USA Today Bestselling Author
After finding the killer who’d tried to take out the entire team, and now with Bullard safe, the crew heads back to the island where he recovered. Leia wants to get married there, so Dave has gone ahead with Katie, Bullard’s caterer, to set things up.
Dave has a new lease on life, now that Bullard is safely back home, and fixes his sights on an old friend he’s always kept slightly distant. Katie has been in Dave’s orbit for a long time; she’s not sure what’s changed in their relationship, but something certainly has, and she couldn’t be happier.
Except for one loose thread from that same island. After all, someone let the outside world know Bullard was alive. Someone they had yet to find. So a week in paradise might start with some time in hell first.
With Bullard back with Leia plans start for their wedding on the Island. Bullard already has some plans for that property and a bit more too. But first the Wedding.
Dave is on the island doing some reconnaissance since they still don’t know who leaked the information that Bullard was alive. They don’t want any surprises. While doing that he goes and pays his respects to the medicine woman, unfortunately she doesn’t know who betrayed Leia and Bullard. It is interesting that she notes that Terk will need help, and that’s coming up next month. She also knows that Katie is more than just a friend and co-worker to Dave even though he didn’t mention her name.
When Katie arrives, they take a look around the area doing a little planning before the rest of the team arrive. Also to just enjoy each other’s company.
This is a favorite scene.
Dave walked carefully; his gaze ever watchful. He had noticed the leaves rustling on the far side of the river earlier, but he hadn’t known whether it was animal or human. There were several crude crossings, as in downed trees that allowed someone to cross. One had a rope as a guide farther up. He had already been here, exploring, but he hadn’t seen anybody on this side. And because Leia didn’t own the property on the other side— that was one of the parcels Bullard was trying to buy— Dave didn’t really have any right to be there. Not yet.
Plus, Dave figured the island way would take longer to get the paperwork done, making this all legal. But given that most of the island on this side was deserted, Dave was less concerned about that issue and more concerned about everybody’s safety. With Katie at his side, he walked forward, his gaze checking out the bushes.
“Do you think somebody is here?” she asked softly.
“I imagine so.” He gave a subtle nod. “A lot of people live in the nearest village, and there has probably been a lot of curiosity about what’s going on with Leia, especially since she left. Any activity here is bound to make a stir. People are naturally curious.”
“Did they steal her stuff?”
“I had a crew come back here and gather up her personal belongings right after they left. As you can see, there’s no way to lock up or to look after anything. But then the island people are not as concerned about possessions as other societies.” He shrugged. “I think it’s more about curiosity than anything criminal, like stealing.”
“I get that, but we need to ensure the safety of everyone coming here for the wedding.”
Dave agreed. He walked up to the first bridge. “Are you okay to cross this?”
“Sure. The worst that can happen is I’ll get wet. Wetter, that is.”
He just laughed, loving her openness. Still holding hands, the two walked across the makeshift bridge until they stood on the other side.
“I can’t believe how beautiful this island is. Just compare this lush landscape to a new subdivision back home, where they plow down every tree and bush in sight, leaving desolation behind. And for what? To build a house amid a plot of gray dirt? It pains my heart to see the mindless death of all those trees. Why can’t they take down a few trees to make room for the footprint of the house? Maybe use the downed trees for firewood for the new home or even for flooring in the new construction?” She shook her head, lost in those thoughts.
“Right. That’s exactly why we are looking at this as being a vacation retreat for the company, getting back to nature, getting back to simple, getting back to wholesome, after dealing with the blights in the world.”
“Works for me.” She released another long sigh. “I would love to spend some time here. It’s actually very romantic.”
He chuckled at that. “There we are, back to talking about romance.”
“Not sure there’s any getting away from it.” She laughed. “We are here for a wedding, after all. Plus, it’s definitely gorgeous here.”
And it was also empty of humans. “I’m not seeing any evidence of someone being here now,” Dave noted.
“No, but, if they didn’t want to be seen, it wouldn’t be that hard to hide in this landscape.”
“That’s quite true,” he agreed. “But, as far as I know, all the bad guys have been caught at the moment.”
“Excuse me if this is offensive, but, in your line of work, there appears to be a never-ending supply of bad guys.”
“That is quite true.” He gave her points for that. What he really didn’t want was anything to interrupt the wedding or to cast a cloud over the visit for anyone.
“So are the rumors true? Are you really planning on having that many people get married that same day?” She paused, then added, “Not that it really makes a difference in my catering plans, other than having one wedding cake shared by all.” She frowned. “Or I could do individual cakes …”
“Let me ask you about that.” He stopped, turned to face her. “As a woman, do you think the women will feel put upon, if the guys spring this idea of getting married on them so quickly? Would it bother you?”
She thought about it, then shook her head. “No, but then I’m a person who likes to do things spontaneously, at least if I’m left in charge.” She firmed her lips and gave a one-arm shrug. “So, for me, it would make a lot of sense to do something like this. While obviously I do make plans for my catering jobs ahead of time, I’m not the type to plan something for myself and have it be months away.”
“Right, so you would prefer to have something that would come off fairly quickly.”
“Absolutely. I’m not at all good at waiting,” she admitted. “But I’m pretty sure I’m not your average female either.”
“There’s nothing average about you,” he stated sincerely.
She squeezed his fingers. “Thanks. I think.”
He smiled. “It was definitely intended as a compliment.”
She wondered just how long they would tiptoe all around it. Finally she decided that, even though it could be awkward if the answers weren’t what she wanted to hear; it would be worth it to get it resolved. Squaring her shoulders, she just said what was on her mind.
“So, Dave, are we heading somewhere, such as a dating relationship, or will we just continue to walk around it indefinitely?” She studied his face, seeing shock, then pleasure, washing over his features. She relaxed a bit, still nervous what he would now say.
“Well, I’d like to see us head somewhere,” he replied, surprised by her directness. “I just don’t want to push you or to make you uncomfortable.”
“We’ve known each other for years,” she noted. “Could a simple bit of conversation like this be pushing it?”
“Maybe right now it is.” He explained further. “While we’ve got a lot of wedding-related work to get through over the next few days, plus we need to find the snitch and find out who is watching us, but going on a date or something down the road is certainly a potential.”
She smiled and shook her head. “How about we forget about dates down the road. We’ve had plenty of time to get to know each other. So how about you have dinner on the yacht with me tonight? Let’s just be crazy and call it a date. We’re alone for the next two days, after all.”
He looked at her, and a slow smile formed and spread across his face. “If you’re asking me out,” he teased, “I accept.”
“Well, I guess that’s one way to get a date with you.” She laughed, happy he said yes without too much hesitation. “So will you come and stay on the yacht with me?”
“I wasn’t really planning on it.” He frowned.
“I think you should. That way we can have some wine and just relax. We can really get to know each other a little more.”
“I’d like that a lot,” he replied warmly.
She gave him a gentle smile. “Me too.” And, with that, they took one last look at their lush surroundings and explored a little more.
Dale Mayer. Bullard’s Best (Kindle Locations 264-321). Valley Publishing.
Things don’t stay peaceful long though. Even before the others can arrive, Dave and the yacht captain are dealing with people who want them gone.
There’s plenty of action, suspense, laughter, tears both happy and sad and some surprises as well!
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
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Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).
She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!
To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.