I'll Sleep When I'm Dead:Suncoast Society

By: Tymber Dalton

Arden’s been plagued by personal problems—none of them involving men. But when she waits on four hunky rich guys one night and they find out she’s studying computers, their job offer is the answer to her prayers.

Trace, Steve, Ken, and Hal have been best friends since they were college roommates. They’ve already successfully birthed and cashed out one start-up that made them rich, and moved to Florida to focus on replicating their accomplishment. They hope buying a house together will help them recapture their magic and avoid distractions, like dangerously meddling family and crazy exes. But Arden, their adorable motorcycle-riding assistant, doesn’t seem to understand how much she distracts them.

Then, a chance encounter at Venture gives the men a very bad—or very good—idea. And when Ken needs Arden’s help hiding his secret from family, the men decide the risk is worth it. Now, all they have to do is convince Arden she’s perfect for them.



Chapter One



Oh, what fresh heck is this?

The apartment complex manager, whose name Arden couldn’t recall because the dude had only been working there for two months, hurried over to her as she swung off her blue 1984 Honda Gold Wing GL1200 and removed her helmet.

The six fire trucks filling the complex’s parking lot that Tuesday night were another clue there was a problem. In the dark, their lights bounced off the buildings and cars in a crazy way. It was a little after eight, and she’d just finished working a twelve-hour shift at her main job, a restaurant at a hotel over on Siesta Key, and she felt completely wiped out.

“What happened?” she asked. As she scanned the building, she only saw smoke and soot marks by one second-floor unit on the opposite end of the building from hers. Several residents milled around in groups, but no one looked panic-stricken, fortunately.

“Apartment at the east end of the building caught fire. Wiring problem.”

“Was anyone hurt?”

“No, the tenant was home and put it out with a fire extinguisher.”

Whew! “Okay, good.” Her unit was at the far end and upper floor, but she couldn’t park in her usual space because of the fire trucks now sitting there.

“But the whole building has been red-tagged.”

“What?”

He wrung his hands. “They’ve ordered the power company to shut the electricity off to the whole building. When they were up in the attic looking around, the firemen found three places that had been smoldering for a while. I guess when the contractor ran the new fiber-optic cables last week, they stapled through some of the wires. Thank god they haven’t done the other buildings yet.”

“How’d the installers not get electrocuted?”

“I don’t know. I’m really sorry, but you can’t stay in your apartment. You can go in and get your things, but you can’t stay.”

It was starting to sink in now. “Uh, I don’t have any other place to go.”

“The Red Cross is on their way. They’ll be issuing temporary housing vouchers.”

“Wait a minute. Can’t you put me in another unit in a different building? I thought there were some vacant efficiencies? Move me into one of those.”

“I only had four, and they’ve already been claimed, sorry.”

Motherhumper.

She had early classes in the morning and had planned to spend the night studying. In her last semester at the State College of Florida, she almost had her BAS in technology management. Her unpaid internship at a local IT management firm was supposed to pay out by offering her a full-time position upon graduation.

So much for those plans for tonight, much less getting any sleep.

I guess I’ll sleep when I’m dead. “Do you have any idea how long we’ll be out of our apartments?”

“Not right now, no. I’ll call an electrician to come out tomorrow to do an inspection and give me an estimate then.”

Before she could ask any other questions, he hurried off to talk to another resident who drove up.

Frak.

She unlocked the trunk and pulled her cell phone out of her backpack.

It took her a moment to think about who she could call. No boyfriend she could stay with. She really didn’t have many close friends here in Sarasota, and she wasn’t about to call her family in Jacksonville. She knew a few people from Venture, and the local munch she’d started attending several months earlier, but she didn’t know anyone there well enough yet to ask if she could impose on them by spending a night or two on their couch.

As she was about to call a girl from her job at the restaurant, who she’d gone out with a couple of times to see movies, she spotted a large Red Cross box van pulling into the parking lot.