Authors: Kelley Nyrae
Parker Publishing llc
Copyright ©2009 by Kelley Nyrae
First published in 2009, 2009
Copyright © 2008 by Kelley Vitollo
Published by Parker Publishing LLC 12523 Limonite Avenue, Suite #440-438 Mira Loma, California 91752 www.parker-publishing.com
All rights reserved. This book is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the prior written permission of the publisher.
This book is a work of fiction. Characters, names, locations, events and incidents (in either a contemporary and/or historical setting) are products of the author's imagination and are being used in an imaginative manner as a part of this work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual events, locations, settings, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Printed by Bang Printing, Brainard MN
Distributed by BookMasters, Inc. 1-800-537-6727
Cover Design by JaxadoraDesigns.com
This book is dedicated to my best friend, my husband, Dominic. You support me beyond belief, love me through my worst as well as my best and have given me two beautiful girls who mean the world to me. I look forward to growing old with you by my side.
Thank you to the Landis Shores Oceanfront Inn in Half Moon Bay California for letting me set Nico and Tabby's weekend getaway in your beautiful bed and breakfast. Another big thanks to one of my very best friends, Tonya for being my second set of eyes and also to Travis for his help with a cooking recipe. Last but not least thank you to Jackie and Miriam for all that you have given me. I'll never forget it.
Tabitha Harris sat in her San Francisco office looking over paperwork for a new client. The woman had eccentric ideas for what she wanted for the new interior of her home. Bright colors and loud modern designs, nothing at all like her own taste but she had no doubt that she'd pull it off. It would be a struggle, creating a design the woman would like and not making herself vomit in the process, but she'd do it. Madeline Jones provided her the perfect distraction at just the right time.
Leaning back in her beige office chair, Tabby picked up the invitation to her best friend Kaylee's wedding. She had the whole thing memorized word for word, she'd picked what it said, chose the design for the card, volunteered to do the decorating. Their other best friend Brianna was supposed to be helping but Bri wasn't into the whole wedding thing like she was. When she really needed her, Bri would step in. Otherwise Tabby ran the show on this one.
The entire wedding madness made her heart ache.
Get over it, girl. She threw the pale yellow invitation on her desk. Kaylee is your best friend. Push your jealousy aside and just be happy for her. Not that she wasn't happy for her. She was, she just hurt too and sometimes that emotion overpowered the other.
A few months before, Kaylee, who never planned to marry or fall in love ended up with the man of her dreams. For months Kaylee, Brianna and herself spent their Friday nights at Luciano's, an Italian restaurant, for girl's night out. Since the first time they walked into the restaurant Kaylee had it bad for Luciano. Finally, after going at things in a round about way they ended up together.
Luciano was a great guy. They were perfect for each other. But she couldn't help but wonder what she did wrong. Why someone who didn't want love, who didn't want that happily ever after like Kaylee hadn't found it so quickly without any of the heartbreak. She wanted to have her dreams come true. She wanted to be marrying her Mr. Right along with her best friend.
Hell, they didn't even have to be getting married but she wanted to at least find the right guy, know what it felt like to be in love and to have someone else love you completely in return. Her parents had had that. All she'd ever wanted was to be as important to someone as her parents were to each other. They were all that mattered in each others eyes. Nothing else, just each other. Not even her.
Someday, she told herself. One day she'd have an intense emotional and physical connection with a man. One that felt the same way about her and only her. Not like the losers she'd run upon in the past.
A picture of Nico, Luciano's cousin popped into her head. They'd shared a hot kiss a few months ago and since then she thought about him at the weirdest times. The guy was a ladies man if she ever saw one. He had a different date for every night of the week and damn he could flirt. Since meeting him he'd set his flirtatious sights on her. She knew he wasn't serious but that didn't mean he didn't affect her. All he had to do is look at her with those sultry, brown eyes and she wanted to melt into a puddle on the floor.
She knew he wasn't the forever type of man, but that didn't stop Tabby from wanting him. He attracted her like no man had in a long while. Maybe ever. He was the embodiment of everything she knew she had to avoid. Bri and Kay always told her she went after the wrong men. If he was a heartbreaker, she somehow always found him and handed her heart over on a silver platter. Nico was definitely a heartbreaker. Gorgeous. But a heartbreaker all the same.
Tabby tossed her long, dark hair over her shoulder and glanced at her clock. It read 6:45 which meant she had fifteen minutes to get to Luciano's to meet Bri and Kaylee. What had always been carefree night just about the girls now included seeing her best friend deliriously happy with her fianci and trying to pretend Nico's advances didn't faze her. Yeah right. The man made her sizzle with desire.
Nico was all about sex, desire, and giving into those desires for a quick roll between the sheets would be a disaster. She knew it, he knew it, everyone knew it. If she could roll like that he'd be the one she'd do it with, hell, if she gave him the chance he might even be able to convert her which is exactly why she didn't give him the time of day.
Tabby grabbed her suit jacket off the back of her chair and snatched her black, Gucci purse off her desk, before heading for the door. Tonight they'd be talking about wedding plans for Kaylee and Luciano. Their big day was only a couple months away and they still had to make final plans for the last of the decorations. She had a few more ideas she wanted to tell Kaylee about. Since weddings and decorating both fell into the “Tabby's kind of thing” category she'd done most of the work. Not that she minded in the least.
Stepping outside into the cool, San Francisco evening air, Tabby held up her hand to catch a cab. Luckily one pulled up right as she walked out of her office, which hardly ever happened around here. She told the driver the address to Luciano's then leaned back in the worn, cab seat while he drove her to the restaurant.
They pulled up about forty minutes later. She was late like she always was but Kaylee didn't seem to care anymore. She used to fuss at them for always being late. Now she had Luciano to keep her company. They were one of those googleyeyed couples that made some people want to puke. Not Tabby. She couldn't wait to have someone look at her the way Luciano looked at Kaylee.
To her surprise Brianna already joined Kaylee at the table. They usually made it about the same time. Either that or Bri would be even later than she would.
"Hey, girl,” Brianna shouted across the busy restaurant. She was the boisterous, fun-loving, say-it-like-it-is, one of the group. Kaylee and Brianna each had their apple martinis in front of them with one sitting at the empty seat waiting for her.
"What's up? You're here awfully early tonight,” Tabby said as she sat at the table with her friends.
"I thought Kay might be tired of spending all her time with Luciano so I decided to come in a little early to save her,” Bri teased.
Kaylee rolled her eyes.
"Please, she probably hoped we wouldn't show,” Tabby said. “I'm sure she'd rather spend her time with that gorgeous man of hers rather than us."
"You know I love you both but I'm leaning a bit towards Tabby with this one,” Kaylee added in jokingly. “I can't get enough of my Italian Stud."
The three girls all laughed easing the weight off Tabby's chest. This is what she loved about her friends. If she was sad, mad, or lonely they always made her feel better just by being themselves, half the time not even knowing what they were doing. They teased each other, cried with each other, and laughed with each other. Bri and Kaylee were her true sisters.
Tabby lifted her martini glass off the white table cloth and took a drink. Although the restaurant was full, it wasn't overly loud. Almost all the round tables were packed with people enjoying their food, a few couples holding hands and enjoying the romantic atmosphere. She loved this place. With Kaylee marrying Luciano she knew this would be their spot for years to come.
"You know I'm so happy that you're getting married, Kaylee, but you do realize you're making me break my pact again,” she told her.
"What pact?” Kaylee and Brianna asked in unison.
"I said I refused to go to another wedding until it was mine, remember? I broke it to go with you to your moms, now I'll have to break it again to be in yours."
"Oh, Tabby, I'm sorry."
"Don't be. You're just lucky I love you so much,” Tabby winked at her. “Plus one day you'll both be returning the favor to be in my wedding.” She hadn't meant to add that second part. She didn't want this to come back to being about her and what she wanted.
"You know what I think?” Bri asked.
"Here we go again,” Kaylee laughed. Bri always tried to give Tabby and Kaylee advice on how to improve their love lives. She didn't understand why. Bri was like Kaylee used to be in some ways, except worse. She never planned on falling in love. Unlike Kaylee's emotional reasons that she'd feared depending on a man, Brianna just didn't want to tie herself down to one man for the rest of her life. She enjoyed her freedom too much for that. She enjoyed men too much. Hell, she was the female version of Nico except she didn't date quite as much.
"What's your goal when it comes to finding a man Tab?” she asked.
"Well Dr. Ruth, like most women I'm looking for Mr. Right, to be swept off my feet, and to fall helplessly in love.” It sounded so juvenile when she heard the words in her own ears but they were true. She wouldn't lie to her best friends about that, not that they'd believe her if she tried.
"Exactly,” Bri said pointing an accusatory finger at her. “You're always scoping out guys actively looking for Mr. Right. And I hate to break it to you but you don't have the best taste sweetie. You always end up with the kind of men that I want. Someone who is just looking to have a good time instead of someone who wants the same things you do."
Here we go again, Tabby thought. She did this a few months ago with Kaylee that time she actually ended up being right. She didn't want to think about that though “I'm tired of seeing you hurt. You're like a magnet for men who will break your heart.” Bri looked at her with a seriousness in her eyes that she didn't often see from her friend.
She hated to hear it but Bri was right. She went after the wrong kind of men and fell too fast, trusted too easily. Nausea swirled in her stomach. She didn't want to be that girl. The type that wore their heart on their sleeve and had to continuously put the pieces back together when her heart broke. But then she also couldn't help the way she felt. “I can't change what I want, Bri. I'm not like you. I want a family."