“Half a million dollars! Really, Allan, if you don’t want to go with her just say no. You are allowed to. No one can force you otherwise.”
Allan grabbed her hand and dragged her away without a word in response, but that didn’t stop Riana from rambling on. She had to run to keep up with his long strides.
“Do you have any idea how much half a million dollars is? That’s too much! Let her pay. They can’t possibly force you to go if you don’t want to. What, is there a clause that says you’ll go to jail if you don’t agree to this?”
Allan brought them to a quick halt then turned to Riana with his brows creased. “You babble a lot. You just go on and on and on without a single break to breathe. Do you know that?”
Of course she knew that! The most Riana ever spoke was when she rambled and this situation deserved a babble! “Five hundred thousand dollars, Allan. That’s crazy!”
“My sentiments exactly!” the slut said breathlessly. Riana wasn’t the only one running to keep up with Allan.
Allan muttered something incoherent under his breath then pulled Riana back into a chase after him. They finally stopped at a desk and he quickly stuck his hand in the inside pocket of his jacket and pulled out his checkbook.
“Allan, she can’t possibly afford you!”
Riana shook her head and shrugged nonchalantly. “I’m not paying for him. He’s paying for himself…or is it for me? I guess it’s for me since he’s the one who invited me to—”
“Riana,” Allan spoke softly cutting her off.
“You are rambling again.”
“Oh. Sorry,” she whispered. He chuckled, shook his head and turned back to the lady at the desk.
The slut pulled at his sleeve jacket. “Allan, this is not how things are done. You can’t pay for yourself!”
Allan stared at her assaulting hand and she quickly dropped it before he responded, “She’ll pay me back.”
“I will?” Riana squeaked. She knew this would happen. Now where the hell was she going to get half a million from? She stomped her foot. This was all Loraine’s fault!
Riana looked back at Allan just in time to catch his eyes move over her like he was undressing her. When she finally met his eyes, the lust in them made her take a step back. The pit of her belly burned when she finally realized what kind of payment he meant.
He held her gaze and said, “Yes, Riana, you will,” with the most sensual voice she’d ever heard, and then he took a pen from the lady at the desk and leaned down.
Riana swallowed hard, and let out a shaky breath she hadn’t realized she was holding. What the hell had she gotten herself into?
“Mr. Jones, tell Mr. Sinclair he can’t pay for himself!” The slut screeched like a banshee.
Mr. Jones, the organizer of the event, was sitting behind the desk and looked too old to be dealing with her temper tantrums and Riana wished there was a way she could spare him the drama.
“Miss Davenport, what seems to be the matter?” he asked with a tired voice.
Riana stepped back to avoid the slut’s hand as it shot up to point an accusing finger at her. “This…thing can’t afford to pay for Mr. Sinclair. She very well knew that but she still joined the bid. In fact, she isn’t even a guest but a waitress. She shouldn’t have been participating!”
“And you can?” Allan threw over his shoulder.
“Can you afford me?”
The slut went silent, staring at Allan with a seething look but he was completely unfazed. He stared at her like he was staring at a spoiled child throwing a tantrum.
He turned back to the desk. “Didn’t think so.”
Riana took another step back. She wanted to give them some space—not too much space, but just enough to deal with their issues—and hopefully Allan could reduce her screeching by a few octaves as well.
Allan’s hand stilled over the check and his gaze quickly shot up to her. His expression was blank except for his right brow, which slowly rose. She wasn’t sure if he was asking a question or reacting to her stepping back. Riana took back the step and Allan turned his attention back to the check.
So that’s what that look meant. Noted.
His ex-girlfriend stepped forward and placed her hand on his arm. Riana knew she was being ridiculous, but the sudden urge to rip it off filled her. She was feeling territorial over a guy she just met. Loraine was right; there was something seriously wrong with her.
“Allan, you can’t possibly be serious. This trip is for us.”
Riana held back a laugh. The banshee was gone and the seductress was in the house.
Allan straightened, tucking his checkbook back into his jacket pocket after tearing off a page and handing it to the lady on the desk. He gently pulled her hand off his arm and dropped it. Then he smiled a smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “Don’t forget Michael.”
Michael. That must be the guy she was having sex with in the manager’s office.
His ex stepped back as if she’d been slapped. “He’s irrelevant!” she said hotly.
Irrelevant? Riana was shocked. Twenty minutes ago she was very accommodating to him. Now he was irrelevant?
Allan tilted his head slightly to the side, his brow rising in wonder. “Oh really? Does he feel the same way? Only a few minutes ago you were bent over—”
“Enough!” she yelled cutting him off. She took a visible deep breath, shutting her eyes for a moment before she spoke again. “I thought you didn’t care. And would I be wrong in concluding you too are having an affair with this…waitress?” She hissed through clenched teeth and Riana thought she sounded like a snake.
“If it will make you feel better, you can take her upstairs to our suite for a few hours, then we’ll be even. We’ll go home and discuss our trip to Venice.”
Riana wasn’t sure what offended her more. The fact that the slut just called her a whore or that she still thought she was going on her trip to Venice. She decided to address the first because the Venice trip was a sure thing.
“I am not a whore!”
The slut sneered. “Of course not,” she responded sarcastically.
Before Riana could give her retort, Loraine stepped in. “It’s true. The girl has never had sex,” she said in such a nonchalant way, biting into an appetizer and adding, “This is really good.” Riana had no way to hold back the laughter that bubbled out.
“Lucky me,” Allan mumbled, killing Riana’s laugh.
He probably didn’t mean to say it out loud—the sultry look he was giving her suggested his mind was far off and she was definitely naked wherever he was—but she heard him. Loud and clear, and the confession did weird things to her body.
The slut looked around, suddenly conscious of the attention they were drawing. “Allan, could we please go up to our suite and discuss this in private?”
Allan remained quiet, perusing the gathering crowd of people who were trying to be discrete about their eavesdropping. For a moment, Riana thought he was going to say yes just to save face. She had to be realistic. Allan and the slut were important people in the society and Riana wasn’t.
“No.” His response had such finality in it, leaving no room for argument. Riana held herself still to keep from dancing with joy.
“Riana.” Allan held out his hand to her. “Let’s go.”
Riana stared at his hand, then his face. They were really going to do this. Run off to Venice and do God knows what together.
“I don’t have a passport,” she said it so low she wasn’t sure he heard her.
Allan’s lips spread in a wide heart stopping grin. “Not to worry. I’ll handle that.” He beckoned her with his fingers to take his hand.
Was she really going to Venice with him?
Why the hell not?
For once she deserved to act crazy and let her hair down. Here was her opportunity to stop living vicariously through Loraine and actually live! She laughed giddily and raised her hand to place it in his.
Before she could, the slut slapped her hand away placing hers in his instead.
Allan turned sharply to her, his eyes narrowing to dangerous slits, his lips pressed in a thin line. If he were a wolf, Riana was sure he would have snarled or growled and then rip her hand off, judging by his flaring nose.
He dropped her hand and roughly pulled Riana toward him. She bumped into his side, her hands holding onto his waist for balance. He placed his hand on her waist and pulled her into him, effectively tucking her under his arm. And for the first time in such a long time, she felt protected in an embrace.
“You are no longer invited on this trip Theresa. Neither is Michael!” he barked.
“Oh, Michael! He’s so very hot and yet so very stupid. I think his brains are in his balls. And Theresa? Mother Theresa, forgive her for soiling your good name,” Loraine muttered next to Riana, shaking her head.
Riana wasn’t sure whether to laugh or worry for her friend’s sanity. She always did and said the oddest things at the oddest times.
Riana took a good look at Michael, who had been cowering behind Theresa. Loraine was right—he was hot. He was lean and tall with crystal-clear blue eyes and tousled brown hair. He looked so much like a GQ model. But he looked like he was about to be sick from how quickly his face paled. Why was he invited to Venice anyway if it was supposed to be a romantic getaway?
“Are…are you…Am I being fired?” he stammered.
Oh hell, Riana thought, feeling sorry for the guy.