“Well when a mommy and daddy love each other very much they—”

“Were you eavesdropping?” she demanded, not amused.


“So . . . you heard nothing?” she asked suspiciously. “Nothing at all?”

He lifted his attention from the suitcase that was not going to zip and met her gaze.

She searched his face and closed her eyes. “Dammit.”

He put a hand on her leg. “I’m sorry—”

“No. You don’t get to say that to me.”

“I lost my dad too, Lotti. And my mom. No one understands how that feels except someone who’s been through it.”

She chewed on that for a minute. Trying to get her emotions under control, he realized.

“Are you also going to tell me that you’ve been dumped by a fiancé a week before your wedding?” she finally asked.

“Well no, but—

“No buts.” She shoved his hand from her. “I don’t want to talk about it.”


“Ever,” she said firmly. “New subject.”

“Okay. How about the fact that there’s no way your suitcase is going to close.”

“Dammit.” She hopped off the suitcase and kneeled in front of it, pulling out some of the clothes. “I tried to pack light. But it was hard to decide on what to wear . . .”

“Depends on what you want to get out of the trip,” he said.

She bit her lower lip and blushed, and he went brows up. “Ah,” he said. “You want to get laid.”

“No,” she said but even her ears were deep red now.

“Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that,” he said.

She met his eyes and then rolled hers. “Well gee, thanks for the permission.” She pulled something else from her suitcase and held it up to herself. A white strappy sundress. “Would this dress make you want me?”

He had to laugh. “Lotti, when I first met you, you were in PE class wearing a baggy T-shirt and sweats and I wanted you.”

“I’m being serious, Sean.”

“So am I.”

She shook her head. “Back then was a lot of years ago and I’m not that same skinny kid. Be honest, is the dress too much? I don’t want to look desperate, even though I am.”

“The dress is perfect,” he said, not liking that she believed she needed the dress to attract a man. All she needed to do was lay those heart-stopping eyes on someone and it’d be over. All the rest; her smile, her brain, her bod . . . it was all gravy. “On second thought,” he said and snatched the sundress and tossed it aside.

She snorted and tried again to get the zipper closed, bouncing up and down on the suitcase again. “Is this helping?”

Sean tried not to watch her lovely breasts jiggle and failed. “Helps a lot.”

She followed his gaze to her chest and snorted again. “You’re impossible.”

He got the suitcase closed and rose to his feet to help her to hers. “Just trying to take your mind off your troubles.” And he meant that. He wanted to take her mind off the phone call, something he himself couldn’t do.

She’d been left by her fiancé.

Her dad had died.

And she’d needed this Cabo getaway more than he’d known. “I’m sorry about today, Lotti.”

Startled, her dark eyes met his. “What about it?”

“Well, for starters, about us not checking out—”

“Oh, you don’t have to check out,” she said. “It’s automatic. All you have to do is leave.”

“Yeah, about that . . . Have you checked the news or weather?”

She stared at him and then shook her head. “Not yet. I got sidetracked trying to get my suitcase closed.”

“We can’t leave, Lotti.”

“Sure you can,” she said. “You just get in your vehicle and go.” She gave him a little push toward the door for emphasis. “Okay, then. Thanks for coming, buh-bye . . .”

But Sean wasn’t walking away. Not that this stopped her from trying to get him to. She put her hands on his chest and pushed again. It seemed to take her a second to realize that he wasn’t going to be moved. Finally, she went hands on hips and gave him a long look. “You’re leaving, and so am I. I’ve got big plans.”

Yeah, he knew. Plans that had nearly involved the sexy white sundress he couldn’t get his mind off of.

“I mean it,” she said. “I’m heading straight to the airport and Cabo. So if you’re about to give me any sort of news to the contrary, I don’t want to hear it.”

She was spoiling for a fight, but he wasn’t going to give it to her, not with that vulnerable look on her face and his realization that she needed this get away so much more than he’d even realized. “I’m sorry,” he said quietly. “I really am. But you need to bring up your flight app. Or your weather or news app.”

She looked out the window where the rain and wind had actually died down for the time being. “Why? What don’t I know?”

“The highways are closed.”

Her head whipped back to face him. “What?”

“Which means people can’t get out,” he said. “People like us. And you.”



She stared at him and let out a long, shuddering breath. “Okay, you know what? After much consideration, I’ve decided adulthood isn’t for me. Thank you and goodbye.”

“I’m sorry, Lotti.”

“No, you don’t understand,” she said. “I have flights.”

“I know.”

She looked around. “And I’m actually off work for once. There’s no other guests until after the first of the year.” She paused. “Are you sure there aren’t any open roads out of here, not a single one?”

“Not until the storm moved on and they’ve cleared everything of debris. The reports say we’re at least twenty-four hours out from that. More likely forty-eight hours, or even more.”

“Oh my God.” She sank heavily to her desk chair, dropping her forehead to the desk. “This is all my fault.”

“Yeah? You personally called Mother Nature and asked her to unload her wrath?”

Keeping her head down, she moaned. “I actually thought this was going to happen, that I could get away from here. Two weeks, that’s all I asked for.”

“I’m so sorry your vacay got screwed up. And I’m sorry for my next question.”

She lifted her head. Her smile faded. “Sean, you can’t stay. I’m closing down the inn.”

“That’s already happened, Lotti,” he said on a low laugh. “I hear you but there’s literally nowhere to go.”

With a sigh, she stood up and faced him. “Okay, then what’s your question?”

“Since we’re all stuck for at least the next twenty-four hours, I was hoping we could throw my brother and Pru an impromptu wedding reception.”

“That’s usually preceded by an actual wedding,” she said.

“Yeah. Thought we could do that too.”

She stared at him. “You’ve lost it.”

“This place is actually the perfect wedding setting.”

She laughed but when he didn’t, she shook her head. “Sean, a wedding is an organized event. I mean, I’m a very organized person. I have lists and check them twice and all that, but even I couldn’t pull this off on the fly on my own, and I don’t have any employees scheduled because I was supposed to be off work.” She picked up a clipboard on her desk and showed him, flipping through all the stuff she had on it.