Authors: Dawn Brower
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Unbridled Pursuit Copyright © 2015 Dawn Brower
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.
There were a few people that helped me polish it and make it better. I thank each one of you for your help. Without you this book wouldn’t be what it is.
In life we are faced with many choices. One of the best choices I made was starting to write. Above that the only thing that tops it is my two boys. Luke and Nathan I love you so much and you are truly the biggest blessing and best thing to come into my life.
Vitoria Miene lives in New York—on the opposite side of the country as her best friend. After careful thought, she decides to pack everything up and move to Seattle. There is only one problem with her plan—Wes Novak. He hates her and does everything in his power to make her miserable.
Wes has never detested anyone as much as he does Vitoria. He believes she is evil incarnate. If she wasn’t best friends with his brother’s fiancée, he’d never have to see her again. Unfortunately he sees more of her than he wants to. So much so, he is starting to have trouble keeping his hands off her.
Wes and Tori fight every step of the way. They combust in each other’s arms as much as they bicker. Can they stop battling long enough to find the one thing they both want—love?
Vitoria's eyelids were narrowed into tiny slits, still heavy from sleep. The sun’s bright rays bounced in a diagonal through the room and landed across Vitoria’s face in sync with the shrill of her alarm clock. The screeching noise reverberated against the bedroom walls and recoiled throughout her eardrums. The light blinded her sleep-filled eyes. Reaching out her hand, she batted her alarm clock with more force than necessary to end the constant stream of annoyingness.
Mornings and she did not get along very well.
They were her least favorite part of the day, but time waited for no one. It kept beating steadily on whether she was ready for it or not. Sadly, Tori was almost never equipped to take on the infernal clock constantly counting down the seconds of her life. She had so many things to do in a single day it was next to impossible to accomplish it all.
Today she had a plane to catch, a flight scheduled to take her to the west coast—to be more specific, Seattle, Washington. The state her best friend now called home. The past three months without her chipped away at Tori’s thick shell.
Loneliness invaded her world in a way it hadn’t in many years. Not since the days before she met Ginnifer Zeiss, or as she was often called, Ginny. Prior to meeting her best friend, she only existed and went through the motions of her day-to-day life. She gave the impression of happiness, but in reality, she was an empty shell. Without someone to shake up her world, she feared she would sink into oblivion.
She missed the ability to drop in on her at a moment’s notice. Tori and Ginnifer didn’t go a day without talking. The difference now was it almost always involved a telephone, whereas before she stopped by for an impromptu lunch or a nightly glass of wine. Ginny had to go and fall in love and ruin it all.
Her dearest friend was getting married. The wedding was several weeks away. Now Tori had to fly out to Seattle to help with some of the planning and of course check in with her growing clientele.
Her work was never done.
Vitoria owned and operated a public relations firm. She also handled some legal work for her clients. She had passed the bar in several states. It gave her the opportunity to negotiate contracts when they were up for renewal. Her business wasn’t merely a public relations firm. It had been designed to meet any and all necessities that might arise. The sheer level of energy she required to get through her day took its toll. She wanted a change, and she missed her best friend terribly.
The distance between them was more difficult for her than anything else in her life. Tori needed to be near Ginnifer. So much so, she seriously considered a more permanent solution to her situation. While in Washington for this trip, she planned on scouting the area for a place to set up business. Thanks to her growing client base on the west coast, the transition should go smoothly. It made sense to move when the majority of her clients were on a different side of the country. The boon was her best friend lived there too. In her mind it was a win-win situation. So why did she have such a hard time making a decision?
Tori rolled out of bed and stumbled into her bathroom. She flicked on the light and rubbed her face. The lack of sleep played a toll on her normally gorgeous exterior. Her caramel-blonde hair could be compared to dried straw and her blue eyes were dull.
The constant back and forth had to stop. It didn’t matter if everything was completely settled. When she arrived in Washington she required a change. So she made the decision to start arrangements for her move immediately.
Resolution made, she picked up her cell and scrolled through the contact list. After several rings someone answered with a muffled hello.
“Alison, good you’re up.”
“Damn it Tori, do you have any idea what time it is?” she asked.
“Of course I do. I figured you would already be awake and ready to start your day.”
“If I had known how evil you were, I wouldn’t have taken a job with you after Ginnifer moved to Washington.”
“Well, you came highly recommended, or I wouldn’t have hired you at all. You should be thankful I gave you a job.”
Vitoria stared at her fingernails. The nail polish had started to chip at the top and one of her nails had a ragged edge where it broke the day before. When she got to Seattle, at some point she would get a manicure.
“What do you need? I’d like to get some more sleep today. You do realize it’s a Sunday, right? I don’t work on the weekend,” Alison mumbled.
“Well you do now. I have a job for you to start working on immediately.”
Tori could hear the groans coming through the speaker of her phone. She probably should feel guilty, but she didn’t really. Perhaps she did a little—she didn’t like getting woken up and ordered around. It plain sucked. But Alison knew what her job would entail when she agreed to work with her. An early morning wakeup call shouldn’t come as a surprise. Vitoria explained the possibility to her, and she knew a last minute assignment could pop up at any moment.
“I repeat, what do you need?” A growl came through loud and clear. Nope, Alison was far from happy. Tori didn’t consider that her problem. She paid well and expected results.
“I’m going to move to Seattle. I want you to contact some movers. I want my entire apartment and office packed up in preparation for the move. I don’t plan on coming back once I fly out there later this afternoon.”
Tori rattled off her list. “I also would like you to contact every person on my east coast client list and inform them of my move. If they want to consider moving to a more locally-based agent, I’ll allow them break their contract for a nominal fee, but please explain to them I am not coming back to New York unless it’s an emergency. From now on they will have to meet with me in Seattle.”
“What? So I’m going to be out of another job?” Alison asked.
“Only if you don’t want to move to Seattle with me. I’ll pay your moving expenses if you want to transfer out there. If not, I will give you a letter of recommendation.”
Alison really was a good assistant. Plus Vitoria had already broken her in. All of her expectations were fully ingrained in her. She really didn’t want to train someone new. Paying her to move out to Washington was a sound business decision. If Tori was lucky, and she didn’t rely on luck very often, Alison would grab at the opportunity to relocate.
“I will have to think about it and let you know. Where’s everything going to be sent to?” Alison asked.
“I’m not exactly sure. I’ll call you in a few days with the information. It’s going to take at least a week to pack both places up anyway. Make the other arrangements first.”
“All right. I will call and see who is available. It’s kind of last minute, and there might not be too many openings.”
“Do the best you can. I have faith in your ability to make this happen. It’s a good thing I’m not a coffee nut like Ginny. Everything else you do stupendously. That was her only complaint as to your skills.”
“If you can keep a secret, I’ll tell you why I failed miserably at that.”
“Let me guess. You did it on purpose.”
“How’d you guess?” Alison asked.
“It’s what I’d do. No one wants to be that person. The one who fetches coffee repeatedly. If you show your ineptness for it, they’ll quit asking.”
“Exactly,” Alison agreed.
“Anyway I have a few things I need to do before my flight. I’ll be in touch with the rest of the details. I have an extra set of keys to my apartment in my office safe. You have the combination, so retrieve them when you need to let the movers into my apartment. I’ll talk to you later.”
Tori ended the call and got ready for her trip. She had packed the night before, but in light of her change of plans, she packed an extra bag with a few essential items. The additional cost of the baggage would be worth it to take everything she needed. With care, she folded more clothes and placed them in the large suitcase. Ginnifer often made fun of her over-packing, but she believed in being prepared for any scenario.
The one thing Vitoria hated more than anything was being blindsided.
In a lot of ways, she was a control freak. She hated giving anyone any kind of power over her. Her parents were tyrants and meticulously planned every part of her childhood. Their need to have successful, ambitious children led to her estrangement from her sister, Vivian. She hadn’t seen Viv in over two years. The last time they saw each other the conversation had been stilted and heavy with tension.
The encounter happened purely by chance. They were almost like two ships passing in the night.
Her sister was walking into a lawyer’s firm Vitoria had been leaving. At first seeing her sibling directly in front of her startled her. They normally kept a large distance between them. Vivian could be very coldblooded and distant. She developed her attitude as a coping mechanism. At times Tori wondered if she was actually sociopathic because of some of the things she did to get ahead in their parents’ eyes. Nothing stood in her way, not even her own sister.
A high-pitched noise filled the room, and she looked over at her phone. She had tossed it on her bed as she began to pack. Vitoria reached for her cell and smiled when Ginnifer’s name flashed across the screen.
“Hey, Ginny. You do know what time it is, right? I mean you are like three hours behind me, so is the sun even up there?”
“As a matter of fact, no, it isn’t. Dallas starts chores quite early.”
“And he wakes you up first? That brute! I will have a chat with him when I get there. Sleep is a sacred thing, and he shouldn’t deprive you of yours.”
Tori stopped and tapped her chin as a thought entered her mind. “Although I have to admit that is kind of brave of him. I'm aware of how perilous it is to wake you up before the sun comes up.”
Ginnifer’s laughter floated through the phone. “Oh trust me. I don’t mind. Everyone should experience our version of peril at least once in their lifetime.”
“Have you been watching Monty Python?”
“Of course not. It was horrid enough the one time you made me watch it.”
She could imagine Ginny’s shudder as she said the words. She did every time Tori mentioned the one movie she actively despised. Of all the films Tori made her sit through,
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
left Ginnifer quivering with displeasure. It didn’t take long for it to become her least favorite movie. Of course using favorite in any context was overstating it. Ginny hated that particular movie.
“It reminded me of the scene when Sir Galahad was in that castle full of women. Sir Lancelot said he was in peril.”
“Oh, I think I do remember that. Seems like it had to do with his duty to experience such peril or a lot of peril. I don’t remember exactly.”
“Yes!” Tori shouted with excitement. “He said and I’m paraphrasing it here—
it is my duty as a knight to sample as much peril as I can
. You came pretty close to it with your comment about Dallas.”
“Tori dear, you watch too many movies. You need to get a life.”
“Hmmph, I have a great life, thank you very much. So back to you. Why are you calling me?”
“Oh, I wanted to double check to see what time your flight arrives today.” Ginnifer asked.
“Why? I’m not going to be coming out to Novak Springs until next week. I have a few things to take care of in Seattle first.”
“I thought I’d arrange to meet you, and while we are there, we can get the fitting done on your bridesmaid dress. I also want you to see the dress I picked out and get your opinion.”
“You finally found a dress?” Tori squealed. “I can’t wait to see it.”
“I figured you might.”
“Hmm, my flight actually gets in kind of late. It might be best for you to come out tomorrow or the next day. I’m not so sure anything will be open when I get there.”
What Tori didn’t tell her was she had other plans once she arrived in Seattle. She needed to find an apartment and some office space. What she hoped was to be able to give her the good news about the move when she saw her. No way could she do that if she didn’t have any time to scout out the area first. Her first stop, after she checked into her hotel, was with the real estate agent she set up an appointment with. She needed at least a half day to make some headway on her idea.
“Oh. Okay. I will plan on driving out tomorrow morning. Dallas wakes me up pretty early, so I should be able to get there by nine. We can shop and have lunch. Does that work for you?”
“Of course. I can’t wait to see you. I’m excited.”
“Good. I’m gonna hang up. Maybe I’ll get some more sleep.”
Tori could hear Ginnifer yawn. Dallas might have been very good at a morning wake-up, but that didn’t change her best friend’s sleeping habits. She would probably call it a power nap.
“All right. Bub-bye Ginny.”
Tori hung up the phone and finished packing. The cab was scheduled to arrive in an hour, and she needed to get done before they arrived. After everything was packed, she zipped her suitcase and rolled it next to the other two in her living room. She only had twenty minutes to wait until her ride came to pick her up. With everything arranged and planned, Tori sat on a chair in her living room to relax. No reason to expend any unnecessary energy. She had a long day ahead of her.