Dark eyes skim over my face, and Eva purses her lips. There’s no current of flirtation between us now. The night I stole her from the Morelli Mansion, we were a team. It was us against the world. Now there’s an ache in my chest like my heart has been stabbed, repeatedly, with one of the dinner forks.
“I’ve been well, Finn. Thanks.”
It’s so dismissive it kills me. More than dismissive. This is polite avoidance from Eva Morelli. She’s probably still pissed at me.
“Any plans for the holidays?”
Eva looks away, holding her champagne glass close to her body. There’s about an inch in the glass. She doesn’t take a sip. “I’d imagine we’ll have the usual get-togethers.”
“I’m available to help with the mince pies.” I’ll never forget working with her in the big kitchen at the Morelli Mansion. She wouldn’t stop until everything was perfect. I just wanted an excuse to be near her.
She gives a short, shallow laugh. “We’ll have that under control. I wouldn’t want you to lose any sleep over it. You should enjoy the holidays to the fullest.”
Elsewhere, she means. Not at the gala hosted by her family. Not with her.
This is more than Eva being distant. She’s being…cagey. Vague on the details. Making a point of discouraging me from coming anywhere close.
Is she dating someone else?
Jealousy rises. It’s ridiculous for me to be jealous, but I am. I saw Alex Langley among the guests. That was probably Sarah Morelli’s doing. Eva’s not interested in him.
But the fact is, someday she will be with someone. And I’ll have to watch.
I’ll have to watch her be conspiratorial with him and familiar with him and happy with him.
I’ll have to watch until I don’t.
“The champagne’s flowing freely tonight. You must have figured out a way to make sure you never run out.”
Her eyes come back to mine, and there it is. The sparkle I saw there on the night I asked her out. The heat. And yes, the happiness. It’s gone in an instant, but I saw it.
I can feel it between us. It’s like a physical pull. I want to take her hand and tug her out of the Met and into my car. Maybe if I went through the steps we took that night, found her someplace illicit and hidden to take her, we could get that feeling back.
Because it was building. It was becoming something strong and unshakable and goddamn delicious.
“Finn.” Sarah Morelli sweeps in, obvious delight on her face. “We were so sorry to hear your father wasn’t feeling well. I trust he recovered, if you’re here?”
“Yes, absolutely.” I lean down to kiss her cheek. “He insisted that I come tonight. You don’t let a woman like Sarah Morelli down, he said.”
Sarah laughs, dismissing this with a wave even as her face flushes. “Of course you’re here for Eva. Breathtaking, isn’t it? I think she’s surpassed me at hosting events.”
“She could only do that because she learned from the best.” I wink at Sarah. “One detail got overlooked, though. She hasn’t asked me to dance.”
“Eva, you must. This is the best wedding of the season. Let’s toast, and then you’ll take your fiancée to the dance floor.”
“Oh, no thank you, Mama.”
Sarah rolls her eyes, smiling. “You and your newfound sobriety. It’s all right to relax a little once the speeches are over, Eva.”
Eva hasn’t taken a single sip of her champagne. Awareness whispers across the back of my neck like a woman blowing on a pair of dice.
Something else is going on here.
The music kicks up in volume. Eva hands off her champagne glass to Sarah like she’s been caught out with it. “I like this song,” she says, her tone bright and cheery and fake. “You’re right. We should dance.”
She takes my hand and pulls me onto the dance floor.
Eva Morelli is hiding something.
Whether that’s a new boyfriend, I haven’t the faintest clue. All I know is that I’m being led onto the dance floor for a reason.
I know it, but I don’t make any move to stop her. It feels too damned good to have my hand in hers. It’s a balm to put my hand on her waist and pull her close.
It feels too good.
“I know you’re doing this to distract me,” I murmur against her temple.
Eva curls her fingers through mine, finding the beat of the song. “Is it working?”
About the author:
Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of dangerous romance. Her books have sold over one million copies. She makes her home in Texas with her loving family, sweet dogs, and evil cat.