on February 18th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
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When Emma Anderson arrived at San Francisco International Airport, she regretted accepting the distinction of being the maid of honor to Gaby’s—her childhood friend—wedding. It had been years since the last time she set foot in Menlo Park, where her parents had been killed. The rug where she had been shoving her feelings since that day looked bumpier than a camel’s hump. Who could blame her; if she hadn’t been selfish they’d still be around. Ever since that fateful day, Emma has been perfecting the knack of Getting By.
Cade’s wedding in Menlo Park—a city close to San Francisco—might be the perfect place for Jake Knight to shake the memories of his ex, Emma Anderson for good. Single, available women galore for an entire week was the perfect medication, one he intended to take three times a day for an entire week to return to his player days. It was a plan the former spy thought flawless until he came face to face with the maid of honor. Jake’s perfect retreat turns into a flight, fight or hide week of celebrations.
On the drive back to the hotel, Mom, Dad and Cade talked about what a great family those Clements were. I continued driving, tuning them out. Mitch gave me the ‘what’s going on’ look. The twin connection kicked in. He knew me too well. Gaby’s like my best friend, maid of honor and loner by choice reminded me of Emma, my Emma Anderson, whose sister was into weird stuff. Pain, and two guys…. I shook my head at the mental picture that came to my mind by fusing Chloe and her sister.
Funny I never ran a background check on my girl, nor did I check if such a sister existed or what her story was. I respected her boundaries, we did light and uncomplicated. Emma didn’t know much of my background either. She didn’t know what I truly did for a living. She used to call me a Rent a Cop. Mercenary, bounty hunter and security intelligence were more accurate. The fortune I owned wasn’t important to her, or how I made it. Grandfather left us enough money to begin a few ventures, and by the age of nineteen Mitch and I had started a few businesses. Our game was to start businesses and then sell them at a high price. While my brother tended said ventures, I went through special training and worked for a specialized agency; the easiest term to apply was spy.
I did the gig until a tender loving asshole blew a whistle and compromised my mission, killing my unit and barely missing me. The said unknown agency made me retire, and I went back into the business world while my body recuperated. The hero gig ended and my years as a civilian began, though when I recovered the itch to open my own operation and claim part of who I wanted to be pushed me to open a high security company. Liam joined our business ventures when he graduated and now we owned a sizable amount of places, including an advertising company—where my lovely Emma worked.
In a foul mood, I parked close to the emergency exit, got out of the car and headed toward the bar. Mom yelled something about breakfast behind me, but I ignored the woman. What were the odds that Emma would be Gaby’s friend? Serendipity had a fucked up sense of humor; the odds increased five percent with each step I took toward the bar of the hotel. And Chloe’s little sister, fuck, no way would I get tangled with the freak case Gavin had described for years. Hold on, yes, I was with her for more than twenty four months.
Liam sat next to me and ordered two scotches. “Emma’s on vacation,” he said. Was this a conversation about Gaby’s friend? Because I had come to the bar to numb myself, not rehash my screwed up life.
“So?” I shrugged, gulped my shot and ordered another one.
He shook his head and continued talking. “I sent a general email to the creative department to see who’ll pick up your project.” I gave him a glare. “She’s out.”
“Emma is never on vacation. She might still answer,” I responded. Emma didn’t respect her free time. She craved work, needed it, her drug of choice, like Gaby said. I told him to give it to whoever he thought directly, not… fuck. I worried, because why was she on holiday? The wedding? “Why is she off, is her grandfather sick, again?”
“I don’t know,” Liam answered, and Mitch arrived from wherever he had been and sat on my other side. Why were they flanking me? I didn’t need babysitting. “Though, I heard she moved them from their house to an assisted living community. Again, not much information, you know she keeps to herself. But you’re over her, right?” Liam, who adored Emma for her amazing talent, kept my relationship and her job separate. “I think she’s Gaby’s little friend, Jay. We saw her. Here, today.” The words were said with enough pause so they would sink in.
I gulped two more shots ignoring the conclusion Liam gave me. Clearly I was going to run into her, wedding or not. The question was what the fuck was I going to do when I saw her?
“One week of unadulterated awkwardness,” Mitch finally spoke. I wanted to punch the smirk off his face. “So, you getting drunk again?”
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