Release Date: May 22nd!
Channing and Cassidy reconnect at an engagement party.
Channing turned to speak to yet another old friend when someone tapped him on the shoulder. It was Cassidy, looking absolutely radiant in a plum strapless dress. His mouth went dry so he took a big gulp of champagne.
“I told you I would make it.” She smiled at him.
“Cassidy.” He leaned in and kissed her on the cheek. “I’m glad you weren’t a caffeine fueled figment of my imagination today.”
“Here I am, in the flesh. You can pinch me if you want.” She laughed.
Channing reached out and did just that. “I just wanted to be sure.”
Cassidy blinked. “So how’s life in Texas? Enjoying your new position with your family’s company?”
“I am. But I don’t get to rest on my laurels just because I’m a Blake. I know people don’t believe it but I pull my own weight.” He felt like he had to say that. She was the last person he wanted to think that he was some pampered rich boy who did nothing all day.
“Anyone who knows you wouldn’t believe that for a minute. You worked harder than any of us, even when you didn’t have to. I always admired that about you. It shows great character.”
“Thanks.” So she noticed. “So, where’s Mark?”
“He’s floating around here somewhere berating everyone for not being green. Word of caution, if he asks you if you used one of your family’s mega fuel consuming jets to come here, just tell him you rode a bicycle from Texas.”
“My car in D.C. is a hybrid, so I may be in the clear.” He laughed. “So what have you been up to?”
“Just keeping my nose to the grind stone. When you’re a small fish in a big pond, you put in the hours and hope one day someone will recognize it.”
“I was surprised to hear you went with a big firm.”
“Really? Why is that?”
“I thought you’d strike out on your own and get paid in some interesting, television sitcom like ways from your clients.”
She crossed her arms over chest and glared at him. “What are you trying to say? That I can’t cut it as a lawyer?”
“No, that’s not what I meant.” He held up a hand. “I always believed in your love for the law. I couldn’t see you denying someone representation because they couldn’t pay you in a traditional way, hence getting paid in chickens or free massages.”
“Oh.” She relaxed. “When you say it like that it makes more sense.”
“I think you were looking for an insult. You miss fighting with me?” Channing raised an eyebrow.
“My life has been pleasantly dull without you.” She rolled her eyes at him.
“I’ll take that as a yes.” He gave her a wicked grin. “And I thought we’d buried the hatchet after that nasty incident where you almost blinded me with that lethal snowball.”
“You mean when you conned me into taking care of you?”
“I had to wear an eye patch for a week.” He covered his eye with his hand. “I started talking like a southern pirate and everything.”
“I read all of your study notes and lengthy book chapters aloud to you. Which was odd because when we met, you didn’t seem like an erotic romance type of guy. And don’t forget all those sandwiches I fed you. I’ve never met a man with such an appetite. I needed a vacation after I nursed you back to health.” She put her hand on her hip.
“Serves you right for almost damaging the most beautiful jade eyes you’ve ever seen.” He’d heard her telling one of her friends that little tidbit on the phone one day. “Your words, not mine. I think you were talking to your friend Wendy.”
She bit her lip. “So you were an awful patient and nosey. I did everything but give you sponge baths.”
Why didn’t he think of a sponge bath? Tyler gave him the idea to milk the injury for all it was worth and it worked like a charm. There was no harm in telling her the truth now.
“I have a confession to make. My eye wasn’t hurt that bad. It was fine after about two days.” He scratched at his beard.
“What!” Her eyes widened.
“Hold on now.” He didn’t like the way she was gripping that champagne flute. “You were taking such good care of me and I…liked it.”
“I was scared you were going to call your momma on me. As you threatened to do many times like you were five years old.”
“Well it worked.”
“You are a class A jerk and a momma’s boy.”
“Well, my stunt did get you to spend some time with me.” Channing moved closer to her and ran his thumb along her jaw line. When she looked up at him, he swallowed hard. Those doe eyes got him every time. “Want to tell me where you disappeared to last year?”
“Why do you want to know? Did you miss me?”
“As a matter of fact I did.” Channing kissed her with such wild abandon that he thought the earth had moved.
“There you are.”
They pulled apart when they heard a familiar voice from the terrace door. Channing turned to see Hannah standing in the doorway. Channing couldn’t believe his eyes when Emma came up behind her wearing a black cocktail dress.
“I knew he was around here somewhere. Channing, your girlfriend is here. My, aren’t you full of surprises tonight.” Hannah quipped and went back to the party.
He furrowed his eyebrows. “Emma, what are you doing here?”
“You said you were going to be in D.C. so I thought I’d surprise you.” Emma came over. “Aren’t you going to introduce us?”
“Emma, this is my friend Cassidy. Cassidy, this is Emma, an old friend from Texas.”
Channing saw the disappointment flash in Cassidy’s eyes as she plastered on a smile and shook Emma’s hand.
“Nice to meet you. If you’ll excuse me, I promised Hannah I’d help her in the kitchen.” Cassidy shot him a dirty look then scurried off.
“She’s seems nice.” Emma murmured.
“What are you doing here?”
I hope you enjoyed the pre-edited excerpt! Release date May 22nd!
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