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Burn So Bright (Jupiter Point #2)

By´╝ÜJennifer Bernard

Burn So Bright (Jupiter Point #2)
        Author: Jennifer Bernard


Suzanne Finnegan always had a plan. And a backup plan-sometimes several. In her opinion, planning was essential for a happy life and for success in anything. Take the Y's Outdoor Education fundraiser she'd spent the past few weeks planning, and which was now drawing raves from the guests. Words like "spectacular," "sensational," and "fabulous" were wafting through the well-dressed crowd gathered on the grounds of the Jupiter Point Observatory. Every detail, from the damask tablecloths to the pink champagne flutes, was exactly how she'd imagined it.

Every detail except one. Logan, her fiancé, was once again missing in action.

She fixed her gaze on a red balloon, part of the bunch that marked the entrance to the kids' area. Not only was Logan missing, but he'd dropped a bombshell on her right before the start of the party. She'd had to shove it aside so she could focus on her job. But now that everything was underway, his shocking words kept flooding back to her.

Free pass. Free pass. FREE PASS???

"Okay, sweetie, this is getting dire. You have to stop glaring at your party guests." Evie McGraw, Suzanne's newly in love and disgustingly happy cousin, steered her behind a potted ponderosa pine. "What's going on with you? You've been planning this event for so long, and it came out great. You should be dancing a jig right now."

Suzanne could barely look at Evie. The glow of her joy was just too much. "I don't want to rain on your love parade, Evie. Just go be happy and don't worry about me."

Evie's silvery eyes widened. "Let me guess. Is it Logan?"

If she wasn't such a genuinely kind and compassionate person, it would be hard to be related to someone as beautiful as Evie. But Suzanne had very few family members who had actually stuck around in her life. So her relationship with Evie meant the world to her-more than Evie knew.

"You can skip the 'I told you so.'" Suzanne signaled to a passing waiter, who nodded as he headed to refill his tray of sushi rolls. "I'm sure it's just normal engagement jitters."

"I didn't say anything."

"It's written all over your face in big capital letters. I know you don't like Logan. Hang on." With an eagle eye on the area roped off for kids' games, she spoke into her little walkie-talkie to one of the other volunteers. "Someone needs to liven things up in the kids' area. They look like they just got assigned homework."

Evie raised her eyebrows. She was wearing a lilac linen sheath dress and had a camera slung over one shoulder. "So back to those jitters … "

Suzanne whooshed out a breath, wishing she could expel all the hurt in her heart with that one exhale. "I don't want you to be mad at him. That's my job." 

"I promise to try not to, is that good enough?"

Evie waited patiently, but Suzanne wasn't quite ready to spill her news yet. "Where's Sean?"

At the mention of her new boyfriend, Evie lit up. "He'll be here. They just got back from a fire in Utah this morning. They have to debrief, unload their gear, do inventory, all sorts of details like that. But they're planning to come."

"They?" A funny little jump of excitement twisted in her stomach. Sean Marcus, Evie's boyfriend, was the leader of the new wildfire crew that had just moved into Jupiter Point. Through Sean, Suzanne had gotten to know the other members a bit. Actually, one of them in particular had quickly made himself one of the most popular people in town. Josh Marshall's charm did nothing for her, of course. She had no idea why everyone liked him so much. All he did was joke around like a boy who'd never grown up. A six-foot-plus, blond-streaked, more-fun-than-should-be-legal boy.

"He's bringing a few of the guys, I'm not sure who."

Oh great, now she'd be wondering if and when Josh was going to show up. Ugh-never mind Josh. He wasn't her type of person. He wasn't serious about himself and his future.

Not like Logan, who was studying for the California Bar Exam and was sorting through job offers. And who had just knocked her world upside down.

"Have you ever heard of the concept of a 'free pass'?" Suzanne lowered her voice to pose the question to Evie, who was in the midst of framing up a photo of the strings of twinkle lights shaped like stars.

Evie clicked off a few shots. "In what sense?"

"Well, Logan just dropped this whole idea on me. He says that since we're getting married, and we're about to swear off all other sexual partners for life, we should agree to a free pass now, while we're still just engaged."