Love Walks In(7)

By: Samantha Chase

“Weird,” he said with a shake of his head. Why did people elope? Wasn’t part of the getting-married process having a big, obnoxious wedding? Hell if he knew. It didn’t seem to be the direction Aidan and Zoe were going in, but most of the weddings Hugh had attended had bordered on the ridiculous.

Hugh knew—if given the chance—he’d opt for the low-key wedding himself. Not that he was looking to get married. At least not right now. Eventually he would. He’d find someone suitable—someone with common interests and morals—and settle down. He wanted kids—maybe three—and would maybe cut back on his traveling a bit. Deep down, he knew it sounded more like a business transaction than anything else, but it was basically what he wanted.

After witnessing his own father’s devastation after losing Hugh’s mother, there was no way he was going to allow himself to experience the same thing. Ever. Loving someone as completely as Ian Shaughnessy had loved Lillian was not something Hugh ever intended to do. Love made you weak, and if there was one thing Hugh prided himself on, it was being strong. All the ridiculous wedding hoopla and messy feelings might be fine for some—like Aidan and Zoe—but not for him.

This particular wedding happening tonight seemed to be under control—nothing about it should cause any issues. They’d have their ceremony in the garden, then they were having dinner delivered to their suite. Seemed like a no-brainer to him.

And yet…

“Dammit,” he muttered, knowing he’d want to walk by the gardens and make sure everything was up to his expectations. It was normally something Heather would do. Or Josie. Or Dorothy. But apparently tonight it was up to him to handle it personally. It was one more thing to add to his plate.

So much for relaxing tonight.

Besides checking on the garden, there was no way Hugh could possibly go to his suite and relax when there was so much to do to prepare for his meeting with Bellows and making sure Marnie came off as professional and knowledgeable. Luckily he’d been keeping detailed records and files and already had his own pitch ready. He just hoped Marnie would be able to come up with something on the fly to persuade Bellows to give them a chance.

Scanning his files, he quickly composed an email and sent it off to Marnie for her to read in preparation for tomorrow. He’d rather send her as much information as humanly possible—even if it overwhelmed her—rather than have her come off sounding ill-prepared. There was nothing more irritating to Hugh than feeling like he was wasting his time with a client or customer because one of them didn’t have all the necessary information.

Some would call it obsessive. Hugh preferred to think of it as being considerate.

Standing and stretching, he caught sight of the ugly suitcase. “Shit,” he muttered. Yet another thing to add to his list—dealing with the mystery luggage. Not wanting to waste any more time, he shut down his computer, collected the rest of the files he was going to need for the night along with his phone, and walked out of the office, locking the door behind him.

At the front desk he stopped and left instructions with the concierge regarding the suitcase.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Shaughnessy, but there hasn’t been any inquiry regarding it. I’ve asked around and no one remembers checking anyone in with that color luggage.” Tim had been with the resort since the beginning, and Hugh knew the man paid special attention to just about everything that went on. Guests loved him because he had a knack for listening to everything they had to say and then making sure their stay was everything they wanted it to be. So if Tim didn’t know who the luggage belonged to, Hugh wasn’t sure what to do.

“Well, if anyone does come for it, I’ve left it in my office. I trust you—and only you—to go in and get it. If you’re not here, have someone call me and I’ll be here in a matter of minutes.”

“Yes, Mr. Shaughnessy. I’ll make sure it’s handled. Thank you.”

“Have a good night, Tim.”

“You as well, sir,” the man said with a smile.

Hugh smiled back but his mind was already spinning. It seemed odd that no one had come looking for it and for a minute, paranoia got the better of him and he considered calling in the local police and having the bag scanned for a bomb.

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