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Last resort, p.11
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       Last Resort, p.11

           Jill Sanders

  Chapter Five

  Luke woke to wonderful smells. Bacon. He looked around and remembered where he was and, more important, who he was there with. A smile crept across his face.

  If Cassey ever found out that he’d had one of the best nights of sex in his life, well…He frowned a little. He didn’t know what she would do with that knowledge.

  Most of the women he’d known would lord it over him, hounding him with it until he caved and gave them whatever they wanted. For some reason, he doubted Cassey would do something like that.

  Shaking his head clear, he found his jeans and slipped them on. Following his nose, he walked out on the patio and found Cassey reading the newspaper at the small iron table.

  “Good morning.” She smiled and he felt something shift inside him. Her smile was something to behold, especially with the colors of the sunrise hitting her hair and face. “I’ve made you some eggs and bacon.” She nodded to a covered plate. “You’re just in time.”

  He sat without saying a word. Picking up the cup of coffee, he took a swallow before speaking.

  “You didn’t have to, but it smells wonderful.” He lifted the lid and smiled when he saw two eggs over easy and three slices of bacon smiling back at him.

  While they ate, they talked about the local news. He wasn’t familiar with the local happenings in Surf Breeze since he’d been living in Emerald Beach for the last six months, and before that, he’d been in Boston, at school. He tried asking her questions about herself, but she always diverted the conversation away from personal questions.

  He knew she only wanted a physical relationship, but he was beginning to hope that the door would be open for something further. He couldn’t imagine not wanting her in the future.

  When she moved to get up, he quickly took her hand and pulled her closer so they were standing hip to hip.

  “What do you say we take a shower before I head out?” he said, leaning down to taste her lips.

  “Out?” He could tell she was trying not to ask the unspoken question.

  “I’ve got to run back to Emerald Beach for a day or two. But,” he smiled, “I’ll be back midday Monday. We have a date, remember?”

  She smiled and nodded, and he had a feeling that she was hiding something behind those eyes. Reaching over, he took her hand in his. She hesitated for a split second and then slowly relaxed.

  “I hope you won’t be in any trouble with your family over all this.” She reached for her coffee with her free hand.

  He couldn’t help but laugh at the irony. “Trouble? I’ve been in trouble with my family since the day I was born,” he said bitterly. Calvin had been the child his father had always wanted, not him. Sadness threatened to seep in, but he shook it off and looked at Cassey. She was the essence of everything he’d hoped for in life. She was kind, caring, hardworking, smart, and funny. He didn’t want his father to tarnish the world she lived in.

  Over the next few days, he planned to see exactly what his father had planned for her and her place. It wouldn't hurt to know what he was up against. He was beginning to think he might have to block his father’s plans, for her sake. He couldn’t describe his feelings for her yet, but he wanted to pursue what was there, and he didn't want his father putting a halt to it before he could decide what it was he wanted.

  Cassey was sitting across the table, looking at him like she was trying to figure him out. He shrugged his shoulders.

  “Calvin was my father’s favorite. I never held it against him.” He smiled, remembering his older brother. “Sometimes you just have to accept your fate.”

  “What do you mean?” There was a small crease between her eyebrows.

  “You know…You’ve tied yourself into this place, to go into business here with your family’s property, while your brothers are off doing their own things, being who they want. When Calvin died, most of my life choices were taken away from me. I went to business school to get the degree my father wanted so I could someday take over the business my great-grandfather, grandfather, and father have spent their lives building.” He took another sip of his coffee, which had gone cold. Setting it down, he pushed out of the chair and walked over to a tree that had a wooden bench built around it.

  She came up behind him. Her hands went to his shoulders until he turned. “Luke…” She waited until he looked her in the eyes. “We all have choices in life. None of us are destined to do something because someone else demands it. I’m here”—she motioned around her—“because I chose to be. I’ve worked very hard to get where I am today.” She smiled a little. “My heart is here. It’s where I belong. If you don’t want to be where you are in life, then change it. Don’t be something or someone because it’s demanded of you.”

  He smiled and took her shoulders, wishing life were that simple. Leaning down, he placed a soft kiss on her lips. “You are incredible.”

  She smiled up at him, and he knew that smile would help him get through the next two days.

  A few hours later, he parked at Crystal Shores and sat out in his car, looking at the place. It was huge, and it was home. He couldn’t remember a time in his life when he hadn’t thought of the large white building with all its shiny windows as such.

  He leaned back in his seat and frowned. Why couldn’t he feel the same way about this place as Cassey felt about her place? He closed his eyes and wondered what would make him feel that much desire in his life. So far, only an image of Cassey’s face as she smiled up at him came to mind.

  He shook his head clear. Was he beginning to care too much for her? He’d researched her for three months before meeting her face-to-face, so he felt like he’d known her for longer than a few days.

  And sex had a way of filling those little gaps in relationships as well. For whatever reason, when he looked into her eyes, he felt like he wanted to be with her longer.

  Riding the elevator to the top floor, where his father’s office sat on the east side of the tower, he imagined walking into the large room and telling his father he quit. Maybe his father would accept it, hug him, and wish him the best in life. He knew that was never going to happen, so when he walked into his father’s office after waiting three minutes for his receptionist to announce him, he held his shoulders back and prepared for the chewing out he knew was coming.

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