Almost Like Being in Love (9 page)

BOOK: Almost Like Being in Love
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“You will?” Margo had every right to sound surprised. “You'd have to see Kade Webster again.”

Caron scrambled for an answer. “I won't have to see him that much. I'll look at the bedrooms while you and Kade tour the living room and kitchen. Then we switch. It'll be fine. Then you and I can go have lunch or something. Go ahead and call Kade back and get the address. Tell him we'll meet him there.”

“Are you sure? I mean, I'd like to go see the house—”

“It's not a problem.”

“All right.” Margo started pressing numbers on her keypad. “I'm calling Kade now. If you're going to change your mind—”

“Not changing my mind. Make the call. I'll start the coffee. And I hope there's time to grab a quick breakfast.”

“Hello, Kade, this is Margo.” Her friend turned so that Caron was staring at her back. “Have you canceled that appointment yet? You haven't? Good. I want to keep it.”

•  •  •

All he needed to do was walk Margo through the house—and ignore Caron Hollister.

Kade would concentrate on his client, highlight the assets of the three-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath house in Rockrimmon, and be ready to answer Margo's questions. Caron wasn't his concern. She hadn't been for two years.

Both women waited behind him as he removed the key from the metal lockbox around the doorknob and gained entry to the house. Caron allowed Margo to precede her into the house, disappearing down the hallway to the bedrooms as Kade began listing the advantages of the open-concept living room/dining room area.

An eighteen-hundred-square-foot house should be big enough for both Caron and him to survive in for the next half hour.

“It's an older house, but they've remodeled the kitchen.” Kade deposited his business card on the kitchen counter. “And put in new wood floors. Both bathrooms are updated, too. And, thanks to the last hailstorm, there's a new roof.”

“I like the stone fireplace in the living room area.” Margo did a slow turn. “Are those countertops Corian?”

“No, high-quality Formica. They've improved the product quite a bit.”

“I wouldn't have guessed Formica.”

“There's a decent backyard, too. It's xeriscaped so it doesn't require too much upkeep or watering.”

“That's good. Ronny and I both like yard work, but we don't want a yard that costs a lot to keep up.”

The house showed well. No lingering scents of cigarette smoke or pets, which were both immediate reasons to say no for a lot of his clients. No odd paint colors that he had to help potential buyers overlook, reminding them how inexpensive it was to paint.

They met up with Caron as she exited the bathroom off the master bedroom.

“I wouldn't label this an en suite, but it's still a good size. It's large enough that you could replace the single sink with dual raised glass bowls. Maybe paint the bathroom a classic gray. New light fixtures will make a difference, too.” Caron pressed her lips together, raising her hand. “Sorry. Kade's the Realtor here, not me.”

“But I want to know what you think.” Margo's gaze switched back and forth between Kade and her friend. “You're Ronny's stand-in.”

“We can always talk afterward. I'll let Kade do his job.”

“I'm interested in your opinion, too.” The comment escaped before he realized what he was going to say. Caron always had a way of casting a design vision for a house. “Realtor to Realtor.”

Caron's eyes widened at his statement. “It seems to meet Margo and Ronny's requirements. The layout is nice. And the owners have done some good upgrades. Refinished wood floors will work well with the two Turkish rugs your parents said they're going to give you. The other bedrooms are decent sizes
and you could have fun with colors. I could show you how to do some geometric patterns to create an accent wall in one of the bedrooms if you want. It's not that hard. The measurements for the half bath are small, so depending on what's already there, you might want to put in a pedestal sink. I did see that the hot water heater and furnace are older . . . sorry, I scrolled through the listing you e-mailed Margo.”

“Understandable. If Margo and Ronny decide to put an offer on the house, we'd wait to see what the inspector said—”

“And possibly request the sellers purchase an extended home warranty?”

“That's always an option.”

“Is the price negotiable?”

“It just came on the market a couple of days ago, so I'm not sure how much the sellers are willing to budge.”

“The carpeting is in good shape. Not brand-new, but clean.” Caron paced the perimeter of the bedroom, stopping by the door where Kade and Margo waited. “Rooms are good sizes. One could work as an office. You could replace the solid wood doors with glass-paned ones to let in more light.”

“The third bedroom—the smaller of the two?” Kade tilted his head left, in the direction of the other room.

“Well, if Margo and Ronny want a guest bedroom, it makes sense to use the larger of the extra bedrooms for that, don't you think?”

“Good point.”

Caron offered him a smile that might as well have been a sucker-punch to his solar plexus. This was the Caron Hollister he remembered—well, one facet of her, anyway. Talking houses. Suggesting improvements. Self-assured. And an alluring smile that slammed him up against the wall. A dash of Caron's casual beauty mixed with her warmth.

He faced Margo. His client. “So, Margo, you ready to look at the other rooms?”

“Sure.”

Caron's voice slipped past any defense he tried to erect. “I'll just get out of your way and check out the rest of the house.”

“Hey, you're keeping your skills up.” Margo wrapped an arm around Caron's shoulders in a side hug. “Don't want to get rusty before you find another job.”

“Margo!” With a quick shake of her head, Caron shrugged out of the other woman's embrace. “We're here to talk about whether this house works for you and Ronny—not about me.”

“Right. Sorry.”

“It's all good. Go on and finish the tour with Kade.” With a soft “excuse me,” Caron eased past them, escaping down the hallway and back toward the front of the house.

Kade stilled. What did that exchange mean? Caron was looking for a job? That made no sense at all. Back when they dated, she was focused on achieving success at her father's real estate office.

He released a breath. Inhaled, catching just a remnant of her still-familiar coconut-scented shampoo lingering in the air.

Back to work, Webster. You haven't been able to figure Caron Hollister out for a long time. And if you want to indulge in the scent of coconut, go buy yourself a piña colada cheesecake.

“You ready to see the other two bedrooms?” He ushered Margo forward with a sweep of his arm.

EIGHT

C
aron slid out of the front seat of Margo's car, Emma mirroring her movements from the passenger door behind her. An eager valet, dressed in a white shirt, black bow tie, and black pants, greeted them as he hauled their luggage out of the trunk.

It was almost one o'clock on Friday afternoon, and all Caron wanted was the key to their hotel room and the chance to relax. To take a nap. Anything but sit in Margo's car, scenery streaming by—no matter how captivating the mountains and glimpses of rocky streams were.

And to think they'd be duplicating this long drive on Sunday, only in reverse, all the way back to Colorado Springs and straight on to Denver, to guarantee she made her late-evening flight to Florida.

“Find me a decent cup of coffee and I may think the drive down here was worth it.” Caron stretched her arms over her head. “Is there any time for me to schedule a massage at the hotel's spa?”

“Not this trip.” Margo fought to remove her car key from her overloaded key ring so the valet could park her Subaru. “But
feel free to schedule massages for us when we all come back here for your wedding.”


If
I come back here.”

“Of course you're coming back. We got up at six and drove for almost seven hours so we could discover all the reasons to convince Alex that he wants a destination wedding here.”

“Driving through small mountain towns like Florissant and Lake George aren't going to convince him, that's for sure. Now, if he was a hunter or liked to fish, he might love Gunnison.” Caron rolled her shoulders backward, then forward. “Although you managed the whole ‘The speed limit's sixty-five, oh, surprise! Now it's forty-five' experience like a pro.”

“It only takes getting caught in a speed trap once.” Margo tossed the words over her shoulder, navigating her way to the front desk. “And you have to admit some of the scenery was remarkable.”

“Yes, it was.”

“You certainly said ‘Stop the car, I need to get a picture of this' enough times.” Margo waved Caron and her sister to move past her. “I'll check us in. Go ahead and look around. Take Emma with you and find coffee.”

“You don't have tell me more than once.” Emma tucked her arm through Caron's and tugged her forward. “Don't forget to ask if the events coordinator is around. We want to let them know their prizewinner is in the building.”

Less than ten minutes later, Margo found them standing on a stone balcony overlooking a valley. “What, no coffee?”

“No, but we discovered this view.” Emma motioned with one hand. “If Alex saw this, he'd say yes to a destination wedding, right, Caron?”

Mountains ringed the resort, covered with lush green trees—aspens and pines—with elaborate houses partially hidden within
the forest. A grand golf course stretched out before them, golf carts rolling across the well-groomed grass. A patio dotted with tables covered with rust-colored umbrellas was off to the left, surrounded by a four-foot glass wall. To their right, floor-to-ceiling windows allowed visitors to the dining room to enjoy the view, too.

“Nice, isn't it, if you like rustic decor.”

Caron rested her hands on the balcony. “I'm a Florida girl, but I like all the leather and stone, and the oil paintings of horses are stunning.”

After a few moments, Margo led them back into the hotel lobby, her sandaled feet slapping against the flagstone floor. “Do you think Alex will like it?”

Caron did a slow turnaround. “It's different, but isn't a honeymoon the perfect time for something different?”

Emma rubbed her arms. “I didn't realize it would be so cool up here.”

“One of my coworkers warned me that Telluride's weather is capricious. That's why I made sure we brought jackets, even if it is June.” Margo waved the plastic keycards for their room. “How about we go unpack, then find the coffee shop and go walk around Mountain Village?”

Caron motioned to the small coffee cart situated in one corner of the lobby. “Change that to get coffee first and then go unpack and that sounds like a good plan.”

•  •  •

“So do you think you're going to be able to convince Alex to have your wedding here?”

Caron would have laughed at the timing of Margo's question, but she was too busy gritting her teeth and gripping the passenger-door handle as her friend maneuvered her car up the winding, narrow dirt road leading to Bridal Veil Falls.

“I don't know that now is the best time to ask her that.” Emma leaned forward from the backseat.

“What's wrong?” Margo pulled over to the right side of the road, close to the sloping edge, so a Jeep coming down from the waterfall could pass them. “This is the best part of the trip, next to the gondola ride in and out of Telluride. I think when we come back for the wedding, we should take a morning and hike up here.”

“That might be fun.” Caron forced herself to release her hold on the handle. Sit back. Unclench her jaw. “I think I might like this road better if I was walking it.”

“This is nothing. You should drive up to Pikes Peak.”

“Sorry I'll miss that this visit.”

“Liar.” Margo tossed her a grin. “Just look out the window and see how many different colors of columbines you can see along the side of the road. Tell me when you want to stop to take a photo.”

“Just keep driving—” Caron gasped as the car turned a corner. “Stop! Stop!”

She was out of the car before Margo had parked, careful not to slip on the slick muddy ground. The nondescript rocky road had turned into a forest vale, the waterfall plummeting down the sheer face of the rock in front of them and becoming a cascading mountain stream. Towering mountain pines surrounded the makeshift parking lot, and other sightseers wandered about, necks craning, their faces upturned as they gazed at Bridal Veil Falls.

Alex had to see this.

She took photo after photo, first with her cell phone, then with her regular camera, which she had slung around her neck. Emma and Margo joined her, but she barely noticed them as she tried to frame the best photograph.

BOOK: Almost Like Being in Love
5.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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