cell phone blasted him out of a sound sleep. Cursing, he fumbled for
the device on the nightstand and sent it clattering to the floor.
He could’ve sworn he’d turned that phone off before collapsing into
bed last night. And he would never set the ringer up to its
full, earsplitting volume. What the devil was going on?
phone from the floor, he pushed the answer button. “Hullo?” he
you been Buck?” As always, Diane’s voice scraped his nerves like
fingernails on a chalkboard. The worst of it was, between the
daughter they shared and the chunk of his company she owned, he’d
likely be getting these calls for the rest of his life.
forced the word through a throat that felt as if he’d swallowed
un-sick. It’s almost noon. Did you get my voicemail messages? I
must’ve left you three or four.”
need you to pick up Quinn.”
daughter’s name jarred him to alertness. “Weren’t you supposed to
bring her here?”
people coming for a retreat. If you’d heard my messages, you’d know
that. I could bring her up next week, but she’s all packed and ready
to go. If she has to wait, she’ll be so disappointed.”
send Evie Redfeather down in the jet to pick her up.” Evie was his
personal pilot. Quinn knew and liked her.
Tell her Evie’s coming. She’ll be fine with that.” Buck ended the
call before she could think of some other way to pull his strings.
This last minute change of plans was typical. Diane would have known
about her retreat for weeks and could have made arrangements. But
why do that when she could create a little drama?
been a Vegas showgirl when he’d met her ten years ago. After a hot
weekend in her bed, he’d flown home without giving her a second
thought. But then she’d shown up pregnant on his doorstep, and he’d
done the honorable thing. For a while they’d tried to make the
marriage work, but it had been doomed from the first “I do.” After a
nightmare divorce settlement, she’d moved to Sedona, Arizona, and
opened her own new-age ashram.
experience had left Buck with a bitter taste, especially when it
came to marriage. But at least he had Quinn. Quinn had been worth it
shrilled again. Knowing it was Diane, Buck turned it off and lay
back on the pillow. He’d come home last night with a pounding
migraine and maybe a touch of fever. Feeling like road kill, he’d
taken some pills, undressed and fallen into bed. Whatever he’d done
must have worked. He felt better today.
Especially after that crazy, sexy dream he’d had.
eyes, he tried to recall it in detail. He’d had erotic dreams
before, plenty of them, but this one had been different. It had
seemed so . . . real. The warm silkiness of skin against his
body. The taste of that luscious mouth. Even the sexy aroma of her
skin. He could remember everything about the woman—except her face.
He’d gulp down a whole bottle of those blasted pills if it could
bring the dream back. His climax had been an explosion of sheer
sensual pleasure, so powerful he’d probably drenched the bedding
struck by an odd notion. If this dream had been typical, he’d be
lying in a damp spot now. But the sheet beneath him felt perfectly
clean and dry.
he sat up, moved to one side and ran his hand across the mattress.
Nothing. He shook his head, as if trying to clear out the cobwebs.
What in blazes had happened here?
when he noticed something else—a subtle fragrance rising from the
bottom sheet. But no, it couldn’t be real. He had to be imagining
this. Pressing his face to the fabric, he inhaled the sweet, clean
aroma, trying to identify it. This wasn’t the softener the hotel
laundry used. And it wasn’t one of the expensive perfumes his sexual
partners tended to drench themselves in. It was something else,
something fresh but somehow familiar. It was her scent,
exactly as he remembered it.
be only one conclusion—the dream had been real. There’d been a woman
in his bed, and he’d made love to her.
could that be? There’d been no one here when he’d gone to bed last
night. The gate to the property had been locked. The house had been
locked. And if the dog had barked at an intruder, he hadn’t heard
losing his mind?
midday, the closed shutters darkened the room. He sat up and
switched on the bedside lamp. The room looked the same as usual.
Nothing appeared to have been touched except—
fell on the phone.
Now that his
head was clearing, he distinctly recalled turning it off before he
went to sleep. But someone had not only turned it on again but
adjusted the ring volume loud enough to raise the dead.
play such a dirty trick on him?
Maybe he was
legs off the bed, he pushed to his feet and stood on the sheepskin
rug. His legs felt as shaky as Jell-O, probably because the pills
hadn’t worn off. Maybe if he went downstairs and got some coffee in
his system, he’d be able to think straight.
His robe was
draped over the foot of the bed. He took a step toward it, then
jerked back with a grunt of pain. His bare foot had come down on
something sharp—some object caught in the thick wool of the rug.
over, he found it with his fingers, picked it up and held it to the
light. It was a small silver earring, inlaid with turquoise and
fashioned in the shape of Kokopelli, the hump-backed Native American
flute player. He stared at it, recognition slamming him like a mule
onto the edge of the bed. Lord, could he have just had mind-blowing
sex with Terri, who’d always been like a kid sister to him?
Terri, that miracle of patience and efficiency who kept the
hectic world of Bucket List Enterprises running like well-oiled
No, it was
unbelievable. But it was the only possible answer.