The Billionaire's Kiss (Scandal, Inc) (25 page)

BOOK: The Billionaire's Kiss (Scandal, Inc)
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“They were the happiest people I’ve ever seen!” Callie said. She watched Logan grin. “You’re just trying to annoy me, aren’t you?”
 

“I’d say I’m doing better than just trying.”
 

“That’s something we can agree on,” she said. “Keep this up, and I won’t bring you on any date.”

“Skipping right to the good part? Is that the idea?” Logan joked,.“You’re just using me for my body aren’t you?”
 

Callie leaned in and gave him a quick kiss, just long enough to feel the rush of warmth as Logan kissed her back. Then she pulled away. “And your money.”
 

“Well, I figured that one was a given. So what time will you come pick me up?”
 

“I’m picking you up?”

“Isn’t that part of the process? You show up with flowers and tell me how pretty I look. We stand there in the doorway for a little too long and then we head off to your car, pretending we don’t want to skip everything and just make out.”
 

“That sounds wonderful, but there’s a problem: you live on a boat,” she said.

“Right.” Logan thought it over for a moment. “So I’ll meet you here tomorrow then. Does early evening work for you?”
 

“Make it morning,” Callie said. “I already have a few ideas.”
 

“Apparently none of them involve letting me sleep,” Logan offered.

“Where would be the fun in that?” Callie said.
 

“I worry about you, Callie. Some of my best days have been spent in bed.”
 

“Yeah, but I bet you weren’t sleeping,” she said.

“You do have a point,” Logan said, a wry smile on his face.

“Tomorrow morning. Be here by ten.”
 

“Should I bring anything?” Logan asked.

“Just yourself. Oh, and dress nicely.”

“I’ll see what I can do.” Logan leaned in and kissed Callie one more time, sending that warm, familiar rush through her body one more time before heading out the door.
 

As he headed off into the night, Callie flopped down onto the couch.
Great
, she thought.
What am I going to do now?

Seventeen

Callie had planned out every detail of her day with Logan. For the first half of their date, she had picked a vineyard halfway up Aquidneck Island just outside of Newport. It seemed like the perfect choice. And so, in the early afternoon, Callie and Logan toured the vineyard under the bright summer sun, walking up and down the rows of vines, listening to the husband and wife tour guides explain each step in the winemaking process. By the time they got to drink the wine, Callie could feel the sheen of sweat beginning to form on her skin. She listened to the wind rustling through the vines. Everything felt just right, everything except for Logan. He just seemed off somehow. Again and again, Callie tried to gauge whether he was enjoying himself, but she just couldn’t tell. He had been affectionate through the date. He kept his arm around her, he laughed at her jokes, but something was missing, something was off about him, and she could tell. There were still unresolved issues. She should have known that their roll in the grass hadn’t solved their deeper issues.

After they got out of the tasting, Callie took Logan’s hand and led him over to a shady hill. Before the tour, Callie had convinced one of the tour guides to lay out the blanket and set up the picnic basket for her and Logan. From the blanket, she could see the entire vineyard as it sloped down toward toward the broad blue width of the Sakonnet River, and she could hear all the sounds of the vineyard and the water beyond it. Speedboats off in the distance, birds squawking overhead, and the leaves in the tree rustling in the wind, yet she and Logan sat in silence.

“Is everything alright?” Callie asked. “Was this a bad idea?”

“No, I mean, yes, everything’s fine,” he said. “I’m sorry, Callie. I like you. I like you a lot, but if there’s going to be anything between us, we have to be honest. Do you think we can do that?”
 

“Of course. I’m an open book. Ask whatever you want,” she said.

“Ok, why did you come here?” he asked.

“I came across a tape of you while working on another case for another client. That case got to me. I put myself in a really bad situation with an even worse guy. It rattled me. I decided I needed some time off. When I asked for it, I got sent here instead. In a funny way, I think I’ve gotten exactly what I needed.”

“Bad guy like what, some criminal mastermind? The mafia? Drug cartel?” Logan asked.

“A Congressional staffer who was looking to accumulate power for himself and his boss,” she said.

“Ugh, the worst,” Logan said, “Evil and boring. Let’s get back to something more interesting. Did you do research on me before you got here? Do I have a file?”

Callie nodded. “Yes. Also I was given explicit instructions not to fall for you.”

“Is that right? I thought you were joking when you said that earlier. Have you
fallen
for me?”

“I wasn’t. And I think you know how I feel about you.”
 

“But it’s nice to hear anyway,” Logan said.

“What else did you want to know?” she asked.

“I’m making note that you didn’t answer the question. Let’s try it another way. What did you think when you first saw me?”
 

“Outside the guesthouse?”
 

“Yeah. Well, we did meet once before that at your sister’s wedding. It was only in passing, but let’s talk about the guesthouse instead.”

Callie blushed a bit as she thought of the rush of emotions Logan had evoked. “I thought you were a jerk. A cute jerk, but definitely a jerk.”
 

“You thought I was cute?” he said. “That’s good to know.”
 

“What did you think of me?” Callie asked.

“I didn’t think anything,” he replied.

“I thought we were being honest here. You’re telling me that when you saw me, you didn’t have a single impression?”

“As soon as our eyes met, my mind went blank, and I still have no idea what I said or did for the rest of that conversation.” Logan smiled as he looked at Callie’s face. His expression softened. “But I do remember that after standing there, stunned by you, I thought you were beautiful.”

Callie leaned over the picnic basket and kissed Logan, a warm, soft kiss, short and to the point. She smiled as she savored the warmth of his lips, but Logan pulled back and cleared his throat.

“Hey, I’m not done with the questions yet. I don’t want you thinking you can kiss me into submission.” He paused for a moment and looked around before adding, “Ok, I’m actually alright with you thinking that.”

Callie straightened her posture and crossed her arms. “If you’d rather play twenty questions, I understand.”

 
Logan looked around again. “You know what I’d really like to do?” he asked. Callie knew exactly what he wanted.

“No, absolutely not. We’re in public.”
 

“Why not?” he asked. “I don’t see anyone around.”
 

“I think we’d be better off if we waited until we were somewhere a little more private.” Callie reached for her glass of wine and took a long, slow sip. “Let’s try to enjoy this beautiful day.”

“That’s exactly what I’m trying to do.”

Callie shook her head. “I meant with our clothes on.”

Logan winked. “I’m sure we can find a way.”

“Back to the questions it is,” she said.
 

“Yeah? Ok. I can keep going. Why does it matter if I get in the press? How does anything I do have any impact on what Congress does? I mean I know guys in Congress, they have their own problems to deal with without worrying about mine.”
 

“I think that’s the point. If you get in trouble, then a few key votes will disappear, and the bill won’t make it through. It’s being held up in Congress by the Natural Resources Committee anyway. So I never understood the point of coming here, aside from treating this like a vacation.”
 

“What was the committee again?” Logan asked.

“Natural Resources, why?” Why was Logan asking about Congressional Committees?

“Ha, I guess I know why any news about me could affect the vote. It really is a small world.”
 

“Care to share?” He definitely had Callie’s interest now.

“Ever heard of Jack Coburn?” he asked.

“The golden boy, the last great hope of the Coburn political dynasty? The one who happens to be sponsoring the bill?”

“Well, I don’t think Jack would say it exactly like that,” Logan said.

“You’re telling me that you’re on a first name basis with Jack Coburn? No offense, Logan but you two don’t exactly seem like you move in the same circles.”

“Not any more, but I still try to make it out to his family compound on the Cape for the 4
th
of July every year. Obviously I didn’t make it this year, but he was my college roommate and still is a good friend. Our families go way back. His father, John, and my father worked together opening up South American markets for oil exploration. After John left the Senate, they started a venture together, and both made a lot of money. They had a falling out years back, but our mothers remained close. I think it had all started at one of their famous parties. You know his family’s reputation for partying. Anyway, Jack was a wild man back in the day. It’s still strange hearing people call him Congressman. When I knew him, he wanted to be a poet or a professional tennis player. God, I should really give him a call. I’ve been meaning to touch base with him for ages.”

“You’re kidding, right? The fate of your father’s legislation, a bill that could help produce thousands of green jobs and help lay the groundwork for renewable energy up and down the East Coast, all lies in the hands of your college drinking buddy?”
 

“Small world, isn’t it?” Logan quipped.

“A little too small if you ask me,” Callie said. “So Jack’s afraid of looking like he’s playing favorites by passing a law that would benefit his family friend?”

“I don’t think so. I mean I know they’re grooming him for a run at higher office, Senate, President, you name it. There’s no lack of ambition in that family. If he’s the one holding it back, it’s for other reasons. It’s a green energy bill?”
 

“Yeah, windmills, solar, that kind of stuff.”

“You don’t think it’s because his family still has a vested interest in oil do you?” Callie asked.

Logan shook his head. “Oil was a side business, a hobby, one that didn’t make the family much money if I remember correctly. No, I think the reason is a lot more personal than that, and if my father didn’t even want his political fixers going near it, I definitely want to find out what it is. I swear if this has anything to do with me, I didn’t know.”

“Think you could arrange an off the record meeting between us?” Callie asked.
 

“No, but I can talk to him,” Logan said.

“You’re asking me to leave the fate of months of work in your hands?”

Logan grinned. “Yes.”

“What’s so funny?” Callie asked.

“I take back what I said earlier,” he said. “This is a wonderful date.”
 

“For you. I feel like I’ve just been bent over.”
 

“I thought we were saving that for later,” Logan said with a laugh. “Don’t worry. I’ll see what I can do. Maybe we can find a way to extend your stay here indefinitely.”
 

Callie tipped back her wine glass and finished off her drink in one large gulp. “Maybe you can hold off on talking to Jack until we have everything under control here. Anyway, I think I’m going to need something a little stronger than wine.”

Logan laughed and looked around. “Yeah, what were you thinking?”

Callie reached into the picnic basket and pulled out a blindfold. Logan perked up at the sight. “If you’re asking me to trust you, you’ll have to trust me too,” Callie said.

“A blindfold?” he asked.
 

She watched his excitement. He had no idea what she had in store. “Yeah, the rest is a surprise.”
 

“What’s next, handcuffs?” he asked.

He really did only think of one thing
. “Play your cards right, and we’ll see.”

Without another word Logan took the blindfold from Callie and covered his eyes. “Let’s go,” he said.
 

“Easy there, killer. We still have some wine to drink, besides, the reservation isn’t for another hour and a half.”
 

“What am I supposed to do with the blindfold, then?” He slipped it back above his eyes like a headband.

Callie grinned. “I can think of a few things, but they’re probably best saved for later.”

Logan yawned and pulled out his phone. He kept looking over at Callie as he tapped away at a message.

“Talking to anyone good?” She asked.
 

“Just writing myself a little note,” Logan said.
 

In the bright afternoon light, Callie couldn’t see what he was writing, but she was fairly sure that it wasn’t a note to himself.
Try to trust him, s
he thought,
if even just for one day. See if you can do it. What’s the worst that can happen?
It wasn’t like he could get into too much trouble on their date. Besides, she wasn’t planning on letting him out of her sight anytime soon.

***

Callie watched the smile spread across Logan’s face as soon as he stepped foot into The Independent. She stopped him in his tracks and adjusted his blindfold to make sure he wasn’t peeking from under it. But there was no way for him to have seen anything. She had been careful. She had even driven the car up and down every hopelessly quaint side street in Newport just to throw his sense of direction off before heading to the brewery. There was no way for him to have known where they were going. She had even gotten lost once or twice along the way herself. Maybe she didn’t give him enough credit for his perceptiveness.
 

“You chose well,” Logan said.

“You don’t even know where we are yet.”

BOOK: The Billionaire's Kiss (Scandal, Inc)
9.7Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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