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Last resort, p.25
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       Last Resort, p.25

           Jill Sanders
 

  Chapter Twelve

  Luke woke early the next morning. He could feel Cassey’s hair on his chest. Her sweet smell was surrounding him, making him wish that he didn’t have a million other things that he had to do that day instead of lying naked with her in bed all day.

  When she started to move under his hands, he gently kissed her skin until she calmed down again. Then, as he slid into her, he heard her gasp and watched her eyes open and focus on him.

  “Morning.” He smiled down at her, and she smiled back, wrapping her arms around him. He could get used to this. Being here with her. Waking up next to her, inside of her.

  They went slow as the sun rose, and then, because they had taken a little too long in bed, they showered quickly. She grabbed a blueberry muffin and a Coke, rushed out of her apartment, and headed towards her office, where she had a few things to finish before the inspector was due.

  He chose to sit outside and drink his coffee and nibble on his blueberry muffin over the morning paper.

  He had several meetings today and planned to run back to Emerald Beach to finish that talk with his father. He hated to think that his old man was going to disinherit him, like he’d threatened to do, but he was determined to stick to his guns this time.

  When he left Cassey, she was downstairs wiping the bar for the millionth time. He knew the inspector wasn’t due to arrive for two more hours and wondered if she was going to make it that long, but then Wendy showed up and she seemed to relax a bit.

  As he drove to his first meeting, he thought about last night. Just being with her again gave him the courage he needed to stand up to his father later that day. Imagining holding her made him realize he could get through the tough meeting.

  The meeting with Marcus and the building inspector went very well, leaving him feeling even more lighthearted. On his drive towards Emerald Beach, he dialed Cassey’s cell phone.

  When she answered, he heard a bunch of yelling in the background and got concerned until he realized it was cheering.

  “Sounds like the meeting with the inspector went well.”

  She laughed. “Better than well. We are all set to open our doors tomorrow.”

  “That’s really great.” He smiled and turned his blinker on, moving over for a woman who was entirely too rushed to get somewhere. Since he’d installed the hands-free speakers a year ago, he’d always imagined he looked like a fool, talking to himself in the car as he drove along.

  “Where are you?” she asked, and he could hear that she’d walked into a quiet room to talk to him.

  “Heading to Emerald Beach. He’s my father. I just couldn’t leave things the way they were the other night.”

  The line was quiet for a while. “I hope things go well with your dad.” He heard the sensitivity in her voice and wondered what he’d done to be blessed with knowing someone who cared so much. Even when his father was hell-bent on destroying her, she still cared that he could make it right with the man.

  “Thanks.”

  “I know it may not help, but I think he loves you very much.”

  Luke didn’t say anything for a while. “Thanks. I might have to stay the night here. My mom is back from Paris today, and I know she’ll want me to stay the night.” He could just imagine her biting her bottom lip with this news. “I wish I could be there to hold you right now,” he said softly.

  “Me, too. I was hoping we’d celebrate tonight,” she whispered.

  Images of her flashed in his mind, causing him to smile. “Really? What would you be wearing?”

  He heard her laugh. “I’ve been saving an outfit for just this occasion.” Her voice got husky and lower. “A white bustier, white fishnet stockings, and you.”

  “Oh, God!” He held onto the steering wheel more tightly as his mind raced.

  “Are you sure you want to stay there overnight?”

  He couldn’t answer. All the blood had left his brain and ended up in his pants. He wanted to turn the car back around and drive as fast as he could to get back to her.

  “Luke?” she asked, giggling.

  “My God, I want you so bad right now.” He wished he could close his eyes and imagine her in the outfit, but the traffic was getting worse on the two-lane highway and he was just getting into town, where it looked like it was another busy weekend full of tourists.

  “I want you, too. Tomorrow.” He heard her talking to someone else. “Listen, I have to go. Cole’s been in an accident. I’ll talk to you later.” She hung up and he immediately started worrying.

  He was still a few minutes out of town, so he started flipping through the radio channels, trying to find something on the news. As he drove into the parking lot at Emerald Beach, he finally found a channel that reported that surfer Cole Grayton had been injured in a motorcycle accident outside of Pensacola as he was on his way to the airport. They listed his condition as fair, but didn’t have any more details.

  When he walked into the building, he was so preoccupied by the news of Cole’s accident that he almost walked right by his mother and a couple of women standing in the entryway.

  “Oh, there you are Luke.” His mother rushed over to him and hugged him lightly. His mother had always been elegant. She wore the latest fashions, stayed fit by playing tennis, and always had enough diamonds on to warrant a security guard.

  “Hello, Mother.” He kissed her cheek.

  “You remember Jenna Wallace and her daughter Angela. I was just telling them that you should be here any minute now. They were just down for a weekend visit from New York.” His mother took his arm in a vice grip and walked him towards the two women. Both of them were tall and blonde and could have been on the cover of a magazine. They looked like sisters instead of mother and daughter. He could see the slight difference in age when they approached. He could also tell that Jenna had had multiple surgeries to look as young as her daughter did naturally. But it didn’t negate the fact that they were both stunning women.

  Upon seeing them standing in the lobby, he instantly knew his father’s next step. He’d dated Angela for a few months back before Calvin had died. The relationship had been a purely physically one, and they’d left it on good terms. But looking into Angela’s eyes now, he could tell that she had new motives. Thanks to his parents, most likely.

  By the time he made it up to his office so he could check to see if there was any more news about Cole, he had a full-blown headache. Angela was a sensible woman, but her mother was quite the talker.

  When he walked into his office, he was shocked to see it completely empty. His desk, his chairs, even his diplomas were missing. He should have known that his father would take this step. Walking into the conference room a few doors down, he pulled out his laptop and started searching for more news on Cole. He didn’t find much, so he texted Cassey, letting her know that if she needed anything to let him know.

  He received a text back, telling him that Marcus was driving her to Pensacola to be with Cole and that she would let him know how he was once they arrived there.

  After an hour of procrastinating, he packed up his laptop and headed to his father’s office. He wasn’t surprised to see his mother and Jenna and Angela sitting in his father’s office like they belonged there. He’d hoped to finally settle things with his dad. Knowing his father was using the Wallaces as a shield made him sure that his father was on the verge of caving.

  “There you are, Luke. It’s about time you got here. Your mother told me you arrived over an hour ago.” His father looked at him and Luke could tell he was smirking because his office was no longer there.

  “Just needed to tie up some loose ends.” He smiled back at his dad and sat down in the large leather chair next to his mother.

  If his father wanted to play a game of cat and mouse, far be it from him to spoil it.

 
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