“Tired?” Simon asks with a knowing smile.
“A bit,” I reply with a nod. “And the view is incredible.”
“No kidding,” Shelly says with an annoying giggle, and I realize she thinks I’m talking about Simon.
For fuck sake.
“Actually, I was talking about the mountains,” I add, stifling a laugh when Heidi knocks her knee against mine. “The views here are unreal. When I saw that the conference was to be held in Montana, I just figured we’d be in the boonies, on a dude ranch or something with no wifi and hunting and gathering our food ourselves. I had no idea that this existed.”
“It’s one of my favorite places in the world,” Simon replies with one of his insane smiles. Seriously, he smiles and the room lights up. He’s changed into a casual blue T-shirt that hugs his shoulders and reveals the sleeve of tattoos down his left arm. In all of his public appearances, he wears long sleeves, covering the ink. It’s sexy as hell, not to mention the lean muscle there. His dark hair is disheveled from pushing his fingers through it all day, and his eyes look a bit tired, too. “Where are you from, Charly? Is that the South I hear in your voice?”
I grin. “Louisiana,” I confirm. “I’m from New Orleans.”
“Another of my favorite places,” he replies with a wink.
“Oh, I love it there too,” Shelly says. “What do you do there?”
“I own a shoe store.” I grin at the waitress as she fills my water glass.
“Well, that wouldn’t suck,” Heidi says and glances down at my feet. “I admired your shoes all day.”
“How long have you done that?” Simon asks, listening intently.
“Six years,” I reply. “But I’ve lived there all my life.”
He nods, and I can see in his eyes that he has more questions, but he shifts the focus to someone else, to my relief.
“And where are you from, Heidi?”
“Arizona,” she replies and begins telling us about her business raising assistance dogs. She pulls her phone out to show us photos, and I melt.
“Aww, what a sweet baby,” I croon when she shows me the yellow lab puppy she’s working with now. “Puppies are the best.”
“I think so too,” Heidi agrees. Dinner is surprisingly fun. We spend the next hour chatting about our homes, what we do, and things that interest us. Simon is funny and charming, easily deflecting Shelly’s blatant flirtations.
He’s professional. I assume he comes down and has dinner with a different group of women from the retreat each night. It’s a nice touch.
I wonder how many he sleeps with.