“Hello, Gabriella. How have you been?”
His deep, smooth, baritone voice makes me soak my panties. I am stunned. He’s never been this close to me before. I manage to swallow a lump down in my dry throat, and I know he hears the gulp before I reply, “I’ve been good.” Is that all the comeback I’ve got? Where are the sassy quips and the smart-ass replies?
“Why are you taking me home?”
“I wanted to discuss something with you.”
“Couldn’t you have come to the tea and talked to me about whatever it is there?”
“I don’t do tea. Besides, business never sleeps and what I want to talk to you about is best said in private.”
Standing back, he holds out his hand for me to take.
“Do I have your permission to touch you?”
“Of course,” I said hesitantly. Slowly, I slide my small hand into his big, warm hand. I feel the calluses of a man who works hard with his hands.
“Come on, Gabriella, I won’t bite.”
“Where are we going to have this discussion?”
“Anywhere you like, but not back to the estate.”
“That could be anywhere.”
“Exactly. Would you like me to decide?”
That’s the million-dollar question: let him decide? I know he won’t kill me, and I know he won’t hurt me, but I still can’t let him think he can show up and whisk me off somewhere. I have to stand my ground and let this gorgeous man know I’m the one in control.
After settling me into the soft leather seat on the passenger side, Lance goes around the front of the car to the driver’s side and eases his big body into the seat and effortlessly maneuvers out of the underground garage and into traffic with one hand on the steering wheel and the other on the gear shift.
After a few minutes I ask, “You going to tell me where we’re going?”
“You trust me?”
“I don’t know yet.”
“Fair enough and no.”
“And why is that?”
Silence. I don’t know why I expect him to say more. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him say more than a few words that were more than necessary to get his point across.
“You left it up to me to decide, so I’ve decided not to tell you where I’m taking you. Let it be a surprise.”