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The Interview: Chapter 13

MIMI

“You’ve barely touched your champagne.”

“I’m not really much of a drinker,” I say for the third time tonight, the first time being at the restaurant when El tried to top up my glass. Now we’re in the club of the moment after a delicious (and very expensive-looking) dinner. The kind of expensive with a menu that doesn’t include prices.

“But it’s vintage,” El persists.

“I’d rather have a soda,” I murmur as his attention turns to his own glass.

I’m pretty sure El is just trying to be hospitable, not get me drunk. He’s been a gentleman the whole night. He’s opened doors for me, walked closest to the curb, and insisted on picking up the check, which I appreciated but didn’t like a whole lot. Even if going Dutch meant selling a kidney on the organ market. But I only agreed to come out with him tonight as friends, and El had pretty much stuck to that script. So far, at least.

We’re seated upstairs in what I’m told is the VIP area. It’s pretty swish; bloodred velvet banquet seating with tables dotted around made from golden spheres cut in half and upended. Huge, tubular chandeliers provides ambient lighting, the servers’ glittery minidresses catching the light like mirrored disco balls.

A girl in little more than a bikini, gold chains, and spiked-heel thigh-high boots struts past the table, El’s eyes, and almost his tongue, following in her wake.

I can’t help but laugh—I’m not offended—but tug self-consciously at the hem of my dress anyway. Black and short (thigh length, not ass grazing), it’s the most daring thing I own. Despite being long-sleeved, it cuts across my collarbones, and where the skirt and top meet, the fabric is slashed. You can’t really see skin unless I move. But I thought I’d looked the part—my hair tied back in what I like to call my sexy assassin ponytail, heels, and earrings that look like drops of silver rain. I thought I looked stylish and sophisticated. But I’d forgotten I live in London, not Tampa.

This dress is like a spot of Amish in a sea of Baywatch.

But who parties in a little more than a bikini?

I’m gonna need to do some window shopping to get a sense of the style vibes of London.

“The music’s banging, right?” El’s head moves in time to the beat of the ambient dance track as his gaze travels over the heads of those on the dance floor below. The executive DJ in a silver dinner jacket and jeans is doing his thing, his minions moving to the magic he weaves. Magic. Noise. I don’t really care for it. I can count on my fingers the number of times I’ve been in a club, given the experience was one my parents frowned upon.

Too dangerous. Too risky. Those places aren’t exactly calming spaces, Mimi.

I don’t at all feel excitable. I also don’t think I’ve missed much.

Huh. Maybe it’s not the dancers El is looking at, but the podium girls. Podium girls dress in mirrored bikinis, athletically swinging around poles.

I feel the weight of El’s gaze and glance his way and realize I didn’t answer. “Yeah, it’s amazing.” It’s giving me a banging headache, anyway.

The music reaches a crescendo as a cloud of glittery, golden confetti flutters down from the ceiling. I’d hate to be part of the cleaning crew tomorrow. Of course, that thought slides like keys on a chain to how I’d ended up in the supply closet with Whit last night.

It was… everything.

And it was nothing.

And it’s the reason I’m here with El right now. Not for revenge or a make-the-man-jealous attempt. I guess I’m just craving company over my thoughts right now.

“Who tucks you in at night?”

“Sorry?” El’s voice pulls me from my musing.

“It’s the music.” He lifts a finger. “The lyrics, at least. You were miles away.”

“Yeah.” I smile my apology. “My mind drifted off for a minute.”

“So who tucks you in at night?”

“At the minute, my elderly Aunt Doreen.”

“What?” The word is more chuckle than anything else.

“I just mean that’s who I’m living with.” The words fall quickly as discomfort stings my cheeks. She doesn’t tuck me in, of course, but that’s not to say I don’t know that she pops her head into my room at least once during the night. I also know who put her up to it. My parents would have me wired up to a monitor 24/7 if they thought I would go for it. Like it would even stop—

Stop.

Those are not now thoughts. Those are later thoughts.

“Working for Leif must be a tough gig,” El says in a not-so-gentle segue.

“No, not really.” I tip my head to the side and give it a tiny shake. “Why do you say that?”

“He’s my brother. I love him, but he’s not exactly what you’d call relaxed.”

“I guess in his position you can’t afford to be.” But I think it’s more than the job. I can’t help but notice how often his family calls him. Not just Lavender last night. Working within hearing distance of him, I’m privy to most of his phone calls. He gets a lot of work calls, but he also gets a lot from his family. Questions to ask. Favors to grant. Help to dish out. It’s mainly from the youngest of the three, but that’s not to say El and Brin don’t cause him concern either, though it mostly relates to work.

He’s always there for them. Like last night, when his phone rang during the hottest moment of my life. Am I feeling salty about it? Yep. In a purely selfish way. The hottest moment of my life, remember? But then later, it reminded me how much I miss Connor, too.

So I got over myself. I respect that Whit has taken on that role, that he takes his responsibilities seriously. He’s the head of his family. The person they all lean on when they need a crutch.

As his phone had begun to buzz, we’d disentangled, and he’d slipped it from his back pocket. The illuminated screen just seemed to etch resignation into his face. He’d answered the call, stepping from the supply closet and leaving me inside to compose myself. Maybe he realized I needed the shelves behind me a little longer because they were the only thing holding me up, the residual energy of my almost-orgasm had sapped the strength right out of my legs. My chest heaved like I’d been running, and my thoughts were nothing but tattered remains. Initially, when I heard the echo of a woman’s voice from his phone, I’d wanted to cry. I felt about three inches tall. Another woman minutes after kissing me, after saying he couldn’t wait to taste me. The woman sounded hysterical, and for the briefest of moments, I wondered if it had something to do with me. And the closet. But then Whit had said Lavender’s name, and I realized I’d gotten it all wrong.

What are you still doing in here?” He’d appeared in the doorway, phone still in hand.

I didn’t want to pry.”

Come on out.” He’d held out his hand, his tone resigned. “I’m sorry,” he murmured, pulling me against him. “Lavender is drunk and…” He sighed and dropped his forehead to my crown. “I have to go and sort it out.”

And that had been that.

No talk of what just happened. No promises of later. But at least he didn’t apologize. And he’d made sure I wouldn’t be molested on my way home.

“Yeah, I suppose.” El lifts his champagne flute to his lips. “It’s a tough gig but someone’s got to do it.”

“Being the eldest brother?”

“Nah, being Mr. Rich and Successful. Men want to be him.” He sighs. “Women want to be with him.”

“I’m sure you’re no slouch.” My gaze flicks over him. El is one good-looking man. Fair-haired and tan, he’s probably fun to be around. When you’re in the right mood. His suit is well-tailored, and his personality seems pretty uncomplicated.

I bet he wouldn’t leave me in a supply closet, I think to myself. It’s not a very complimentary assessment. For him, at least. Maybe I’m not wired right for casual relationships because a man who steps up to fill his father’s shoes in his siblings’ lives, a man who puts his loved ones first, is the stuff of dreams. If not fantasies. He’s spent the eight years fathering his siblings, which I guess must be a little like herding cats, thanks to the sheer number. No wonder he likes people to do as they’re told.

I’d like to volunteer as tribute, Daddy!

Not wired right for casual, my mind repeats. In truth, I’m not wired right at all.

“Well, you are sitting here with me and not him.” I come back to the conversation, turned off by Brin’s edge of smugness.

“As friends,” I remind him. “I just moved here. I’m not interested in relationships.”

“Not all relationships have to be serious, Mimi. Hooking his ankle to his knee, he spreads his arms along the back of the low sofa. I guess that’s what you’d call a nonverbal invitation. And the look he sends me speaks volumes. But then he jerks forward in his seat, his foot dropping to the floor. “What the fuck?” he mutters quietly. “Speak of the devil, and the fucker will appear.”

“What?” I turn my head over my shoulder, following the direction of his gaze. He can’t mean—

I inhale a tiny, sharp breath. Is that Whit coming out of the crowd? Dark hair gleams under a flash of light as security steps aside to let him pass. My stomach swoops because, oh my God, it is Whit. A form-fitting dark suit and shirt, his jaw covered in equally dark stubble. As he makes his way toward us, everything inside me begins to flutter. He is so, so infinitely gorgeous, like he just stepped from the set of a fancy cologne commercial. Debonair top notes, base notes of something forbidden and sinfully sexy. Hot. So hot. And the way he’s looking at me? Sets those flutters to pulse. But my excitement is short-lived as I realize this commercial is a couples shoot, and the redhead on his arm is so beautiful.

“What are you doing here?” El frowns as the couple wing their way around the table, the gorgeous redhead’s arms stretching out, pre hug. Or maybe not as one of her hands curls around his shoulders, the other a poked finger between his brows.

“I could almost sit on that,” she says with a laugh.

Ohh. Do the brothers, like, share? That was kind of familiar and maybe a little—

“Not the size of your arse,” El swipes her hand away as he steps back. “You’d smother me.

The redhead’s eyes tighten at the corners. “Tempting,” she retorts. “You were obviously wrong, Whit. Of course he’s pleased to see us.” She glances back at him, and I find myself doing the same. With a start, I realize he’s looking at me. No, he’s not looking at me. He’s drinking me in, and the whole thing feels like a prelude suddenly.

“I don’t know, Heather.” His lids drop, shuttering the effect as he straightens his cuffs. Dark French cuffs with silver cuff links, the hint of a leather-strapped watch peeking from beneath it. “That looks like a frown to me.”

The redhead’s sleek and straight hair moves like a shampoo commercial as she shakes her head. “Nope, that’s just his Neanderthal brow, the primitive being he is.”

“Piss off, Heath.”

“Nice to see you too, dearest Sorrel.”

El’s frown deepens. He really doesn’t like his name. “What are you two doing here?”

“I wanted to go dancing, and Archer didn’t. Whit offered to come in his place.”

“You don’t dance,” he retorts flatly.

“That’s never stopped me from busting a few moves before.” She makes an adorably uncoordinated krumping move with her arms.

“And you hate clubs.” He points an accusing finger Whit’s way.

“I’m just being a good brother,” Whit answers mildly.

“One out of four aren’t great odds,” the redhead says before turning her attention to me. “Hello!” She holds her hand out over the table. “You must be Mimi.”

“Er, yeah.” As my hand meets hers, she gives it a no-nonsense shake.

“I’m Heather. Another of the Whittington brood.” She slices a look El’s way. “Budge up.” El just stands there. Heather tuts. “El, move.” Without waiting, she pushes between him and the table, sliding in next to me. “I’ve been dying to meet the woman who’s stepped into Jody’s capable clogs.”

“Crocs.” The word is propelled from my mouth as Whit lowers himself into the chair opposite me. His eyes fall over me, making me feel as though my innermost thoughts are exposed. Dirty thoughts. Flashes of last night mixed with those from my imagination.

“Hello, Mimi,” his low voice rumbles. “Fancy seeing you here.”

“Ditto.” It’s all I can manage. I’ve never been happier to be in a club as I am right now. Obviously, because Whit’s here, but also because of the low lighting, he can’t tell I’ve gone beet red. And my cheeks aren’t the only part of my body that’s heated. And I’m not sure my parents’ assumptions were wrong because my heart feels like it might burst from my rib cage at any moment.

“Really?”

I turn my attention to Heather’s distasteful expression, then remember what we were talking about. Crocs. “Jody said it was because of pregnancy cankles. She left a pair of them under her desk.”

“I hope you sprinkled them in salt and burned them.” She glances down at her own shoes. They’re red and sparkly with spiked heels. “It’s enough to put you off ever experiencing the blessed state,” she adds, twisting one foot this way, then that admiringly.

Kids? Not touching that. “Your shoes are so pretty.”

“Thank you. They are lovely, aren’t they?” Heather smiles down at her feet. “My husband bought them for me. I call them my Dorothy Gale slippers.” She clicks her heels together. “Because there really is no place like home.” I don’t miss the look she and Whit exchange. “I’m not here to dance, really.” Mischief dances in her gaze as Heather glances my way. “I’m here to make sure El is treating you properly.”

“Properly?” I sound pretty amused.

“To make sure he’s not trying to get into your knickers.”

“What?” I press a hand to my mouth to suppress a giggle.

“Panties?” She scrunches her nose and gives her head a quick shake. “I prefer knickers. I think the word sounds a bit more regal, don’t you think?”

“I’ve never really…”

“Anyway, I’m here to keep an eye on him.” She dips her head El’s way. “Polly sanctioned. If this were a regency romance, El would be the family rake.”

“A what?” El demands.

“The cad—the bounder.”

“Oi!” El protests indignantly. “I’m not. At least, I’m no worse than Brin.”

“That doesn’t exactly recommend either of you.”

“What about the dark horse over there?” El asks unhappily, nodding to the eldest of the Whittington brood.

“What about him?” she asks sweetly.

“I should’ve known you wouldn’t have any beef with old golden balls.”

“Old and golden.” Whit glances Heather’s way. “Should I be worried about his fixation with my nutsack?”

Heather barks out a laugh, and El drags his unhappy gaze her way again. “It didn’t stop you from marrying Archer.”

“Archer’s reputation was overstated,” she answers tartly. “He’s a reformed character. A happily married man.”

“I can’t see how, considering he married you.”

Heather slides me a look that speaks volumes. Kind of, see what I’ve saved you from?

“I was being perfectly well-behaved,” El protests. “I’ve treated Mimi like a sister all night.”

Well…

“That’s quite a broad scope of works,” Heather murmurs, sliding her hand over a wrinkle in her own little black dress. “In my experience, that could mean anything from a noogie to emotional blackmail.” She turns my way. “He hasn’t tried to fart on your head, has he?”

“Heather,” El moans, aggrieved.

Meanwhile, I snort-laugh as I shake my head. Too late, I press my hand to my mouth as though to cover the horrible sound.

“Oh, good. A normal one,” Heather announces happily.

“That noise was anything but normal,” I assert, still laughing.

“If you’d had to endure the standard of dates my brothers have introduced me to, you wouldn’t argue. I like this one.” She turns to Whit, tipping her head my way.

“I have been on my best behavior,” El mutters belligerently.

“And I maintain your best behavior still leaves a lot to be desired.”

“Am I supposed to sit here and take this?” El’s attention swings to his brother who, I notice, is drumming a tattoo with his fingers on the arm of the chair. He stops, flattening his hand against the velvet. “When have you ever asked my permission for anything?”

Permission for what? To ask me out?

The brothers trade a look that speaks of a language only siblings can understand. Despite the hilarious conversation, it seems Whit is not happy.

“Well, I think I’ll have a drink,” Heather says, moving from the chair like a chic Jack-in-the-box.

“You don’t drink.”

At his utterance, her gaze sweeps to El. “I don’t drink much, but I think I deserve a glass of wine tonight. Well, come on, walk your sister to the bar,” she demands, staring down at him.

“This is the VIP area,” he mutters.

“Is it?” She glances around. “I thought it was a bit posh. Just goes to show how long it’s been since I was last in a club,” she admits. “It was certainly before Whit hit the big bucks.”

At the sound of his name, he glances behind him as though his sister might be talking about someone else. He really doesn’t like accolades, I’ve noticed.

You’re so hard. My words curl around my ear.

Sweetheart, you don’t have to pay me compliments. That’s not to say I don’t like to hear them.

I guess he’s okay with some praise.

“What are you smiling about?”

“Hmm?” My head lifts.

“That’s not a grin,” Heather says, correcting El. “That looked more like a secretive smile.” She turns to Whit again, his expression impassive. “What do you think?”

“I think you were going for a drink,” he answers.

“So I was. Lead on, Sorrel,” she demands.

“Sit down,” he complains. “Because of Whit’s big business brain, VIP’s are offered table service.”

“I’m not ordering drinks from girls dressed in chains and leather underwear.” Heather’s expression is the embodiment of distaste. “What is this? A Bacchanal feast.”

“For fuck’s sake,” El mutters, gesturing to the girl who’d passed by the table earlier, the one in the gold chain bikini. “Just sit your arse down, and I’ll order the drinks.”

“What can get you lovely people?” the server asks, stretching her neck to sweep a high platinum ponytail over her shoulder. Even higher than mine. And boy, she moved quick on those spiked-heeled boots.

“My goodness,” Heather announces. “Aren’t you just gorgeous!”

The server gives her a genuine smile. “That’s very sweet of you to say so, hon. Oh my God, is that the new Gucci?” She points at the clutch Heather has pressed between her arm and ribs. Heather gives a closed-lip smile and shakes her head as she holds it out for inspection. I note El inspecting the girl’s long, toned legs. Whit, meanwhile, seems content to watch me.

“It’s a dupe from Camden market,” Heather admits with a laugh. As bikini girl hands it back, Heather asks, “I hope you don’t mind me asking, but is that your uniform?”

The woman’s shoulders move with her amusement. “Management doesn’t make me wear this, if that’s what you’re asking.” Her eyes dart from El to Whit.

“Ignore my brothers, they’re not a part of this conversation. Besides, El here knows snitches get stitches, don’t you?”

“Does that mean you’re gonna chuck a brick at me again?” His hand lifts absently to a scar in his hairline.

“I was eight. He told me redheads have no soul.”

“All I wanted to do was order a round of drinks,” El mutters.

“Yes, let’s do that.” Heather steps around the table, patting her brother’s knee as she passes, curling her hand in a nonverbal up you go. “We’re going to help this gorgeous creature carry our drinks.”

“That’s not usually how it works,” the woman says with a smile.

“Don’t worry. El will still tip, and tip well. Especially if you don’t mind him walking behind us while he stares at your backside.”

“The tips are why I dress this way.” She slides El a look, then flicks her ponytail over her shoulder. “If he stares, I don’t mind.”

“Up you jump,” Heather says over her shoulder. “And don’t forget your wallet.”

The trio traipse off in the direction of the bar, leaving Whit sitting across the table, staring at me. Like, really staring at me.

“Kind of a surprise to see you here, Whit,” I say when it becomes obvious I’m not winning this staring match any time soon.

“I imagine so,” he offers blandly.

“What exactly are you doing here, if you don’t mind me asking?”

He makes an impatient noise as he leans forward in his seat. Elbows resting on his spread knees, he links his fingers in space between. “I was going to ask you the same question.” My heart does a little two-step at his tone. There’s something indefinably reprimanding in it. Despite my internal reaction, outwardly, my shoulders twitch in a tiny shrug. Not that he notices because he’s staring at those elegant hands. Elegant hands that seem to hold a lot of tension. “You’re not really interested in him.”

At his sharp tone, I glance up to find his gaze on mine, corkscrew sharp. Excuse me, but direct, much? It also happens to be true. El is fun, and he’s made his intentions obvious. Well, as obvious as he can without saying something like, ‘hey, wanna screw?’ The answer to his question would be yes. But not you. Not that I’ll admit that to Whit. It’s not like he invited me out this evening. It’s not like he checked in to see what my weekend plans were. Suddenly, I feel annoyed about that. About the way we left things.

“Why not?” I eventually offer. “El is cute. He’s uncomplicated.”

“Which is just another way of saying he’s stupid.”

“Far from it,” I say, pressing my back against my seat. “I think he’s pretty astute.” I keep my eyes on Whit’s face as I slowly cross my legs. “At least he’s not one of those men who play at willful ignorance.”

“Oh?” His shoulders stiffen minutely in a way that might convey a no, a maybe, or a what do I care. But I know he cares, or why else would he be here? Why else would his sister be here, running interference?

“I don’t have a whole lot of experience.” Lowering my lashes, I slide my silver bangle around my wrist. “But I know when a man wants me.”

“It’s just a shame you don’t want him.” A fare of exhilaration lights in my stomach at the way he’s looking at me. “It’s me you want,” he asserts curtly. “You just haven’t quite been able to bring yourself to say so.”

“Wow. I’m learning all kinds of things about myself tonight.” Though my words are delivered with a scathing kind of laugh, the dark intention in his gaze makes me feel all jittery. Before the closet, we’d danced around this. I’ve hinted. Asked questions, but he’s right. I haven’t had the nerve to state my intention. Sure, I offered myself up willingly in the supply closet yesterday, but that’s not the whole of what I want. “What about you, Whit? I’m not the only one not quite able to voice what I want.” My words mirror his, but with a little more mockery.

I came to London to be bold, to be audacious. And Whit is the only man I’ve every truly wanted even if he isn’t who I thought he was, that ideal version of him I’d held for years in my head. The real Whit is harder. More worldly.

He huffs an unhappy laugh. “If you knew the strength of my want, you’d be on the first flight back to Florida.”

“You wish.”

“You think you’ve got it all sussed out, don’t you?”

“I don’t even know what that word means, but you could tell me, tell me about this want,” I say, channeling a demanding femme fatale. “Spell it out for me, Whit.”

“It’s complicated.”

“Didn’t seem complicated from the supply closet.”

“Do you want me to apologize?” I give my head a tiny shake. “Good, because I’m not sorry for what happened. I know I should be, that I shouldn’t have—”

“You didn’t. We almost did.”

“Like I said, it’s complicated.”

“I’m here for less than six months, then I’m gone. Back to Florida.” Or else. “What could be less complicated than that?”

His fingers twitch, then loosen. Reaching out, he traces a long index finger along a vein on the gilt table between us. The action seems sensual, almost erotic. Or maybe that’s just how he makes me feel. It’s certainly mesmerizing because when I try to move my gaze, I find I can’t.

His hand drops, and he offers nothing else. Embarrassment washes over me as my heart sinks.

“You could just say if you don’t want me.” I avert my gaze as tears suddenly prick at my lids. I won’t cry over this.

“You know that’s not it,” he admits unhappily.

“Then I don’t know what else to say, and I’m tired of dancing around this. Either explain it to me or…” I almost say something like I’ll sleep with your brother, but it seems my femme fatale has already left the building.

“I made Connor a promise,” he says quietly, without meeting my gaze. “I swore I’d look after you if anything ever happened to him, and I hadn’t even done that. I didn’t even know how old you were until lunch with Polly that day. In my head, you were still a kid.”

“Well, you did live pretty far away.”

“That’s not a good enough excuse.”

“You did what you could.” My denials fall quickly. “If you knew what his other friends—”

His gaze slices up. “I doubt your brother tasked his friends with the same thing. I didn’t do enough. Then you turned up in my apartment, and I did too much.”

“Don’t take that back. Don’t you dare take that back,” I retort as a fist tightens around my heart. “That was the most real moment of my life. The most sensual.

“It doesn’t make it right, Mimi,” he says wearily.

“I’m just going to point out the obvious,” I say, my voice hardening, “but you do realize Connor isn’t here.”

“Surely, that’s all the more reason to remember what he asked of me.” Yet from under his lashes, he stares at me with such intensity. Such longing.

“To look after me? I’m a grown woman. I don’t need looking after.” Lord knows I’ve had enough mollycoddling in my lifetime. “And if Connor was here, do you think he would have a say in my life? My decisions?”

“Neither of us can know that, but you’d have your brother to guide you if nothing else.”

“I don’t need help in knowing my own mind. And you know what? I think if Connor was here, he’d want me to be happy.”

“Connor would want you anywhere but with me, Mimi. He wanted you to be with a good man.”

“And you’re not?” I demand, folding my arms across my chest. “Turning up here with your sister, caring enough about me to stage an intervention makes you the villain?” Jerking out my hand, I flick my fingers angrily in the air. “Well, does it?”

“El isn’t the kind of man you should be with, either.”

I jerk forward like a striking snake. “I get to decide who I’ll screw.” His eyes widen, turn molten, and harden at my coarse language, but I carry on, pointing a finger across the table at him. “Me. Not you, and not my dead brother. Enough with your bull. You tell yourself you’re here for Connor, but you’re not. Tell the truth, Whit. This is more a case of, if you can’t have me, El sure as hell can’t.”

“And we come back to the point that it isn’t El you want.”

“So?” I flick my shoulder. “El asked me out. It was either that or another night in with the cat,” I admit spikily.

“You’re sure it has nothing to do with yesterday.”

“I don’t take your meaning.”

“Payback, maybe.” He glances down at his hands as though he could find the answer there.

“You left because your sister needed you.”

“It didn’t make you angry?” He seems to study my face for the truth, but what kind of person would that make me? “Angry that I didn’t at least call.”

“To say what? To suggest we pick up where we left off?” Because I totally would’ve been down for that. Maybe not so much right now. Who am I kidding? I would’ve crawled on my knees to Knightsbridge if he’d asked me to. I just want him, even when he’s making it hard for me.

“It’s not that I didn’t want to. That I don’t want to,” he qualifies.

Wow. An admission. But not one that makes me feel giddy when he looks as serious as he does right now.

“I’m not here to make you jealous, and that’s the truth. Now you tell me the truth. Why you’re here.”

“That’s easy.” His gaze slices up, his eyes more tiger-like than ever. “Whether you meant to cause it or not, I am jealous.”

I begin to chuckle. “You mean that works in real life? I’ve just got to go out with—”

“My brother. Who, you can’t fail to notice, wants to fuck you.”

My attention slides to the intrepid trio. I guess Whit’s plan has gone as he intended because it looks like El has decided the hot server is a better prospect. “He doesn’t seem too hung up on me.”

“Because he’s an idiot.” He rolls his shoulder, the fabric of his jacket tightening against the bulk of his bicep. But he’s still not looking at me, which just lights a fire under my butt. I had no intentions of going home with El, but I will not have my future dictated to me, not when I might have so little of it left.

Six months. Or what’s left of it.

“Is idiocy the curse of all Whittington males, or just you two?” I say as I stand. “Let me spell it out for you.” I yank my dress over my thighs, refusing to look at him. “You don’t want me going home with your brother. Fine. But I’m not in London for long, but I intend on getting the full experience.” Now I raise my head, leveling him with a look that better say last-chance saloon. “So you better understand, if not him and if not you, I am going home with someone tonight.”


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