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“I’m sure it is, Mr. Barlow, but I’d still need to make an appointment in Ms. Cumberland’s schedule to accommodate you.”

The office door opened from behind.

Business Lori wore a tight pencil skirt, heels that weren’t too tall. Her silk blouse covered the creamy skin of her chest but accentuated the curve of her breasts. Her hair was partially held back in a loose bun that probably took her way too long to put up.

She made it two steps into the office with an auburn haired petite woman at her side before she recognized him.


“Hello, Lori.” He dropped his voice.

She blushed.

“What are you doing here?”

“I was in the neighborhood.” Via a few freeways and with no other destination in mind.

“I was encouraging Mr. Barlow to make an appointment,” Lori’s secretary said from behind the desk.

“It’s okay, Liana. Reed’s a friend.”

The redhead cleared her throat with an amused smile.

“I’m sorry. Sam Harrison, this is Reed Barlow.”

Ah, yes . . . the woman from the papers.

He held out his hand.

“Lori and I met in Barcelona.”

Sam shook with the grip of a woman in business and not one only used to entertaining guests from her country club. “Is that right? How come you didn’t tell me about him?” she asked Lori.

Lori opened her mouth, closed it, and turned to Reed. “I wanted to keep him to myself.”

Sam choked on a laugh.

“I guess I messed that up,” he said, grinning.

Lori rolled her eyes and stepped close. He took her advance as an opportunity to kiss her cheek in greeting.

“It looks like we will have more to talk about at dinner on Sunday,” Samantha told Lori.

“Should I be worried?” Reed teased.

“Probably,” Sam said. “Lori’s always welcome to bring a plus one . . .”

Reed wanted to jump at the invitation; instead, he looked to Lori for direction.

She wasn’t jumping.

“Maybe next time,” he told Lori’s friend.

“Perhaps. Lori?” Sam turned to her friend. “I’ll see you this weekend. Call me after New York.”

The two women hugged briefly before Sam turned and left.

“Liana, when is my next client?”

“Twenty minutes.”

Lori gave a quick nod into the depths of the office. “That’s all the time I have,” she told him.

“I’ll take it.”

He followed her down a short hall, past a conference room, around a small kitchen, and past an open office. From there, she welcomed him into her office space.

It wasn’t cluttered with papers all over a desk or useless knickknacks. It was clean lines and professional decor mixed with just enough elegance to say the space was occupied by a woman.

She closed the door behind them and walked around her desk.

He followed her.

“What are you—”

He didn’t let her finish her question before he grasped her slim hips, turned her around to face him, and lifted her until her butt was on her desk.

Lori sucked in a breath but didn’t push him away.

“I missed you.”

She bit her lower lip, and he replaced her teeth with his kiss.

He tasted her surprise, followed quickly by acceptance.

Lori kissed back with a fevered pitch. Her hand traveled down his back and over his ass before she dug her fingertips in.

All his brain cells traveled down in a mad rush to fill his cock with heat.

Danger zone, Reed.

He attempted to pull back, but she didn’t let him. Lips open, tongue demanding, Lori moaned until she started to squirm.

Reed gently grasped her groping hands and weaved his fingers together with hers. “Greedy woman,” he whispered when he forced their kiss to end.

“You started it.”

He took one of their clasped hands and rubbed the back of hers against his erection.

“Have an itch?” she asked, teasing.

“Yes. And only a high-powered divorce attorney by the name of Lori can scratch it.”

She licked her lips. “I have to work.”

“Tonight . . . for dinner.”

“Can’t. Dinner meeting with a client.”

He narrowed his eyes. “Tomorrow?”

She gripped his hands tighter. “I have a late appointment. But maybe.”


Her eyes narrowed.

He rubbed himself with her hand again.

She smiled. “Fine. My place, but you can’t stay the night. I have an early flight to New York.”

“You just got home.”

“Can’t be helped. Trina needs me.”

Yep, yep . . . more to the Trina story.

“Okay. I’ll leave by midnight.”


Was this a negotiation?

“Eleven thirty, and I’ll bring wine.”

She smiled. “Deal.”

Chapter Sixteen

Lori counted the hours until her date with Reed.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t a date so much as a prescheduled booty call. But hey, she bought a few things to go with the wine he was bringing, so it could double as an actual dinner date.

With her hands loaded with bags from the store, Lori exited the elevator to her condo and fished her keys out of her purse.

She fiddled with the door twice before managing to unlock the thing. Two steps inside she heard someone in her kitchen.

Her first thought was Reed . . . not that he could have gotten in or that they’d gotten to the point where he would just appear without invitation.

Lori hesitated when she saw Avery ducking into her wine fridge.

“You don’t have chardonnay.”

She dropped her bags on the counter.

“Ah, hello, Avery.”

“You don’t like white? I can do red, if that’s all you have.”

Lori dropped her purse, looked at the clock on the wall.

“There are a few pinot grigios in there.”

Avery ducked back in, pulled out a white. She moved to a drawer, pulled it open . . . didn’t find what she wanted and moved to another. After obtaining a corkscrew, she found two glasses and continued opening the bottle. “You’re home kinda late.”

“Business meeting.” She looked at the clock. And a date.

“Hope you don’t mind me letting myself in. I begged the concierge to let me in and they agreed. They know you and I are traveling together. I was pacing the walls upstairs.”


“I was talking to Trina earlier today. She’s bouncing off the walls, too.”

“It’s called jet lag.”

Avery laughed, popped the cork. “Postvacation . . . postmarriage . . . prechapter in what the hell do we do next. That’s what it’s called.”

Lori knew Avery moving into a condo in the same building was probably a bad idea.

“Uhm . . . Avery . . .”

“Did you want white? I can open a red if you’d like.”

“I’m good with white,” Lori found herself saying. How the hell was she going to get Avery out of there before Reed showed up? He was due in less than a half an hour.

“Did Trina tell you what the security guards found in her house?”

“She didn’t call me about anything.”

“That’s surprising.”

“I’m flying to New York in the morning. What did they find?”


The first thing Lori thought of was an insect. Then her mind shifted. “You mean spy crap?”

“Yeah. They didn’t think it was there long, but they found several all over the house.”

“Holy cow.” Lori fished her cell out of her pocket and sent a quick text to Sam.

Do you know what is going on with the bugs in Trina’s house?

“Explains why she’s bouncing off the walls. My question is why would someone be spying on Trina? I don’t get it.”

“She’s worth a lot of money.”

“She’s also squeaky-clean, a virtual saint compared to me.”

Lori didn’t argue.

Her phone buzzed.

No details, just that Neil’s guys found them. You’re leaving tomorrow, right?

Avery poured the wine.


Let me know what you find out.

Lori sipped the wine, put her phone down.

“Was Fedor in trouble with the law or anything?” Avery asked.

Lori shook her head. “No. Nothing like that.” Her eyes settled on the bags containing the groceries she’d bought for her date.

Shit . . . her date.

Six forty-five.

“I wonder if we’ll ever hear from the cruise line about Rogelio and Miguel.”

“I somehow doubt it will be anything we want to hear.”

“Still can’t believe I fell for that. What is wrong with me that I’m so ready to fall like that?”

Lori felt like she’d been answering this question for the better part of two weeks.

“He was the schmuck, not you. You had your guard down. On vacation in the sun halfway across the world. He’d obviously done this before.”

“I’m such an asshole.” Avery sucked down half her glass right as the bell at Lori’s door rang.

“Uhm . . .”

“Who could that be? It’s kinda late.”


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