Love Walks In(6)

By: Samantha Chase


“And? How did it turn out?”

Hugh raked a hand through his hair. “He’s the top salesman in the company.”

“Oh dear,” she murmured. “And you want to do business with him? You’re his complete opposite! How are you going to handle working without any structure? You know how much you hate that.”

“I know, I know.” He sighed. “Honestly, I’m hoping if I present a completely well-thought-out plan to him, he’ll simply agree to go along with it. There won’t need to be any gut instinct or flowing because I’ll have it all covered.”

She chuckled, and when Hugh glared at her, Dorothy quickly placed a hand over her mouth. Clearing her throat, she continued, “You’re not counting on that, are you?”

Hugh straightened in his seat. “As a matter of fact, I am. That’s why this presentation has to be flawless!”

“Oh, Hugh…”

“Look, I’m getting it all worked out. It’s not the way I envisioned but…”

“You’re just going to go with the flow?” she finished and then smirked.

“Cute.”

“Let’s take a walk. We’ll go over to the suite we’re preparing for Mr. Bellows, check on the grounds. Sometimes a change of scenery can help us brainstorm. What do you say?”

“I’d say you’re talking to me like I’m a moron, and I don’t like it.”

She smiled at him sweetly. “But are you coming with me?”

Dammit. Without a word, he strode from his office and waited for his assistant to catch up.

* * *

An hour later, Hugh strolled back to his office. His mind was still scrambling for a solution to his current crisis, but his eyes were fixed on the immaculate landscaping along the path between the resort buildings.

He had chosen every tree, every plant. He had worked with a team of electricians to ensure guests would be able to see at night without seeing the lights. There had been dozens of meetings to find the perfect combination of mulch and stone and brick. He’d made every decision. He’d solved every crisis.

But for the life of him, he didn’t have a clue how to solve this current one.

A soft breeze blew as the sun was going down in Napa. It was a beautiful time of day—very peaceful. Very tranquil. And nothing pleased him more than seeing the beauty around him. The blue oaks were in full foliage, the lawn was perfectly manicured, the hot-pink suitcase accented the…

Wait. What? The hot-pink suitcase? “What the hell?” Hugh muttered as he looked around to see if any guests were wandering around. “Who would leave a suitcase in the middle of the lawn?” Stepping closer to it, he continued to scan the area. Sometimes guests got caught up in the scenery and stopped to take pictures on the way to their room.

It was a hideous piece of luggage. Neon pink with white polka dots, hard-shelled…it was an eyesore. There were no tags on it and while he knew he should be suspicious, his first thought was getting rid of it so the grounds could go back to looking like they normally did.

Lush. Beautiful.

Free of blinding pink baggage.

There was no time to call a bellhop. He was on a schedule and there was still so much he had to do. With a huff, Hugh grabbed the suitcase and rolled it behind him to the main building, hoping whoever owned it would come looking for it.

Soon.

There were guests checking in at the front desk when he arrived, and rather than interrupt, he took the offensive luggage back to his office, making a note to call the concierge and let him handle it. Unfortunately, his phone started ringing as soon as he closed the door and for the next thirty minutes, he did his best to sort through the short list of assistants who might be able to fill in for Heather.

By the time he put the phone down, it was after six and Dorothy had gone for the day. He’d managed to decide on flying one of Heather’s assistants in from Montana. With any luck, Marnie would arrive in the morning and they could have an hour to go over what he was going to need from her in great detail.

He stared at the computer screen in front of him. The only special event going on tonight was a small wedding. Hugh frowned at the screen. Very small. Apparently it was a spur-of-the-moment thing and the concierge was handling all of the details. A bride, a groom, no guests.

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