Restless in Carolina

Restless in Carolina by Tamara Leigh Read Free Book Online

Book: Restless in Carolina by Tamara Leigh Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tamara Leigh
Tags: Christian fiction
against the urge to burn a bridge. This young woman is only the messenger.
    I return to the desk. “I’ve been tryin’ for weeks to do just that, but Ms. Wiley has been far from happy to pencil me in. That’s why I’m here—all the way from North Carolina.”
    She rolls her lips inward.
    “So please tell her I’m not goin’ anywhere until Mr. Dirk gives me ten minutes.” When I turn back to the cow, the framed photos around the waiting room catch my eye.
    Hearing the receptionist on the phone again, I step to the first photo. It’s an aerial of a sprawling ski lodge in Aspen, Colorado—doubtless one of the Dirk developments. And since the magazine article that brought J. C. Dirk to my attention mentioned his love of the outdoors, he’s probably enjoyed the fruits of that labor. As I continue around the room, mostly admiring but sometimes cringing over the height, breadth, and amount of glass and metal used in the buildings, the elevator hatches more visitors.
    I look from a family-themed wilderness resort to the three men and two women who exit.
    “I’ll let Ms. Wiley know you’re here.” The receptionist glances at me and back to the new arrivals, then comes out from behind her desk and steps toward them with a soft tinkle from her coin belt. “Actually, why don’t I take you back?”
    Afraid I’ll make a scene in front of Dirk’s VIPs?
    She holds open a door and leads them down a glass-fronted corridor and out of sight. No sooner do I return to the photos than movement pulls my gaze back to the corridor. A very front-loaded woman peers into the waiting room. Ms. Wiley?
    Her frown momentarily settles on me, and I give a wave that makes her stiffen and waddle in the direction the VIPs went. Definitely Ms. Wiley.
    Continuing to move around the walls, I keep a peripheral eye on the corridor. Shortly, the receptionist returns to her desk. Since she surely has the task of keeping an eye on me, leastwise until someone escorts me off the premises, I feel for her.
    The next photo shows the environmentally friendly oceanside condos featured in the magazine that first brought J. C. Dirk to my attention. Again, I’m struck by how beautiful they are—low to the ground, generously spaced, and constructed of easily renewable natural materials that enable them to blend with the environment. If there had to be a development, at least it’s conscientious. That’s why I need J. C. Dirk.
    As I cross to the next photo, I catch sight of a fast-moving object in the corridor—a man, and Ms. Wiley is hurrying alongside him despite her baby bulk. He’s not tall, leastwise not compared to Easton, whose lanky six-foot-six frame is the standard by which I measure all men. In fact, this man, who is definitely the one who graced the magazine cover, would be lucky to top me by an inch were I standing beside him in heels that boost me from five foot six to five foot eight. But what J. C. Dirk lacks in height, he makes up for in breadth. Even outfitted in a business suit, it’s evident he’s buff. And he’s about to go from sight.
    I glance at the door. Can I make it into the corridor ahead of the receptionist? I can, but Piper would see it as an act of aggression that could blow my chance of a face to face. I look back at J.C. and nearly startle when I see he’s stopped on the other side of the glass wall. He’s staring at me, and Ms. Wiley is nodding in my direction.
    I stand taller, resisting the temptation to open my hands to prove I’m unarmed.
    Eyes narrowing beneath a thatch of light brown hair, he returns his attention to his assistant. Whatever she’s relating about the woman who has badgered her with calls, it can’t be flattering.
    J. C. Dirk looks sideways at me, and his mouth curves. Though I resent being sized up, there’s consolation in knowing Bridget Buchanan, nursery owner turned attractive, smartly professional woman, has passed Go. He’ll see me now.
    He nods at Ms. Wiley, checks his watch, and

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