Why the fuck does Pilar need the damn laptop so desperately anyway? What could be on it? What did Lily discover about the woman who is dating her father? She has something on Pilar. She must. Lily’s smart. But so is fucking Pilar. She’s calculating, too. Mean as hell.
“Tell me we’ll hang out again tomorrow,” she says sleepily.
My heart seizes in my chest. “We will.”
“Tell me we won’t fight and say stupid stuff.”
“We won’t.” That isn’t a lie. We can’t fight if we’re not together.
“Good.” She sighs and kisses my chest, her lips damp and warm and making me shiver. “I like you, Max. I like you a lot.”
I’m miserable. Why does she have to go and say something like that and worm her way into my hard-as-steel heart? Fuck this, I didn’t mean to … fall for her. Not that I’ve fallen for her for real, more like I’m physically attracted to Lily and I find her hard to resist.
Admit it, you’ve fallen for her, you heartless bastard.
Fine. I have. But I’m not heartless. My heart is beating like crazy, pounding to a rhythm that suspiciously sounds like her name. Li-ly. Li-ly. It’s fucking crazy. I’m crazy.
Crazy for her.
Sighing, I keep my gaze fixed on the window across from us, staring at it until my vision goes fuzzy and I close my eyes. Lily’s body grows heavier and heavier and her breathing evens out, indicating she’s fallen asleep.
A few minutes, I tell myself. I’ll stay with her a few minutes and wait until she’s in a deep sleep and then I’m out of here with what I came for.
Problem is, I fall asleep, too. For a couple of hours—and I dream. Horrible, shitty dreams that feel so damn real. I’m escaping the bungalow, the laptop clutched tight in my hands, and Lily catches me. Tears stream down her face as she yells how much she trusted me and I hurt her so bad. That she hates me. She hates me so much, she’ll never talk to me again.
I beg for her forgiveness. I try and hand her back the laptop but she won’t take it. She keeps refusing it and I become more insistent, shoving the damn laptop toward her, pushing it into her stomach …
And then she turns into Pilar and she’s laughing at me. The sound is mocking, shrill, and she snatches the laptop from my grip. I clamp my hands over my ears and try to turn away so I don’t have to look at her but it’s as though I can’t. She laughs and laughs, her mouth getting wider and wider, like a black hole, and then she’s coming toward me, the laptop held over her head, as if she’s going to hit me with it.
I startle awake, lifting my head, holding back the groan that wants to escape at the pain in my neck from sleeping in such a weird position. Lily is still snug against me, her head fitting perfectly between my shoulder and neck, and slowly I disentangle myself from her, slipping from beneath her inch by careful inch. She never wakes, I’m able to adjust her into position in her bed, and I tug the sheet and comforter up higher, covering her to her neck.
I stand above her for a moment, blinking hard as I try to wake myself up. She looks so beautiful, so peaceful, lying there on her side. Her lips are pursed, her hair is a wavy mess, and she’s the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen.
I don’t want to walk away. I want to keep her. I want her to be mine. We could really be something, Lily and I. I know we could. We’re more alike than even I care to admit. I think we could be good for each other. Good together.
But we can’t. I have to do this. It’s my job. And my job—my business—is all I have. Despite how I feel about Lily, there are no guarantees. I must take that fucking laptop, despite my never wanting to do it since I got here, hating Pilar Vasquez and her shitty demands.
Closing my eyes, I tighten my hands into fists and take a deep breath. I’m being completely irrational. This woman … I don’t know what could happen between us, but it’s not real. It can’t be real. I’m too caught up in this tropical location, the pretending I’m on vacation. If she finds out the truth, I’m fucked. I need to go. Just … grab that fucking laptop and leave. But this is the last time I’ll be with her, look at her, touch her …
Reaching out, I streak my fingers across her cheek, lightly. She shifts and sighs, her eyelashes fluttering, and I snatch my hand back, praying she won’t wake up.
She doesn’t. I can’t help but be relieved—and a little disappointed, too. If she woke up, I’d have no choice but to stay.
I take a deep breath and go to the closet, quietly sliding the door open. Stepping inside, I reach for the laptop, not surprised at all to find it in the exact spot that I last saw it.
Holding it close to my chest, I make my escape from the bungalow.
And never once look back.
“LOOKS LIKE MAUI AGREED WITH YOU.” Violet greets me as I walk toward her, practically falling into her welcoming hug. I squeeze her back, closing my eyes for the briefest moment as I absorb her love and warmth, so incredibly thankful to be with her again.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you in person,” I tell her before I withdraw, though I don’t let her go—my hands still clasp her shoulders and she’s holding on to my arms.
“I know.” Violet’s smiling at me, looking gorgeous with all that dark hair falling down her back in luxurious waves, her dark eyes sparkling as bright as the giant diamond on her finger. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Violet look so genuinely happy.