The Scandal (Single in Seattle #2) - Kristen Proby Page 0,1

feet dangle.

“God, you look like Julianne.”

He always calls Mom by her full name. Everyone else calls her Jules, but not Dad. It’s kind of romantic.

My eyes drift over the sleeve tattoo that runs up his arm to disappear into his T-shirt.

“Did they hurt?” I ask.

“A little. See? Better avoid it.”

I laugh and shake my head. “How old were you when you got the sleeve?”

“About twenty-one, I think. I added the chest when I was twenty-five.”

“Hmm.”

“Stop trying to grow up so fast, dollface. You’ll get there.”

“I guess. If it’s okay with you, I’d like to go hang out with Liv at her place tonight.”

“Okay. I’ll drive you over.”

“Can I drive?”

He cocks an eyebrow.

“Not by myself. I’ve taken driver’s ed. I need the hours so I can get my license.”

“Yeah, okay. You can drive this time.”

“Awesome. Thanks.” I hop off the desk and walk toward the door. “I’ll grab my stuff.”

“Stel.”

“Yeah?” I turn back to him.

“I love you.”

I wrinkle my nose and blow him a kiss. “I know. I love you, too, Daddy.”

Chapter 1

Stella

“I love this color,” my client, Simone, says with a happy sigh. “And the material is like butter. But will I be able to clean it? I have kids.”

“You’ll be able to take the covers off the cushions and throw them in the wash. Easy-peasy.”

My phone and watch vibrate at the same time. I sneak a peek at my watch and scowl.

Danny, my coworker, has been texting me all day, but I’m in the field with clients, and he knows it.

He’ll have to wait.

“Well, that’ll be a lifesaver,” Simone says. “Yes, on this. Absolutely. That sectional is going to be the bomb.”

“You’ll never want to leave your sofa,” I agree and reach for some wallpaper swatches. “Now, let’s talk about your pantry.”

“I love talking about my pantry.”

I laugh as I turn the pages in my swatch book. “You and me both, sister. Okay, I was thinking this one for the wall opposite the cabinets.”

For the next hour, Simone and I finalize the plans for her remodel, and I carry an armload of sample books and tiles out to my SUV.

“Thank you!” Simone calls out from her porch. “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

“You’re more than welcome. I’ll be in touch!”

Simone waves, already tapping on her phone as she walks back inside.

Before I leave, I check my messages.

“Geez, Danny, you’re blowing me up,” I mutter as I shoot him a brief text, letting him know I’ll be in the office late this afternoon, then pull away from the curb to head to my next appointment.

I’ve been an interior designer in Seattle for almost five years, and I’m completely in love with my job. Seeing clients like Simone light up with excitement over their project, whether it’s redecorating one room or building a new house, is the best feeling in the world.

Not all my clients are as easygoing and excited as Simone, though. Some are like my next client, who doesn’t want to participate in the design at all and is very hard to read. I’ve talked with her assistant more than I’ve spoken with her. But the end result is always worth the hassle of the few grouchy and difficult clients I have.

Several hours and two appointments later, I walk through the showroom of Emerald Interiors and smile at customers and colleagues as I make my way back to my office.

I’ve just set my Starbucks cup on my desk and fired up my laptop when Danny comes rushing into my office. He closes the door behind him and holds his phone in the air, his future husband staring at me through the screen.

“Uh, hello there,” I say with a frown. “What’s up, guys?”

“Only a major catastrophe,” Danny says and sits on the edge of the yellow chair across from me. “You remember last month when we went to Vegas for my bachelorette party?”

“Well, I remember most of it,” I reply with a laugh, but my smile falls away when neither Danny nor Brandon laughs with me. “Yes, I remember the trip.”

“And do you further remember when we thought it would be absolutely hilarious to go have Elvis marry us, just for fun?”

An image of Danny with a short, white veil pinned to his blond hair and me stealing his Bride-to-Be sash and looping it over my head flashes through my mind.

“Oh, yeah. That was hilarious. He even sang Love Me Tender.” I laugh at the fun memory. “Man, we were so drunk.”

“Yeah, well, we actually got married,” Danny