Growing up, Cassie McGillicuddy was the one person who consistently made Sam Amador lose his steadfast outward cool. She was always full of both brilliant and harebrained ideas, and being around her had made him feel more alive.
Until her biggest harebrained idea of them all. Asking him to teach her how to be a good kisser. Soon after, they’d broken each other’s hearts, and she’d disappeared.
But now Cassie was back. And she meant business.
A click sounded. Someone had picked up. “Amador Construction and Historic Preservation, this is Sam speaking.” The familiar voice was deeper and more purposeful than she remembered. Cassie’s heart began pumping so hard, she could hear its pounding rhythm in her ears. Her hands shook and she narrowed her eyes at them. She shouldn’t feel this way.
Sam Amador was an integral part of childhood memories she treasured. But a hidden place in her heart still harbored pain and resentment over how badly their relationship had ended.
Cassie’s associate, Jessica, cleared her throat. “Good morning, Mr. Amador. My name is Jessica Carter and I’m with Red Realty, a niche realty firm focused on matching special historic properties with their perfect future owners. I’m calling because I understand you have a number of historic houses on your hands, and I’d love the opportunity to meet with you to discuss your goals and how we can help you meet them.”
Cassie beamed at Jessica. She sounded professional yet warm, confident, and grateful for his time.
“Red Realty,” Sam repeated, a little too slowly. A little too…knowingly?
Nah. She no longer knew him well enough to read that much into two words. It was all in her head.
“Yes.” Jessica nodded, as if he could see her. “Red Realty. Perhaps you’ve heard of us? We’ve had great successes and built wonderful partnerships in the Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus, and Cincinnati markets, and we’d love to do the same in Spinning Hills and the Dayton region. I’d like to set up a meeting.”
“Sure,” Sam answered. Cassie and Jessica stared at each other, eyes wide, in a moment of shared triumph. Katy Perry’s “Firework” began playing so loudly in her head, she wondered if her friend could hear it. Jessica began doing a little dance in her chair.
“Put your owner on the line, and I’ll be happy to set up a meeting with her,” he finished.
Her? The song in Cassie’s head stopped with a loud screech. Her eyes flew to Jessica’s, who dropped the legal pad. Cassie dove toward it and scribbled, her? before looking up at Jessica.
“Her?” Jessica squeaked into the phone. Cassie flailed her hands and mouthed no. She hadn’t meant for her to repeat that. She bent over the pad again.
“Yes. Her,” Sam repeated. “The owner of Red Realty.”
“Oh. Her,” Jessica repeated, throwing a hand up in frustration while she waited for Cassie to finish her mad scribble. Owner not available or needed!!!
“I’m sorry, the owner isn’t available right now, but I can assure you a meeting with her won’t be necessary. She’s…a silent partner.” Her voice faltered. “But I assure you our Cincinnati office is well-equipped to handle your properties, Mr. Amador. We’ll outline a sales plan you can be enthusiastic about.”
“Silent partner? Right.” A soft chuckle came over the phone, and Cassie paused to stare at the air above it, half-expecting to see Sam’s head floating over it, looking right at her.
Cassie shook her head before finishing her scribble, Set up meeting! “What is a good day and time for us to meet, Mr. Amador?” Jessica asked.
“She’s listening, isn’t she?” Sam asked. Cassie’s eyes widened and then narrowed. Was that a smile in his voice?
Jessica snapped her pencil in two. “Excuse me?”
“Tell Cassie I never took her for a coward,” Sam replied.
Angry, red-hot sparks went off in Cassie’s head and traveled throughout her body. He knew. And he was being a big fat brat about it. She took two quick steps and grabbed the phone out of her friend’s hand, but as she did so, her dead therapist’s advice echoed in her mind.
She counted to ten, patiently, and considered her actions, carefully. “This is Cassidy Morgan,” she said. “My associate tells me you’d like to speak with me?”
“I knew you were listening, and I knew you didn’t have it in you to be a silent anything. Why are you using your mom’s last name? Hiding from someone?”
Cassie closed her eyes and counted to ten, again. The words, we’re both professionals, Mr. Amador, let’s begin by treating each other as such, were at the tip of her tongue. True words. A perfect comeback.
But she and Sam had been the best of childhood friends, and Sam’s words were just as true. After all, he had somehow known she was listening. If they were both going to be truly professional in their dealings, she’d have to acknowledge the old relationship while setting the tone for their possible future business relationship. He didn’t have to know that if she could crawl through the airwaves, come out the other side, and hit him with his phone, she would.
Sam leaned back in his chair and tried to think above the many feelings coursing through him. Part of him had gone back to a time when he’d known Cassie like the back of his hand. Ten years might have passed, but there was no doubt in his mind she’d hit him over the head with his own phone at that moment if she could. But they were different people now, and he knew it better than anyone.
About the Author:
Inés Saint was born in Zaragoza, Spain. She’s bilingual and bicultural and has spent the last decade raising her fun, inspiring little boys and sharing her life with the man of her dreams. Her greatest joy is spending quality time with the family members and close friends who happen to provide the inspiration for both the nutty and wise things her characters say and do.
Website URL: www.inessaint.com