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Believing Ben Excerpt: The Aussie A$$hole

An unedited sneak peek

Ben, Somewhere Near Chicago

I turned to see the other passengers on the plane. X was a stern-looking woman wearing a jet-black pantsuit and her black hair pulled up in a tight bun. Wheeler was a touchy-feely blond guy who already had one hand clasped around Savannah’s fingers and the other resting on her elbow.

I immediately hated the fucking guy.

“Ryan Wheeler,” Mr. Touchy-Feely said to Savannah, “but you should call me Ryan.”

“Excuse me,” I said, pushing between them. I pointed to the overhead bin. “I need to secure the luggage.”

“Course, mate.”

The next two things I clocked about him were that he had a slight Australian accent and he didn’t look the least bit fazed by my death stare as I stacked our bags in the overhead bin.

When I was finished, he stuck out his hand. “You must be the famous Purple Haze that Bloomers goes on about.”

I begrudgingly shook with him.

Meanwhile, Savannah had shaken hands with X, who then indicated the seat across from her. Savannah sat down, and before I could squeeze past Wheeler to get to her, the asshole sat in the seat beside her. I scowled until I caught Bloom fighting back a laugh at my expense. I realized my expression could be misconstrued as that of a jealous boyfriend, which I was not, so I made a concerted effort to look, act, feel neutral.

I sat t across the aisle from Wheeler, which would make it conveniently easy to grab him by the throat if he did anything untoward.

“Purple Haze?” Savannah leaned forward and smiled at me.

I shrugged. “I didn’t make up the nickname.”

“He didn’t live up to it, either,” Bloom said, taking the seat facing me. “Imagine my disappointment when I found out he can’t jam like Hendricks.”

“He makes up for it in karaoke chops,” Savannah said unhelpfully. “Have you ever heard his version of the Rickroll?”

“Rickroll?” Wheeler glanced between Savannah and me.

“The Rickroll, you know, from high-school era,” Bloom jumped in. “Someone would send you a link and instead of going to the internet page you thought it would, you’d land on an 80’s video by Rick Astley.”

“Oh, I remember that,” Wheeler-the-asshole grinned at me, then quietly sang, “Never gonna give, never gonna give,” from the song, then pointed to me.

I didn’t rise to the bait. In fact, I doubled down on trying not to be annoyed by the guy, but Savannah was smiling at him So. Damn. Much.