Seeing Red

Seeing Red by Jill Shalvis Read Free Book Online

Book: Seeing Red by Jill Shalvis Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jill Shalvis
Creative Interiors was housed, and parked in the lot behind it.
    Camille was just getting out of her car, with a sleeping Socks in her arms. Her mom would be forty-seven this year, but if Summer hadn’t known, she’d have guessed no more than thirty-five. The woman simply never aged. Lean and toned from her morning jogs, she wore clothing extremely well, including the vintage bohemian-style dress she had on right now. She had porcelain skin, long wavy hair the color of roasted chestnuts, and a way of talking that made you listen. “Morning,” she said with a welcoming smile. “How are you?”
    Summer returned the smile. “Good.”
    “So what’s up? I need to open the store.”
    “I know.” Tread carefully here. “Mom, I’ve been thinking. The insurance paperwork isn’t that difficult, and I could really use something else to do while I’m here.” Such as get close to you again. “How about a job?”
    Camille stared at her as if she’d suggested getting a third eye. “Why?”
    “Well I’m going to be here a while, so—”
    “But honey, why will you be here a while?”
    Summer blinked. “Because I told you I would.”
    “I don’t expect you to drop everything for me.”
    “I’m not.”
    “But you’ve never stayed more than a few days.” Camille sounded baffled.
    “I know,” Summer said quietly. “But I want to do this. For you.” Just as she wanted, needed, to reforge a bond that had never been the same since her father’s death.
    Camille made a noncommittal sound as she nuzzled the cat and then began walking. Her crystal earrings made a tinkleing sound that floated on the air.
    Summer followed. “I really do want to help,” she said softly, longing to see a real smile cross her mom’s lips. “You’re opening a second shop this week, right? And it’s a big deal. I’m sure everyone’s crazed, worrying about the loss of stock from the warehouse fire, and getting the new store ready. Surely you could use an extra set of hands.”
    “Hmm.”
    That hmm was the sound of Camille thinking, and no one, not even God himself could rush her through a decision. There’d only been one person who’d ever been able to break through that stubbornness, and that had been Tim Abrams.
    Other men had tried since Summer’s father had died. Camille had enjoyed them each for a time, and then on some schedule only she had access to, she’d set them free.
    Summer admired the spirit but not as it applied to their relationship. “Mom, five days ago you called me in the middle of the night in tears.” Clingy. Scared. “You wanted my help. You wanted me here.” And that had meant so much, Summer had dropped everything and rushed here.
    And yet she hadn’t seen a hint of that soft, clingy Camille since she’d arrived. “You wanted me here,” she repeated, softly, reaching for her mom’s hand, squeezing the cold fingers. “Now let me do something.”
    “You’ve done plenty. You brought Socks back. You went and talked to the fire marshal.”
    “Joe.”
    “I invited him to our grand opening of Creative Interiors II tomorrow night. He’s been very kind. I’m going to send him a box of my teas. I think he could use some peace and tranquility.”
    Summer didn’t want to think about Joe, needing tranquility or otherwise, because thinking about him at all confused her. The memories of her youth were all tied up with memories of him. He’d been her best friend, her rock. Her everything. Granted, their relationship had been decidedly asexual, but she honestly believed that that’s what had made it so strong and binding.
    But then, like everything else in connection to O.B., she’d let it go. She’d let it all go, and life had gone on without her. Twelve years, gone, like a breath of air, and now Joe was no longer that scruffy kid, but a full grown man who disturbed her in ways she couldn’t really grasp.
    No, she didn’t want to think about him fitting into his quiet intensity, having sex on his desk

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