Taylor stopped at the red light and pulled out her cell to check for any new text messages. Even though he said he’d be home all day, she sent Curt a text when she left Conway to let him know she was on her way home. So far, she hadn’t received any response from him. An unusual occurrence. He always got back to her. She tossed the cell back onto the passenger seat and accelerated when the light turned green.
She hadn’t gotten home from work this early in a long time. After conducting interviews in Conway, it hadn’t made much sense to drive back to Boston. Plus, she’d put in close to sixty hours the previous week. Her supervisor wouldn’t mind if she cut this day a little short. Getting home on the earlier side also meant she could stop and see Curt sooner. Today she was more eager than usual to see him.
Yesterday, when he’d asked her to come over, he’d sounded different, sort of like he needed to discuss something with her. She’d lain awake thinking about it, too. First, she’d wondered if he intended to tell her it was time to part ways. Time to start seeing other people. That notion got dismissed rather quickly. A guy ready to dump you didn’t invite you, your mom, and niece over for a cookout first. Unfortunately, with that idea off the table, she hadn’t come up with any specific ones.
I could’ve imagined his tone was different. She drove through the rotary near the police station. Maybe he’d invited her over so they could spend time together without interruptions. He’d done it before, and then later come to her house for dinner.
Taylor stopped behind perhaps the most gorgeous vehicle she’d ever seen. She knew next to nothing about cars. Sure, she could identify the common makes and models, but there was nothing common about the low-slung sports car parked in Curt’s driveway.
If he already had company, she should go home and come by later… but what she should do and what she planned to do were two different things. The investigator in her needed to know who owned the car parked outside Curt’s house.
She guessed the expensive-looking car could belong to an author friend. Some well-known authors had millions in their bank accounts, thanks to record-breaking sales and movie deals. Since Curt was an author himself, it wasn’t out of the question he knew some very well-known writers. The car could also belong to a client he’d met while working in the financial world. Heavy-hitting investors had more money than they knew what to do with.
Taylor slowed as she walked by the vehicle for a closer examination. Judging by the looks of it, the thing had to cost an easy six figures, if not more. While it was a gorgeous piece of machinery, she didn’t think she’d pay that much for any car… regardless of her bank account balance.
Enough ogling. Time for some answers.
Curt answered moments after she rang the bell, his expression one of surprise and dread—a bad combination on anyone even him. Maybe his visitor was a woman. Did he have a girlfriend or wife he’d failed to tell her about?
“Taylor, you’re early.”
No hello? “I spent the morning up in Conway. It didn’t make sense to drive down to Boston.” She expected him to step back and invite her inside. When he didn’t, she continued. “I sent you a text when I left the area, letting you know I was on my way here.”
“Left my phone upstairs when I started work in the kitchen, and I never bothered to go up and get it.” Finally he stepped back and gestured for her to come inside. “C’mon in.”
“Are you still working?” She doubted it, but maybe the car’s owner knew a thing or two about remodeling homes and had come over to help. He had mentioned a friend named Ed who helped him out from time to time. Maybe Ed was a wealthy man with too much time on his hands.
After closing the door behind her, Curt gave her a brief hug and kiss. “No, I finished for the day. We were playing a video game.”
It didn’t escape her that he didn’t provide a name for his guest. “If you have company, I can come back later.” She tossed the ball into his court and waited.
Taking a step away from her, he pinched the bridge of his nose. “Stay. You can meet Trent.” He gestured down the hall with his chin. “He’s in the other room.”
At least now the car’s owner had a first name.
Since he didn’t plan on tackling work in the ballroom for a while, he’d set up his living room in there. She’d noticed the various video game consoles hooked up when they watched a movie.
“What were you working on up in Conway?” Curt walked alongside her, but kept his hands loose by his sides.
“Interviews. The agency is working with the state and local police in the area on a case. I’ll probably have to go back up sometime next week.”
Curt’s guest stood and put down the remote control he held when they walked into the room. Dressed in a pair of dark gray suit pants and a snow-white dress shirt with the top two buttons open, the guy looked like he was half ready for a business meeting. Considering who he was, she suspected he’d either just come from one or was on his way to one.
She’d seen Trent Sherbrooke on enough magazine covers and Internet sites over the years to recognize him anywhere. She’d always thought he was extremely handsome. However, seeing him in person, she knew the pictures hadn’t done him justice. Especially his eyes. He, like so many in his family, had the most incredible shade of blue eyes. Eyes she couldn’t tear her gaze away from at the moment. And not only because they were beautiful. No, she couldn’t look away because she’d seen those eyes countless times over the past several weeks. Only, all those times the eyes had belonged to a different man.
Curt spoke first, breaking the awkward silence. “Trent, I’d like you to meet my girlfriend, Taylor.”
He’d never used the term before, and after today she might not let him use it again.
“Taylor, this is my cousin. He was in the area and decided to stop in.”
Billionaire Trent Sherbrooke was his cousin. No wonder Mom thought Curt looked familiar. Their next-door neighbor was Curt Sherbrooke, President Sherbrooke’s nephew. The man had made more than one appearance on a magazine cover and Internet site himself.
“It’s nice to finally meet you. Curt’s told me a lot about you.” Trent extended his hand.
Taylor looked from Curt to Trent and back again. His eyes should’ve clued her in long before now. That was probably why he’d always worn glasses, except for when they’d been in bed. Glasses he wasn’t wearing now.
She shook Trent’s hand. “Wish I could say the same, but he’s never mentioned you. At least never by name.” She went over as many of their conversations as she could and one popped out. “No, that’s not true. He did tell me he had a cousin named Trent who worked for a big hotel chain.” Talk about understating the facts. There were big hotel chains and then there was Sherbrooke Enterprises, one of the largest hotel chains in the world.
Wow, he played me for a fool.
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