Hello! I hope everyone in the states is having a good Memorial Day. I hope the rest of the world is having a good Monday. Secretly, Monday is my favorite day of the week, but I haven’t found many people who agree with me.
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Please stop by All Romance for the great deals!
And now, on with Episode 9:
Charisse dropped to the bed. Conor had a pleading look in his eyes like he’d done something wrong.
“What do you mean?” she asked.
He sucked in his cheeks. “I hired a private investigator to find Gianna.”
Charisse blinked at him, uncomprehending.
“He found her in Puerto Rico, so I tried to bring her back. That’s where I was last week. I felt I needed to prove to you I wasn’t the kind of guy who would kill his wife. I thought if I could reunite you with your mom, you’d believe me when I told you it was an accident.”
He stared at her like he thought she’d be mad at him. She wasn’t mad. At least not at him.
“You said your ‘grand gesture’ didn’t work out. Why?”
Conor paled, making his eyes look too bright. He placed one hand on her knee and the other at her back. “I just think she was surprised.”
“So she talked to you. What did she have to say for herself?”
He let out a long sigh. “We didn’t talk much. She was angry at me for finding her. She kicked me out of the cafe.”
“Did you tell her I wanted to see her?”
Sadness sunk into his eyes. “I told her you didn’t know I was there. She didn’t let me say much else.”
Confused and upset, she rubbed her hands over her face. He pulled her to him and held her while thoughts and emotions swirled together. She wondered what she’d done to make her mother stay away for so long.
He stroked her hair and said, “I’m sure I just took her by surprise.”
“I wish she wasn’t here,” she said flatly, pulling away. “I don’t want to see her now. But I want to see Daddy and Marie. If he’d died while we were still fighting…” she broke off the sentence and swallowed a sob.
“I’ll go with you,” said Conor.
Charisse shook her head. “I’d really like you there, but you and Daddy don’t exactly get along.” She tried to laugh as she swiped a tear from her cheek. “And I don’t want to be a distraction from your job. Maybe when you get back he’ll be well enough to come over to your penthouse for dinner.”
He took her hand. “To our penthouse for dinner.”
She gazed into his eyes and tried to smile. She almost told him to stay. But Daddy hated him, and her mother…well, she really didn’t know what happened there. She’d sort through her family stuff while he was gone and hopefully not scare him away from starting a family with her.
Conor hugged Charisse tightly in front of the sedan outside the cottage. His heart broke for her—she just couldn’t get a break. “Let me come with you.” He tried one more time to get her to agree but knew it was futile.
She tried to pull away, but he pressed her head against his shoulder. She said, “When you get back, we’ll get together with Daddy…”
“We will. He’s a tough bastard.”
“You must think my whole family is crazy. I don’t even know anything about yours.”
A breeze blew around them, rattling the roses against the windows of the house. Raul was in the driver’s seat, allowing them a private goodbye.
“My parents live in Virginia, and they are going to adore you. My sister just had a baby this summer and was planning to visit in October. I usually host Christmas, but this year everyone wanted it back at Mom and Dad’s. We’re pretty boring compared to your family.”
Charisse gave a deep sigh, and her body melted against his. “I could use some boring right now.”
He put his fingers under her chin and tilted her face up to his. After a long kiss he said, “I’d tell you to take off work, but I know you won’t. At least let me arrange the mimosas and cinnamon rolls for the celebration you wanted Tuesday. You need a little celebration.”
Her arms tightened around him as she kissed him again. “Thank you. That would be perfect.” She stepped back, and this time he let her go. “You’ll be back Saturday?”
“I’ll be back sooner if I can.”
“I love you.”
“I love you too.”
He smiled as he opened the front passenger door for her and helped her in. She’d said she didn’t want to be alone in the back, but Conor suspected she wanted to talk to Raul about Gianna. He’d offered Raul the week off, but he refused.
As soon as they left, Conor’s smile switched to a frown. There was no way in hell he was going to China. He’d give her today and tomorrow with her family while he planned a big celebration for her salon on Tuesday. Of course he’d cancel it if something happened to Roy or if Charisse’s health became a problem again. He hated that he still didn’t know what was going on with her health.
Taking out his phone, he punched his lawyer’s number. He had to make arrangements, and there’d be a lot of late night teleconferences this week, but that’s how it had to be. Charisse was more important.