Home > Easy Kisses (Boudreaux #4)(6)

Easy Kisses (Boudreaux #4)(6)
Kristen Proby

So, I grab a sweater and head down to the dock, waving at one of the dock workers as I climb into the boat I’ve rented during my time here and push away from shore.

The air is a bit crisper on the lake. I take a deep breath and glance to my right, surprised to see Charly sitting on a dock with her feet dangling over the side and her face tipped up to the sunshine, as if I conjured her up myself.

She’s petite. Much shorter than my six foot three, and she looks like I could pick her up with one hand. Her dark hair is long and straight, framing a gorgeous face with golden-hazel eyes.

Without giving it much thought, I cut the engine and guide the boat to the dock. Charly opens her eyes and watches as I approach.

“You have a boat?” she asks in greeting.

“I rent it when I’m here,” I reply with a smile. “Do you like boats?”

She smirks. “I grew up on boats.”

Interesting. “Hop on. I’ll show you the other side of the lake.”

She seems to hesitate for a moment, but then she climbs aboard and I push away from the dock, start the engine, and set off down the lake. She’s sitting in the bow, her face in the wind, eyes closed and hair whirling, and just enjoys the ride. We’re not going terribly fast, but fast enough that we couldn’t have a conversation without shouting, and I think we’re both too tired for that.

When I slow down and cut the engine, she looks back at me and grins. “That was nice.”

“I’m glad you enjoyed it,” I reply and join her in the bow, sitting across from her. “How are you after today?”

“I’m fine,” she replies immediately and crosses her arms, but she’s not fooling me. Her eyes are sad.

I sit forward and brace my forearms on my knees. “Really?”

She looks back out on the water and swallows hard. “It surprised me.”

Here we go.

“How so?”

“I wasn’t expecting it to be so personal.” She shrugs and looks back at me. Her eyes travel over my face, and I want to scoop her up and cuddle her, but I stay where I am.

“What were you expecting?”

“You don’t want to know,” she replies with a laugh and shakes her head.

“Try me,” I reply.

“Okay,” she says and crosses her legs. “I thought it would be a lot of frou-frou you can do it nonsense. I don’t know, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so deep.”

“I’m rarely frou-frou, darling,” I smirk.

“Well, one thing is for sure, it reminded me that Savannah is not ready for this. I don’t think she would have survived today. She’s a strong woman and everyone thinks that she’s doing great, but she’s struggling.”

“Is that the sister you mentioned before?” I ask, enjoying the way the South sounds on her voice.

“Yes.”

“What happened to her?”

Charly sighs and shrugs. “Let’s just say that evil takes on many forms, and sometimes it worms its way into your family.”

A man.

“Is she your only sibling?”

“God, no.” My skin tingles when she giggles. “There are six of us. Three brothers and three sisters.”

“That’s a large family.”

“You’re telling me,” she says with a grin. “But I love it. We’re close.”

“Do they all live in New Orleans?”

“They do,” she says with a nod. “My daddy built ships, just like his daddy before him and so on. My brothers Eli and Beau and Savannah run the business now.”

“They build ships?” She’s more fascinating the longer I talk to her.

“Not with their own two hands,” she says. “But they run things now.”

“That’s incredible.”

“They’re somethin’,” she says with a smile. “My daddy would have loved this.” She looks back out over the water and to the mountains. “He loved being on the water just about anywhere, but he would have sat here with me and said something profound that I would have rolled my eyes at but appreciated later.”

“He’s gone then?”

“Three years,” she says with a nod. “Too long.”

She swallows hard and her eyes are washed in tears, but they don’t escape her eyes.

“I’m sorry, Charly.”

“Me, too,” she says and offers me a small smile. “You’re easier to talk to than I expected. I’ve said more than I usually do.”

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