Running the Numbers

Running the Numbers by Roxanne Smith Read Free Book Online

Book: Running the Numbers by Roxanne Smith Read Free Book Online
Authors: Roxanne Smith
substantial number of cul-de-sacs.
    “What do you read?” Sadie had slowed to a near crawl, the speed limit having dropped down to twenty. “Romance? Sci-Fi?”
    He didn’t think my ex-wife’s novels would earn him any points.“ Business Weekly .”
    Sadie sighed with such obvious disappointment; Blake felt it right in his pride. Good thing he wasn’t here to entertain anyone.
    After a few more curves, they passed over a charming wooden bridge, like something out of a fairy tale, and Sadie pulled up to the curb in front of a huge, white clapboard house with two stories, a looped gravel driveway, and landscaping fit for the cover of Home & Garden magazine.
    “I hate it.” He couldn’t have handpicked a better visual representation of the cookie-cutter life he was desperately trying to leave behind.
    Sadie’s head whipped around so fast, Blake winced. “What do you mean, you hate it?”
    “Okay, hate’s kind of intense. I only mean it’s not much different from my place in L.A. I can’t see the mountains through the stand of Douglas firs. There’s nothing rustic about it, no charming mountain-type features. It’s not a log home. It’s on flat land. It’s also huge. I’m one guy. At most, I need a guestroom for when Seth visits.”
    If Seth ever visited.
    She chewed her lips, and her smoky gaze traveled over his face like he was some alien species.
    Blake squirmed in his seat and wished he was with Amanda. Reserved and poised, she could’ve easily been Quinn’s sister. More so than Quinn’s actual sister, Emily. He didn’t like to think about that, though. He’d rather think about Amanda and how he’d eventually pry her out of that cool, confident shell. Finally, frustrated with both the house and the current company, Blake huffed. “Look, it’s not a big deal. If this is what’s available, I’ll take it.”
    Abruptly, as if coming to some internal decision, Sadie dropped the truck into gear and shot away from the curb. “You want a mountain? I can give you a mountain.”
    Blake swallowed. What had he done? Rather than backtrack, he accepted his fate and promised himself he wouldn’t blame Sadie if she landed him a ramshackle cabin perched high on a mountain cliff. He’d literally asked for it.
    Blake refused to give into surprise when Sadie took him back into town, right through the heart of downtown, this time staying due east once they hit the square, and on toward where two mountains ridges seemed to draw to a close.
    She took a few winding roads, which grew thinner and less maintained the closer they drove toward the gathering ridges, and took an abrupt right onto what appeared to be a narrow gravel alleyway.
    Except, it wasn’t an alley. It was a road, evidenced by the faded road sign naming it Brewster’s Lane. It shot up the side of the mountain—not far from Snow King Ski Resort if Blake’s internal compass was functioning properly—and made a razor-sharp switchback before angling up and out of sight, blocked by a wall of thick, towering pine trees.
    She was messing with him. Trying to get a rise out of him. A little payback for saying the last house wasn’t good enough.
    Why hadn’t he said, “Sure, it’s great,” and been done with it? He’d be collecting his things in his rental car and pondering furniture right now. Then again, why should he let Sadie’s talent for making him uncomfortable cause him to lose sight of what he’d come here for? He wouldn’t play along in the head game. He wasn’t going to complain or object. He’d see the house on the side of the freaking mountain, he’d tell her thanks but no thanks, and they’d move on. Worse case, he’d choose the first house, after all. Like an episode of House Hunters.
    He bit back a groan as the truck climbed. I did this to myself. The story of his life.
    They traversed two more switchbacks before the road widened and a few houses cropped up. The fronts were poised on high stilts so they sat even on the mountain

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