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CarriAnn shot her husband a warning look. “It’s a little soon for that, Tommy.”

I wasn’t sure which annoyed me more: her assumption that I needed her to defend me, or his superior attitude when he replied, “I’m just trying to be helpful, Care. A little rebound action might be the best thing for him.”

I tried to ignore them both. I hadn’t wanted to come on this stupid cruise to begin with, but CarriAnn and Rebecca had bought the tickets last year. Rebecca cashed hers in a few months ago; hers, but not mine.

She’d been sleeping around on me that long, at any rate.

CarriAnn had a full itinerary of classes and parties and events and tours and God-knew-what-all planned out. Fortunately, she’s the kind of person who makes friends everywhere. Her social butterfly factor let me off the hook, but she worried about me. Or at least I assume that’s why Tommy invited himself along on my morning amble our second day at sea. For all his attitude, CarriAnn wore the pants in that family.

“Want a beer?” Tommy asked as we passed one of the bars.

“It’s 10 a.m., Tommy.”

Tommy shrugged. “So have a bloody mary if it makes you feel better. It’s five o’clock somewhere, bro.”

I tried not to grind my teeth and cursed the day he’d met my sister. “Look, why don’t you have one for me? I’m gonna grab my sketchbook and get some work done.”

“Who goes on a cruise to work?”

I was tired of pretending to be polite. I stalked back to my cabin and got my sketchbook, leaving him to follow me or not, as he pleased. He did, of course. Maybe CarriAnn was afraid I was going to throw myself overboard.

Like I would make things that easy for Rebecca.

I settled into the quietest corner of the ship I could find, a section of the sun deck near the bow. Tommy plopped down next to me, beer in hand, and murmured critiques of the sunbathers. Ignoring him as best I could, I started sketching the boat as a warm-up. There was peace in the simple act of putting lines on paper; I didn’t need to think, I just needed to see, and to put what I saw onto the page before me.

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