Collin gritted his teeth and turned to Marino, the veins on his neck bulging. “I’m waiting for her outside this door, and if I get the slightest inclination she doesn’t want to be here, I’m coming in to get her.”
Marino laughed and waved his hand to the door. “The time starts as soon as you leave.”
Collin stood with his hand on the doorknob, searching my face.
Go I mouthed, my back still to Marino.
Collin stormed out and slammed the door shut behind him, and the force caused a faded picture with dogs playing poker to shake against the wall.
I spun around, my heart hammering a staccato of fear. “My two minutes starts now.”
“No need to worry, Ellie. I only want to talk. I’m curious.”
Talking was good. I could do talking. “About what?”
“What is Collin Dailey’s interest in you?”
“It’s a family thing.”
“You’re related then? You’re not together?”
“Not exactly to which question?”
He grinned and moved closer. “You’re telling me that you’re not fucking Dailey?”
I flinched. “That’s a rude way to put it.”
“Ellie, Collin only fucks women. He never gets into a relationship with them, and he sure as hell never loves them. So why is he so protective of you?”
None of what Marino said surprised me, but his bluntness caught me off guard.
“I told you. It’s a family thing. He feels obligated.”
Marino shook his head. “The only person Collin Dailey feels obligated to is Collin Dailey. If he’s not fucking you, and he’s keeping you with him, then you must have something he considers valuable.”
While that was true, I was sure Marino would never guess what Collin really wanted, and I wasn’t going to be the one to tell him.
“One minute,” Collin shouted through the door.
Marino turned his head to the side, narrowing his eyes. “Fascinating.” Excitement filled his eyes.
My breath hung in my throat. “What?”
“The man outside that door is not behaving like the man I know. Why?”
“I have no idea. He’s only helping me sell my candlesticks.”
He laughed. “You’re liar. A good one, but Collin gives you away. If he wants you so badly, that makes you incredibly desirable.” He reached his hand to my cheek and slid it down to my throat.
I took a step backward. “You think he loves me?”
He laughed again. “Hell no. I told you Collin doesn’t love women. He’s only capable of loving himself, but you have something that he’ll risk his own life for and that, my darling, is intriguing. I want to know what it is.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Dropping his hand, he studied me again. “I think you do. This is about the Ricardo deal, isn’t it?”
My eyes widened in surprise. What was he talking about?
Marino’s grin spread across his face. “I knew it.”
The door burst open and Collin filled the doorway. “Time’s up. Let’s go, Ellie.”
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states and ten houses over the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English and smattering of Spanish and Chinese which she learned through an intensive Nick Jr. immersion period. Her hobbies include witty Facebook comments (in own her mind) and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you believe her offspring.) Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks. She has six children and hasn’t lost her sanity. Or so she leads you to believe.
You can find out more about Denise and her other books at: www.denisegroverswank.com.
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