On November 30, 2016, Hurricane Nina hit Bali, Indonesia. In the aftermath of death and destruction, eight strong sexy men will realize it’s time for a change in their lives. A resolution of sorts. A contractor, personal trainer, a millionaire, a stuntman, a rock star, a thrill-seeker, an army veteran, and a trust fund prodigal will all find a way to conquer their loss and learn to love. This is Reed’s story.
Meanwhile in Albany, New York…
Reed spread the blueprints out on the makeshift sawhorse. “Josh, let’s just double-check things before we start cutting out for the windows.”
“You got it, Boss,” Josh said, smirking as he made his way closer.
Josh and he had been the best of friends since the second grade. Just because Reed was his boss now, it hadn’t changed their friendship. All it did was make Josh bust on him about the fact that his paycheck from Chapman Construction had Reed’s name on the bottom of it.
“I’m not sure why the Wilsons needed to have different sized windows in almost every room,” Reed said, shaking his head. “Some rooms, I get it, but it seems like they are doing it haphazardly.”
Josh scratched his chin like he always did when he was trying to figure out a diplomatic way to say something. Since Josh loved to gossip, there should be a raw spot on his face by now. “There is no accounting for people’s tastes, but as long as their money is green, then we’ll do what they say.”
Reed snorted. “We’ll see. So far I’ve been flexible with things, but at some point I’m sure I’m going to have to tell them no on something.”
“Just be happy they don’t want this house in the development.”
“They wouldn’t be able to. Even though my developments are more lenient than others, they know the guidelines, which is why they came to us to build out of the city limits.”
“I’m still surprised you agreed since we’ve got so many houses lined up for the development,” Josh said. “It’s not like you to take someone on when you’ve got such a big project in the works.”
Reed laughed. “Like you said, their money is green.”
And the Wilsons had a shitload more than most, allowing him to take a detour on filling up the development. He had enough crews to do all the work, but he was overseeing this one more closely.
His cell phone vibrated in his pocket, so he pulled it out, saw it was his sister, Rachel, then with no qualms at all, sent her to voicemail. He didn’t have time for her today.
After a few minutes, the two men verified everything and Josh went off to instruct the crew, so Reed pulled his phone out of his pocket to check Rachel’s message. “Call me now.”
Everything was always life or death in his sister’s eyes. He hit the button to call her back. “What’s up this time, Rachel?” he asked, preparing himself to hear the earth was falling out of orbit.
“Have you talked to Whitney today?”
“No. It’s hard with the time difference,” Reed said.
His fiancée, Whitney, was in Bali for work right now closing some business deal for the law firm she was trying to work her way up to partner with before she hit thirty-five. The eleven-hour time difference made it hard to talk.
Though you’d think they’d talk each morning since it was after dinner for her there. Then again, Whitney always put her job first and her personal life second. He was used to it now and it didn’t bother him as much as it once had. Not really.
“Reed,” Rachel said, her voice rising to a level that resembled nails scraping down a chalkboard. “A hurricane has been beating on Bali for hours. It’s been building for days. Don’t you watch the news? She hasn’t said anything to you at all? I just read on the internet that the streets are flooding, buildings are destroyed and the loss of life is mounting. They are talking about rain there for days on top of it.”
His heart started to pound so hard he thought it might burst out of his chest. “I haven’t talked to her since she landed there three days ago. She never said a word.”
“Why don’t you ever pay attention to those things when she is traveling?” Rachel asked.
“Because she is always traveling. I’m lucky I know where she is half the time.”
“I’ll never understand your relationship,” Rachel said. “Reed. You need to call her. Something isn’t right. I feel it deep down. You know how I get when I have these feelings.”
Drama was Rachel’s middle name so Reed wasn’t feeling quite as anxious as his sister, but he was starting to get nervous. “I’ll call her. I doubt she’ll answer.”
“Do you know what hotel she’s staying at? I found a news outlet that is listing areas the hardest hit in the city right now.”
“No, I don’t know. She never shares those details.”
“Why?” Rachel screeched.
“Because it’s details that she says mean nothing. We’ve got cell phones and computers,” he argued, but deep down he agreed with his sister. It always bothered him that Whitney never shared or talked about things when she traveled. She always argued she was busy and could be reached by her cell phone. The only problem was, Whitney never answered her phone when he called.
“Well, keep me posted on what you find out and I’ll keep following the news.”
“I’ll call her office right now,” Reed said. He hung up with his sister and then dialed Whitney’s law firm to see if they’d heard anything. If they had any news to share with him.
“McKafrey and Sons,” he heard. “This is Linda, how may I help you?”
“Linda, it’s Reed Chapman. Can you let me know the name of the hotel that Whitney is staying at in Bali?”
There was some silence and then, “I’ll see if I can find out, but I’m not sure anyone would know that here.”
“Why not?” he asked. This time his stomach was filling with dread. He’d felt something had been wrong for months and he couldn’t get Whitney to open up to him. Had she lost her job and didn’t want to tell him? No, it couldn’t be that. She’d been working an ungodly number of hours lately and the two of them had barely seen each other.
“She’s on vacation this week,” Linda said.
“What?” Reed asked, staring off into the distance. He knew he was busy, but that wouldn’t have slipped his mind.
“She said she was going to Bali with a friend. We’re all worried about her here. Someone was going to call you later today to see if you’d heard anything. The death toll has been rising for hours.”
“Thanks,” Reed said softly and disconnected the phone, then tried to call Whitney’s cell. He got a message that service was out.
He turned and walked back to his truck and left without a word, making his way to Whitney’s apartment that they didn’t share. She hadn’t even moved in with him officially, just stayed with him when she wasn’t traveling, if she had time. Lately that time was less and less.
He’d find answers there—he had to. The question was, would he really want to see what he found?