Home > Twisted Perfection (Rosemary Beach #5)(7)

Twisted Perfection (Rosemary Beach #5)(7)
Author: Abbi Glines

* * *

This was quite possibly the nicest place I’d ever stayed. Tripp made it sound run-down, like he needed me to come stay here and fix things up. Someone obviously cleaned this place regularly. It was in pristine condition. I unpacked my bags and then went to stand out on the balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. It was beautiful out here. Tripp had been right. This was an experience I needed. I could work and enjoy staying here in his condo. It would be the beach vacation I’d never gotten growing up. I’d always watched television and wondered if the sand was that white and the water was that blue.

It was.

Smiling, I sank down onto the lounge chair and stretched my legs out in front of me. This was nice. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and dialed Braden’s number.

“It’s about time! Where are you? Still in Dallas?” Braden’s chipper voice made me miss home a little. Maybe I just missed her. It wasn’t like I’d left a lot behind there. Except for people who would always whisper about me and wonder.

“Nope. Not in Dallas anymore. Turns out Jeffery is married.”

I heard her sharp intake of air as she let that sink in. “Oh, no,” she breathed. “Della, that’s awful! I’m so sorry. Where are you now? Do you want me to come get you? You’re doing okay, aren’t you? Not having strange thoughts . . .” Her voice trailed off. I knew she hated to ask me that, but honestly, if Braden couldn’t check on me that way, then who could? She knew it all, or most of it. No one knew all of it. I just couldn’t share everything with the world. Some things were meant to be kept a secret.

“I’m fine. I’m actually back in Florida, staying in a condo that belongs to Tripp—he’s the weekend bartender I told you about. Anyway, he hooked me up with a job in his hometown and gave me a place to stay. It’s gulf front. I’m sitting on the balcony looking at the pretty white beach now.”

“Ooooooh! That sounds wonderful. Lucky you! I would love to visit the gulf again sometime. And this Tripp guy sounds really nice. Maybe once you’ve gotten the traveling bug again you could head back to Dallas and thank him,” she teased.

“Tripp is just a friend. Not happening. I mean, I’ll thank him, but I’ll be sending a card and some money or something via the mail.”

“You’re right. I pushed you to start dating and look what happened. This is your chance to live life. No reason to get attached to one guy. You have the world to explore.”

“That’s right. And I intend to do that right after I enjoy the sunshine and sand for a little while.”

“What’s the new job like?”

“I’m not sure yet. I need to go meet the boss. He’s expecting me. It’s at a country club, so that should be a fun experience. Much different from the bar,” I told her.

“Very. Go get that job, then call me and tell me all about it. I can’t wait.”

We said our good-byes and ended the call. Braden was always my way of touching base. Remembering things. Everything I had been through and everything I had overcome.

The night I met Braden had changed my life. The only person I’d ever known before then was my mom. She wouldn’t let me answer the door to receive packages or our groceries. I’d had to hide in my closet and be quiet until the person at the door was gone. Braden had been as fascinated with me as I was with her. She’d asked me questions that I hadn’t been able to answer for a long time. I couldn’t tell anyone what was wrong with my mom. Even as a kid I understood that.

Shaking away memories I didn’t want to think about right now, I stood up and headed for the bedroom I’d claimed as mine. There were two bedrooms, and one had a king-size canopy bed and a fabulous hot tub. I took that room. I pulled out my newest skirt—a short pink chevron print—and a white sleeveless knit top I’d bought to go with it. After brushing my hair and applying some makeup, I slipped into a pair of backless pink heels and headed for the door. I had a job to claim.




I hated management. This was how my father was wearing me down. He knew I hated this part of the job and he also knew I didn’t deserve to be doing it. He was using this torture to get me to marry Angelina. And it was working, dammit.

I shoved open the kitchen doors to deal with the latest drama and found my head server, Jimmy, with his hands on his hips, glaring down at the newest server, Jackie or Frankie or something I couldn’t remember. She was crossing her arms over her chest and glaring right back at Jimmy.

“What the fuck is going on? I need you out there serving guests and I hear you in here fighting as I walk by. Someone want to explain, or do I just fire all your sorry asses?” I demanded in a tone I knew couldn’t be heard outside the kitchen walls.

“I can tell you what’s wrong. Her. You hired a lazy one. She takes a smoke break every ten minutes, and if I have to serve another one of her tables because she’s left the order sitting there for more than five minutes, I’m gonna go apeshit on her ass. You hear me? Either she goes or I go.”

I wasn’t firing Jimmy. He ran the kitchen for me. He was also a favorite of the female members. They had no idea he preferred the male members. It was a secret we kept so that he got the nice big tips.

I turned my attention to the new girl. “I thought I made it very clear when I hired you that there were no smoke breaks. Jimmy says when anyone takes a break. He is the boss in here.”

The girl let out a sigh and then jerked her apron off and slung it on the ground. “I can’t work with these kinds of slave conditions. A girl needs a break, and just because I’m not as fast as he is, he gets mad. Well, screw him. I’m out of here.” She spun around and stalked out of the kitchen.

Good. I didn’t have to fire her or deal with female tears. Only problem was that I needed another server. Now.

“Glad she’s gone, but we need to call in backup,” Jimmy said, stating the obvious.

“Try to manage until I can get someone in here to help.” I headed out the door and was making my way to the office when the click of high heels alerted me that I was being followed. Please, God, not Angelina now. I wasn’t in the mood. Unless she wanted to go serve customers, she needed to leave me the hell alone. I turned around to tell her so when the words froze on my tongue.

It wasn’t Angelina. It was Della. She was even more mouthwatering than I remembered, and I remembered a lot. Almost every damn day I remembered her really well. Normally while I was in the shower.

Her dark hair looked longer, and it was pulled to one side and laid loosely over her shoulder. She was wearing a snug-fitting white top that didn’t leave a lot to the imagination with that chest of hers. Then a short skirt and a pair of heels that made her tanned, slender legs look even sexier. What was she doing here?

“Woods?” she asked, and I raised my eyes from taking in every detail of her body to meet her surprised and confused gaze.

“Della,” I replied. Did she not come here looking for me? Why did she seem so surprised?

“What are you doing here?” she asked as a pleased smile started to form on her lips. I’d never told her my last name. On purpose. I didn’t want the one-night stand to turn into anything more. Although over the past four months I’d kicked myself for not giving her my number. I’d wondered where she was and if she was going to come back this way anytime soon. Now here she stood. In my club.

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