Moonlight Sins (de Vincent 1) - Page 37

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“Come on,” Julia murmured.

Lucian had done as he’d promised. The blank canvas and easel had been brought to her bedroom, along with a selection of paintbrushes and paint placed on the table beside the chair.

This could’ve been the dumbest idea known to man, but it was worth trying. At least Julia felt that way.

Letting go of her breath, she lowered the paintbrush and turned to the open doorway as she heard footsteps approaching the room. The moment she saw them, her brain short-circuited a little.

Oh my . . .

Lucian was the first to step into the room and not too far behind him was Gabe. Holy smokes. . . . Both made striking impressions dressed in tailored black suits. For a moment, she kind of forgot who she was as she stared at them. Thank God Devlin wasn’t with them, because there was a good chance she might fall off the stool she was sitting on if she saw all three of them dressed like that.

Immediately she thought about what she’d done last night while thinking of him. Which of course made her think of the real thing they’d shared, about what he said to her as she drank the tea he’d made her. Her fingers were nothing compared to his. Not at all. Like no—

“Ms. Hughes.” A grin appeared on those sensual lips. “I asked you a question.”

She blinked. “You did?”

Gabe came to stand by Lucian’s side. Shoulder to shoulder, they were the exact same height. One was the dark to the other’s light. “He asked how things were going?”

“Oh.” She glanced at Madeline. She was still gazing at the paintbrush Julia held. “Things are going slow, but we’re working at it. Aren’t we, Madeline?”

Madeline’s finger twitched.

Lucian strode across the room, kneeling down beside his sister. He smiled at her impassive face. “You paint something for me, and I promise I’ll read more than a chapter later tonight. We’re getting to a good part—where Harry goes underwater to save his friends. And, yeah, I know. You have that part memorized, but it’s still just as good the tenth time around.”

Julia fought a smile and lost as she glanced to where Gabe lingered just inside the room. He was watching his brother and sister, expression pinched with uncertainty. Julia wanted to invite him, to tell him it was okay to do what Lucian was doing, focusing on things that they knew their sister enjoyed.

But then Gabe’s gaze found hers. He smiled wearily, a curve of the lips that didn’t reach his shadow-crowded eyes.

“Behave,” Lucian was saying to his sister. Smoothing back Madeline’s hair, Lucian rose and turned to look down at Julia. “How are you feeling?”

“Good,” she chirped. “My head doesn’t hurt at all.”

That was partially true. If she bent too quickly, it would start throbbing like it had its own heartbeat, but that was expected for the next couple of days.

“I’m relieved to hear that.” His gaze washed over her face, lingering on her lips. “And how did you sleep last night? I hope the tea helped.”

Heat moved from her belly and seemed to pool between her thighs. She needed to get a grip. “It did.”

His smile spread, and their gazes locked. She felt a little breathless as he held her stare. As the seconds ticked by, she had to wonder if he somehow sensed her unwanted attraction to him.

Knowing her luck, probably.

Gabe cleared his throat, drawing her attention. “We’ll going to be leaving soon. Our father’s memorial service is this afternoon.”

“Oh.” Her hand tightened around the paintbrush. “That seems quick.”

“It is,” Lucian replied. “Better this way.”

Gabe inclined his head. “Is there anything you need before we leave?”

“Richard and Livie will be joining us,” Lucian added.

She gave a little shake of her head even though a fine shiver curled down her spine. Being alone in this huge home kind of . . . creeped her out. “I’m fine.”

Lucian looked around the room. “You have your phone with you?”

“Yes.” Odd question.

“Can I see it?”

Unsure of why he was making such a request, she rose and walked over to the nightstand. Unplugging her phone from the charger, she faced him. “Why do you need to see it?”

“You aren’t just going to give it to me?” he asked, eyes dancing.

“Uh, no.”

Gabe snorted. “I really like her.”

“Of course you do,” Lucian murmured. “I want you to key in my number.”

Her first instinct was to refuse that, but that was her just being a stubborn brat. He gave her the number and she typed it in. A moment later, Gabe gave her his number.

“If you need anything for any reason, call me,” Lucian ordered.

“Or you can call me,” his brother suggested, casting a grin at Lucian when his eyes narrowed into thin slits. “I’m not as bossy as him.”

Julia smiled. “That is true.”

“I’m not bossy.” Lucian frowned.

His brother let out a choked laugh. “Are you seriously that unaware of yourself?”

Lucian crossed his arms. “I have no idea what you’re talking about. Ms. Hughes doesn’t think I’m bossy.”

Raising an eyebrow, she placed her phone back on the nightstand. “Actually, I think you’re pretty bossy.”

“Okay. Let me rephrase that statement,” he replied. “You like my kind of bossy.”

Her gaze shot to his, and her faced flushed pink when she saw the knowing, heated look return to his eyes. She knew exactly what he was referencing, and she was going to punch him—fantasize about him again later, but definitely also imagine herself punching him.

“Okay, then.” Gabe draped an arm over Lucian’s shoulders. “We need to get going. If we’re late, Dev will flip out and we’re never hear the end of it.”

“Sad but true.” Lucian started backing up. “Remember. If you need anything, call me. If you call him, you’ll hurt my fragile ego.”

“That would be a shame,” she said dryly.

“I know. We wouldn’t want that to happen.” Winking at her in a ridiculous way, he stopped at the doorway. “By the way, love the outfit.”

Julia glanced down at herself in surprise. What in the world did he like about her outfit? She was wearing plain old blue scrubs. He was so full of it, an incorrigible flirt. When she looked up, Gabe was pushing Lucian out of the bedroom. He said something to Lucian too low for her to hear, but whatever it was, it had Lucian laughing—that deep, toe-curling laugh of his.

Both seemed in a good mood despite the fact they were going to their father’s memorial.

“Weird,” she whispered.

Telling herself that their issues with their deceased father were none of her business, she walked back over to Madeline and plopped down on the stool. It was hard not to think about how Gabe had made no attempt to interact with Madeline at all. If she was locked in there, aware of what was going on, that had to sting.

Julia sighed. “There’s a lot of history with your family, isn’t there?”

Madeline didn’t respond, but Julia lifted the paintbrush again. A moment passed, and Madeline’s gaze lowered to the long, slender black handle. Her right fingers twitched, and Julia grew very still, waiting and hoping that something, anything would happen.

Then slowly, almost painfully, Madeline lifted her hand and wrapped her thin fingers around the handle of the brush.

Chapter 14

Lucian was going to need a barrel of bourbon to get through this service. He’d rather be anywhere than where he was, and this wasn’t even technically the funeral. It was just a memorial service where the one percent would rub elbows and pretend to respect one another.

In the place of a coffin was a large framed photo of dear old dad. Their father’s body hadn’t even been released yet. Once that happened, a smaller and much more private funeral would be held.

In other words, no way near as ridiculous as this.

Standing in the corner of the large atrium, he watched Dev hold court. He was made for his fucking shit, groomed and bred for it. Dev was in his element while the collar of Lucian’s shirt was choking him and the suit felt itchy.

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout de Vincent Romance