“Disney World.”

He chuckled. “Yes, Disney World. Have you ever been there?”

“Yes, when I was about ten my mom took me there. We were there for a whole week.”

“What about your father?”

A small smile touched her lips. “Dad traveled a lot and joined us later, but for only a few days.” And then, as if she wanted to know more about him, she asked, “And what sort of work you do?”

“I’m an investment broker. My motto is ‘If you have any monies to invest then entrust them with me and I’ll do the rest.’”

“Umm, that’s clever. I like it.”

“Thanks. And where are you from, Cassie, and what do you do?” he asked.

Brandon had come to a traffic light and he glanced over at her and saw her nervously rubbing her palms against the side of her dress. Her actions caused him to look at her thighs, the portion her minidress wasn’t covering. It took everything within him to force his eyes back on the road when the light changed.

“I was born here on the island and I’m in the hotel business,” he heard her say.

Deciding not to put her on the spot by asking her to expound more regarding her occupation he said, “The Bahamas is a beautiful island.”

He could tell she had relaxed by the sound of her breathing. “Yes, it is. I take it that this is not your first visit here.”

He smiled, liking the sound of her sexy accent. “No, I’ve been to the island several times, but this is the first time I’ve stayed at the Garrison Grand-Bahamas.”

He didn’t think it would be appropriate to mention that he had flown here last year with Jamie in his private plane. It had been then that he had asked her to marry him. She had accepted and they had spent the rest of the week on a yacht belonging to one of his clients, who was also a good friend.

He was grateful when they pulled into the parking lot of the Viscaya Restaurant. For a little while he was getting a reprieve from having to weave more lies.

Less than an hour later Cassie had determined a number of things about Brandon. In addition to being breathtakingly handsome, he was also incredibly charming and outrageously smooth. She’d discovered during dinner that he was also someone who was easy to talk to; someone who had the ability to make her feel comfortable around him. And she noticed he had a tendency to treat all people-from the restaurant’s manager to the waiter to the busboy who’d come to clear off their table-with respect. He had made each individual feel important and appreciated.

“That was kind and thoughtful of you,” she said when they were walking out of the restaurant.

He glanced over at her. “What?”

“The way you treated everyone back there. You didn’t hesitate to let them know how much you appreciated their services. You would be surprised at how many people don’t do that,” she said, thinking how rudely her hotel workers were often treated by people who thought they were better than them.

He shrugged. “It’s something I got from my father. He believed it wouldn’t take much for a person to let others know when they’ve done something right, especially when we are quick to let them know when they’ve done something wrong.”

“It sounds like your father is a very smart man.”

“He was a smart man. Dad passed away a few years ago,” he said.

She glanced over at him and a look of sorrow touched her features. “I’m sorry. Were you close to your father?”

“Yes, we were extremely close. In fact we were partners at our firm,” he said truthfully. “My mother died of cancer before I reached my teens so it had been just my dad and I for a long time.”

She nodded and then said, “My father passed away a little over four months ago and my mom a month before that.”

Brandon heard the pain of her words in her voice and from the light from the electrical torches that lit the parking lot, he actually saw tears in her eyes. He stopped walking just a few feet from where their car was parked and instinctively pulled her into his arms. She offered no resistance when he gathered the warmth of her body against his. He briefly closed his eyes, regretting this cruel game he was playing with her.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered in her ear, in a way for both her loss as well as his lies. Her loss was sincere and he actually felt her pain. She had loved both her parents immensely. For the first time since John’s death, Cassie Sinclair-Garrison had become a real person and just not a name on a document on a file in his office. And not just the person with whom Parker had a beef.

“I didn’t mean to come apart like that,” Cassie said, moments later, stepping back out of Brandon’s arms, looking somewhat embarrassed.

“It’s okay. I can understand the depth of your pain. I’ve lost both of my parents, but when my mom died at least I had my dad to keep things going, providing a sense of stability in my life. But your parents died fairly close to each other. I can’t imagine how you endured such a thing. Do you have other siblings?” he asked, wondering if she would acknowledge the Miami Garrisons.

She gave him a distracted look, as if thinking deeply on his question. Then she said, “My father had other children but I’ve never met them.”

“Not even at the funeral?” he asked, already knowing the answer.

She shrugged. “No, not even then.” Then she quickly said, “I’d rather not talk about it anymore, Brandon. It’s rather private.”

He nodded. “I understand. Sorry for prying.”

She reached out and took his hand. “You weren’t prying. Everything’s sort of complicated right now.”

“Again I understand, but if you ever need to talk or need-”

“A shoulder to cry on again,” she said, trying to sound cheerful.

He chuckled. “Yes, a shoulder to cry on. I am available.”

“Thank you. How long will you be staying at the hotel?”

He paused to open the car door for her. “A week. What about you?”

She waited until she was inside and glanced up at him and said. “Indefinitely. I work at the hotel and depending on how my days are, I sometimes spend the night there instead of driving all the way home. I have a private suite. My home is on the other side of the island.”

“I see,” Brandon said before closing the door. He had given her another opportunity but she had yet to tell him she owned the hotel.

After walking around the car and getting inside he turned to her before starting the ignition. “I’m glad you came to dinner with me tonight. What are your plans for tomorrow?”

She smiled. “I have a meeting in the morning and then I’ll be leaving for my home. I won’t be returning to the hotel until Thursday morning.”

Brandon leaned forward and smiled. “Is there anyway I can weasel another dinner date out of you?”

Cassie laughed. “Another dinner date?”

“Yes, I’ll even be happy if you wanted to treat me to some of your good cooking.”

“And what makes you think I can cook?”

“A hunch. Am I wrong?”

She shook her head. “No, you’re right. Not to sound too boastful or conceited, although I don’t spend a whole lot of time in the kitchen since I usually eat at the hotel, I can cook. That was one of my mom’s biggest rules. And because of it, I was probably one of the few girls in my dorm at college who could fend for herself.”

He chuckled. “And where did you attend college?”

“I went to a school in London and got a degree in business administration.”

Brandon was still smiling when he finally decided to dig deeper by asking, “And just what is your position at the hotel? You never did say.”

From her expression he could tell she was somewhat startled by his question. He was forcing her to make a decision as to whether or not she trusted him enough to tell him that much about herself.

“Evidently,” she finally said, “you didn’t make the connection when I gave my name earlier tonight.”

He lifted a dark brow. “And what connection is that?”

Cassie held on to his gaze. “Garrison. I own the Garrison Grand-Bahamas.”

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