From Ex to Eternity(3)

By: Kat Cantrell


Ha. Not even one of Keith’s long legs would fit in a dress, and besides, he’d exited the womb wearing a suit. An unwrinkled suit because wrinkles did not dare to tread in his world.

Keith. Here in Grace Bay and standing five feet from Cara while she wore a wedding dress. Her bare toes curled in mortification. She was naked without her heels.

“Not the fashion show. The whole show.” Keith winked, as only he could. “Regent Group hired me to turn this resort into the highest-rated wedding destination in the world. If I do it right, I’ll then have the opportunity to replicate it with their other Caribbean properties.”

Oh, God. He was here to star in her very own personal nightmare and take up all the oxygen on the entire island while he was at it. “This is what you’re doing now? Weddings? You aren’t a particular fan of weddings, as I recall.”

“This is the very best kind of wedding. No bride.” He chuckled and nodded at Cara. “Or at least that was the intent when I took the job. I stand corrected.”

Her blood, dormant for two long years, started pumping in her veins, flushing her face with heat she’d never let on was more than a becoming blush. Cara had generations of gracious Southern women in her DNA.

“I was invited to participate and I design wedding dresses. If you weren’t aware, perhaps you need to find a job you’re more qualified for,” she said sweetly.

Meredith made a little noise in her throat at Cara’s tone, likely in warning. Rattlesnakes had a tail. Most men never saw Cara coming.

Keith, who wasn’t anything close to most men, just laughed. “I knew. But I wasn’t expecting you to be wearing one. Brings back fond memories.”

“Save it, Mitchell. What do I have to do to get you out of my way for the next six days?”

His lips pursed as he raked her with a smoldering once-over. With close-cut hair the color of a midnight sky, a body strenuously kept in prime condition and deep caramel eyes, he was unfortunately the very definition of six-foot-three-inches worth of yummy. Always had been.

“Oh no.” She shook her head as her body hummed without her permission. “Get your mind out of the sheets. You could have slept with me all you wanted if you’d taken a short walk down the aisle. That barn door’s closed to you. Forever.”

All traces of yumminess went out the window as his face hardened. Mitchell the Missile wasn’t known for turning around failing companies because people liked his looks. Uncompromising, ruthless and detached—that was the man in front of her. Just like the last time she’d seen him—in her dressing room, forty-seven minutes before the flutist was scheduled to start playing Canon in D.

“We’re going to be working together, Cara. Very closely. I suggest you get over our unfortunate history and be professional.”

The models had gone quiet behind her, but every set of eyes burned into her back.

“Honey, I didn’t have much to get over.” That was a complete lie but she grinned through it. “I was over it five minutes after you left.”

Also a lie. He didn’t call her on it, though she was pretty sure he saw right through her.

“Then we have no problem. I’ll buy you a drink later and we can catch up.”

“As tempting as that sounds, I’ll pass. Professionals don’t drink on the job.”

* * *

Keith left the beach pavilion with his head intact, a plus when unexpectedly confronted with an entire roomful of women in wedding dresses. God save him from brides.

He strode through the resort, noting a hundred issues requiring his attention. Tablet in hand, his admin, Alice, scurried after him, logging every sentence from his mouth in her efficient shorthand. She’d long grown accustomed to his ground-eating pace, and the ability to keep up was one of her many competencies.

He appreciated competency.

As he evaluated the construction crews’ progress, checked in with the restaurant and catering staff and worked through a minor snafu with the recreation equipment, the image of Cara in that long white dress darted along the edges of his mind.

Not just in a dress, but in charge, running a business she’d created herself.

The harder he tried to forget, the more he thought about her. It was Cara but Cara unlike he’d ever seen her before. It was as oddly compelling as it was distracting.

That had not been his intent when he’d selected her for the bridal expo. Her connections were significant and her dresses had created consumer buzz in a tight industry, particularly among the moneyed crowd. Personal feelings couldn’t interfere with what he knew this expo needed. Keith only had room for the best, and thorough research told him he’d found that in Cara Chandler-Harris Designs.

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