One More Touch

Be careful what you wish for…

Dental hygienist Willow McCall has yet to blow out her candles on her twenty-fifth birthday cake when a mysterious suitcase appears at her door. It’s the perfect escape from her humdrum life.

Or so she thinks.

Landing on the Wild Side of a clothing-optional resort called Pleasures is shocking enough, but encountering danger with her hottie Newport neighbor from back home and discovering her new luggage is magical throws Willow’s tidy little world into a tailspin. When she learns the purpose for her journey is far more sinister than either of them imagined, she’s even more determined to rise to the challenge. But can she solve the magic suitcase’s obscure clues–before a vengeful enemy strikes again?

You might just get it, and then some…

Enjoy an Excerpt

One More Touch

Chapter One

The man wove his black van through the sleepy side streets of Ocho Rios, another step closer to his target. Sweat trickled down his face. He leaned forward to turn up the AC. Jah bless. It was already on high. He glanced at the scrawled directions on his Zinny’s Reggae Pub napkin and checked the display clock. He made a right, a passing street light slashing across the interior of his vehicle to illuminate the photo of his little girl he’d stuck to the dash in happier days. He swallowed hard and clenched the steering wheel.

A crimson glow swept over the van from the neon sign at the entrance of the Tickle Me Bar as he turned into its parking lot. He drove past the row of cars, into the shadows and around the corner. He crawled to a stop, took a ragged breath, and switched off the headlights.

Hands trembling, he fumbled with his phone. Rassclot. The deal was still on. He squinted through the windshield past the inky darkness toward the street-lit building pulsing with music. The club door opened, right on schedule.

The lone, tall johnny moved like a panther down the steps and entered the lot.

Mek haste. Closing his eyes, he gunned the engine. The van propelled forward with a lurch and growing speed. A sickening thud against the vehicle sent a shudder through his body. His eyes popped open as he slammed on the brakes.

He dragged his attention to the rearview mirror.

There in the dark lay the tall johnny sprawled on the hard ground between two parked cars, the moonlight reflecting off the metal of his belt buckle. The American’s head and torso were hidden.

He turned on the headlights and slowly exited the parking lot, making a left when he reached the quiet road.

A half-mile later, he shook himself out of his stupor, glanced at the object on the console between the seats, and cursed. Pulling to the curb in the upscale neighborhood, near the type of home he could now afford for his family, he picked up the phone the silver-haired gentleman had given him. He cleared his throat. “Saa, ‘im a dead.”

“You take the picture like we agreed?” the silver-haired gentleman shot back.

He took off his cap and wiped his brow with the sleeve of his shirt before returning the hat to his chestnut dreads. “Naa.”

“No proof, no money.”

He rubbed the back of his neck with a sweaty palm. “It’s done, Saa. I heard the, I saw the—”

“Don’t call again until you have proof.”

The line went dead.

The man spat out a curse and started the van’s engine. He needed to go back. A few minutes later, he passed the same neon sign. He entered the parking lot as before, stole past the row of cars, and inched around to the spot where the johnny had lain. He hit the brakes, cut the engine, and stared at the pavement in the glare of his headlights.

Rassclot. He wasn’t getting paid tonight.

The tall American had disappeared.


Willow McCall clicked on her bedroom’s overhead light and stuck her tongue out at the stack of self-help books on her nightstand across the room. It had been a long day at work. To make matters worse, she’d gone out with the girls for Happy Hour afterwards.

Padding across her only private space in the cozy two-bedroom apartment, she set her cell phone next to the stack of books and yanked off her scrub top to toss it into the white wicker hamper. She edged onto the narrow bed next to her three napping cats and lay down, her head cushioned by eyelet pillows and tired body by the fluffy down comforter. She smoothed her tank top, laced her hands on her abdomen, and closed her eyes.

Ah, blissful silence. No dental emergencies, no screaming children, no fretting mommies. No drill or polisher. Just silence. Blessed silence.

Or not?

Willow opened her eyes.

Three pair of feline eyes stared back at her, three sets of ears perked.

She scooped the nearest cat into her arms and listened.

There it was again…

Moans and low, rhythmic grunts filtered through the wall separating her bedroom from the next one.

Sugar and molasses.

She set the purring fur ball next to the other two and groaned, then flopped back onto the pillow and molded it around her head—anything to mute the soft, telling noises from Carly’s bedroom.

Forget about them.

Willow scanned the book spines, focusing on the top title: Overcoming Wallflower Syndrome. She grabbed the book. Maybe reading would take her mind off the creaking bed in the next room. Grunts joined the moans. Lovely. She glanced up from her page to see a festive box nestled among a few of her favorite dolls on the white wicker chair in the room’s corner. Mom must’ve brought the birthday present over on her way home from work at the university.

Yep. She’d be blowing out twenty-five candles on her cake Sunday while Carly, four months and sixteen days younger, would be blowing—

Where did that come from?

She slammed the book shut.

Happy Hour had started out all right. She and her coworkers had sipped cocktails and enjoyed a few appetizers. As alcohol loosened tongues and talk turned to the hot guys sitting at the far end of the bar, one thing had led to another and the other girls ended up inviting a few of the men to join them at their table. Before she knew it, all the girls had hooked up and she was the odd one out.

As usual.

It sure would’ve been nice to summon the nerve to talk with one of the guys, flirt, maybe get to know him—hell, even make out with him if she liked him well enough. Although, none of the guys at the bar piqued her interest anywhere as much as her newest neighbor.

If only I had the guts.

Damn. It would be a miracle if her girlfriend’s bed didn’t break. Sliding her cell phone off the nightstand, she popped in pink earbuds and cranked up the music—outside world on mute. Too bad no decibel was high enough to quiet the clamoring in her head.

Three tunes later, all was finally quiet in Carly’s room.

Willow rose from her bed, wandering over to the window to pull back the white eyelet curtains and gaze at the April night sky.

The landlord’s clock chimed eight downstairs.

Ron, Harry, and Hermione mewled for their evening meal on cue.

“Dinner,” she acknowledged.

Once the trio were settled at their bowls in the galley kitchen, she opened the fridge in search of something for herself. Carly must’ve finished the Chinese and leftover pizza. Oh well. Willow grabbed a jar of mayo and shut the fridge door before pulling a can of tuna and sleeve of crackers from the cabinet.

Her phone vibrated against her hip. She pulled it from her pocket. “Hey, Mom.”

“Hey, sweetie. Just calling to see if you were home yet. Any more biters?”

She stirred the mayo and tuna, sprinkling salt and pepper over the mixture. “Not today.” She smoothed the bandage covering her right pinky knuckle. Poor kid, she couldn’t blame him for chomping on her. She hated going to the dentist as much as he did. A whirring dental drill made her quake with fear. “What’s up? Did Evie and Craig find an apartment?” She moved to the small dining room table with her bowl, the cats rubbing against her calves.

“Yes,” her mother sighed. “You know me. I’d rather they get married first.”

“They’re engaged.” She smiled at the image of her little sister glowing with happiness, that huge rock on her left ring finger. Craig was a good guy. Evie deserved all the love in the world. Maybe one day Willow would be lucky in love too. “Papers to grade?”

“Don’t remind me. Teaching Freshman Comp is killing me this semester,” she paused. “Look, the reason I’m calling is to warn you. You sister suckered me into going along with a special surprise. Caught me at a weak moment, I guess. Anyway, just have fun with it, and know that I love you.” She paused again, “I know it makes you uncomfortable when I say it, but your father would’ve been so proud.” Her mother’s voice caught. “Live a little. It’s okay.”

Willow moved to the fridge and grabbed a soda. “That reminds me, thanks for the present. I’ll open it Sunday.”

“That’s only part of it. You’ll see. Just remember, you’re entitled to celebrate life.” She sighed. “I just want you to be happy.”

Willow twisted off the bottle cap and took a long gulp, her throat tight. “I am happy.”

“You know what I mean.”

The doorbell chimed.

“Gotta go, Mom. I have a visitor.”

“Oh, that must be your surprise. Have fun.”

“Surprise?” But her mother didn’t respond, the call having ended. Sugar and molasses. Willow tucked the phone back into her pocket and hurried to the door. She eyed her visitor through the peephole. Double sugar and molasses. What the heck was Evie up to now? The only surprise she wanted was Mr. Neighbor with the knockout eyes and dazzling smile to whisk her away—preferably somewhere exotic.

Well, there was a guy at the door, but not the one she’d dreamed about the past three months. This one looked suspiciously like one of those cheesy strip-o-gram guys.

She groaned, her chest and neck blistering hot in the chilly room. She never should’ve told Evie how Magic Mike was her guilty pleasure. It was one thing to watch a male stripper in a movie, and another, altogether, to experience one in the flesh.

Speaking of flesh…

The faux fire fighter on the other side of the door checked his phone and moved closer to the peephole. He blurred in her vision.

The doorbell rang again and she jumped.

“Who is it?” Carly strolled up in her skimpy boy shorts paired with her favorite Providence sweatshirt drooping off one olive-skinned shoulder. She shot Willow a knowing look and swung open the door.

Mom or Evie must have told her.

“Well hello, handsome.” Carly drew out the words, welcoming Willow’s uninvited guest into the cramped living space.

The cats ran for cover.

Wishing she could hide with them, Willow backed up and sidled around the couch.

“I have something for the birthday girl.” The guy eyed Carly with hope.

Her roomie covered a snicker with the back of her hand and pointed at Willow with the other. “I’m not the lucky one, big guy. She is.” Carly raced to pull her from behind the couch, whispering in her ear as the man set up his throwback boom box on the living room coffee table. “C’mon. He’s here to put out your fire. Ten months is way too long to go without a little action.”

“Yeah, as if you’d know,” Willow muttered, glaring at her former longtime friend. Carly knew about her one foray into the big bad dating world. Why hadn’t she put the kibosh on this when Evie suggested it? “You and I need to talk.”

Carly gave her a friendly yet firm shove into the chair. “Later. For now, enjoy.” She perched on the couch for the show.

Willow sucked in a breath and turned to stare at her so-called gift. The costume was pretty realistic, from the helmet to the blue button-down shirt, navy suspenders and pants. The pants fit snug at the crotch. Oh. My. She could see the outline of— “Seriously?”

“Seriously,” the man purred and moved to close the door.

Oh dear. She had said that aloud. The room grew smaller.

He tapped a button on his boom box and began his dance—all business as he began to gyrate—unbuttoning his pale blue shirt to reveal an impressive chest.

“I can’t believe this.” Willow turned her face away as the stripper pushed up close, taking a step back and falling into the chair.

“Relax. He’s not going to bite—unless you ask him to.” Carly laughed at her own joke. “You’re being silly. Have fun. Your family paid good money for this.”

“Shut up.” Willow tried to breathe and peeked at him. Sculpted abs stared back at her. The guy smelled okay, not like BO or anything. Like Irish Spring.

He gave her a lazy grin. Shirtless now, he made a production of removing his suspenders to Carly’s shouts of approval. “It’s okay if you want to touch.”

Willow burrowed her hands in her lap.

He slid out of his pants, displaying lean, muscular legs, and hooked his thumbs in the waistband of his fire engine red boxers.

“No. Way.” Would he bare it all? She clenched the arms of the chair and glanced helplessly at her friend. No one, not even Carly, knew she had yet to see more of a guy, not even the first and only man she had ever slept with after one too many silken compliments and drinks.

The stripper said nothing, his body teasing her eyes. He exposed one beautiful cheek on his backside and then the other. He turned forward again.

She gasped. It was something like a thong, but different. What was it called?

“Nice banana hammock, dude.” Carly turned to her and pouted. “Why don’t my parents get me stuff like this? The best I ever got was a gift card to the mall.”

Thankfully, after the guy shook his money maker to another fiery song, the performance was over. Carly escorted him to the door with a smile and a tip for being a good sport, then disappeared down the short hallway.

Willow flopped onto the couch to lie on her back, arms covering her face. How humiliating. Her own mother thought she needed to get a life. She groaned. Please, if anyone can hear me, I beg you. Please, please help me get past another birthday and over my stupid hang-ups.

A moment later, the doorbell rang.

She sat up. Huh?

Carly reappeared in the hallway. “I tipped him like your Mom said.”

“Never mind. I’ll deal with it. You have company,” Willow trudged back to the door and peered through the peephole. No hottie. No nothing. Curious, she opened the door and looked down at the huge present blocking her exit.

It was obviously a piece of luggage—in spite of pretty gold and red paper wrapping covering its middle—with a handle sticking up and rolling wheels down below.

“Open it,” Carly prompted, joining her at the door, “before Jerry gets out of the shower.”

She laughed. “You nicknamed the guy after your favorite dessert?”

Carly rolled her eyes as she grabbed the present’s handle.

“I’ll open it later,” she said, following her roomie and the luggage back into the apartment.

She pursed her lips. “Oh, no you won’t. I am well aware of your aversion to celebrations in your honor. C’mon. I want to see it. Who sent it?”

“Don’t know.” Willow sat on the couch and pushed down the memories she’d been avoiding all day, every year, for more than a decade.

“Hey. For me?”

“Oh. All right.” She leaned forward and tore a swath of paper. “Wicked.” She reached out and traced her monogram embossed in the glossy red leather, a tingle racing from her fingertip up her hand through her arm and shoulder to her pounding heart. She sat back, clutching her hand. What just happened?

“Wicked classy,” Carly nodded.

Willow folded her arms across her body. Sure, it was classy, but there was something forbidden and darkly intimate too.

Carly lifted the luggage a few inches above the floor before setting it down again. Her eyes widened. “It’s heavy.”

Willow stared, the crimson and gold drawing her in, tempting her to take a chance. Her last vacation had been the summer before her father died. She had relented and taken vacation days this week to satisfy her mother and boss, but she planned on reading, hanging out with the cats, and maybe, just maybe, getting up the nerve to talk to the guy across the street.


“Oh, sure.” I’m being silly. It’s just leather and fabric and metal. Willow took a deep breath and ran her hand along the curve of the smooth handle. Zip! The tingle raised goosebumps along the length of her upper limbs before racing through her abdomen to her chest and head. She closed her eyes and allowed the peace to settle over her, a calmness unlike any she’d ever felt. She opened her eyes and glanced at her friend. “I—” This must be my imagination. She’ll think I’m crazy. It’s a freaking piece of luggage.

Carly raised her eyebrows.

She blinked, wiggling her fingers. “Okay, here goes.” Willow gently laid the suitcase on its side. She pulled, the zipper gliding like polish over clean teeth. She let out a breath. “Wow.” She lifted the cross trainers and sports bras nestled among more summer outfits than she had packed away for the season. Her eyes filled and she sniffed. Her mother had gone above and beyond on this present. She had to have done this. No one else who knew her as well could afford such extravagance.

“Babe?” A deep voice called from the bathroom.

Carly glanced over her shoulder. “Be right there.” She stood and squeezed Willow in a big hug. “Forget about Ken or whatever the jerk’s name was. I love you. Do something spontaneous. It will be good for you.”

She smiled. “I love you too—even if you are outgoing.” She crooked her fingers and made air quotes. “Very outgoing.”

Carly shrugged. “I prefer to consider myself evolved. Men have been allowed to do it for centuries. We women have a lot of catching up to do.” She winked. “Besides,” she nodded toward her room, “I think he may be my prince. All those frogs I hooked up with, fell for, or hurt because I dumped them, were worth it if I needed to kiss them in order to meet him.”

Willow looked deep into her friend’s eyes. Could it be true? She saw contentment there, a joy that had been missing since high school. She clapped a hand over her mouth and pulled her friend close for another hug. “Oh my. I’m so happy for you.” She pushed Carly away, toward the door. “Now get out of here. Jerry wants you.”

Carly glanced back, tears in her eyes. “Yes.” She choked on the words. “He does.”

Willow waited until the bedroom door closed before she pulled her phone out of her pocket and hit speed dial. “Mom?”

Her mother’s voice was soft. “Are you angry? Evie promised me you’d like it, but I wasn’t so sure.”

She sank onto the edge of her bed. “Not at all.”

“Did you take those vacation days like you promised?”

“Yes.” Staycations were popular and acceptable these days, right?

“That’s great, sweetie. Your life has the potential to change for the better on Sunday. You have decisions to make. Can’t put it off any longer.”

Willow sighed. “Mom.”

“Your father would want you to use the money. That’s why he set up the trust funds in the first place.”

Silence stretched between them.

Her mother sighed. “Anyway, I’m glad you like the gifts. Please let me cook for you this year? We could have a quiet dinner. Nothing big, I promise.”

Willow heard a deep voice in the background and pushed away the momentary sadness and guilt. “Sounds like you have a friend over. I’ll let you go.” Evie had mentioned their mother was dating the newest professor in the Math department. That was good. Dad wouldn’t want her to be alone forever.

“I’ll talk with you in the morning. Think about it, okay?”

“Sure. Night.” Willow hung up and was about to call her sister when she remembered Evie and Craig were at a friend’s wedding for the evening, so she sent a quick text, then rolled the luggage into her bedroom. Trying on clothes and dreaming of tropical places beat reality TV or dwelling on regrets any night of the week.

A few moments later, she stood in front of the open suitcase on her bed, picked up the white linen envelope, and ripped it open to pull out a card.

What the—? It wasn’t a card.

She pulled out an airline ticket, sank onto the bed and fanned herself with the cardboard. Images of beautiful Caribbean beaches and landscapes filled her head. Oh, Mom. How did you know? But should she go? She glanced in the direction of Carly’s bedroom, debating whether to bug her about her dilemma.

Nah. It had been a long road for her dear friend. It would be selfish to interrupt her happiness.

Willow glanced at the reservation peeking out from behind the boarding pass in her hand: Pleasures Resort, an all-inclusive escape from reality. She closed her eyes and pictured a tranquil getaway…lying on a massage table inside a beach cabana, its gauzy white fabric fluttering on the ocean breeze, a hint of lavender mixing with salty air as the masseuse kneads overworked muscles. After, she could lounge in a fluffy cotton robe and take long, lazy sips of a refreshing smoothie while listening to Vivaldi and watching the gentle lap of the surf against the velvet shore.

She hugged the suitcase. This was her chance for a fresh start, an opportunity to reinvent her personal life. Who knew? Maybe that confidence would carry over to her business life, and she’d find the courage to quit a job she liked but didn’t love.

Okay, I’ll go.

A week of playing pretend and recharging would do the trick, and then she’d be more than ready to create a new career and begin the rest of her life. Willow focused on her neighbor’s ground floor window across the street. He appeared to be hard at work in his home office as was his habit in the evenings. She sighed. Was it too much to hope she’d ever find someone as magnificent on the inside as that man appeared to be on the outside?



Chapter Two

Griffin Winsor gazed out the window toward his neighbor’s house. Mr. and Mrs. Young were asleep by now, the sun having set more than an hour ago. His eyes slid upward to the cape’s second story.

One of the tenants flitted around her bedroom behind filmy curtains.

He rose from his desk to close the shade but stopped when he saw the woman wore a neon yellow bikini. He jogged past her every morning. She never showed an interest—earbuds in, eyes downcast, skittering down the sidewalk in shapeless scrubs and white Crocs. It’s always the shy ones. He chuckled and leaned against the window pane, the glass cool against his forehead.

She stopped in front of a full-length mirror. Pulling her hair out of its no-nonsense pony tail, she shook her brown hair free of its constraints, the shiny length flowing over her pale, slender back.

The house phone rang.

Griffin stepped back from the window and snapped the shade closed. He didn’t have time for useless longings.

He picked up the phone. “Hey, what’s up?”

His twin’s voice crackled over the line. “It’s me. I had a bit of an accident last night.”

He frowned. “You okay?”

“I’ll be fine. No bungee jumping or skydiving for me the next few weeks if the doctor has his way.”

Griffin grabbed his Yankees mug off the desk and strode to the kitchen for a refill. “What’d you do? Fall off your yacht?”

“I wish,” Graham groaned. “Water probably would’ve been more forgiving than the pavement.”


“You’re not going to believe this. I was walking to my car when some idiot driving without his headlights on nearly ran me over. My keeper skills saved me.” His laugh turned into a grunt. “Dove to the side. I swear the drunk had his eyes shut.”

Griffin swallowed his concern with a swig of lukewarm coffee, his body thrumming with fury. “They arrest the asshole?”

“When I came to, he was gone. A guy from the club drove me to the hospital.”

Griffin returned to the window at the front of the house. “You could’ve been killed.”

“That’s what Sheila said.”


His brother muttered something. “You check your voicemail lately?”

Griffin shifted his weight. Caught. “Not on my personal line. Negotiations have been brutal. You know how it is.” He hesitated, “But that’s no excuse. Are you two serious?”

“Would I say her name if it wasn’t?”

Wow. Was Graham considering settling down? “Is there a wedding in your future?” he joked.

“Six months, a year tops. I wanted to hire an event team, but she insisted on doing it herself. She’s a wedding planner.”

Shit. It was real. Go figure. “Where will the big event take place?” He walked over to his desk planner and picked up his pen, a gift from his father after their North American GWC profits reached the five billion mark two years ago.

“South Africa.”

“Why not Jamaica?”

“She’s from there. I’m trying to make amends with her father. She’s an only child. He apparently has doubts whether I’m suitable for his princess.” He laughed, “It’s okay. I get it. I’ll probably feel the same way when it comes to a man daring to marry one of my daughters.”

Griffin snorted, “I’d think you’d be quite the catch.”

“Ever hear of GemWorld Incorporated?”

“Who hasn’t?”

“Well, that’s Sheila’s family.”


“Yeah, I don’t have to worry about her wanting me just for my money.”

Griffin flinched. His brother had warned him about Kimberly. Too bad he didn’t believe his twin until investing years of his life and a fortune on her engagement ring.

“You still sore about that money hungry bi—”

“I’m past it. It’s been two years. I’m fine.” He peered out the window. Am I? I’m ogling the neighbor across the street from my window instead of asking her out.

“Good. She’s not worth it. Hey, I bet you could use a break from the daily grind. Am I right?”

He shifted his weight again. “We’re scheduled to begin the conversion process in two weeks.”

“I hear you. Love to make the dough but usually too wrapped up in my work to enjoy it. Wait until you see my newest baby. She’s gorgeous, only took two cool million to make her shine.”

“Nice.” He’d have to check his tablet, find a hole to squeeze in a quick getaway.

“How about visiting this week?”

Griffin laughed, “Yeah, right.”

“I’m serious, come to Pleasures, get a feel for the place. Have one of your minions take over the prep work on the Rhode Island job.”

He stretched his quads. “That’s not the issue.”

“Look Griffin, I don’t want to beg, but I’m in a bit of a bind. I was lying here in the hospital, thinking about all the work I have to do, about why I can’t lie here on my ass much longer, when I realized I have a whopper of a conflict. That’s when I told Sheila I need to clone myself and—she’s so smart—she reminded me I have one. You.”

Griffin rubbed the back of his neck. “I don’t know. Even if I let my assistants take over with the Newport project, our Vegas hotel is set to open in May. There are hundreds of details to square away, especially since I’m in charge of HR. Ever staffed a hotel casino?” He brought his empty mug to the kitchen where Graham and he’d spent many happy summers with their grandparents.

“Hear me out, will you? Before you say no.”

Griffin took two stairs at a clip and headed into the master bedroom. As he reached for his tablet on the nightstand, his gaze was pulled, once again, to the lit window across the street. His pretty neighbor had changed into a nightshirt, her lean legs draped over the edge of her bed as she read a book.

His middle tightened. Doesn’t she realize anyone passing by can see her? Or gawk at her from the house across the street?

She seemed to read his thoughts, sliding off her bed and marching over to the window.

A sharp hiss escaped him when her nightshirt lifted, neon pink panties winking through the dark as she stretched to close the curtains. Damn. I’m horny over a girl who hasn’t uttered two words to me since I’ve been here. He turned his thoughts back to his brother.

“…have to fly out tomorrow, have a critical meeting regarding a prospective property in Dubai. The owners insist on talking face-to-face.”

He pinched the bridge of his nose. “Have your manager cover for you.”

“Can’t. My three investors are scheduled to visit this week. They expect to see me.” He rushed on before Griffin could interrupt. “All they need is to see me on the premises, in charge.”

“I don’t know, Graham. There’s a load of work.” As always.

“C’mon. When’s the last time you put your feet up and drank a cold one on a beautiful beach?”

“I’m perfectly fine with my life. You’re the one who insisted on branching out. I told you not to do it, that you’d be overextended.” Griffin picked up his tablet and left the master bedroom, descending the stairs to his office.

“Really? You’re going to say no because I had the balls to go off on my own and you didn’t.”

He stopped mid-stride. “I had nothing to prove. I’m perfectly content.” If only I didn’t have to travel all the time.

“I’m sorry. I have no right questioning your choices. You’ve always supported me.” His brother muttered a curse. “This headache is making me ornery. Sheila warned me not to call you until the nurse gave me the next dose. I’m happy for you, I really am. But I need your help. Could you do me a solid?”

Rearranging the schedule would be a royal pain, but this was his brother. He owed him. Griffin cleared his throat. “Maybe I could use a vacation.” He tapped his tablet to check flight times. “There’s a red eye I may be able to catch.”

His brother yawned. “Thanks.”

“You’d do the same.” Griffin returned upstairs and pulled his luggage out of the back corner of the bedroom closet. “Graham?”


He closed his eyes briefly. “Glad you’re not dead.”

“Thanks, bro.”

He hit END and threw the suitcase onto the bed. What did guys like his brother wear every day at a hedonist resort? Suit and tie or Hawaiian shirts and flip flops? He smiled, recalling his mother’s horrified expression when the family had discussed Graham’s newest resort over Christmas dinner. She was old school, the kind of woman who always wore dresses or skirts that fell below her knees—never shorts or a two-piece bathing suit. Hell, maybe he didn’t need to pack anything other than his toothbrush, if the family rumors about Pleasures were true.

Griffin glanced out the window, his neighbor’s house now shrouded in darkness. Someday, he’d find a nice girl of his own—a woman he could trust loved him and not just his family name and the status and wealth it brought.

End of Excerpt