A perfect summer romance!
Louisa is left at the altar on her wedding day with no job, no home and an awful honeymoon on her own. Back home, she takes up living in her family’s dilapidated summer cottage in the Hamptons with a rescued dog and a bad sunburn, awful neighbors and a handyman who is anything but helpful.
The last thing Dante Rivera needs is another woman (he’s already burdened with an aging aunt, a needy cousin and an ex-wife) and this one has more issues than Sports Illustrated. The only problem is, he just can’t walk away from his intensifying attraction.
Then a hurricane threatens the village and the pair find themselves in the dark…and everything will change.
On the night of their engagement party Louisa cracked up her fiancé’s car. The relationship went downhill after that, but not as fast as Howard’s beloved Porsche went down that steep, icy slope. The Porsche might have fared better if not for the garbage truck at the bottom of the hill, and the engagement might still have flourished, if not for the money, the wedding, and Howard’s mother.
“My mother? How the hell did my mother get into the discussion about paying for the car?” Howard was pacing the Manhattan apartment they shared on East Fortieth. Out one tenth-floor window you could almost see the FDR Drive and the East River; from the other, the new condo being built across the street. Howard jerked the verticals shut on the construction, offended by the disorderly scene. He was not much better pleased with the sight of Louisa in her sweatpants and faded T-shirt, with her yellow-pad lists of wedding guests spread all over the table. “She wasn’t the one who backed her piece of Japanese junk into my Porsche.”
Of course not. If Irene, as Mrs. Silver insisted her future daughter-in-law call her, had tried to back her huge Cadillac down that ridiculously long, icy Great Neck driveway, she would have flattened the Porsche. Louisa refrained, quite nobly she thought, from mentioning again that if Howard had had the hand brake on his car fixed, the damn thing would not have budged at a mere tap from a Toyota, which piece of junk, incidentally, hadn’t sustained so much as a scratch. Louisa also stopped herself from pointing out that if Irene had not spent the engagement party finding fault with Louisa’s dress, hair, and friends, Louisa just might not have been in such a hurry to leave. What she did do was point at the four yellow pads with her pen. “It’s the wedding, Howard. If your mother didn’t insist we have such a big affair, I could afford to help pay what the insurance won’t.”
The insurance company, it seemed, did not have as great an appreciation for Howard’s classic sports car as Howard had. What they were offering was book value on a totaled wreck, not payment for painstaking rebuilding. The decision rankled Howard, but not as much as his asking for her money rankled Louisa. He earned a lot more, had more money in the bank and the mutual funds, and wasn’t paying nearly enough toward the wedding his mother wanted for her only son. His mother had offered plenty of advice, but she hadn’t offered to pay for anything except the flowers—if she got to pick them out. Louisa’s widowed mother was buying the extravagant wedding gown—that Irene insisted on helping select, since Louisa’s own mother was living in Florida. On a fixed income.
“You know I can barely pay for that orchestra your mother wants. If she adds one more name to her list, we’ll have to cut back on the sushi bar.”
“Mother only has our best interests in mind. Those people can be a great help to my career.”
Howard was already a successful tax attorney, working long days, nights, and weekends. If he were any more successful, Louisa would never get to see him at all, except at the law firm, the same one where she was personnel director. They’d had that argument before, too, so she did not bring it up again. “I don’t see what the issue is here, anyway. In two months what I have is yours, and vice versa. So all this talk of who pays for what, the wedding or the car, the rent and the honeymoon, is silly. Isn’t it?”
Howard fiddled with her notepads, making neat stacks out of her scraps of paper. “I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that pre-nup thing again.”
Louisa barely glanced at the table, knowing she’d have to start all over again, now that he’d put her lists out of order. “I thought we decided we didn’t need one?”
“Yes, but I’ve been thinking. It might be best, you know, to protect you.”
“Me? You’re the one with investments, profit sharing, and pensions. I’ll be out of a job when we marry.”
The company’s policy did not let married couples work together, so Louisa was already training her replacement.
“You’ll have no trouble getting another job,” he answered, which was no answer at all, of course. He moved to stare out the window, the one that showed a corner of the East River, if you craned your neck around the dark Con Edison plant.
“I’ll never make half your income.”
“Exactly. If we have a contract, you won’t have to worry about getting your fair share of my earnings, in case we get a divorce.”
“Howard, we’re not even married yet and you’re thinking about a divorce?” Louisa put her pen down and went to join him at the window.
“Don’t be ridiculous. I just want things to be above board, with no confusion.” He did not turn to meet her eyes, though.
Louisa put her arms around him from behind and rested her head against his back. “You do love me, don’t you, Howard?”
“Of course I do, sweetheart.”