From Ex to Eternity(8)

By: Kat Cantrell


“Honey, you’re a smart girl. Do the math.” Meredith leaned on the bathroom door frame. “He didn’t invite you here solely for your fantastic wedding dresses. Hell, I can slap some lace on a piece of satin and stick it on some starry-eyed bride. He wants the designer. Not the designs.”

“He can want until all the gears in his robotic heart rust. I have a brand-new lease on life and no man, especially not Keith Mitchell, is a part of the plan.” Cara elbowed past Meredith into the bathroom. “And for the crack about slapping lace on satin, you forfeit first dibs on the shower.”

Grumbling, Meredith conceded and shut the door behind her. Cara fumed as she stood under the jets.

So. The invitation was a veiled attempt to reconcile, was it? Shattered pieces of her life and her heart had taken a supreme amount of will to recover. There was no way on God’s green earth she’d consider forgiving Keith for walking out on her when she’d needed him most.

He was not husband material. Period.

She dressed for the day in her best heels and a flattering outfit—the modern-day woman’s equivalent to a full suit of armor.

As the Good Lord clearly felt she deserved a break, the elevator button lit up when she pressed it. A working elevator. About time.

Then the doors slid open to reveal the very man she least wanted to see.

Keith smiled and sizzled her toes with a heated glance at her Louboutin sandals. “Going down?”

“You first.” She waltzed in to stand right next to him because she was a professional. An elevator full of testosterone didn’t scare her. The idea Meredith had planted—about how Mr. Runaway Groom might be angling for a do-over—that put a curl of panic in the pit of her stomach.

Why, she didn’t know. There wasn’t a combination of words in any language he could utter that would make her crazy enough to try again. And to the best of her knowledge, Keith was fluent in five languages and could order beer in twelve more.

She stared at the crack where the two door panels met and pretended the tension hadn’t raised the hair on her arms. Keith’s heat instantly spread through the small box and started seeping through her pores. And she’d already been plenty hot and bothered. He was just so solid and powerful and...arrogant.

“Do you run every day?” Keith asked politely.

“Usually. You?” Oh, her mama would be so proud. Twenty-eight years of lessons on how to smile through the Apocalypse were paying off.

“I try to. It’s great for clearing my head.”

Cara bit back her first response—Is that what happened to your brain when you cooked up the idea of a second chance? “Oh?”

“It’s an opportunity to hone my focus for the day ahead.”

“Sorry I intruded this morning.”

Keith glanced at her but she didn’t take her eyes off the crack. “You didn’t. I enjoyed it.”

All this civility slicked the back of her throat. Why was it taking so long to reach the ground floor? The building was only five stories.

The elevator screeched to a halt, throwing Cara to her knees. Before she hit the carpet, the interior went black.

Of course. It wasn’t enough to be on a small island with Keith. Now they were trapped in an elevator together. In the dark.

“Are you okay?” Keith’s voice split the darkness from above her. Obviously he had superior balance in his flat shoes.

She eased back against the wall, wincing as her ankle started to ache. Twisted, no doubt. “Fine.”

A glow emanated from Keith’s hand. “Flashlight app.”

“Do you have a call-the-elevator-repairman app? That would be handy.”

“I’m texting the hotel manager as we speak.” He sank to the floor and leaned against the back wall, crossing his mile of legs gracefully. “At least there’s no chance we’ll plunge to our deaths. I think we’re stuck between the second and first floors.”

“Can we climb out the hatch through the top?”

Keith set his phone on the floor and glanced at the ceiling. “Maybe. I’d have to boost you up. Could you pry the doors apart on the second floor?”

“On second thought, let’s see how long it’ll take the manager to get someone here to fix it. The temperature in here is cooler than my room. So there’s that.”

“What’s wrong with your room?”

“Air conditioner is flaky.”

In the low glow of the phone, Keith’s frown was slightly menacing. “Why didn’t you report it to the manager?”

“Oh, is that what you’re supposed to do?” She pulled the sandal off her foot and massaged the offending ankle. Still hurt as if she’d stabbed it with a pair of shears. Well, if nothing else, now she had a good excuse to avoid jogging on the beach with a man who moved so fluidly it made her salivate. “I assume the manager called the same guy to repair it as the one who fixed the elevator. You’d think the consultant responsible for the whole show might have a better handle on this sort of thing.”

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