I’ll have big news for you tonight about The Beautician and the Billionaire at All Romance, so stay tuned…
Charisse knew her face flared in embarrassment, but Daddy turned away from her and stepped up to the podium. She gazed around the room as her father spoke, still gripping Conor’s hand. She saw several people who’d been at her last party and several she’d never met before. Becca and Daddy seemed to know each other, but she’d never met her. What a bitch. How could Conor be throwing a party for her?
Charisse sighed. Still, it could be worse. Her father could’ve made a scene. Instead, he was being surprisingly affable.
Next to her, she sensed Conor’s tension. He hadn’t exactly allowed Becca to push him around, but his reaction to her seemed tame. Maybe simply being his wife’s sister made him hold back.
When her father finished his speech, Conor turned and kissed her ear, sending sparks of pleasure around her head. He whispered, “Ten days in Puerto Rico, but not right away.”
She gazed up, and he stared back at her with apologetic eyes.
He said, “Just stay away from Becca. She hates me and will tell you lie after lie.”
“I don’t ever want to talk to her again.”
He winced and put his hand at the back of his head. “I’m giving her a party, and I want you with me. That’s why we can’t escape right away. We could stay a full two weeks if…”
To her surprise he appeared unsure, even shy. “If what?”
“If you want to stay with me beyond the three weeks…uhhhhhhh.”
The whole conversation had been whispered, but the moan of pain was louder. Conor leaned forward, landing on his elbow with a thud. Charisse’s hand was trapped in his grip, but she placed the other on his cheek.
“Conor, what’s wrong?”
Daddy, sitting on the other side of Conor turned around and said, “What happened?”
“Nothing, I’m fine,” said Conor, sitting up and blocking her view of her father. “I get migraines, and this one has caught me off guard.”
She heard her dad growl something about still giving a speech, but she ignored him. She wiggled her hand out of Conor’s and turned his palm up. Pinching the skin between his thumb and forefinger she said, “Take deep breaths.”
He inhaled and held his breath before he let it out slowly. The waiter put a plate of chicken and roasted vegetables in front of them while he breathed in again. She took his other hand and did the same thing.
“Where did you learn that?” he breathed out.
“I’ve taken some massage and reflexology classes. I hope to expand into a full treatment spa one day.”
“Thank you,” he said, withdrawing his hands. He cut into his chicken, and Charisse could tell the wall had gone up again. Too close.
She ached to tell him she wanted to be his girlfriend, but not at the banquet with all these people around. She stabbed a broccoli floret. Maybe she hadn’t been ready to get close to him before. The memories of Josh flooding her after sex scared her to the point that she hadn’t known what to do with herself. And maybe Conor wasn’t ready either. Getting a migraine after seeing his dead wife’s sister wasn’t exactly encouraging. It could be a coincidence, but the two events seemed connected.