The Mentor (Necessary Lies Book 1)(10)By: Alison Ryan
“Mr. Weston is inside,” Michael said. “I’ll grab your luggage, Miss Hunt. The door should be unlocked.”
It was weird to walk through a door without knocking, but I guessed this was my house now, legally speaking. So it was silly to knock. But it still felt… odd.
The foyer of the home was as impressive as the exterior. It led to an open living room decorated in rich, rustic colors and décor. Very mountain-esque. The windows to the living room were floor to ceiling, and the ceiling was two levels above my head, affording an impressive view of the lake. Outside, I could see the ground sloped down to a pool (which was covered for the winter) and a hot tub, which was not.
“Jesus, Dad,” I said to myself. “You really outdid yourself.”
I could see the moon’s reflection in the great Lake Tahoe, and a billion stars shown over it, not dimmed a bit by the casinos and hotels on the far side of the lake. I was in my own world on this side. Another planet practically.
I dropped my bag to the floor and walked over to the plush sectional couch of the living room, collapsing on it.
“I see you made it okay,” a deep voice said from behind me. I recognized it immediately. It was Nolan Weston.
I didn’t bother turning around, “You sound disappointed.”
“Of course not,” he said. “I just know it was a sudden trip to be taking after getting the worst kind of news a person can get. So it’s good to see you made it here safely and can now take a moment for yourself.”
I rolled my eyes, “Did you rehearse that?”
He sighed, “No. I meant it. I can’t imagine how you’re feeling right now.”
I turned around to ask him what he could imagine, and I gasped.
This trip was truly full of surprises.
Nolan Weston stood behind me in a cable knit sweater and dark denim jeans. He was tall, with dark slicked back hair, and a rugged face. He looked like something straight out of a Brooks Brothers catalog. He had the slightest graying at his temples but that didn’t matter. I immediately recognized him.
Nolan Weston was not just any of my father’s attorneys. He was the new guy from years ago. The one we’d met in Salzburg. Or the one my father had met in Salzburg and I had spied on.
I wasn’t sure what to say next. All I knew is that things had just gotten a hell of a lot more interesting.
“You’re Nolan Weston?” I asked. My palms were sweating now, one of my nervous habits since forever. I tried to nonchalantly wipe them across the throw pillow next to me.
“I am,” he said, taking a step down into the sunken living room to join me on the couch. His gait was so confident, his demeanor so relaxed. Nolan Weston probably didn’t get worked up about anything. Even his boss dying.
“You worked for my father,” I said. “I saw you once.”
Maybe I imagined it, but suddenly Nolan’s eyes narrowed and the tip of his tongue appeared between his lips. But he quickly gained his composure.
“You did?” he asked. “When was that?”
“When I was sixteen,” I said. “You met with my father in Salzburg. At the Mozart Museum. I was inside, but I saw you talking to him.”
Nolan’s face suddenly relaxed, “Oh, yes. I hadn’t thought about that in a long time. It was my first time meeting him. I hadn’t realized you were there.”
I looked down at my shoes. Nolan Weston was hard to look at. He was… gorgeous. It made me a little shy, to be honest. That kind of attractiveness could be intimidating.
“Yeah, he took me there as a surprise for my birthday,” I said, feeling tears well up in my eyes. “I remember everything about that trip.”
Nolan sat across from me now, his expression blank for the moment. Something about him really frustrated me. I couldn’t read him at all.
“Anyway,” I said. “How did this happen? My father had a stroke?”
Nolan nodded, “Yes. In the middle of the night, it seems. He was alone here but that morning he was supposed to meet some of the other partners and I at a breakfast meeting in town. He never showed, which isn’t like him. When he didn’t answer his text messages, I became concerned. So I came here…” His sentence trailed off. It seemed like his voice might crack, but when he looked back up at me his eyes were cool and whatever emotion had grabbed him was gone. No expression.
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