“Sweet. How about Kristin?”

“Getting to that, baby girl. She’s in the office all day today, so you can call her anytime. Or drop her an e-mail, if that’s easier. She’s champing at the bit to talk to you.”


“I’ll call her. You figure out where we’re going to dinner yet?”

“I feel like Asian. Chinese, Japanese, Thai … something like that.”

“Well, all right, then. Asian it is.” I leaned my head back against the seat. “Thanks, Cary.”

“Happy to help. When are you coming home?”

“Not sure yet. I’ve got one more thing to do, then I’ll head back.”

“I’ll see you then.”

I killed the call as Angus slid into a spot by the curb.

“That’s her office across the street,” he explained, directing my attention to the brick-faced building on my side. It had several stories and a small, neat lobby visible through glass doors.

I checked it out briefly, imagining her inside with a patient, someone who was baring their most personal secrets without knowing who they were really talking to. That was the way it worked. The mental health professional we trusted knew everything about us, while we only knew what we could discern from photos on desks and degrees on walls.

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Scrolling through my contacts, I found Kristin’s number and called her office. Her assistant put me through straightaway.

“Hi, Eva. I had you on my list to call, but your friend beat me to it. I’ve been trying to reach you for a few days now, actually.”

“I know. I’m sorry about that.”

“No problem. I saw the pictures of you and Cross at the beach. I don’t blame you for not calling back. We do need to get together, though, and nail down some details.”

“September twenty-second is the date.”

There was a pause. “Okay. Wow.”

I winced, knowing I was asking a lot on incredibly short notice. And that it was going to cost a pretty penny to get it done in time. “I’ve decided my mom’s right about the white, cream, and gold palette, so let’s run with that. I’d like small accents of red. For example, I’ll have a neutral bouquet, but my jewelry will be rubies.”

“Ooh. Let me think. Maybe red damask skirts beneath white tablecloths …? Or Murano glass chargers under crystal plates … I’ll pull together some options.” She blew out her breath. “I really have to see the location.”

“I can arrange for a flight down. When can you go?”

“As soon as possible,” Kristen said briskly. “I’m tied up tomorrow evening, but the morning would work.”

“I’ll work it out and send you the details.”

“I’ll keep an eye out for it. Eva … do you have your dress?”

“Uh … no.”

She laughed. When she spoke again, the tension I’d heard before was gone. “I completely understand wanting to hurry things along with a man like yours, but more time would help make sure everything runs smoothly and you have your perfect day.”

“It’ll be perfect no matter what might go wrong.” I rubbed the back of my ring with my thumb, taking comfort from its presence on my hand. “It’s Gideon’s birthday.”

“Whew. Okay, then. We’ll make it happen.”

My mouth curved. “Thank you. Talk to you soon.”

I hung up and looked at the building across the street. Next door was a small café. I’d walk over and get a latte after I contacted the designer.

I sent Gideon a text. Who should I talk to about flying the wedding planner down to the Outer Banks house tomorrow AM?

It felt a little weird to ask the question. Who would’ve thought I’d ever have private jets at my disposal? I wasn’t sure I’d ever be blasé about using them.

I waited a minute for a reply. When it didn’t come, I called Blaire Ash.

“Hi, Blaire,” I said, when he answered. “It’s Eva Tramell, Gideon Cross’s fiancée.”

“Eva. Of course I know who you are.” His voice was warm and friendly. “It’s good to hear from you.”

“I’d like to go over some of the design details with you. Cary said you can meet tomorrow?”

“Sure. What time works for you?”

Thinking of the trip to the Outer Banks with Kristin, I answered, “Would evening work? Say six-ish?”

Gideon would be with Dr. Petersen until at least seven o’clock. Then he’d have to commute home. That gave me enough time to switch some things up with our design plans.

“That works for me,” Blair agreed. “I’ll meet you at the penthouse?”

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