An Unusual Vacation
Michelle Vega has everything to hide except her beauty and her instant attraction to Dominic. She’s not on vacation as she visits the gallery—more like on business.
When Michelle’s business takes a dangerous twist Dominic finds he’s pulled into a perilous situation.
Will this be a test of his love or the finish of it?
“When are you leaving, Dominic?” John swiveled in the chair at the next desk, pulling his phone headset from his ear. “Janie and I thought you might like to come over for dinner this Sunday.”
Dominic watched the numbers change on one of the computer screens as a stock exchange closed overseas. He cast a weary glance at John. “I’m leaving tomorrow night. I need the break. Give Janie my regards. I’ll catch you later … I still need to pack and stuff.” He’d finished his shift and couldn’t wait to leave the brokerage.
Dominic couldn’t have faced spending time with the couple again, anyway. Newly married, they radiated love for each other––which was nice, but not great to be around when a man didn’t have anyone in his life. A sliver of envy wound its way uncharacteristically around Dominic’s heart and squeezed. At thirty-two, Dominic figured it was time love dropped into his life, the way he’d seen it happen recently to a number of people he knew.
Fatigue drained him that night, and yet he’d not had a hard working day––for a change. Dominic shook himself. This was no ordinary fatigue. I’m tired of my life. Headed home at last, he took the stairs down to the lobby, instead of the elevator.
Ben, the security doorman, gave him a cheery smile. “Goodnight, Dominic. Have a good weekend.”
Dominic forced a smile. “See you, Ben. You too—but I’m actually off on vacation for the next three weeks.”
He took the alley that led to the office parking lot and aimed his key fob at his car. The dull clunk of the door unlocking comforted him. He got in, started the engine, and reversed into the space to exit the car lot. I need something good to happen, something uplifting, unusual, unexpected—something refreshing.
Dominic flipped on the lights in the hall. He dropped his keys onto the polished mahogany table, and his jacket over the ornamental acorn at the bottom of the staircase handrail. He took off his tie and threw that at his jacket. It slid to the floor, but Dominic shrugged as he opened the two top buttons of his shirt. His study and his old leather armchair beckoned, and he intended collapsing there with a glass of bourbon for half an hour, as he caught the late news on TV.
His stomach rumbled. Dominic remembered he hadn’t eaten since breakfast and strode to the kitchen instead.
Dominic hung on the fridge door gazing along the half-empty shelves. His gaze landed on the two eggs precariously placed so they threatened to roll and splat on the dove-gray floor tiles. With a small murmur of resignation, Dominic picked them both up in one hand, and took the frying pan down from a hook over the stove. As the eggs sizzled, he put two slices of bread in the toaster. All the clean glasses were in the dishwasher he’d yet to unload, and Dominic took one out. It clicked on the granite worktop as he placed it there before adding ice and bourbon. The bread popped up in the toaster. Dominic spun around and caught it. He slid the fried eggs from the pan onto a slice of toast and jammed the other slice on top. Dominic took a bite of the sandwich, then picked up his bourbon and wandered along to his study.
The door was ajar and he nudged it open with his foot. He set the glass of bourbon down on a low table placed by his armchair so he could switch on the TV and drag a footstool closer. The TV screen lit up, and Dominic took another bite of his fried egg sandwich as he flopped onto his armchair. The yolk ran to the crust and he caught it with his tongue. He never watched anything but the news channel, and so he dropped the remote down by his side, knowing the news would be back after the commercial. The sandwich and the bourbon mellowed him as he stretched out his long legs on the footstool and watched the world news.
After the headline stories, Dominic’s thoughts drifted to his vacation. He needed to pack, but the motor yacht would be ready for him. His dad’s caretaker saw to that. Dominic intended taking a leisurely cruise on the thirty-two foot motor yacht, named River Sprite. He’d crewed the vessel alone on a number of occasions. It was an easy sail and in fact, the yacht was very much a floating luxury suite. He’d pick it up at his dad’s marina berth and amble from the estuary, where two rivers met, up the river that ran parallel to the one on which his home and work were situated.
He intended stopping at three towns before he got to the waterside family cabin where the river narrowed and a tributary split off. Dominic enjoyed dropping into the towns. The ever-changing population and different characteristics of each one made for an interesting trip. He liked the coffee shops and fishing village feel of the largest, and the art-community feel of the others. They were all touristy towns, with pastel painted houses, bright marina cafés, and bars along the quays or high streets.
This summer, Dominic had considered taking a package holiday on a tropical beach somewhere, thinking maybe he’d encounter enough bikini-clad single girls to find one to love and have that love returned. He pushed the idea away—vacations only yielded flings, and he wanted more. Dominic enjoyed the journey up river, the sound of the water, the breeze on his skin, and the stars at night through the skylight in his sleeping compartment.
He drank the last of his bourbon and stood to clear up, and then pack a few clothes. He unloaded the dishwasher and then reloaded it with the dirty dishes. His cell phone rang as he ran up the stairs to his bedroom and he dragged it from his pants pocket to answer. The screen displayed his father’s picture. “Dad, what’s up, it’s one a.m.?”
Jack Carr’s voice held amusement as he spoke to his youngest son.
“I’m just checking in before you take off on vacation. I’ll be in court tomorrow so I’m calling now. Everything’s ready for you on River Sprite. Tom’s checked everything out and he’ll be at the marina about eleven to give you the keys. Have a good break.”
Dominic slowed his pace on the stairs. “Did you stay up especially to call me?” He frowned thinking about this.
“No, son, I’m working. This case gets more complex by the minute.”
Dominic rounded the top of the stairs and walked down the landing to his bedroom.
“Thank you for calling. I’ll keep in touch and, Dad, please take care not to overdo it. Can’t Jase help out?” He ran his free hand through his hair and leaned for a moment on the doorframe, wondering why his brother let his Dad work so hard at the firm. A year ago, his dad had suffered a heart attack. It was allegedly minor, but even so, Dominic worried about him.
“He’s got another job to do. I’m fine, really. I love my work. Good night, Dominic.”
“Goodnight, Dad.” He slipped his cell back into his pocket.
His duffle bag was at the back of the walk-in closet and Dominic levered off his boots before he padded in there. He stripped off his shirt and tossed it into the laundry hamper just inside the closet. A twinge of guilt forced furrows to his forehead. Maybe he should have gone into law the way his father and older brother expected, but it wasn’t in his heart and Dominic knew it had to be. How could you do your best for a client if you were a half-hearted lawyer?
No, Dominic went into stocks and shares. The company he worked for was a high-flying brokerage with some of the richest clients in the country. Dominic’s family wealth gave him a privileged upbringing, but he’d added to that by working hard since leaving college. Ten years had passed, the first five grueling, but now he breezed through it, and earned an enormous, bonus enhanced salary each year.
He picked up a few T-shirts and two pairs of jeans. They fit easily in the bottom of his grip bag. He added a sweater, and some underwear. Dominic hated packing. He never took much with him, and now he left the bag on the floor of the closet and went to take a shower. He’d need to drive out of the city early the next morning to the marina. It was barely a couple of hours’ journey, but that would extend considerably if he hit the main rush hour on the bridge.
Copyright Elodie Parkes , Evernight Publishing
From Evernight Publishing, erotic romance, suspense, intrigue, and a gorgeous love story
4 and a half stars from Manic Readers