From Ex to Eternity(7)

By: Kat Cantrell


Frosting was one-use-only, too. Had she chosen the analogy purposefully? “You are using your marketing degree, then. It’s all false advertising in the end.”

False advertising. Her best skill.

“Lord have mercy on your cynical soul.” She jumped up and brushed sand from the backside of her formfitting jogging pants. No one could fault a man’s eyes for straying to the nicely rounded area under her fingers. “One wonders why you asked me to marry you in the first place.”

He snapped his focus away from her curves. Her frosting hid a multitude of sins, as well. “Because you were pregnant.”

Or so she’d led him to believe.





Two

Cara escaped before she actually sank down into the white sand for a good cry. She slammed the door to the room she shared with Meredith. Hard. Hopefully, her devious sister was still sound asleep. “How could you do this to me?”

The blanket on Meredith’s bed moved slightly and incoherent speech rumbled from beneath it.

“Was that English?” Cara ripped the blanket off the bed. “It’s like ninety degrees in here. How can you sleep under this?”

Meredith peered up at Cara through slitted eyes. “Which question do you want me to answer? Without a cup of coffee in my hand, you only get one.”

“Keith. You knew he was behind the invite.” Several people had casually dropped information about his new consulting gig into conversations, but she’d been too busy ignoring anyone who mentioned Keith’s name to realize Regent owned this resort.

“Sue me. You needed this expo deal to grow your business. Where’s the harm?” Flipping hair out of her face, Meredith sat up, looking as if she’d just rolled out of a lingerie fashion shoot instead of bed. If Cara didn’t love her sister so much, she’d hate her. “He’s just an ex-fiancé. A guy you are completely over. Right?”

“Totally.” Well, mostly.

Cara sank onto the bed and brooded. She needed a shower and a sturdy wooden stake to drive through the heart of the walking corpse masquerading as a man named Keith Mitchell.

“Don’t protest too hard or you’ll hurt yourself. If nothing else, it’s a chance for closure. Take it.” Meredith’s gaze grew keen. “You were fine with this yesterday. What happened?”

“Keith jogs now. Or did you already know that, too?”

Meredith stuck her tongue out. “You two are made for each other. Only insane people get up at the crack of dawn to run. Clearly he’s lost as many marbles as you have.”

“Oh, he’s still in possession of all his faculties. What he’s lost is his humanity.”

“Because he’s giving you exclusive worldwide exposure for your dresses? You’re right, that’s way over the line.”

Cara buried her face in her hands and dredged up some Magnolia Grit. She had it to spare or she’d never have made it out of her wedding-day dressing room after losing not one, but two of the most important things in her life. Now would be a great time for that grit to surface. “He only asked me to marry him because I told him I was pregnant. How did I not know that?”

“A lot of guys wouldn’t have. He did.” Meredith’s arms wrapped around Cara and the silent unconditional support nearly undid her. “Still, it’s a crappy thing to admit. Even if it’s true.”

With a sniffle, Cara nodded against Meredith’s shoulder. “I thought he loved me.”

“One is not mutually exclusive of the other. He probably did love you. Maybe he was going to ask you at some point in the future and you gave him an incentive to speed up the timing.”

“Yeah and that worked out.”

“Better you found out then that he’s a rolling stone. I was never fond of the name Cara Chandler-Harris Mitchell anyway. If you guys kiss and make up, consider keeping your maiden name this time.”

She scowled. “I’d rather kiss the hind end of a sweaty camel than Keith.”

The knowing smile Meredith shot over her shoulder on her way to hog the bathroom did not improve Cara’s mood. “I could’ve lit the candles on a ninety-year-old’s birthday cake from all the sparks shooting around the pavilion yesterday.”

“That was Keith’s robotic heart short-circuiting.”

“You might be over him, but that man is definitely not over you. People make mistakes. Maybe he wants another chance.”

“Another chance to crush me beneath him as he rolls away again? Ha.”

Lord Almighty. Now she was replaying their conversations through her head. This morning on the beach, he’d been genuinely curious about her life. And okay, he always radiated that carnal come-hither, but more of it had wafted in her direction than she’d been willing to acknowledge.

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