Korrie Karssen is the top-ranked realtor of the Southeast. The need to remain at the top means sacrificing everything--including friends, family, and faith. But the race to keep in step with her extravagant spending causes Korrie to take dangerous risks.
Brayden Cambridge has returned home from Afghanistan following an extended deployment to find his girlfriend has moved on to another man. Now, he wants nothing more than to stay away from women and pursue his dream of becoming a sheriff’s patrol officer. But Brayden's plan for a quiet life is dashed when his path crosses with Korrie’s.
The two are as opposite as sandpaper and cotton, yet Brayden can’t seem to keep his distance. Can he teach Korrie to trust again, and that there's more to life than fancy cars and designer clothes?
Korrie Karssen blew wisps of hair from her eyes as she hoisted a cardboard box from the trunk of her car. Overhead, the sky loomed with angry, dark clouds that seemed to mirror the tempest howling inside her.
How had she been so foolish?
She shook her head against the question and, with her arms overloaded, turned toward a double-pronged path that meandered along the sprawling seven acres of gently rolling land that had been in the Karssen family for three generations.
Should she turn right or left?
A right took her to the main house, where she knew her sister Julie waited to welcome her with the warmth of a crackling fire. A turn to the left led to a dark and vacant cottage-style guesthouse.
Korrie sighed and after a lengthy hesitation, turned to the left. No point in delaying the inevitable. She wasn’t ready to see her sister or her brother-in-law, Michael. She had no desire to air her dirty laundry. Just being back on the property, relying on her sister’s charity after so many years of successful independence, was hard enough.
Ten minutes later Korrie stumbled over cobblestone, wishing she could have managed to park her car closer to the cottage. The modest outbuilding that hadn’t been used to house anyone in years, had no garage or carport, and the path, partially overgrown by unruly weeds, wound at least forty feet alongside a hedgerow meant to divide the property from the neighbor’s before it met a concrete landing at the back door.
Already, Korrie missed the city and the luxurious riverfront condo she’d called home until that afternoon at precisely three-sixteen, when she’d signed final papers to relinquish the unit to new owners. She’d taken a huge hit on the sale price and had ended up with nothing in her pocket to show for the years she’d resided there.
She’d traded her Lexus for a used Honda that sported over a hundred thousand miles. She’d cashed in her 401(k) and sold everything she didn’t need in order to keep the wolves from the door. Her remaining belongings fit into the trunk and backseat of the car, along with a little overflow to the front passenger side. That was it. Everything. She no longer had any savings and had amassed a string of credit card debt that would most likely take the better part of the next decade to pay down.
If she could find a new job.
She’d made a mess of things, all right. No denying it. She’d failed in a big way. She held the crown as the queen of crash and burn.
Korrie drew a deep breath and tried to ignore the deep ache in her arms and her screaming thighs. Of course, moving her belongings from the condo had been a total nightmare; the elevator had decided to take a vacation just as she was loading the car. Dozens of trips up and down three flights of stairs told her she’d neglected her daily workouts for way too long.
Well, there was no time to cry over spilled milk—and it was no secret that she’d dumped the entire milk truck. A wicked-looking spring storm turned the sky to a churning gumbo. One furtive glance heavenward over the box in her arms and she knew she needed to get the car unloaded before the clouds unleashed their fury.
Korrie clutched the box to her chest, dodging overgrown bushes that crowded the walk while trying her best not to stumble. Navy pumps paired with a pencil skirt weren’t the wisest choice for moving day, but her pride had gotten the best of her again that morning, and she’d opted for the elegant ensemble instead of sensible jeans and tennis shoes. The skirt nipped and tugged while the blouse boasted soil most likely beyond repair. Regardless, she was determined to get everything inside before the storm hit.
Even if it killed her. And with the way every muscle fiber was revolting, it just might.
Thunder grumbled in the distance and raindrops splattered her face as she neared the back door of the cottage. Of course, to add insult to injury, she’d be as soaked as a rat caught in a toilet bowl by the time she finished hauling everything in. Lovely. Wonderful. Par for the course.
She bit down hard on her lower lip as the box began to slip. She tightened her grip, wishing she had packed more carefully.
But she hadn’t been given much time to exit the condo. The new owners had demanded an expedited, strict closing timeline and she was at their mercy. So she’d tossed everything into boxes she’d gathered from the local grocery store’s produce department and loaded them into the car before roaring off to her new home.
A matchbox-sized guesthouse meant for a gardener…or a servant.
Or a gullible, over-spending, over-trusting sorry excuse for a sister, which she had proven herself to be.