The man I love is getting married. And it isn't to me. I've been in love with Jonathan for as long as I can remember. I loved him as a girl. I loved him as a teenager. I loved him as an adult. I love him still. But he doesn't love me. How could he? He's a billionaire and I'm just the butler's daughter. But when I attend a party in my Gucci dress and fancy heels, he sees me in a whole new light. And it couldn't have come at a worse time. His high-powered wedding is in two weeks. It falls to his older brother, Christopher, to protect Jonathan from himself. As always. And this time, that means spiriting me away and tempting me with my dream job on a tropical island. Here, I learn that Christopher is so much more than I ever gave him credit for. He gets me in a way no man ever has. His body completes me in ways I didn't even know possible. And the way he looks at me makes me think he could be the one. I've always been in love with Jonathan, but now that I've been with Christopher, I find I can't choose. Some people go their whole lives without finding one love of their life. Now I have to decide between two.View More
Ten months later This hospital is freezing. You'd think since it's snowing outside they'd heat the building more, but no. I feel like I can practically see my breath every time I exhale. “Why is it so cold in here?” I ask Christopher. He smiles and shrugs out of his jacket. “Here.” He wraps his suit jacket around my shoulders. Even through my sweater, I can feel his warmth seep into me. I smile up at him. He grins. I love that he smiles more now. His skin is sun-kissed and he needs a haircut. He still shaves every morning, but sometimes he will skip a day or two just because he can. He shaved today because today is important. Today, we met his nephew. Deborah paces the waiting room, looking anxious and excited at the same time. She keeps checking her watch and mumbling about the time. The door opens to the hospital suite and we all perk up. “It's a boy!” Jonathan announces. He's grinning from ear to ear. I thought he had looked happy in the pictures of his elopement. I though
My heart stalls. Shock, anger, love, hate, surprise, and then combinations of those each try to take control, but none of them seem to know which emotion should be in charge. I stare at him, my mouth open and jaw on the floor. I now see why the desk clerk didn't want to take me to employee housing. I'm tempted to change my mind about firing her and Anna. They did good customer service by stalling, even if it was helping Christopher. Why is he here, though? Is this some kind of sick joke? I consider slugging him, but I don't know what good that would do. He takes a step forward. “I'm sorry, Nora.” I cross my arms. He doesn't get to break my heart and then just apologize and make everything better. I don't care how many flowers he brings. “What are you doing here?” “Apologizing.” He swallows hard and takes another step toward me, his eyes focused intently on me. “And if that doesn't work, I'm willing to beg for your forgiveness.” My feet grow roots to the floor. It's a good thin
I drink fizzy lemonade the entire way to the island. I do add a little vodka, but it still counts as mostly lemonade. Dad drove me to the airport just before lunch. I didn't tell him about Christopher. I just told him that I'd gotten this amazing job opportunity and that I was taking it. I think he was actually glad I was leaving the Lewis boys behind. He promised to come visit me soon. He gave me a hug and told me he was proud of me. I cried. He cried. And I got on the plane and drank lemonade and vodka. The island comes into view as we circle around and prepare to land. I look out the window and will my heart to mend. The blue waters, white sand beaches, and warm sun will do wonders for my mental health. I keep telling myself that once I'm back on an island and working, I'll forget all about Christopher. It didn't work that way for Jonathan, but I keep telling myself that it might work for Christopher anyway. “More lemonade?” the stewardess asks, coming over with a full glass.
It's almost dark when I get home. The sun hangs low in the sky, casting an orange warmth that makes everything look ruddy and joyful. I don't feel it, though. I half expect my dad to be sitting out on the front porch waiting for me. The light is on his room, so I assume he's in bed reading. I'm glad. I don't want to talk to him. I don't want to tell him he was right about Christopher. Just thinking about it hurts. I need a drink. I know there's some bottles of champagne still in the kitchen from a recent party. The supplier will come and get the extras at the end of the week. The Lewis family ordered and already paid for all of them, so taking one isn't a problem. My dad often saves one or two in the fridge with Deborah's blessing. I sneak into the kitchen. The main house is dark and quiet except for the hum of the air conditioners. Deborah and Christopher are still at the office working, so they aren't home. I'm not sure where Jonathan is, but I'd probably guess he's either at h
Silence fills the room. I stare at Christopher in complete shock. “You think that Jonathan is going to whisk me away to Vegas and marry me?” My voice squeaks on the word marry. “He's going to do that after just one conversation and while he has a concussion?” “He's done more on less,” Christopher tells me. “His lawyer is a very wealthy man for a reason.” I take a step away from Christopher. I don't recognize him anymore. He's not the man from the island that made me smile. He's a cold stranger with no love. There's no warmth or sparkle in his eyes. “So, to keep that from happening, you're sending me away. You're sending me to the islands so he can't even ask me to go with him, even though he's not going to.” “I knew you wouldn't say no if I did it this way.” Christopher shrugs like this isn't a big deal. Like he didn't just completely betray me. “I knew you wouldn't ask questions. You would be out of Jonathan's reach and the merger would continue as planned. ” “But you weren't
I follow him to a small table on the side of his office with two chairs. I unwrap my sandwich and find fluffy white bread, thick tomatoes, pickles, cheese, and piled with turkey. It's huge, and very New York deli. It looks delicious. I know I won't be able to eat a bite. “So, when do you think you will be able to come out to the island?” I ask. He shrugs, as if he's not lying to my face. “It's hard to say. There's still some regulatory hoops we need to jump through. Logistical problems. Eliminating some redundant positions once it's official.” I smile but it's not real. “You didn't answer my question.” “It's really impossible to say, Nora. If I had to put a guess on it, I'd say the earliest I could break away for a day would be four weeks.” “I see,” I say. “And could I come visit you before then?” He freezes, as if he didn't expect the question. “I'd love that, Nora, but aren't you going to be pretty busy? It's not everyday you get put in charge of a Caribbean hotel.” “Surely
I finish running my errands and window shop a little more as I work my way through the city until it's suddenly two o'clock and time for me to meet with Christopher. I can't wait to see him. My heart is bursting with love. I ride up in a silver elevator to Christopher's floor. I'm always amazed at how beautiful a concrete and glass building can be. It's not as pretty as a mountain or the ocean, but it's still magnificent and grand in its own way. I'm a little late, but not so much that I feel the need to call ahead. Besides, we said two-ish, so I'm in the clear. I check in with his secretary and she buzzes me into his office. Christopher's office is immense. It's bigger than any apartment I've ever lived in. There's a full marble bathroom complete with shower and fancy toilet. My father tells me that there's a pull-out bed in the sofa on the far side of the room. There's also a closet full of clothes. Theoretically, Christopher could live in this office and never have to leave as l
“You seem happy this morning,” Dad says as I slide into the small kitchen and make myself a cup of coffee. I'm humming and I did my hair and makeup today. I even have on a cute dress, so I have to agree with him. I am happy. “I had a good night,” I tell my dad. “With Jonathan?” Dad asks, doing his best to keep judgment out of his voice. “No, with Christopher.” Dad sets down the morning paper. “Christopher?” I nod. “I'm going to go meet him at the office after lunch.” I wince at the hot coffee. “I need to run some errands first.” “Why does Christopher have an interest in you?” Dad asks, his eyes narrowed. “Because I'm smart, pretty, and very amusing,” I tell him. “While all true, those aren't usually Christopher's reasons for having an interest in people,” Dad replies. “He's all business. He was that way as a child and it's only gotten worse since his dad died. He never does anything without a reason.” I think of how those words are the same ones playing in my head, but then
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