“I’m such a pushover.” I follow my brother, Beau, from the bedroom. He’s pulling my suitcase behind him, grunting from the weight.
“You’re a lot of things, Charly, but a pushover isn’t one of them.” He smirks and rolls his shoulder, and then narrows his eyes at me. “This is over the weight limit.”
“I didn’t want to take two suitcases,” I reply with a shrug. “So I crammed it into one.”
“They’ll make you take stuff out.”
I laugh and shake my head. “I’m taking the company jet.”
Beau cocks a brow and leans his hips against the back of my couch. “I’ll make you take stuff out, then.”
“No, you won’t.” I kiss his cheek, and pat it, harder than needed, laughing when he scowls. “You love me.”
“I’m excited to be rid of you for a couple of weeks,” he replies and rubs his cheek. “You’re mean.”
“I can’t believe Savannah talked me into this,” I reply, rolling my eyes. “I don’t need a retreat full of a bunch of desperate women to tell me what my worth is.”
“Van says the guy’s hot.”
“I can look at hot guys at the gym. I don’t need to fly all the way to the boonies for that.”
“Then why are you going?” I stop pacing and prop my hands on my hips, facing my brother.
“Because I’m a pushover.”
His lips twitch.
“Because I love Van.”
“And you never do anything for yourself,” he adds.
“My shop is for me,” I reply. “My house. My car. All for me.”
“But you don’t ever take a vacation, Charly. I don’t know why you even bought this house. You never leave the shop.”
“Hi, kettle, I’m pot.” I shake my head and lead Beau to the front door. “Thanks for watering my plants and stuff for me.”
“Take the two weeks to relax. And you never know, you might just learn something about yourself.”
Beau lifts my bag into the trunk of my car and looks at me dubiously. “Are you sure you don’t want me to drive you? I don’t know if you’ll be able to lift that thing back out.”
“I’m sure.” I grin and kiss him on the cheek again. “Thanks for bringing my suitcase out, and for the chat.”
“Text me and let me know you’re doing okay,” he says, always playing the role of the oldest brother.
“Yes, sir.” I give him a mock salute before lowering into the seat of my new Lexus and driving away.
I love my car the way a mother loves her newborn baby. I worked my ass off for it and everything else I own. My shop, Head Over Heels is a success, and gives me the opportunity to buy nice things and enjoy a fabulous shopping budget.
My family’s money doesn’t pay for any of it.
Okay, so I’m taking the Boudreaux Enterprises jet to Montana, but that hardly counts.
I have enough time before my plane is scheduled to leave to stop by Ryan’s house and say goodbye. Ryan and I have a long, but not terribly complicated history. We’ve never been in love. We’ve used each other for nothing but sex.
Because, let’s be honest, it’s the sex that keeps us both coming back for more.
We haven’t slept together in a few months, but he’s my friend, and he’s had a hard time of things lately, with the loss of his mom. I want to check in on him before I leave.
I park my car and make my way up his front steps, but before I can knock on the door, I can hear voices through an open upstairs window. Before I can call out to get Ryan’s attention, I hear his voice saying, “I swear, Pamela, I haven’t slept with Charly in weeks.”
Who the hell is Pamela?
“I don’t care,” a female voice says, clearly pissed off. “I want her gone. I know your past, and I know that as long as she’s in your life, you’ll be sleeping with her.”
“That’s not true.”
Oh, that’s so true. I smirk and nod because the angry Pamela is exactly right. The sexual chemistry between us is undeniable.
“You’ve said it yourself,” she says. “You may not like her, but you love to fuck her.”
I feel my jaw drop.
“I already planned to call her,” Ryan says. “I’m going to tell her that we’re over. For good. I don’t need her in my life. You’re the one I want, Pam.”
I back away and walk briskly back to my car. I don’t need to hear any more.
Jesus, I know that things between us have been complicated for years, but I thought that at the very core of it we at least respected each other.
Maybe this trip is coming at a good time after all.
“Okay, everyone, listen up!” Simon Danbury says at the end of day one of the Lift seminar. “I know you’re tired and you probably want to go to your room and crash. I get it. But I highly recommend that you come downstairs for dinner. Or go out with a few other girls.” His British accent is sexy, I’ll give him that. It’s not a bad thing to listen to all day. “Talk to each other. Trust me when I say that the friendships you make while you’re here for two weeks will be ones you take with you. Have a good night.”
“God, I’m exhausted,” a woman named Heidi says as we gather our things and walk out of the conference room toward the elevators to our rooms. I opted for a private room, but some of the women offered to double up to save on costs.