“What’s going on in your life, Roark?” his cousin Hudson Mills asked him. Hudson’s twin, Carson, was at the table too at McKay’s for drinks and dinner. Roark was on the island for the weekend because he just needed to get the hell out of Boston before he cracked. Not that he’d ever let people see him do that. “It’s got to be more exciting than Carson’s life on the island.”
Roark grinned. “Same old same old. Work is crazy busy and continues to be. The lawsuits are piling up now from the building issues that Sam’s firm tried to cover up. I joked she was good for the family in more ways than one.”
Just one more lawsuit dropped on his desk. As a defense attorney, he’d always been more out for justice than money, but with his family ties and career, the money was flowing faster than the justice. He’d never complained before, but there were only so many hours in a day.
“Everyone seems to be hitting gold lately,” Carson said. “My twin included.” Carson was referring to their cousin Bode and his fiancée, Sam—that engagement was just a few weeks ago on New Year’s Eve. Hudson was seriously dating Delaney. Here he and Carson were single and saying they loved it.
Roark did to a point. Until he went home at night and had nothing and no one other than work. Then he was wishing he weren’t so single.
“I have,” Hudson agreed. “You keep talking about women so much and going back to Delaney, I’m starting to think you’re jealous.”
“Nah,” Carson said. “I can get any woman I want. I could take one home tonight if I wanted to and I’ve got my own place to brag about.”
Roark grinned. “Have you even set it up yet or are you living out of the boxes?” Since he had to get out of town, he’d offered to do the house closing for Carson yesterday, then helped him move out of Hudson’s house. Rather than sit by himself at his parents’ all weekend, drinks with his cousins sounded like the best invite he’d had in months.
“He’s living out of boxes. He’s not as organized as I am,” Hudson said.
“My bed is set up, the furniture is in place and the TV mounted. Some of my clothes are put away.”
“The ones that were already on hangers and in the drawers of your dresser when we moved it,” Hudson said, laughing.
“That still counts,” Carson said. “I’ve got a lot of other things to do with everything you guys bought me for the new house. Which I appreciate.”
“We knew you would,” Hudson said.
For now Roark enjoyed sitting here and watching the twins banter back and forth while he let his brain relax. It was hard to be the funny laid back one on the outside but stone cold on the inside to get the results he needed for his job. If only he could disconnect half the time.
“Who are you waving to at the bar?” Hudson asked Carson.
Roark turned his head with Hudson to see.
“Sidney is working. I didn’t think she worked nights anymore,” Carson said.
Mac Bond, the chief of police, had married Sidney who’d worked as a bartender here since she moved to the island a few years ago. Looked like Mac was keeping his wife company as he sat at the end of the bar. Another one in the family settled and happy.
“Who knows?” Hudson said. “But Mac will be there all night so you better behave.”
“Got the chief of police in the bar and a defense attorney at my table,” Carson said. “I’m good as gold.”
“I’m not bailing your ass out of anything,” Roark said, grinning. Though he totally would because that was what family did. The Bond family, they stuck together.
A few minutes later their nachos came out and they started to pick at them while they chatted about anything other than women.
Until the waitress came over and said, “There is a table over there that would like to buy you guys some drinks.”
The three of them turned to see the women sitting there. Good-looking women laughing and waving. He and Carson waved back. Hudson nodded his head.
“Sweet,” Carson said. “But how about we buy them one instead? My brother here is taken, but Roark and I aren’t. You can pass that on if you’d like.”
The waitress made her way back to talk to the women, them laughing and nodding their heads and waving back.
Their burgers were brought out shortly after, and they each got another beer. This was going to go down smooth and he wondered what his life had turned into that a burger and beer were the highlight of his past year.
Mac made his way over and pulled out a chair with his beer and sat. “You boys behaving tonight?”
“We are,” Hudson said. “Or I am. Not so sure about these two. Eat with us.”
“My meal is on the way out. Sidney told me to get lost. I hover too much,” Mac said.
“Congrats on the baby,” Hudson said. “We heard the news but haven’t had a chance to see you.”
“Thanks,” Mac said. “Scary as fuck right now, but Sidney seems to be taking it in stride.” Not just married but a kid on the way. Again, Roark told himself he was good single and coming and going as he liked, but was he really when he felt jealousy over talking about Mac’s future child?
“How is she feeling?” Hudson asked. “She looks good.”
“Feeling fine,” Mac said. “Said she doesn’t even feel like she’s pregnant. I might be going nuts if I had to see her sick daily.”
Carson grinned. “We know Hunter did with Kayla the first time when she was pregnant with Ben. Now he’s used to it. Sidney is tough.”
Hunter Bond was his first cousin. His boss Hailey’s older brother. They were close growing up and still were, though Hunter lived on the island now while Roark enjoyed his condo in Boston, just visiting the island when he needed to get away or work called him here.
“She is,” Mac said. “At least I know I’m not the only one acting like an idiot and will until I’m holding my kid.”
“And then you’ll be even more protective,” Roark said. “We know it.”
Mac frowned, then shifted back when his meal was delivered. “I’m sure,” Mac said. “What are you guys doing out while I babysit my wife?”
Hudson laughed. “Which I’m sure she isn’t enjoying and doesn’t need.”
“Nope,” Mac said. “They were short staffed and she said she’d fill in. She’s been part time days only for months. Once the baby is born though, she’s done here.”
“Her idea?” Roark said, lifting his eyebrow. He figured he should participate a bit more in the conversation since he was normally the more outgoing one. “Or protective hubby not wanting her here?”
“Hers,” Mac said. “Thank God. I didn’t want to be the ass to bring it up and it saved me from suggesting it.”
Roark sat there listening to the conversation and replying when needed, but his eyes were drawn to the table of the women that the drinks were sent to. Lots of looks happening and one blonde was catching his eye. She’d shifted and glanced over plenty too…just looking at him.
Maybe it was more than the burger and beer he needed tonight, trying to remember the last time he’d had a soft woman by his side.
“Go talk to the opposite sex,” Hudson said when the bill came. “I’m heading home to my woman. I’ll have a nice warm body next to me tonight.”
Carson and Roark looked at him and laughed. “Who says we won’t?” Roark said.
Mac had already gone back to Sidney, Hudson out the door, he and Carson picked up their beers and moved to the table of the three women. As they got there, one got up.
“Ladies,” the one said. “Call me to come get you if needed, but have fun. I’m going back home to talk to my husband.”
“Bye, Noreen,” a redhead said. “I’m Cora and this is Chelsea.”
He nodded and put his hand out to the blonde. He was staking the claim there. “Roark,” he said.
“I’m Carson,” his cousin said and sat next to Cora. No reason to give last names. He didn’t when he was out. Nor was he saying what he did for a living and neither would Carson. This was a night of fun and entertainment.
He lifted his hand and called for more drinks to be delivered and the four of them started to talk. “Visiting the island?” he asked Chelsea.
“Yes. Just here for the weekend. More for work than anything,” she said. “You?”
He wasn’t going to ask what her work was because he didn’t want to give out his information. “Welcome to Amore Island then. I’m here for the weekend too.” He figured there wasn’t anything wrong with saying that.
After his third beer in almost five hours, he realized it was late and Carson was getting cozy with Cora. He and Chelsea had been talking too. Nothing personal. Just things on the island that were interesting. He tried to hold back anything about the history so it didn’t give it away he was from an ancestor or was here often.
When Carson got up with Cora and said they were going back to his place, he looked at Chelsea. She had a big smile on her face and he was thinking she was game for the same. He wasn’t going to ask. He wanted her to offer it up. He wasn’t stupid.
“Do you need a ride somewhere?” he asked. Her friend did say to call her to come pick her up.
“Only if it’s with you,” she said. “Of course you’re probably with your friend, huh?”
Shit. He wasn’t bringing her back to his parents’ house where he was staying. No way. That would raise too many questions. It worked in his favor that she assumed he was staying with Carson. “I’ll get us a hotel if you’re game.”
Definitely would solve a lot of problems…like having no clothes with him or a hotel room of his own.
“You only live once,” she said.
He pulled his phone out and decided the casino was easiest. If he went to The Bond Retreat that his grandfather, Uncle Charlie, and cousin Hunter owned, he might be recognized. Nope. Not risking it.
His other cousin, Eli, owned Bond Casino, but texting Eli privately, he’d get a place discreetly. It wouldn’t be the first time that happened.
After five minutes, he said, “We are set.”
“That was fast,” she said, standing up.
“Got lucky,” he said.
“Guess we are both going to tonight.” She was grinning, her long blonde hair halfway down her back, and he realized she was tall for a woman. Only about six inches shorter than his six foot three. He liked women with long legs. Ones that could wrap around him in a night of passion.
He drove them to the casino, parked and walked in. When he got to the front desk, he said, “Roark.” She wouldn’t know if that was his first or last name. No way he was giving his last.
The minute they were behind the closed door of their room, he reached forward and yanked her close to his body, their hands grasping and pulling off articles of clothing faster than he’d ever seen happen before.
He wasn’t sure which one of them was more eager and he wasn’t going to question it either.
The next morning, he woke up first. He never slept much and wished that wasn’t the case, but his mind was always racing.
This time it had more to do with the sexy woman that was sleeping next to him and gave him exactly what he needed last night. Maybe over breakfast he could find out more about her. There was something that was pulling at him and he wasn’t ready to let go.
He threw the covers back and quietly made his way to the shower.
When he came out ten minutes later she was gone. Not one sign of her having been here other than a few loose strands of her hair on the pillow.
Guess it wasn’t meant to be and he tried not to be disappointed once again.