Moonlight Sins (de Vincent 1) - Page 35

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She watched him. “And none of you have any desire to find out where she’s been or what’s happened to her?”

A muscle flexed along the hard line of his jaw. “I do, but it’s not . . .” He sighed and then took a drink. “It’s not that easy.”

It seemed fairly easy to her. She got that they may not like the idea of press being all over them, but finding out what happened to their sister should be more important than the inconvenience of reporters.

“I know what you’re thinking,” he said.

She looked over at him.

“You can’t believe we’re not pushing finding out what happened to her. I get that you think that. I respect that you feel that way. I do.” His voice was low. “Our family . . . well, sometimes we handle things differently. That might be hard to understand, but it’s the way it is.”

Julia drew in a deep breath. “It is hard to understand.”

He held her a gaze a moment longer and then took another drink. “The curse seems to even extend to women who are not a part of our family.”

She raised her brows as she sipped on her tea. Way to change the subject uber fast.

“There have been accidents around the house on and off over the years that has seriously injured staff. Not always females, but a lot of them.”

“So, I should be careful on the stairs,” she joked.

“I would definitely hold the railing.” Shifting toward the island, his knee moved against her leg again. Her gaze shot to his. He grinned.

Julia leaned to the left.

The smile widened. “There’s been other deaths and accidents. Dev’s girlfriend in college died in a freak plane crash. And I think he actually liked her, which is saying a lot.”

“Well, if he was seeing her, I hope he did like her,” she reasoned.

Lucian looked at her strangely and then laughed. “You don’t know Dev. I don’t think Dev feels like most people do toward others outside the family. Pretty sure the only thing he gets emotionally invested in is which pair of pressed pants looks best with his Oxford shirt tucked in.”

A surprised laugh escaped her. “That’s terrible.”

“It’s true.” He set the mug on the counter. “Then there was Gabe’s girlfriend from back in the day. That . . . yeah, that didn’t end well.” The playful smile faded from his lips. “That didn’t end well for any of us.”

She lowered her mug. A huge part of her wanted him to elaborate on that statement. She didn’t get a chance.

Lucian cleared his throat. “So, that’s the legend. The land is cursed and therefore the family is.”

“Seems kind of unfair that it targets females.”

A half grin formed. “I think it finds different ways to mess with the males. After all, we are known for our scandals.”

“That you are,” she agreed, and then peeked over at him again. Questions she desperately wanted to ask bubbled to the surface despite the fact she knew she should head to bed. It was getting way late and she was becoming tired. Finally. And there was the fact she really shouldn’t be down here with him for a plethora of reasons.

But she didn’t get up to leave.

“Can I ask you something?” she asked after a moment.

His gaze slid to hers. “You can ask me anything, Ms. Hughes.”

There he went again, saying her name like that. It made her feel . . . God, she didn’t know, but never in her life had the formal way of saying her name felt so sexual.

His lashes lowered as he bit down on that lower lip again. Geez. Julia had to look away. “Why . . . didn’t you just tell me who you were when we met in Pennsylvania? I mean, I get that you were . . . vetting me in the creepiest way possible, but you could’ve told me. Why didn’t you?”

“I don’t know why I didn’t.”

Disbelief flooded her as she focused on him. “You can’t be serious. You have to know why.”

His gaze swung to a small, open entryway across the room. The door was pitched in darkness, and she supposed it led to a mudroom or some other room of the sort.

“You’re right,” he said after a moment, his gaze landing on her again. “Believe it or not, I’m pretty good at reading people. I knew you would be good for the job after talking to you for about fifteen minutes and I . . . I should have told you then.”

Her brows lifted because he almost looked like he couldn’t believe he admitted that. “So, why didn’t you?”

“Truthfully? It’s been a long time since I talked to someone who didn’t know who I was. That I didn’t have to hold a conversation wondering if anything this person was saying to me was genuine or if they were trying to gain something from me.” He held her gaze. “If someone was looking to convince me to join in on some business venture, trying to get through me to one of my brothers or trying to climb some bullshit social ladder. Every time I meet a woman, and they know who I am? I’m wondering if she’s interested in me or if she wants to somehow attach herself to my name—my family. Yeah, that might sound arrogant as fuck, but you have no idea what it’s like to always have to second-guess someone’s intentions.”

Oh wow.

“So, that’s why,” he went on, the muscle flexing along his jaw. “You were talking to me like I was some guy off the street. You had no agenda. I . . . I enjoyed that.”

Julia sat back, sort of stunned for a second that he admitted all that. But when she really thought about what he said, she realized she did know what it was like to always have to second-guess someone. With her ex, Adam, she had always done that. “I understand.”

Lucian blinked once.

Then twice.

Julia almost laughed at the dumbfounded expression that settled onto his face. “Really?” he asked.

She lifted one shoulder. “You still should’ve told me, but I know what it feels like to always have to think about why someone is doing something or saying something. If there’s another reason why they’re behaving the way they do. Like having to second-guess what kind of moods they’ll be in or walking around on egg shells. It’s not easy to . . .” Trailing off, she was snared by the intensity in his gaze. It was like he was peeling back layers, seeing right into her, and she was getting too close to being too personal.

“Anyway.” She cleared her throat and then took a sip of her tea. Several moments of silence followed. She really needed to get to bed. The morning would come soon enough.

“I want to know about you,” he spoke before she could, and then shifted closer, his knee pressed into her thigh once more. “I have questions. I’m made of them.”

She gave a little laugh as she shook her head. “There’s nothing more to know about me than what you already know.”

“There’s literally everything to know about you,” he insisted. “Where did you go to school? What really made you take a job like this one where you leave everything behind?”

“I went to Shippensburg University. You’ve probably never heard of it.” Like she’d ever answer that last question. Finishing off her tea, she smiled faintly. “It’s really late and I do need to get to sleep. Thank you for the tea. I think it will work.”

“But I haven’t asked you the most important question.”

Slipping off the stool, she let her hair fall forward, past her breasts. “And what is that?”

“How can you be here and be the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen?”

Julia’s head swung to his so fast she thought her it would fall right off her shoulders. Everything about the tone of his voice and the slightly wide eyes of his said he was being genuine, but he couldn’t be serious.

Her gaze sharpened. Was he drinking something harder than chamomile? Because there was no way in the world that he truly believed that she was the most beautiful creature he’d ever seen.

The question burned to the tip of her tongue. If he thought she was so beautiful then why did he walk away from her that night in her apartment? She swallowed the question so she didn’t have to swallow her pride.

At the end of the day, she knew who Lucian was.


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout de Vincent Romance
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