Home > Temptation After Dark (Gansett Island #22)(2)

Temptation After Dark (Gansett Island #22)(2)
Author: Marie Force

“I have a feeling I could like her a lot, too.”

“This is very interesting,” Jared said.

“Don’t go blabbing to the girls about this,” Cooper said. “The last thing I need is the sisters knowing about Gigi.”

“I’ll see if I can refrain from spreading this very juicy gossip.”

“You do that. Where’s Lizzie?”

“Inside with Jessie and the baby.”

“How’s that going?”

“Who knows? I have no idea what we’re doing with a newborn staying with us, especially right now.” Cooper couldn’t miss the edge in Jared’s tone, which was highly unusual when speaking of his beloved wife. “I don’t want her doing this, but you know Lizzie. When she hears of someone in need, she can’t help herself, even if it’s at her own expense.”

“Are you mad?” That would be unprecedented, as far as Cooper knew.

“I can’t be mad with her and her big heart. It’s just sometimes I wish she’d put herself first. She took the latest IVF failure hard. Hell, we both did. She’s barely had ten minutes to process that news, and now she’s brought home a new mom and an infant? That’s not in Lizzie’s best interest.”

“Probably not.”

“Even if it breaks her heart, she’ll help Jessie with whatever she needs.”

“She’s probably the best person I know.”

“She’s the best person any of us has ever known. We should all aspire to be more like her, but I hate to see her hurt.”

“What can I do?”

“It helps to talk about it, so thanks for listening to me rant.”

“I’m always happy to listen. I might be the stupid younger brother, but I feel for you guys.”

“You’re not stupid, Coop. You just graduated with honors from NYU business school.”

“That was a fluke.”

“No, it wasn’t. I read your proposal last night.”

Cooper’s heart skipped a beat. He couldn’t recall the last time he’d wanted something as much as he wanted Jared’s approval of the business plan he’d crafted during the MBA program at NYU. “You did? And?”

“It’s brilliant.”

“You think so?”

“I really do. It’s a great idea to create a business to support the growing wedding industry on the island. Booze cruise bachelorette and bachelor parties will be a huge hit. I have one major concern, though.”

“What’s that?”

“Liability. Putting drunks on boats is a huge risk.”

“I thought of that and built in a robust insurance plan as well as a three-drink limit on the boats. In addition to that, we’ll breathalyze them on the way in.”

“That’s a good idea. The last thing you need is drunk people falling overboard.”

“We workshopped that scenario in my business law class. The professor thought it was a meaty issue for the class to take on, and they helped me perfect the plan.”

“I’m impressed, Coop. For real.”

“Thank you.” Jared’s approval had always meant the world to Cooper, but never more so than now as he stood on the cusp of starting his own business.

“I assume you’re looking for investors.”

“Only if it sounds like a good idea to you. I’ve got a plan to move forward on my own if you’re not interested.” Cooper had made up his mind to start this business on his own—or as much on his own as he could with the money Jared had shared with each of his family members. “I have some money of my own from the investments I’ve made. They’re doing surprisingly well.”

“Good for you.”

“Got to keep up the James reputation, after all.”

Jared laughed. “You’re well on your way. It’s a sound idea, and it seems like you’ve done your homework. I’m happy to invest some start-up capital if that would help.”

“That’d be amazing, Jared. Thank you.”

“What else can I do to help?”

“Two things. I could use an introduction to Kara Ballard—”

“Torrington now. She and Dan got married.”

“Right. I heard that.”

“What do you need with her?”

“I want to buy my boats from Ballard Boatworks. I thought she might be able to facilitate that.”

“What’s the second thing?”

“A business introduction to the McCarthys. I’d like to operate out of their marina if they’ll have me.”

“I can do that. They’re good people. Soon to be Quinn’s in-laws.”

“I’m looking forward to getting to know them better. And while I have you, there is one more favor I’d like to ask.”

“What’s that?”

“As I said, I met Gigi earlier. Through some miracle, I got her to agree to go out with me.”

“I thought you didn’t ask out women as a rule?”

Mortified to hear Jared say that so bluntly, he said, “Usually, I don’t have to. They ask me before I can get around to asking them. But in this case, I did the asking.”

“And she said yes?”

“Don’t act so surprised.”

Jared cracked up. “Does she have any idea what she’s getting herself into with you?”

For the first time in his entire life, Cooper felt a twinge of discomfort over his track record with women. “No, and she’d better not hear it from you.”

“She won’t, Honey Pot.”

“Shut up with that.”

Jared lost it laughing. He laughed so hard, he had tears in his eyes. “You and Gigi Gibson. She’ll eat you up and swallow you whole.”

Cooper went immediately hard at the thought of such a thing. “I can only hope so.”

“Ewww, that’s not what I meant.”

Cooper waggled his brows at Jared. “But what a picture you painted.”

“You’re disgusting.”

“Nothing disgusting about it, brother. If you find it so disgusting, maybe I could give you some pointers.”

“Save your pointers,” Jared said disdainfully. “What’s the favor?”

“Can I please borrow the Porsche tonight?” He felt like an idiot little kid begging to borrow his big brother’s car, but as a resident of New York City, he didn’t own a car, and since he was there on vacation, his options were limited.

“Absolutely not.”

“Oh, come on, Jared! Lizzie told you to let me use it, and I won’t let anything happen to it. I can’t go out with a woman like Gigi and ask her to drive.”

“Why not? She’s a woman of the new millennium. She won’t mind driving.”

“Please, Jared? I want to do this right.”

Jared lowered his aviator sunglasses for a closer look at Cooper. “What’s gotten into you?”

“Nothing. It’s just that she’s Gigi Gibson.”

“Yes, I’m aware of that.”

“You’re not. You’ve never seen the show. She’s a fucking goddess. Every hetero man in America would kill to go out with her, and she’s going out with me. I can’t ask her to drive or to take her car.”

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