The Billionaire Princess(10)

By: Christina Tetreault



“I'll finish it up for you.”

Sara shook her head. She didn't know where he put it all. “It's all yours.” She passed the plate to him. “I'm going to read my emails.”

Her beeping phone on the desk greeted her when she re-entered her room. Picking it up she saw one text message from a number she didn't recognize. Thought you'd be more comfortable if I wasn't around when you got up, the message read.

That caused an unidentified emotion to wash over her, and she hit delete. No one could ever see that message.





Chapter 3





Christopher immediately recognized the ringtone coming from his phone. Everyone in his contact list from his mother to his housekeeper had their own distinct ring.

For half a heartbeat he considered answering, but then he hit ignore and let the call from Jake go straight to voicemail. They hadn't spoken in almost three weeks. Not because Jake hadn't called, but rather because Christopher had been avoiding all communication with him.

Dropping the phone onto his desk, he turned his attention back to his computer screen. Despite his efforts to concentrate, he couldn't shake the guilt and shame eating away at his conscience in a way he'd never experienced before.

He considered Jake Sherbrooke one of his closest friends. In all the time they'd known each other, Jake had never treated him as anything other than an equal, even early in their friendship when he'd been nothing but a Cal Tech freshman from a small town in Wisconsin on a full academic scholarship. And how had he repaid him? By breaking the one unspoken rule between men—sleeping with your best friend's little sister. Admiring Sara from afar was one thing, but he'd gone way beyond that. While she brushed the whole incident off as no big deal, it was a huge deal to him. And now that it had happened he didn't know how he'd ever face his friend again. Until he was confident he could talk to Jake without blurting out the truth, he figured it best to avoid him all together.

Christopher reread the line on the computer screen and prepared to finish the document, only to be interrupted by a knock on his office door.

“Yes,” he said, annoyance at the interruption slipping into his voice.

“I'm working on your calendar for next week before I leave,” Caroline—his sister and executive assistant—said, walking into the room. “Do you plan to attend the literacy fundraiser Senator Healy's wife is co-sponsoring next week?”

With everything else, he'd forgotten all about the invitation he'd received from David Healy. While he received similar invites all the time, this one had been made in person when he'd run into David weeks earlier. During a round of golf they'd started discussing Christopher's company and how he might be able to assist with a new education initiative David had helped prepare, which was to be voted on soon. When the game ended, he'd invited Christopher to the fundraiser being held in Rhode Island. At the time he'd said maybe, but hadn't thought about it since that afternoon.

Sara worked as David's chief of staff, which meant she might be in attendance. His pulse raced at the thought of seeing her again. Since she'd walked out of his bedroom, he'd thought about her frequently. That morning he'd forced himself to leave Hawaii before either she or Jake got up. While part of him had wanted to stay as far away from her as possible, another part couldn't help but want to see her.

Several times since then he'd picked up his phone, intent on calling her. Unfortunately he couldn't come up with a good reason to do so. The fundraiser was both a blessing and a curse. It gave him the perfect excuse to see her. At the same time though he feared what would happen when he did.

Only one way to find out. “Thanks for reminding me. Yes, I plan on going.”

Caroline's fingers moved over the tablet in her hand. “Do you want to leave that morning or the day before? Right now you have nothing scheduled for the day before.”

“Tell Jim to be ready to fly the day before.” A full day to adjust to the time difference between the West coast and the East coast would be useful.

***

Sara accepted the glass of Pinot Noir from the waiter and took a sip while Mia Troy spoke. Although the actress spent her days in Hollywood now, she had strong ties to New England. Like Sara she'd been born there and had attended Harvard University for a short time before moving to California to pursue an acting career. Since then she'd become a vocal political advocate supporting many politicians, including President Sherbrooke.

“If I was going to be here longer, I'd say we should have a girls’ night out,” Mia said, sounding as if the idea had just come to her.

Although she didn't intend to stay in Rhode Island long, the idea of a girls’ night out sounded nice. She couldn't remember the last time she'd gone out with some girlfriends. Part of the reason was her job. During the senator's campaign, she'd kept her mind focused on getting him elected. Now that he was in office, it was her responsibility to make sure everything ran smoothly and that he eventually got re-elected. With all that, there wasn't a lot of time for socializing.

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