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“But . . . I was thinking like dinner and a movie,” she said hesitantly. “Where do your parents live, anyway?”

“Mendocino. Ever been?”

“No,” she said.

“It’s about four hours north and beautiful. You’ll like it. There are forests and beaches and hippies.”

“Four hours?”

“Hey, you never said how long the date had to be,” he said. Circling his arms around her waist, he placed his mouth next to her ear and teased, “Besides, this will give us a chance to really get to know each other. Who knows, after this weekend, we might decide we actually hate each other.”

Eve hesitated, and he read the doubt in her eyes, sure she was about to say no.

“Okay. But I need ten minutes to get things squared away, and then I’ve got to go home and pack.”

Oliver hadn’t known he’d been holding his breath until it whooshed out shakily.

“I’ll wait as long as it takes.”

IT HADN’T TAKEN long for Eve to find Megan, and when Eve had made her request, she’d gotten the reaction she expected.

“I’m sorry, can you speak into my good ear?” Megan said. “Because I’m pretty sure you just said you’re taking off on a spontaneous, romantic adventure and want to leave me here to handle your crap.”

Eve held her binder and planner out to Megan. “Here is everything you need to run this thing. Everyone has been paid and knows to break down at four. You just have to stand around and look pretty.”

“It sounds like you’re dumping an assload of responsibility on me and expecting me to do that charming Vanna White thing you do.” Megan waved her hand along the length of her body. “Do I look like Vanna?”

“No, you look like my best friend, my only hope, and basically my everything

,” Eve said. “Please, I promise that if you ever get the chance to run off with a guy, I will do everything in my power to help!”

“I’m holding you to that,” Megan said. With a sigh, she held out her hands for Eve’s stuff.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you.” Eve gave her a crushing hug.

“I expect every last gory detail, and you’re buying my coffee for a month,” Megan yelled, but Eve was already running toward the parking lot.

“Totally worth it!” Eve shouted over her shoulder. Frustrated with her heels, she kicked them off and picked them up, running barefoot across the grass until she made it to the edge of the parking lot. There was no way she was going to risk slicing the bottom of her feet on a rock or glass, so she slipped the heels back on and maneuvered as fast as she could to her car.

The incredibly nervous, neurotic side of her was clawing up her insides, trying desperately to give her every reason why this was completely crazy, but it was futile. Every other emotion was being outweighed by the extreme, over-the-moon happiness soaking her entire being.

Oliver was serious about her, there was no doubt. He was definitely not the type of guy to bring home every girl he was interested in to meet his parents.

Did she still have her worries and reservations? Yes, but for one weekend, she was going to put them on the back burner and live. Just be.

She could do that without her planner, right?

Eve saw Oliver leaning against his car, which was parked next to hers, and a smile so wide it hurt spread across her face.

She was definitely going to give it a shot.

AN HOUR LATER, Oliver sat in the car with Beast waiting for Eve to grab some things from her apartment. But she was taking a long-ass time. Pulling the keys out of the ignition, Oliver stepped out, reaching back in for Beast’s harness and leash. They walked up the steps, and he knocked on the door she’d gone into.

No answer.

Trying the knob, he found it unlocked and pushed the door open.

Considering how immaculately dressed and groomed Eve always was, he was surprised to find that her apartment looked like a tornado had blown through it and left a couple frat brothers behind to create more chaos. Clothes covered nearly every surface. An empty bottle of wine lay on top of the coffee table along with several diet-soda cans. Take-out containers were scattered across the kitchen counters, and he could have sworn he saw something growing on some of the dirty dishes popping up out of the sink.