Read Red Sky At Morning - DK4 Online

Authors: Melissa Good

Tags: #Lesbian, #Romance

Red Sky At Morning - DK4

Red Sky At Morning

Melissa Good

Yellow Rose Books

Nederland, Texas

B O O K S B Y

Melissa Good

====================

Dar and Kerry Series:

Tropical Storm

Hurricane Watch

Eye of the Storm

Red Sky At Morning

Thicker Than Water

Terrors of the High Seas

Copyright © 2002 by Melissa Good

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The characters, incidents and dialogue herein are fictional and any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

ISBN 978-1-932300-80-2

1-932300-80-5

(Formerly 1-930928-81-5)

Second Edition

"author's cut" edition, revised, and expanded First Printing 2007

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Cover design by Donna Pawlowski

Published by:

Regal Crest Enterprises, LLC

4700 Highway 365, Suite A

PMB 210

Port Arthur, Texas 77642

Find us on the World Wide Web at

http://www.regalcrest.biz

Printed in the United States of America

This is for Mike. He’d appreciate the yacht.

Chapter
One

THE HOTEL LOBBY was full of people: men in business suits, and women in equally well-tailored suits of their own. The plush carpet muted the conversation, but the buzz tickled the senses as the crowd shifted and moved, sophisticated glances meeting and mouths tensing into polite smiles.

Behind the long, marble-topped front desk, two reservations agents observed the cocktail party with mildly bored expressions. “I hate these parties,” one confided. “They’re so stupid.”

Her companion shrugged. “They’re all right. At least, this bunch is okay. They tip. That convention we had in last week...shoulda ended up at the Motel Six.”

“You got that right.” The female clerk fiddled with her terminal, then leaned on the counter and sighed. “How much longer?”

“Two hours.” The dark-haired man leaned on the counter next to her, watching the crowd. “Uh-oh...”

“What?” The woman peered in the direction of his gaze. “Oh.” She rolled her eyes. Entering the hotel’s elegant glass and brass revolving door was someone obviously out of place in the lobby full of expensive, chic clothing.

The sweat-shirted, blue-jeaned figure edged its way through the party, collecting stares along the way, headed unmistakably for the desk. Rips sliced the denim above the knees and complemented the hiking boots that scuffed across the thick carpet.

“Water fountain,” the man guessed.

“Bathroom,” the woman countered.

“Directions.”

“Change for a dollar.”

They both smiled sweetly as the scruffy figure came to the desk and rested long, powerful hands on the polished surface. “Yes...ma’am?” the male clerk inquired. “Something we can do for you?” His tone indicated polite doubt.

One of the hands lifted and removed the sunglasses hiding a pair of remarkably piercing eyes, which now drilled right through him. A dark, perfectly shaped eyebrow lifted wryly as the woman answered,

“Roberts. I have a reservation.” It was a low voice, but distinct, with the 2
Melissa Good
faintest hint of the South in it. “But I’d be just as happy if you told me I didn’t so I could get my ass on a plane back home instead.”

The male clerk blinked. “Um...” He rattled a few keys, then managed to get the name typed in, aware of his co-worker peering avidly over his shoulder. To his immense surprise, the name obediently returned an actual reservation, of which he studied the details.

“Yes...yes, Ms. Roberts. We’ve got it right here. Um...do you have any luggage?”

“Just this.” The woman hefted a weathered leather overnight bag slung casually over one shoulder. She took the key the clerk handed over. “Elevators?”

“Over to the right there, ma’am.” The man’s tone had altered to one of tense respect. “Is there anything we can send up for you?”

Dar turned and surveyed the crowd, some of whom were eyeing her disreputably ripped jeans with distaste. “Aspirin.” She enunciated the word carefully, then turned and made her way to the sleek elevators, ducking inside one and punching her floor. The doors closed lazily, blocking her from view.

The two clerks watched her leave, then glanced at each other. The man shook his head. “Son of a bitch.”

“That’s their CIO?” The woman stared at the computer screen.

“She’s got the VIP suite?” She looked up at the now closed elevator.

“Holy shit.”

“I don’t get it.” The man shook his head. “These nerds are something else.”

DAR SIGHED AND leaned back against the wall, swallowing as her ears popped with the rising of the car. She was already regretting agreeing to present the company’s quarterly results at their stockholders’ meeting here in New York City, all the more so because it was so close to the Thanksgiving holiday, and that meant crowded planes, and crowded airports, and lots and lots of traffic.

Dar closed her eyes.
And small elevators.
She felt a familiar queasiness start in her stomach and concentrated on taking long, deep breaths, clenching her hands around the straps of her bag and the laptop case over her other shoulder. Add that to the sinus headache she always got when flying in the winter, and the dry heat, and by the time the damned elevator grudgingly allowed her out, her body was tense and shaking, making her nauseous.

The hallway was also small, and she edged down it, finding her room and opening the door, moving forward into a plush, thankfully acceptably large room, and letting the heavy partition shut behind her.

She dropped her bags down on the huge bed and collapsed into the nearby chair, her head falling back to rest on the soft leather. “Alastair, I’m going to get you for this.”

Red Sky At Morning
3

As though in psychic response, her cell phone rang. With a silent curse, Dar removed it from its clip on her belt and opened it. “Yeah?”

“Well, well, good afternoon, Dar.” Her boss’s voice sounded calmly cheerful. “Where are you?”

“The hotel,” Dar replied, keeping her eyes closed. “Finally. We circled for over two hours before they let us land at LaGuardia.” She exhaled. “Damn weather.”

“Well...”

“Damned Northeast. Why the hell can’t we have these meetings in Houston?”

“Now, Dar.” Alastair’s voice grew placating. “It won’t take that long. Besides, I thought you liked to travel.”

Dar thought about the hours spent inside the crowded plane, pressing in on nerves newly sensitized by an accident weeks earlier that had reawakened a latent claustrophobia Dar had thought she’d conquered years back. “Not as much as I used to,” she admitted, having been surprised by the level of discomfort she’d had to endure. “Maybe I’m just coming down with something. Anyway, did you need anything, or are you just calling to bust my chops?”

Alastair McLean, the CEO of ILS, chuckled. “That sounds more like you. Actually, I wanted to invite you to dinner. There’s a nice place just across the road from here...good Italian.”

Dar let her eyes flick around the room, aware suddenly of its silence.

“I realize I’m not as interesting company as Ms. Stuart is, but...”

Alastair coaxed. “C’mon, Dar, I promise I won’t talk football at you.”

Just hearing Kerry’s name brought a smile to Dar’s face. Her friend, lover, and roommate was stuck back in Miami, consolidating a large deal with one of their major clients. “All right,” she finally replied.

“You’re not bringing the whole board, are you?”

A snort. “No, I wouldn’t waste the clam sauce. Just you and me, Dar,” Alastair reassured her. “I’ll drop by your room at six, all right?”

Dar eyed the clock. It was barely four, and that gave her time to shower and relax a little. “Sounds good.” She let a smile cross her face.

“See you then, Alastair.” She closed the phone and relaxed a little, stifling a yawn with the back of her hand. “Damn.” The hand lifted and rubbed her eyes. “I need some coffee.” The hotel phone was nearby, but her body resisted moving, content to remain nestled in the leather chair, now nicely warmed and comfortable.

She slumped there limply for a moment, then lifted her cell phone and thumbed a number into it without looking. Dar lifted the instrument to her ear and listened to its buzzing ring. Once, twice...then the noise stopped and a soft grunt issued down the line, bringing a smile to Dar’s face.

“Hello?” Kerry’s voice sounded almost breathless.

“Avoiding the elevators?” Dar queried.

4
Melissa Good

“Oh.” Kerry exhaled, then apparently stopped moving. “How’d you guess? They just called me down to the tenth floor, and I thought I’d jog back up.” The sound of a door opening and closing, then the echo of the stairwell vanished, replaced with a soft hum. “Where are you? Did you just get there? How was the flight?”

Dar pictured her lover striding down the hall, with that distinctive, sexy walk, and her nose wrinkled in pleasure. “Hotel, yes, pain in my ass,” she replied succinctly. “Just thought I’d check in. We hit weather over Virginia.”

“I know,” Kerry answered over the sound of a door closing. Now the hum was gone, and it was quiet. “I, um...tracked your flight.”

Dar stretched out her long legs and felt her muscles relax. “Oh, you did, huh?”

“Yes, I did.” Kerry’s voice dropped a little, taking on a hint of huskiness. “I worry about you, y’know.”

Mmm
. Dar smiled at the ceiling. “Well, I made it here. Alastair’s taking me out to dinner, then I’m gonna get some sleep. The meeting starts at eight tomorrow.”

“Ew,” Kerry replied. “I’ve got that group meeting at the church tonight, then Colleen and Ray are meeting me and we’re going to walk down the beach and see what trouble we can get into.”

Uh-oh
. Dar imagined the possible results. “Be careful, okay?” she advised her lover.

“You too.” Kerry replied seriously. “That city can be a scary place.”

Dar smiled. “I will. Talk to you tomorrow, okay?”

“Okay.” Kerry was smiling too, easily heard in her voice. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.” Dar exhaled contentedly. “Night.”

“NIGHT.” KERRY LISTENED until the call ended with a slight click, then regarded the phone for a moment before she leaned back in her comfortable desk chair and tapped her pen on her notepad. Her desk was neat and clean, the LCD screen and her phone on one side, her inbox, notepad, and the small wood-framed picture on the other. Idly, she reached out and lifted the picture, smiling at the beautiful face gazing out at her. “Don’t you be getting lost down any subway tunnels, cutie pie,” she instructed the picture. “We’ve got holiday plans in a few days.”

Thanksgiving. Kerry set the picture down and started straightening out her things in preparation for leaving. Her very first real Thanksgiving, where she was in charge and had decided what they’d do and who they’d invite. She’d decided on a turkey and a party, and Dar had amiably agreed, having never experienced the occasion as a host herself. She’d gotten her turkey—an enormous, frozen thing—and all the trimmings, and Colleen had volunteered to come over early that
Red Sky At Morning
5

morning and help with the cooking.

Dar’s parents would be there. Kerry smiled as she picked up her laptop, slipped it into the leather shoulder bag she carried, and clipped her cell phone to her belt. She heard a light knock and looked up as the door opened and her secretary Mayte peeked in. “Hey.”

The slim young Latina girl smiled at her. “You go home, yes?”

“Not exactly,” Kerry answered easily. “I’ve got a meeting to go to, then some socializing to do. What about you?”

“I have my group tonight,” Mayte replied. “I was going to ask, if it is not too much trouble, if I could get a ride with you just passed the bus stop.”

“Absolutely.” Kerry circled the desk. “C’mon, we’ll beat the traffic.” She motioned the girl out before her and they left the office, walking together down the hall. They were both dressed with casual elegance, and Kerry was amused to note that Mayte had taken to carefully studying Kerry’s own choices of silk shirts and well-tailored slacks and had chosen items as close as she could without copying Kerry’s selections outright.

As they entered the elevator, Kerry straightened her shoulders in reflex, drawing the eyes of the occupants already inside, her wine-colored shirt with its tiny embroidered flowers contrasting neatly with her pale hair and fair complexion. “Evening.” Kerry returned the quiet murmurs with a brief smile, acknowledging the slightly uncomfortable silence from the marketing clerks who were years older than she was and probably aggravated beyond words that someone who looked just about Mayte’s age of low twenty-something had been promoted to vice president, regardless of what her qualifications were.

Or, she admitted wryly, they could also be fundamentalists who disapproved of her very publicly known alternative lifestyle. The doors opened on the bottom floor and the other women moved out quickly, heading across the huge brass and marble lobby toward the front doors of the building.

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