I Could Use a Good Whiskey
Fiore fluttered around the party making sure everything was in order for Juliet. She wanted everything to go perfectly for the baby shower. As she’d expected, Juliet was less than thrilled to have nothing to do, but Fiore had anticipated that and gave her several ideas for the kiddos. There was a whole pack of them here today.
Fiore loved kids, but even her energy had limits and while she loved her nieces and nephews she knew they were better off wearing each other out than the grown ups chasing after them. She’d had most of the food catered in and she’d done most of the serving. This was her element. Fiore excelled at hosting parties and had been hosting parties for her father’s powerful and influential business friends and associates for almost as long as she could remember.
Once everyone had their fill and the cake had been served it was time for presents. As Juliet and Xavier already had two wonderful children, they had just about everything they needed, but that didn’t stop everyone from coming bearing gifts. Fiore took on the responsibility of making sure it ran smoothly. She brought the presents and then recorded who had brought what so Juliet could write out thank you cards at her leisure.
As the night wound down, Fiore carried her very sleepy niece, Gemma, while Xavier carried his daughter, Mia, to bed. The biggest challenge Fiore had faced the entire day was keeping Juliet relaxed. Fiore couldn't help but smile at Juliet's efforts. The very pregnant brunette wanted to keep busy and help. The two were incredibly similar. If she wasn't eight and a half months pregnant with twins, Juliet would have run everything herself and would have given Fiore a run for her money. Neither were content to sit idle for long.
Once Juliet and Xavier's children had gone down and her cousins, the royal children Ian, Lana, Christine, and Greg had left with their children Fiore let out a relieved sigh. "I could use a drink." Fiore ran a carefully manicured hand through her soft, golden curls. They'd been pinned to one side out of her way.
“That’s a great idea.” Xavier agreed. “What can I get for you?”
“I could use a good whiskey.”
“I have a single malt scotch I’ve been itching to open. I’ll go grab it and get everyone else situated. Go relax. You’ve done more than enough.”
“Thanks, Xavier. You and Juliet deserve this.” Fiore grinned. Juliet had come unexpectedly into their lives, but had been an incredibly blessing. Fiore had nothing but love for her and her husband, and especially her children, Gunnar and Mia.
“Thank you, Fiore. Go relax. You’ve earned it.” Fiore nodded and went to sit. There was something she trusted about Xavier and he’d always proven her right. He'd originally been Juliet's advisor when she stumbled into their lives. She was the illegitimate daughter of the Queen's brother. They hadn't know about her until she was twenty-one and there was much to learn. Xavier was the right mix of firm and flexible to help her adjust to her new life. Somehow, the two managed to fall in love. Juliet had decided to live out of the limelight and chosen a quiet life in the countryside for her little family.
With a contented sigh, Fiore lowered herself onto the bar stool and her feet relaxed. Maybe three inch heels hadn’t been the best idea she’d ever had, but damn it, they made her legs look amazing and completed the outfit.
“I was wondering where you went,” came a smooth bass rumble. Fiore looked up to see the familiar blond who'd been watching her the entire shower. Chuck had a strange friendship with Juliet and Xavier hated the man. At the same time there were very few things Xavier wouldn't do for Juliet. Chuck grinned as he took the seat opposite her on the breakfast bar. “I’m glad I found you.”
“I’m right here. We've been at the same party all day.” Fiore rolled her eyes. “You’re weird.”
“Weird? How is that?” Chuck purred, not phased in the least.
“I don’t know. You’re just different. How do you and Juliet know each other?”
“We’ve met before, don’t you remember?”
“Yes, every once in a while you’ll show up to something Juliet and Xavier are hosting. But I can tell Xavier doesn’t like you, so I’m guessing you’re here on behalf of Juliet.”
“You can tell Xavier doesn’t like me?”
“Of course. It doesn’t take a genius to see he wants to punch you in the face. But I can also see how good you are with their kids and Juliet trusts you.”
“Oh I know your type well enough. Pretty boy, arrogant, probably well endowed, so full of shit, I’m surprised your eyes aren’t brown. I’m guessing a habitual liar, probably a womanizer. You can have a different woman in your bed every night of the week, so you probably do. Total arsehole. Am I warm?”
Chuck raised an eyebrow. “Blunt aren’t you?”
Fiore shrugged. “I have nothing to apologize for. Especially if everything I said is true.”
“Well, you mentioned how well endowed I am, which tells me you’re at least curious. You assume I’m a womanizer and decorate my bed with a different woman every night. I’m wondering if you’re imagining a night with me.”
“I have some self respect. I’d like to keep it that way.”
“See, you’re thinking about sex.”
Fiore gave a careless shrug. “Of course I’m thinking about sex. I'm usually thinking about sex.”
Xavier gave a little cough as he handed Fiore a glass. “About that drink.” he offered before he poured Fiore a shot.
“Thank you.” Fiore smiled before sipping it back.
“I’ll take one as well, if you don’t mind.” Chuck grinned.
That was a challenging grin and Fiore noticed how much Xavier hated this man. “Don’t impose yourself.” Fiore snipped. “That’s good scotch. It’s not for just anyone.”
“And just who do you think I am?” Chuck mused.
“Fiore, would you help me grab a few more glasses for everyone?” Xavier asked, his eyes not leaving Chuck.
“Of course.” Fiore followed Xavier into the kitchen and she felt Chuck’s eyes on her. “So, I know you don’t need any help. What is it?”
Xavier sighed and poured himself a generous glass of scotch. “Please be careful around Chuck.”
“I know you don’t like him. Why?”
“Chuck is not a good person. Juliet seems to have this distorted idea of him. She thinks that just because he helped her a few times it excuses his past sins.”
"You want to elaborate on that?"
Xavier shook his head. “Forget about it. Just be careful around him. It’s obvious he’s taken an interest in you.”
“Yeah, an interest in getting into my knickers.” Fiore chortled as she rolled her eyes. “Come on, let me help you get everyone a drink.” Fiore poured a sparkling pear-grape juice in champagne flutes for the pregnant Juliet and her sister Angelica then poured Amanda a glass of wine. Fiore delivered the drinks then returned to her perch on the barstool where a patient Chuck was waiting.
Fiore had chosen a rum to take shots with rather than the good scotch. A scotch like that deserved to be savored. Not downed and used in assistance to make bad decisions or anything of the sort.
“Are you finished?” Chuck baited.
“With pretending to be busy so Xavier can warn you to keep away from the big, bad wolf?”
Fiore rolled her eyes. “Anyone with eyes can see you’re just the sort of plonker to charm a girl and leave her the next day.” she offered flippantly.
“Something tells me you’ve broken your fair share of hearts in your day.”
“I don’t do the whole heart thing anymore.” Fiore shrugged.
“No. I’m not really the relationship sort anyway.”
“Oh? This sounds like there’s a story behind it.”
“Sure there is, but I’m not going to tell you.”
“And why not?” Chuck mused as he poured a shot for himself and Fiore.
“Because, Chuckie,” Fiore took the shot. “I don’t know you and I don’t owe you shit.” she finished as she set the glass back down. Chuck shot his own back and poured another shot for both of them.
“But you’re curious.” Chuck grinned. His eyes shamelessly gracing the beauty in front of him. Her dark blonde hair complimented her fair skin. She was slender but had curves in the right places. As she’d flitted around serving, Chuck had admired her rounded backside and wondered if she looked as perfect naked.
“What makes you say that?”
“You’ve mentioned sex, which means you’re thinking about it. You could have sat anywhere and yet, you came back. You easily could have gone elsewhere if you so chose. Not to mention, you’ve got that look on your face.”
“First off, of course I’m thinking about sex, I've already stated I usually am. Secondly, no one can chase me away. I don’t run away. I was here first. Just because I offered to help Xavier doesn’t mean I relinquished my spot. You’re not worth it to run.”
“And you’re curious about me.”
“Don’t be so full of yourself.”
Chuck smirked. “Well, I suppose it’s possible you’re afraid.” Chuck goaded.
“You’re attracted to me.” The way Chuck said it, he made it seem like the most obvious fact. “And you’re wondering if I’m any good in bed.”
“Awfully confident aren’t you? Now I see why Xavier warned me about you. You’re a womanizer. I imagine you’ve left a slew of forgotten whores who’ve graced your bed a night or two. What makes you think I want to become a notch in your belt?”
“We’re still talking about sex.” Chuck grinned.
Fiore nodded. “That we are.”
The conversation continued as well as the competition as to who could outdo who. Each had a story to top the other and neither would be outdone. Chuck was amused and impressed by Fiore’s gusto. By this point, Fiore’s competitive nature had taken over her common sense. She was not going to be outdone by this pretty boy. She had never let some arrogant prat out drank her nor outdo her in anyway.
Fiore and Chuck had become oblivious to becoming the center of attention. Until Juliet shouted, “He’s what?” the pair had forgotten that other people were in the room. “Carry on! Amanda’s just telling me about the sexcapades of one of her friends.”
“Maybe they shouldn’t carry on.” Xavier interjected. “We don’t want anyone getting alcohol poisoning.”
“I’m fine,” Chuck and Fiore barked out at the same time.
“Hush, we have four sleeping kids in this house.” Juliet laughed. “Let’s keep them passed the fuck out.”
“Mummy, what does sexcapades mean?” Juliet’s jaw dropped as little Mia rubbed her eyes and stumbled out to see what we were doing.
Chuck and Fiore chuckled at that and then turned their attention back to each other.
Chuck had to admit himself impressed. Few people, much less women, could keep up with his tolerance. Fiore swayed slightly on her feet, but her eyes were focused. She was determined not to be outdone.
“You sure you’re fine?” Chuck growled, a challenging smirk across his lips. “You look a little unsteady.”
“You wish, pretty boy.” Fiore bit back. “I haven’t lost a drinking contest since I was fourteen.”
“Who did you lose to?”
“Why would he challenge his fourteen year old daughter to a drinking contest?”
“Because he caught me stealing his scotch. He was trying to teach me a lesson.”
“Did it work?”
“Obviously not.” Fiore grinned as she shot back another shot.
“Touché,” Chuck raised his shot glass to Fiore before downing it. “Tell me, sweetcheeks, how well do you know Juliet?”
“Don’t call me sweetcheeks.” Fiore corrected.
“What should I call you?”
“The winner has a nice ring to it.” Fiore teased as she poured another shot.
“What do I get if I let you have your way?”
“A clear conscience and knowing you’re being honest.”
Chuck laughed then. It was a rich, tangible sound. It made Fiore shiver slightly, though that could also be attributed to the alcohol. “My dear, I haven’t had a clear conscience for many years, and honesty is rarely my policy.”
“So you’re a lying sack of shit?” Fiore offered raising an eyebrow as she brought the shot glass to her lips and tipped it back.
Chuck’s eyes lingered at her lips wrapped around the glass and imagined them wrapped around something very different. He smiled at the thought.
“I’ve been called worse, sweetcheeks.”
“Don’t make me warn you again.” Fiore growled.
“Or what?” Chuck challenged. As he shot another back himself. He glanced at the bottle. They’d nearly emptied the contents.
“Well, you two, why don’t you guys just relax or decide to take this somewhere more private.” Juliet’s American friend offered quietly. What was her name again? Ashley? No, Amber maybe? Amanda?
“What the hell?” Fiore snorted. “Who the hell do you think you are?”
“There’s four kids sleeping in those rooms over there and just look at Jules. Her eyes are open, but barely. She’s tired as fuck and needs to get some rest. But we both know she won’t if she thinks she’s going to miss something. So simmer down or go somewhere else.” Amanda lectured. “I’ve known Jules longer than anyone here. Please, at least pretend to simmer down so she falls asleep?” Amanda appeased.
“Fine, I’m going for a walk,” Fiore huffed as she marched right out the front door.
“She’s drunk!” Juliet pointed out. Everyone looked at her for a moment. “Well! Someone go after her!”
“I’ve got it.” Chuck sighed. He followed her out the door and saw an unsteady figure making their way down the deserted street. Chuck jogged to catch up. “Fiore, wait!” He called as he was a few paces behind her.
“Why should I?”
“Fiore, you’re drunk. Let’s go back.”
“No, I’m going to the park.”
“Sweetheart, it’s three in the morning only two things go on in a park at this hour. Drugs and prostitution. Come on, let’s get you back.”
“Don’t touch me! I’m perfectly fine! I don’t need your help. Go away.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. You’re a drunk woman wandering around at night. I might be an asshole, but I’m not stupid enough to leave you out here alone.”
“Don’t act like you care.”
“I care if Juliet blames me for your idiocy.” Chuck shot back. “Now come here,” Chuck stuck his hand out and grabbed Fiore’s hand. She yanked it back and out of his reach only to lose her balance and fall.
“You filthy git!” Fiore snarled as Chuck offered her a hand to get up. “Why the bloody hell did you do that?”
“Are you alright?”
“Of course I am,” Fiore snorted as she tried to get up. “Ow! Shit!” Fiore grabbed her ankle.
“Let me see,” Chuck kneeled beside her. He pulled her heel off and could tell it was starting to swell.
“Does this hurt?” Chuck asked as he applied a little gentle pressure.
“Yes, you plonker! Get your hands off of me!”
Chuck sighed. “Come here, princess.” Chuck growled as he wrapped one arm behind her back and hooked the other behind her knees. “Up we go.” Chuck grunted as he lifted her up in one swift movement.
“Put me down!” Fiore flailed.
“I will drop you.” Chuck warned. “Now unless you want to walk on that injured ankle quit fidgeting.”
Fiore huffed but relented and wrapped her arms around his neck. “Did you grab my shoe?”
“It’s in my hand.” Chuck sighed.
“I can take it.” Chuck maneuvered Fiore to hand her the shoe. And there was a comfortable silence as Chuck started back towards Juliet and Xavier’s house. “Why did you come after me?” Fiore asked as she laid her head on Chuck’s shoulder.
“Juliet asked me to.”
“Oh . . .”
“And I probably would have anyway.”
“Beautiful drunk girl wandering alone? You’re just asking someone to take advantage of you.”
“I can handle myself.”
“Of course! I would have been just fine if you hadn’t come along.”
“And now that I have?” Chuck breathed in her ear. Fiore shivered at the way his breath tickled her. Chuck grinned.
“I’m still fine.”
“What if I were to do this?” Chuck asked as he captured her earlobe with his mouth.
Fiore moaned and felt heat rushing to her core. “You should stop that.” Fiore breathed.
“Why?” Chuck teased as he shifted Fiore and kissed her neck. “I thought you could handle someone trying to take advantage of you? I dare say you’re enjoying this.”
Fiore moaned as she tilted her head to give him better access. “Chuck,” Fiore panted.
Chuck’s teeth gently grazed the sensitive skin on her neck. “Hmmm?”
“Don’t start what you can’t finish.” Fiore growled as she turned to look Chuck in the eye. He was momentarily surprised. It wasn’t quite the reaction he’d expected.
“Oh sweetcheeks, I finish everything I start. If anyone wasn’t going to be able to keep up or finish, I’d put my money on you.”
“Fuck you, arsehole.”
“Only if you ask nicely.”
Fiore rolled her eyes. “I think you just may be as crazy as me.”
“Is that a challenge?” Chuck growled as he nipped as her bottom lip.
“Maybe.” She smiled as she pulled back. She couldn’t deny that Chuck was attractive. The entire night she’d been caught between irritation and attraction.
“What do you say we tell Juliet you’re fine and I show you just how crazy I can be.”
“That depends,” Fiore turned her head away from Chuck, her tone flippant. “Can you make it worth my while?”
“Oh we are going to have fun.” Chuck grinned. By the time they got back to Juliet’s home, Juliet had already fallen asleep and Xavier had taken her to bed.
“What happened to Fiore?” Xavier asked, his eyes narrowed.
“She fell, actually we should get some ice for the swelling.” Chuck offered. Xavier grabbed Fiore’s ankle and examined it.
“That hurts!” Fiore hissed.
“I’ll get you some ice.” Xavier offered.
“That’d be great. I’m going to take her home.”
Xavier stopped and stared at Chuck. “Fiore, you want Chuck to take you home?”
Fiore shrugged. “Sure. Why not?”
“How did you get hurt?”
“My drunk arse tripped. Luckily this wanker refused to take no for an answer and saw me fall.”
Xavier stared for a long moment before he let out a defeated sigh and shook his head. There was no changing Fiore's mind once it was made up. “Very well, be sure to call Juliet tomorrow and tell her you're alright.”
“Such trust.” Chuck smirked. He helped Fiore onto the couch and Chuck followed Xavier to the kitchen. “Worried I’ll ravish her and eat her in the morning like the big, bad wolf?”
“Chuck, you and I both know you aren’t a good guy or anything close to resembling a decent human being.”
“I would have thought you’d be happy. You’ve never gotten over the fact that I almost had your wife.”
“You never had a chance with Juliet.” Xavier bit out through gritted teeth. “And no, I do not trust you alone with Fiore.”
“What are you so worried about?”
“She’s drunk and we both know what you are.”
“Such a mature approach. Fiore is not yours, get over yourself. Where is that ice? We’ll be on our way.”
“I will be calling in the morning.”
“Please do. Give me the ice so I can leave.”
Xavier sighed and made an ice pack and glared at Chuck. “Take care of her.” Xavier warned as Chuck accepted the ice pack then he and Fiore said their goodbyes, he gathered Fiore and settled her in the plush leather of the front seat of his car.
“Please let me know if you feel ill. I’ll pull over, I’d rather you not vomit on the interior.”
“That would be alcohol abuse.” Fiore yawned.
“Don’t fall asleep on me yet.” Chuck grabbed Fiore’s hand.
“Mmmm, let me take a nap.” Fiore mumbled as she settled herself in more comfortably. She’d drank far more than she normally would.
Chuck drove to his hotel room. As with everything he did, it was a first class suite. He pulled up to the valet and tossed him the keys. “Not a scratch.” he warned as he gently lifted the sleeping form of Fiore from his car.
“Did she have too much?” The valet asked.
“Just a glass of wine too many. She’s quite the lightweight, I’m afraid.”
“No, I’m not.” Fiore mumbled as she started to rouse from her sleep.
“Hush now, let’s get you into bed.” Chuck carried Fiore up to his room and laid her on the bed. “Pity you’re falling asleep.” he gave her a small smile before he went to take a cold shower. It seemed he would not be getting what he wanted after all. Halfway through his phone started ringing.
“What?” he barked as he got out of the shower, still thoroughly frustrated. “Really? Thank you, Jax. I’ll be there tomorrow.” Chuck sighed and hung up his phone as he walked back in the room, his company forgotten.
“Oh my.” Fiore gasped as she sat up completely.
Chuck looked down and realized the only towel he had he was using to dry his hair. Chuck gave a careless shrug as he went to retrieve some clothes stark naked. “Sorry, forgot you were in here.” Chuck admitted.
“So you usually just walk around naked.”
“I’m sure you do.”
“True.” Fiore admitted with a small smile. There was something different about this man.
“Besides, I’ve got nothing to be shy about.” Chuck threw her a cheeky grin over his shoulder.
“No, that’s true. Rather impressive in fact.”
Chuck had a pair of boxer briefs in his hand. “Should I bother with this?” he asked as he stood back up.
Fiore shrugged. “My, don’t you know how to romance a girl.” she purred.
Chuck stepped into his underwear and joined Fiore in bed. “My dear, I believe you’re overdressed.
“Oh bloody hell!”
“This is dress is almost £800 and I’m fucking sleeping in it.” Fiore exclaimed as she stood up and stumbled as pain shot through her ankle. “Shit.” Fiore hissed as she balanced on one foot. “This is Burberry.” Fiore explained as she fumbled for the clasp at the top. While she was fighting, she didn’t notice Chuck rise and come up behind her.
“Well then my dear,” Chuck breathed against her ear. Fiore froze at the sensation. Chuck’s deft hands burned her skin anywhere they grazed her. He easily, but slowly undid the clasp then lowered the zipper. Completely aware of what his presence was doing to her Chuck slowly slid one sleeve off her shoulder, gently teasing the newly exposed skin with his lips. “Perhaps we should,” Chuck gave the same treatment to her other shoulder and let the dress pool on her feet. “, hang this up.” Chuck framed Fiore’s curves as he knelt down to retrieve her dress. Fiore was breathless as she stepped out of her dress. Chuck picked the dress up, pretending indifference to the beautiful woman nearly naked in his room as he draped her dress over a chair. He turned with a predatory smile and to fully appreciate the frontal view of this intriguing woman.
Fiore, as always, dressed her best. That included her underwear. Her bra and underwear matched her dress perfectly. Black with burgundy lace trim. Chuck had to admit the ensemble was flattering against her creamy skin. The more of her body we was privileged to see the more he wanted to see. Chuck watched the pink creep from her chest up to her cheeks. He was pleased at the reaction Fiore gave him to his heated gaze.
Chuck stalked over to Fiore. He saw the same desire reflected in Fiore’s hazel orbs that he felt in himself. She wanted him and he was going to grant her wish. Chuck’s hands found Fiore’s waist as he dipped his head to claim her lips. It didn’t take much. Once his lips met hers, his hands began to explore her curves.
He loved the feel of her soft curves in his hands and he backed her to the bed. He took little time in divesting them of the remainder of their clothing and wasted no time having his way with Fiore. Once they were both sated Chuck got up and went to the bathroom to dispose of the condom and clean himself up. When he returned he smiled at the sight before him. After the exertion and alcohol, Fiore was sleeping peacefully. Her legs covered by a sheet and her golden hair splayed across his pillow. He was privy to the sight of one of her perfect breasts in clear view. With a contented sigh he climbed into bed beside her and let himself drift into sleep.
Chuck woke to the sound of his phone ringing. “This better be important.” Chuck growled, not even bothering to check the caller id.
“A new shipment has just arrived, early. I called you as soon as it arrived. I haven’t touched it yet. What are you orders, sir?” Chuck took in a deep breath and pinched his nose.
“Why are they early?”
“I haven’t asked.”
“Find out and call me back in half an hour. I have other matters to deal with presently.” Chuck hung up and realized then that a startling pair of green eyes were watching him from behind thick black lashes. “Sorry about that.”
Fiore shrugged and yawned. She pulled the sheet up with her as she sat up. Something Chuck was mildly disappointed about. “It sounded like business.” Fiore began looking around and found her underwear and bra from yesterday. She pulled on the underwear and then hooked her bra on, her back to Chuck. Chuck admired her backside until she covered it.
“Stop watching me.” Fiore glanced over her shoulder and saw Chuck’s grey eyes smoldering on her. “We had our fun. Now, pretty boy, thank you, I enjoyed myself.” Fiore pulled her dress on and zipped it up and grabbed her heels. “But, now I’m off.”
“How’s your ankle?”
“Tender, but I’ve had worse.”
“Where are you going?”
“I’ve had a car called for.”
“It was fun, Fiore.”
Fiore smiled and limped out. It wasn’t the first time she endured the walk of shame. It came with the territory. Her driver, Kenneth, was waiting outside. Fiore settled herself in the back seat, her foot elevated.
“What happened, Fiore?”
“Just a drunken shoe accident. Not a big deal, what does my agenda look like today?”
“You have a call in two hours for that event in two weeks for your charity. The final arrangements must be finalized and reminders sent out.”
“Thank you, Ken. If you can get me to the hotel, I can change and swap out these heels for flats. I’m sure I brought a pair of boots with me.”
“If not, I’m sure I can have a pair for you within the hour.”
“Thank you, Ken. I’ll let you know once I’m up in the hotel room. Have the press harassed Ian, Christine, or Chad with them being out here with their families?”
“No, they got your message loud and clear. Though, they will be at the airport when you leave.”
“Then they better be ready to deal with me.” Fiore snipped. She hated the press. She didn’t appreciate the misery and chaos they elicited. Fiore took a quick shower and examined her ankle. It was slightly swollen and the bruising was starting to color it. With a sigh Fiore called for bandages to wrap it. While waiting she did her hair and makeup to perfection and changed into a sophisticated and stylish black and turquoise dress with three quarter sleeves that went a few inches above her wrists. Once she’d wrapped the ankle, she paired her outfit with a pair of black riding boots with a half inch heel. It wouldn’t look out of the ordinary and so long as she watched her gait, she could fool anyone. It wasn’t the first time she’d performed with a twisted ankle. It was a mild sprain at worst.
Fiore went down to her waiting car and started the trek to the airport. She’d be in London within another hour or so. She boarded her family’s private plane and reviewed her notes and made the calls she had to make to ensure that everything was set for the benefit ball she was throwing. Fiore’s life centered around her father’s businesses and her own charity work. Fiore’s family had more money than they could possibly spend. Her father was a ruthless business tyrant. Due to her mother’s royal blood, Fiore was a very distant cousin to Ian and Christine and about three hundredth in line for the throne. Something she never wanted anyway. Fiore was typing away on her laptop finalizing details before she closed the lap top and leaned back. She was more tired than usual.
Fiore closed her eyes just for a moment then was shaken awake and told to prepare to land. “Oh, thank you.” Fiore was shocked. She rarely was able to nap. She stretched quickly and packed up her laptop and prepared to land. Fiore quickly made her way to her father’s home. With their busy schedules, it didn’t make sense for them to have separate residences. Fiore texted her father to let him know she was was home and then called her family physician. He’d be there in two hours. Fiore sighed and called to make sure Ian, Lana and their kids were back home, then she did the same for Christine and Greg, and Chad and his wife. Juliet was the next call. Fiore was surprised when Xavier answered.
“Fiore? Are you well?”
“Yes, that’s a strange question. Why wouldn’t I be?”
“You left with Chuck.”
“I warned you, he’s not to be trusted.”
Fiore let out a sigh. “Xavier, I appreciate your concern, but I’m a big girl. After all, I’m Fiore.”
“I know, Fiore, but he’s Chuck LeGrand and far more dangerous that you realize.”
“Xavier, again, your concern is touching, but that was just convenient. It was one night, not a proposal. Relax. I know you have your squabbles with him, but I’m not part of it.”
“And you’re home safe?”
Fiore heard the relief in his voice as he let out a long sigh. “I’m glad to hear it. Would you like to speak with Juliet?”