The Perfect Getaway (The Perfect Stranger #5) by Charlotte Byrd



I'm not sure where to start. I don't know how all of this happened. She showed up in Seattle and suddenly my whole life changed and got turned upside down.

Of course, this is not just because of her. There are a lot of things in motion leading up to this point but now it feels like everything that I have worked for is starting to disappear once again.

When Isabelle and I are together, it's magic.

I don't mean just physically, but also emotionally. Just being in her presence puts my mind at ease. Even though I probably shouldn’t be that way.

It's not fair to compare her to anyone else or to compare anyone else to her, but I can't help myself.

I dated Rachel and it was fine. We had a good time. We had fun.

There just wasn’t this invisible force pushing us together and it didn't feel like the world might stop spinning on its axis just because wasn’t with me.

I didn't know it at the time, but I suspect that she felt the same way. There's a man in her life who has been an on and off again boyfriend for many years.

It was supposed to be over now and they were just friends, but then I found those text messages and I knew that they had been intimate.

I was angry, of course, but more disappointed in myself. The problem was that I didn't really care. I didn't really care about her and I didn't really care that she was cheating on me.

Why was I making all these plans?

Why was I not even entertaining the possibility of moving in with her or marrying her or building my life with her?

What will be the point of all of that?

What was the point of all that?

I had already been with someone who didn't understand me the way that Isabelle does, so why was I doing that again?

The only way to answer that question is to come to the understanding that I believed that I would never see Isabelle again.

I started a new life, with a new identity. Rachel was a part of all of that. So was the Elliott Marina and Hotel.

I bought this place from Mr. Elliott and I promised him that I would keep running all parts of it together as one company. I would not sell the restaurants to the restaurateurs and I would not sell the hotel to the hoteliers.

That's what his sons wanted to do.

That's what his sons are trying to do now.

My ownership of this place is in danger and might be reversed. I have a meeting next week with the judge, my attorney, the Elliott sons, and their attorneys.

They’re arguing that their father was not in the right mind to sell me this place. They’re arguing that their father was always a man who made all decisions based on financial gain and therefore this decision doesn't make any sense.

My attorney tells me not to worry, but I can see the uncertainty in his eyes. I paid almost $20 million for this place, but it would be worth a lot more if it were sold off for parts.

The hotel needs a whole renovation that's going to cost millions. I was planning on getting a loan against the marina, but my attorney put a stop to all of that.

Rachel knows all of this. After I broke up with her, Isabelle came back into my life and I had no idea that Rachel would walk in on us. She's angry at me.

She's embarrassed and humiliated.

I wish that there were something that I could do to change any of this, but I know that I didn't do anything wrong.

I didn't cheat on her. We were not together. She was the one who cheated on me.

She kicked Isabelle in the back and pushed her down to the ground. I had to physically restrain her and pull her off of her.

I'm tempted to punch her as well, but I keep my hands to myself. I won’t put my hands on a woman in anger and Isabelle wouldn’t want me to do that.

I have never seen this side of Rachel before. She was always so confident and easy-going.

Then again, she has never wanted anything that she couldn’t have.

She has worked hard for a lot of things that she has achieved, but everything has always worked out for her.

Of course, she and Michael have had a tumultuous relationship, but I wasn’t there for that.

I fold Rachel's arms into herself and usher her out of the cabin onto the deck of the boat. In order for her to get up safely, she needs to climb off herself, but she continues to protest and yell at me.

I remain calm and collected which seems to just make her more upset.

After throwing out a few more slanderous words in my direction, she collects herself and takes a deep breath.

“Oliver, I'm really sorry. I should not have done that. I don't know what came over me.”