Welcome back! The date has gone downhill after the white rose, but clearly Conor wishes Charisse was there. What will Marie do?
This was all Charisse’s fault. Those hands, those incredible hands, had soothed away every barrier he put up to push through the day untouched by emotion. Charisse wasn’t supposed to have the magic touch Elise had had. No one should ever match Elise.
He should’ve just skipped the haircut and left after the shampoo. But he was in the habit of always paying back pain people caused him. By the end of the appointment, something told him that asking Marie out would be a blow to Charisse. And so he’d been a rat bastard. He had no interest in Marie. He was with the wrong sister. Guilt crept in again. He should just take Marie home.
He turned back to the room and saw her laughing and flirting with a man he didn’t even know. What the fuck? She was his date. She was supposed to keep up appearances for one night at least.
He strode over to them, glared at the man and gave a false smile to Marie. “Can I talk to you for a moment?”
He grabbed her elbow and led her back to the window without waiting for an answer. “What the hell are you doing?” he hissed.
“What the fuck do you care? You’re completely ignoring me, which makes me look like a bad date. I’m a damn good date, and I don’t need you ruining my reputation, billionaire or not.”
“And how does ignoring you make me look?”
“Like an ass.”
He weighed her words. Social invitations had slipped the past year. People were tired of him mourning. He had power and money, but most of it had been developed through social connections. If his network stagnated, so would his wealth.
He whispered, “You’re right. I’ve been a prick. Let’s play nice for a while, and then I’ll take you home with both our reputations the better for it.”
She gave a sort of sideways smirk before she grabbed his lapels and pulled him to her body for a kiss. His shaft stiffened when her hands ran down his back and grabbed his ass. She pressed up against him, but when he drew his arms around her, she stepped away.
“That’s a good start,” she said. “Who should we talk to first?”
He willed the burn of desire to fade. He hadn’t been celibate for three years, but he hadn’t sought out much sex either. Without emotional attachment, it wasn’t much better than using his hand. But he got the feeling Marie would be different.
No. He wouldn’t go there. He’d drop Marie off at home later and demand the Magritte from Roy. He wouldn’t say a word about owning the building or ask why Roy was a silent partner in Charisse’s salon.
His mind drifted back to Chariss’s touch. He wanted to be her partner. She’d already proven she had business acumen. She just needed a few changes here and there to make her salon the talk of New York City.
What the hell was he thinking? Spending time with Charisse even as a business partner would be a disaster.
He drew his focus back to Marie. “Let’s talk to the Sandovals. He has a shit ton of money tied up in one of my companies.”
She grinned like she’d at last cornered her prey. He held his arm out for her. Confusion spun through him as she slipped her hand through his elbow. Charisse was the sister he truly desired, but Marie had her own assets he couldn’t deny wanting.
And Marie was with him now while Charisse was back at the apartment probably still thinking of him as a rat bastard.
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