Moonlight Sins (de Vincent 1) - Page 51

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“You can’t. I’ll have it brought up at seven sharp.”

“Thank you,” she said, still feeling like she shouldn’t have agreed.

Richard nodded and then pivoted, disappearing out into the hallway. Shaking her head, she walked into the bathroom. It was weird having someone waiting around to just do things for you. No matter how long she was here, she doubted that was something she would get used to.

Gathering up the clean towels that had been placed in the bathroom earlier, she carried them into the closet. She placed them on their little cubby. On the way out, she closed the closet door. Her elbow connected with the stack of magazines and books left on the stand by the dresser. They smacked off the floor, one after another.

“Of course,” she muttered, glancing over at Madeline. Her eyes were still closed, but Julia doubted she was sleeping.

Bending down, she swept up the magazines and books. As she placed them back on the stand, something white lay on the floor.

Frowning, Julia bent down and picked up the scrap of paper. It was a piece of notebook paper, the section torn off away at the corner of a page and folded over. The slip of paper didn’t look old, dull or yellowish.

Julia straightened the stack as she rose, unfolding the piece of paper along the way. She stilled, her brows pulling down as she read the two handwritten lines.

I miss you, but not for much longer.

I love you, but you always knew that.

Chapter 20

“Thank you,” Dev said into the phone. “We appreciate the call.” There was a pause while Lucian scratched at his brow with his middle finger. Dev frowned. “Yes. If we need anything, we’ll be sure to let you know.” He ended the call. “That was mature.”

Lucian grinned. “I thought so myself.”

Raising a brow, Dev sat back in his chair. “The phone will not stop ringing.”

Dev had handled the well-wishers, the phone calls, the guests, and the press like he’d been born for it. And he had been. Assuming the role of the head of the family, the head of the business was what he’d been waiting for.

What they all had been waiting for.

But Lucian wasn’t here to discuss how amazing Dev was at taking on the role of head asshole in charge. “I wanted to run something past you.”

“Why do I have a feeling that running something past me means you’re going to do something no matter what I think?”

“I don’t know. Perhaps there’s some kind of statistic supporting that belief.”

“Perhaps,” Dev murmured, gesturing for him to continue as he reached for his glass.

“I’m thinking about inviting Daniel over to spend time with Maddie. I think it would help.” Lucian had told both his brothers about Daniel’s appearance shortly after he’d found out. Neither were all that thrilled. “And no matter how annoying he is, it couldn’t hurt.”

Dev worked his jaw after swallowing the whiskey. “I’d rather have a rabid kangaroo in the house than Daniel.”

His forehead creased. “Can kangaroos get rabies?”

“I don’t know, but I imagine Daniel is about as destructive as a kangaroo in a china shop with rabies,” Dev replied, and Lucian wondered if his brother was slightly drunk. “I know you’re already going to do this. When?”

Lucian shifted in the seat, keeping his feet on the edge of Dev’s desk. “Sunday. You won’t be here.”

“Perfect.” Dev paused. “This is all on you. If he causes problems . . .”

“I know. I’ll handle it.” Lucian lowered a hand to the arm of the chair. “Speaking of problems. Any updates from the police?”

“I spoke with Troy earlier. I believe he will be removed from the investigation due to our friendship,” Dev explained, swirling the liquid in his glass. “The chief hasn’t spoken to me yet.”

“Lawyers blocking him?”

A ghost of a smile crossed Dev’s lips. “Of course. I’m not worried.”

Lucian frowned. “You’ve seemed worried before.”

Dev lifted his gaze to Lucian. “That was before.”

“You’re not worried that the fact that they’re investigating his death is going to get out to the press?” Disbelief thundered through Lucian. All his brother ever cared about was how people viewed the family. “I’m just waiting for the chief to make a public announcement. This kind of thing could make his career.”

Dev smiled then, the tilt of his lips cold as a freshly dug grave. “Or this kind of thing could . . . end his career.”

Julia was a nervous wreck as she showered and got ready for the not-a-date-dinner-date with Lucian and Gabe. Washing and then conditioning her hair twice sure felt like she was preparing for a date. She even shaved, because . . . because of reasons she didn’t want think about.

She tried to think about anything other than what she was getting ready for. Her mind kept wandering back to that slip of paper she’d found last night. Who could’ve written that? Had it been meant for Madeline, and if so, how did it get there?

Some of the books were older—decades old. Maybe she’d slipped it in one as a bookmark? Julia wasn’t sure, but she’d placed it back on the stand, under the magazines and books.

She planned on asking Lucian about it, but she hadn’t seen him since he’d asked her to dinner. Not once since yesterday morning, which was odd since he was normally around every corner. She wouldn’t have known if he’d been in the house if she hadn’t checked in on Madeline this morning, and heard him in there reading to her.

Julia had chickened out and darted back down the hallway instead of coming face-to-face with him, you know, like an adult would.

When she’d returned to Madeline’s room just before lunch, Lucian was gone. Truthfully, if she wasn’t in the same house with him, she’d probably cancel dinner out of pure anxiety.

But that wasn’t an option.

As she dried her hair and curled the long strands into loose waves, she battled it out with her conscience, common sense, and hormones. She was like a recipe for bad life choice brownies. Twenty-five percent of her knew she shouldn’t be mixing business with whatever this was. Another twenty-five percent said that going out tonight was a huge mistake that was probably going to lead to a whole slew of other mistakes.

The remaining fifty percent was wondering if she should wear panties or not?

She rolled her eyes at her reflection, knowing damn well she was going to wear panties.

Finishing applying the last bit of mascara, she decided to stop freaking out and . . . and well, whatever happened would happen. That was her plan. She wasn’t going to stress about it for a second longer.

“Oh gosh,” she whispered to her reflection. That was the crappiest plan known to history, but that was all she had.

But she did manage to pull off a smoky eye for once in her life.

Pushing away from the counter, she fingered the sash on her robe as she glanced at the shower. She couldn’t help but think about the shadow she’d seen. Her head barely hurt now, but every time she showered, she was almost too afraid to close her eyes.

More terrified to keep them open.

Shivering, she opened up the bathroom door and halted as soon as her gaze landed on the bed. Resting in the center of the bed was a large white box with a black bow.

“What the . . . ?”

The box had most definitely not been there when she went into the bathroom. Her narrowed gaze shot to the doors. All of them were closed and she’d locked them.

She knew she had, because after her doors’ opening in the middle of the night, she’d double-checked them.

Approaching the box slowly, she carefully picked it up and scooted it to the edge of the bed. Julia tucked the left side of her hair back and then took a deep breath, catching the silky bow along the bottom and unraveling the ribbon. It fell to the side.

Julia gripped the edges of the lid and lifted, leaning back as if a cobra was waiting inside to strike.

No cobra.

Just eons of black tissue paper.

Brushing the thin paper aside, she gasped as she saw what was inside. Definitely not a cobra, but something just as dangerous.

It was a splash of crimson in a sea of black. A gown was nestled inside the box, and not the kind of dress she’d buy herself at Old Navy. Without even touching it, she could tell it was constructed out of the finest material; the kind she probably couldn’t even name because she never had enough money to even shop wherever these types of dresses were sold.

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout de Vincent Romance