A Love So SweetBy: Addison Cole
TREAT BRADEN DIDN’T usually charter planes. It wasn’t his style to flash his wealth. But today he needed to be anywhere but his Nassau resort, and missing his commercial flight had just plain pissed him off. He owned upscale resorts all over the world, and he’d been featured on travel shows so many times that it turned his stomach to have to play those ridiculous media games. Most of the pomp and circumstance surrounding him had begun to irk him in ways that it never had before meeting Max Armstrong. It had been too many long, lonely weeks since he’d seen her standing in the lobby of his Nassau resort, since his heart first thundered in a way that threw him completely off-kilter—and since they’d spent one incredible evening together. Treat wasn’t a Neanderthal. He’d known he had no claim on her, even after their intimate evening. But that hadn’t stopped his blood from boiling or kept him from acting like a jerk the next morning when he’d seen her with another man in front of the elevators, wearing the same clothes she’d had on when Treat had left her the night before.
He hadn’t been able to stop thinking about Max since the moment he’d first met her, despite the uncomfortable encounter, but he’d been burned before, and he wasn’t into repeating his mistakes. Getting away from resorts altogether and spending a weekend with his father at his ranch in Weston, Colorado, a small ranch town with dusty streets, too many cowboy hats, and a main drag that had been built to replicate the Wild West, was just what he needed.
His rental SUV moved at a snail’s pace behind a line of traffic that was not at all typical for his hometown. It wasn’t until he crawled around the next curve and saw balloons and banners above the road announcing the annual Indie Film Festival that he realized what weekend it was. He wasn’t in the mood to deal with crowds.
His cell phone rang, and his sister’s name flashed on the screen. Savannah. Before he could say hello, she said, “I can’t believe you didn’t call me before you came out.”
“Hi, sis. I miss you, too.” The only girl among his five siblings, Savannah was a cutthroat entertainment attorney, but to Treat she’d always be his baby sister.
“You big oaf,” she said with a laugh. “I’m at the festival with a client. When will you get in?”
“I’m here now, sitting in traffic on Main Street.” He hadn’t moved an inch in five minutes.
“Yeah? Come to the festival and see me. I’ll wait for you at the rear entrance.”
All he really wanted to do was reach his father’s two-hundred-acre ranch just outside of town, but Treat knew that if he didn’t see Savannah right away, she’d be disappointed. Disappointing his siblings was something he strived not to do. Having lost their mother when Treat was only eleven and his youngest sibling, Hugh, had been hardly more than a baby, his siblings had already faced enough disappointment for one lifetime.
“You’re with a client. Sure you can get away?” he asked.
“Who are you kidding? For you? Of course. Besides, I’m with Connor Dean. He can handle things for a little while. Come in the back gate. I’ll wait there.” Connor was an actor who was quickly climbing the ranks of fame. Savannah had been his attorney for two years, and whenever he had a public engagement, he brought her along. It wasn’t a typical attorney-client relationship, but for all of Connor’s bravado, he’d been slandered one too many times. Savannah kept track of what was and wasn’t said at most events—by both Connor and the media.
“I’ll be there as soon as traffic allows.” After he ended the call with Savannah he called his father.
“Hey there, son.”
Hal’s slow, deep drawl tugged at Treat’s heart. He’d missed him. Hal had always been a calming influence on Treat. After his mother passed away, his father had pulled him and his siblings through those tumultuous years. But Hal wasn’t a coddler. He had instilled a strong work ethic and sense of loyalty into their heads, and that had enabled each of them to be successful in their endeavors.
“Dad, I’m here in town, but I’m going to stop at the festival first to see Savannah, if you don’t mind.”