“The most secluded one you got, man,” I chuckled, leaning back in the chair. I propped my feet on the desk, sending a fuck you to the previous owner.
My father’s office was completely off-limits when I was a kid. The only time he invited me in there was to give me shit for something, or try to browbeat me into working for him. I had to sit in the chair with my back straight and my feet flat on the floor until he was finished delivering his rant.
I glanced across the desk at my twelve-year-old romance advisor. She pointed her finger at my feet, wagging her finger, a fake scowl of disapproval on her face. My sister was finally starting to relax. When I first met her, she was an uptight adult in a kid’s body, brainwashed by a demented old tyrant. After three weeks with me and Kinley, she was smiling more and having some fun. The camp made a huge difference, too.
“Great. I’ll see you Friday night.” I hung up the phone, grinning at my little sister. “All booked.”
“Perfect. Now we need to discuss how you’re going to get her up there.”
“Kinley doesn’t like surprises.”
“True,” she agreed, nodding her head. “What if she says no?”
“Why would she say no?”
“I don’t know,” she laughed, shrugging.
“Cmon, sister. This was your idea. What woman would turn down a romantic weekend in the mountains?”
“Relax, Harland. I’m just messing with you. She won’t say no.”
“Of course she won’t.”
“Unless she is experiencing her menses.”
“You know, her period? Time of the month? When women bleed from their vagina?”
“Stop,” I barked, plugging my ears. “I’m not having a discussion with you about that. Ever. That is Kinley’s department.”
“What’s my department?”
I dropped my feet to the floor, smiling at the beautiful woman standing in the doorway. Every time I saw her, my insides turned to mush. I was so gone for my stepsister.
Stop thinking of her as your stepsister. That’s creepy. She’s your girl.
“Menstruation,” Ellie provided.
“Okay,” Kinley said slowly.
“We’re going away for the weekend,” I informed her.
“Yep.” I clapped my hands together. “A buddy of mine from high school owns a lodge up in the mountains. I just reserved a cabin.”
“That sounds like fun. Have you ever been to a mountain lodge, Ellie?”
“I’m not going.”
“I’m not interested in playing third wheel to my brother and sister while they make googly eyes and kissy faces at each other.”
“And you weren’t invited,” Harland grumbled.
“Joanne and I have a entire weekend planned,” Ellie announced. “I’ll be fine. You two kids have fun. And please don’t forget the prophylactics.”
I reached across the centre console, capturing Kinley’s hand as we made our way up the steep mountain pass. My father’s Range Rover was definitely up for the task, tackling the sharp turns and inclines like it was navigating a city street.
Kinley was quiet for most of the two-hour drive, staring out the window. I couldn’t blame her. The scenery was breathtaking. Towering trees, clear blue lakes, majestic mountains. I was going to contact my real estate agent on Monday and get him to find me some property up there.
“So, you went to school with the lodge owner?” she asked.
“Yeah. Do you remember Darian Pannabaker?”
“He wasn’t that bad.”
“How would you know? You were worse.”
“I wasn’t that bad.”
“I think we’re gonna have to agree to disagree.”
“He named the lodge after himself?” Kinley snorted when we passed under the wooden archway.
“It looks pretty swanky,” she observed. “I didn’t bring any fancy clothes.”
“You don’t need any, sweetheart.” I rubbed her thigh, my fingers grazing her pussy. “We’re going to spend most of the weekend naked.”
“We aren’t going to dinner?”
“We are. But it’s very casual. The dress you brought is fine.”
“What else are we doing?”
“Whatever you want. We can go hiking or fishing. Swim in the lake or the pool. There’s paddle boats.”
“It sounds very relaxing.”
“Let’s go check in and get our keys,” I said.
I pushed open the heavy wooden door, stepping into the rustic lobby. Log walls, exposed beams, the massive stone fireplace, and the aroma of cinnamon created the perfect atmosphere for a mountain hideaway.
“This is absolutely perfect,” Kinley sighed, turning in circles as she took it all in.
Darian crossed the lobby, his deep voice rattling the rafters and drawing the attention of everyone in the room. He pulled me into a man hug, slapping me hard on the back.
“Hey man,” I said. “Good to see you.”
“It’s been too long, my friend.”
“Agreed. What’s it been, five years since you and Jizelle came to New York?”
“Yeah. Gabby just turned four, so it must be. She was conceived in your guest room.”
“Thanks for sharing,” I chuckled.
“And what do we have here?” he drawled, his eyes roaming over Kinley’s body. Darian was always a bit of a pervert, but he was harmless.
“You remember my stepsister, Kinley?”
“Fire crotch!” he exclaimed.
“Nice to see you again, Darian,” she said tightly.
“Wait a minute,” he said, his eyes darting back and forth between us. “You said you were bringing a woman up here for a romantic weekend.”
“That woman is your sister?”
“Darian, keep your voice down.” Darian’s wife Jizelle approached, chastising her husband.
“Harry’s banging his sister,” he whispered.
“Kinley isn’t my sister.”
“Nice to meet you, Kinley,” Jizelle said, offering her hand. “Ignore my husband. He’s severely lacking in the manners department. I’m very sorry for your loss.”
“Thank you,” Kinley said quietly.
“And Harland, please accept my deepest condolences. I’m so sorry we couldn’t make it down for the funeral, but my parents were away. With the lodge and four kids, it’s hard to go anywhere.”
“No problem,” I said. “The flowers you sent were beautiful.”
“Ouch!” Darian yelped when his wife punched him in the arm. “Uh, sorry about your dad, Harry. And your mother, Kinley.”
“Let me get you guys checked in,” Jizelle offered.
“What do you think?” I asked.
Kinley gazed around the cozy log cabin, wandering to the floor to ceiling windows overlooking the lake. “It’s breathtaking, Harland.”
“I’m glad you like it.” I knelt down to light a fire while she disappeared into the bedroom.
“There’s a hot tub on the deck!”
“I know, baby.”
She returned to the living room, studying me with a curious stare. “Why did you really bring me here, Harland?”
“What do you mean?”
“You told your friend you were coming up here for a romantic weekend.”
“Did I miss the conversation where we changed the terms of our agreement?”
I took her by the hand, leading her to the sofa by the picture window. “I have no idea what I’m doing,” I admitted.
“That seems like a problem,” she said, laughing nervously.
“It is a problem. A big problem.”
“Because, Kinley Davenport, I’m falling in love with you.”