Frayed Page 19

Although to be honest I don\ love event planning the way he does. At first I thought maybe it was just weddings I didn\ care for, so I started my own consulting business. When I started out, I used to think of event planners as the man behind the curtain like in The Wizard of Oz. Magicians tasked with creating something fabulous out of a myriad of details, all the while making it look effortless for the client. However, it turns out that I\m more like a firefighter dousing flames in every direction. But since failure isn\ an option, I\m going to stick with it. I finally found direction in my life and I\m not going to let myself or my family down.

Rolling out of bed, I know I have to start my day. As I walk slowly toward the kitchen, I pray I have enough cream left for one cup of coffee. Then I can\ help grinning. One very large cup of Starbucks coffee sits on my counter with a note in my mother\s handwriting.

I was in the area, so I stopped by to check on you and drop a few things off. I didn\ want to wake you. Pop the coffee in the microwave. Enjoy your day. Call me later.

Love, Mom

My family is amazing. I don\ know what I\d do without them. My mother and my stepfather, Jack, are always stopping by with things for my apartment, food, or just to check on me. I love the company. Leaving home wasn\ as easy as I thought it would be. My mother knows what a hard time I\ve had adjusting to living on my own, and since I haven\ tried very hard to make this place a home, she\s done it for me. She used to call first, but I told her she didn\ have to. It\s not as if I have anything to worry about. I haven\ dated anyone since Tate. I decided to give up boyfriends and concentrate on myself for a while.

My brother River and I have always been close. I\d go as far as to say he was my best friend for the longest time;maybe he still is. We were together so much when we were younger, people used to think we were twins. His wife, Dahlia, and I are also really close. In fact she is the only one who knows about what happened with Tate and also how I really haven\ found my dream job. She wants me to quit and has been trying to get me to move in with her and my brother until I figure out what I want to do but um . . . no, thank you! I love them both to death but they are way too cutesy to live with full-time. I\d be pulling my hair out. Actually, who am I kidding? I\m jealous as anything and would love a relationship like that.

And my brother Xander, what would I do without him in my life? He\s my rock, my voice of reason. He\s always looked after me and guided me when I thought I was lost. But he\s also stern and a bit of an ass at times. I have to say now that he has a girl in his life, he\s softened . . . slightly. Ivy though, she\s amazing and the best thing about her she makes Xander unbelievably happy and he deserves it.

Yep, I\m the baby in my family, and they treat me like one . . . but I wouldn\ trade any of them for the world. I pop my coffee in the microwave, and after it\s warmed up, I truck to the shower to get ready to start my day.

Once I\m dressed, I hop in my car and drive to work. My mind keeps wandering back to Ben, to last night. To his delicious body, what I saw of it, and the heat between us. To the way I wanted to touch him everywhere. How fast he got turned on and the things he whispered in the dark dirty, hot words in the heat of passion. And to how hard I came with him inside me. That had only happened once before and it was with him.

The Wyatt Events office isn\ far from where I live in West Hollywood and I make it there in less than fifteen minutes. Even as I walk down the street, Ben\s still on my mind. I wonder if he\ll even call me. And if he does, what will I say?

As soon as I step through the modern space, I\m startled out of my thoughts when Tate\s voice booms loudly, ’’Bell, I need you in my office. Now!’’

I glance up at the clock ten after ten. I\m really not late considering that I won\ be home until at least ten o\clock tonight. My gaze swivels to Josie, Tate\s assistant. She\s tall, almost as tall as my sister-in-law, Dahlia. She\s waiflike with blond and blue hair her hair complements her pale blue eyes perfectly. She has a punk rock style that is killer. She took my place when I got promoted to consultant. Her eyes lock on mine and she ever so slightly shakes her head and mouths, ’’Piss-ass mood.’’

’’Great,’’ I mutter under my breath as I pass her and linger in the doorway.

’’Come in and close the door,’’ he says.

He checks the time on his watch, then looks up at me sharply before his eyes drift down my gray dress all the way to the red patent leather pumps I\m wearing. ’’What are your plans after you go see the bride?’’ His voice is calm and I\m surprised.

’’I thought I\d come back here and gather what we need for the venue.’’

He nods. ’’I\d like to take you to lunch. To discuss the evening\s schedule of events.’’

’’Sure, of course.’’

’’Okay, then. Thank you for taking care of Caroline\s insecurities about the topper. I\m sure it will be fine.’’

’’It\s not a problem, Tate.’’

Just then my phone rings. I never switched it to vibrate because being summoned into his office was unexpected.

’’That\s all. I\ll see you back here around noon and you pick the lunch spot.’’ He slips on his reading glasses and directs his attention to the stack of papers on his desk.

’’Hello?’’ I pull my phone out of my purse to answer as soon as I step out of Tate\s office.


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