driver’s help. She pulled on the hand dangling over her shoulder, slipping her other arm around his waist as he pushed the cart with his free hand. They walked right in sync with each other, like they’d been doing it all their life.
The driver smiled at them as he led them through a flowered arch. “Perfect! Bali is the beautiful place for lovers!”
“You hear that, sugar?” Scott teased, looking down at her. “For lovers.”
Scott was sure that he saw Ava roll her eyes and mumble something possibly rude in Filipino as they walked to the parking lot. He smiled in satisfaction, knowing he was getting under her skin. Why that made him grin was beyond him. He started to hum a tune. Ava looked up at him, her nose crinkled in dissatisfaction, and he started to sing louder.
Then he didn’t stop singing the bloody song.
About the Author
Carla de Guzman is an author,