After Hours with Her Ex(10)

By: Maureen Child


 “I give you my word, Dad. I’ll stay till it’s done.”

 “That’s good enough for me,” his father said, and pushed out of his chair. Standing, he offered his hand to Sam and when they shook on it, Bob Wyatt smiled and said, “You’ll have to work with our resort manager to get this up and running.”

 Sam nodded. Their resort manager had been with the Wyatts for twenty years. “Dave Mendez. I’ll see him tomorrow.”

 “Guess you haven’t heard yet. Dave retired last year.”

 “What?” Surprised, Sam asked, “Well who replaced him?”

 His father gave him a wide grin. “Lacy Sills.”

 * * *

 First thing the next morning, Lacy was sipping a latte as she opened the door to her office. She nearly choked on the swallow of hot milk and espresso. Gasping for air, she slapped one hand on her chest and glared at the man sitting behind her desk.

 “What’re you doing here?”

 Sam took his time looking up from the sheaf of papers in front of him. “I’m going over the reports for the hotel, the cabins and the snack bar. Haven’t gotten to the ski runs yet, but I will.”

 “Why?” She managed one word, her fingers tightening on the paper cup in her hand.

 God, it was a wonder she could think, let alone talk. Her head was fuzzed out and her brain hadn’t quite clicked into top gear. It was all Kristi’s fault, Lacy told herself. Sam’s sister had come over to Lacy’s cabin the night before, carrying two bottles of wine and a huge platter of brownies.

 At the time it had seemed like a great idea. Getting a little drunk with her oldest friend. Talking trash about the man who was such a central part in both of their lives.

 Sam.

 It always came down to Sam, she thought and wished to heaven she had a clear enough head to be on top of this situation. But, she thought sadly, even without a hangover, she wouldn’t be at her best facing the man who had shattered her heart.

 It was still hard for her to believe that he’d come back. Even harder to know what to do about it. The safest thing, she knew, would be to keep her distance. To avoid him as much as possible and to remind herself often that no doubt he’d be leaving again. He had left, he said at the time, because he hadn’t been able to face living with the memories of Jack.

 Nothing had changed.

 Which meant that Sam wouldn’t stay.

 And Lacy would do whatever she had to, to keep from being broken again.

 “When I left,” Sam said quietly, “we had just started making changes around here.”

 “Yes, I remember.” She edged farther into the office, but the room on the first floor of the Wyatt lodge was a small one and every step she took brought her closer to him. “We finished the reno to the lodge, but once that was done, we put off most of the rest. Your folks just weren’t...” Her voice trailed off.

 The Wyatts hadn’t been in the mood to change anything after Jack’s death changed everything.

 “Well, while I’m here, we’re going to tackle the rest of the plans.”

 While he was here.

 That was plain enough, Lacy thought. He was making himself perfectly clear. “You talked to your dad about this?”

 “Yeah.” Sam folded his hands atop his flat abdomen and watched her. “He’s good with it so we’re going to get moving as quickly as possible.”

 “On what exactly?”

 “For starters,” he said, sitting forward again and picking up a single piece of paper, “we’re going to expand the snack bar at the top of the lift. I want a real restaurant up there. Something that will draw people in, make them linger for a while.”

 “A restaurant.” She thought of the spot he meant and had to admit it was a good idea. Hot dogs and popcorn only appealed to so many people. “That’s a big start.”

 “No point in staying small, is there?”

 “I suppose not,” she said, leaning back against the wall, clutching her latte cup hard enough she was surprised she hadn’t crushed it in her fist. “What else?”

 “We’ll be building more cabins,” he told her. “People like the privacy of their own space.”

 “They do.”

 “Glad you agree,” he said with a sharp nod.

 “Is there more?” she asked.

 “Plenty,” he said and waved one hand at the chair in front of the desk. “Sit down and we’ll talk about it.”

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