Champagne Kisses A Timeless Love Story - Krista Lakes

Krista Lakes - The Kisses Series #3 - Champagne Kisses: A Timeless Love Story

Chapter 1

Present Day

The cursor blinked steadily on the laptop screen in front of me, but I barely saw the dark pixels repeatedly dimming against the stark whiteness. I couldn't focus on writing the memo Jack requested, or even the website I had up in the background. My thoughts weren't even organized or even actual thoughts; I was just letting nothingness sit in my brain. The blank thoughts were a pleasant respite from the emotions running through the house.

A hand settling on my shoulder roused me from my silent thoughts. Jack Saunders, my boss and friend, gave me a small smile.

"How's that memo coming, Rachel?" he asked.

I sighed. "It's not. What did the doctor say?"

Jack's face fell a little. He sat down at the kitchen table next to me and played with the edge of the big wooden table. I could have worked anywhere in the Saunders' mansion, but I preferred the kitchen's warmth and sunny feeling in the mornings. The big country-style table was comfortable and I could hear the sounds of the house without being disturbed. Big bay windows let in the morning sun, the leaves outside were just starting to turn orange and rust. I loved being in upstate New York in the fall.

"It's not looking good. He says it's probably only a matter of days at this point." His voice stayed even, but the sharp lines of his tightened jaw betrayed his anguish. I reached over and put my hand on top of his, sharing his pain. His hazel eyes stared out the window, but I knew he wasn't looking at the trees. Jack and his father had played football under those trees. I could almost see them now, the older Saunders man chasing his eldest son around, the two of them laughing in the orange light.

"Does Robbie know?" In my mind's eye, the younger brother joined Jack and his father. The two boys tackled the bigger man and all three of them rolled around in the leaves as their laughter echoed through the years. Although I was Jack's senior by sixteen years, they had occasionally let me join them. Jack and Robbie ran the ball against Daniel and I. Somehow, the boys always managed to win.

"He knows it's bad," Jack said. "I tried to call him, but he won't answer and he ditched his security again. Probably out on his boat." Jack tried to keep the anger out of his voice. Even though the two brothers looked similar, tall with sandy brown hair and strong features, they couldn't be more different. Jack's devotion to the company his father had started was in sharp contract to Robbie, who wanted nothing to do with being responsible for anything more than his boat.

"Don't be mad at him, Jack," I said. "This is hard for him, too," I said.

Jack mumbled something about Robbie really needing to grow up. I sighed. This was a common source of tension between the two brothers. Jack had been groomed for responsibility from the day he was born, whereas Robbie had been mostly left to his own devices. I always got the feeling that Mr. and Mrs. Saunders just never knew what to do with Robbie. Now the owner and CEO of DS Oil and Gas, Jack ran it with a sure hand, while the tabloids portrayed Robbie as a drunken playboy who spent all his time sailing. I knew the two brothers loved one another, but their different priorities made it difficult for them to agree on anything.

"Jack?" Emma's voice called from down the hallway. Jack straightened in his seat and turned as his beautiful wife entered the kitchen. "Jack, you left your phone in the study. It rang, so I answered for you. You're needed at the office."

Jack's shoulders sagged. I knew the last place he wanted to be was at the office, but the company was his responsibility. Emma came behind him and wrapped her arms around his shoulders, gently kissing his cheek. Her long, dark hair spilled across his shoulder as she loved on him. His lip twitched into a small smile after she whispered something in his ear. I honestly enjoyed watching them; I had witnessed their courtship from the day Jack had brought her to New York after meeting her on vacation.

Emma and Jack had met on a tropical beach vacation a little over a year and a half before. Unknown to everyone in the Saunders' family,