Page 14 of The Shy Bride

“The security expert can work around your schedule.”

“I don’t want to meet him.” She sounded very definite.


“Cassandra, be sensible.”

The quality of the silence at the other end of the line bothered him. “If you are that concerned,” she finally said, “we could probably arrange to have your lessons at my recording studio.” She was silent again, this time clearly considering her own proposal. “Yes, that would work.”

“I do not want my lessons at the studio.”

“I do not want to entertain a stranger in my home.” The growing agitation in her voice bothered him.

He did not like to think of his shy teaching aficionado getting upset.

“If I were there for the security consult, would you be all right then?” Neo absolutely stunned himself by asking.

From the expression on his PA’s face she was similarly flummoxed.

But Cassandra had come out of her self-imposed prison of the bathroom yesterday for him when she had refused for her manager. Neo was used to being relied on by his employees and associates. It shouldn’t make him feel special that Cassandra naturally did as others before her, but somehow it did.

“What? You be here? No. You’re too busy. That’s not necessary.” Cassandra took an audible breath. “Look, I’ll…I’ll ask my manager. He’ll come meet with the security consultant. He thinks these lessons are good for my career, though I really didn’t understand why until the whole media fiasco yesterday. Bob will do it.”

Unfamiliar amusement welled up, along with a highly out-of-character tolerance. He’d broken her brain. He must have broken his own as well because he didn’t want Bob to be the one helping her deal with this, even though that had been his own idea not fifteen minutes ago.

“You don’t want to be there for the consult at all? As you reminded my personal assistant, it is your home.”

“Yes, well…Are you sure you don’t want to meet in the studio?” she asked, sounding entirely too hopeful for a woman who spent so much of her time in her home.

Ignoring the repeated offer, he brought his schedule up on his phone. He marked two items for his PA to move and said, “I’ll be there with the consultant tomorrow morning at ten.”

“You don’t have to. I said—”

“If your manager was capable of convincing you to implement better security, he already would have done so.”

“I didn’t have a billionaire student before.”

“Nevertheless, the man is clearly incompetent when it comes to assuring your ongoing personal safety.”

“I’m sure that you have a big need for personal security, but I’m a moderately successful musician. I don’t even tour.”

“You are a brilliant musician with a large fan base, despite your unwillingness to do live performances. You should have implemented additional home security long ago.”

“I can see your point of view, but it’s skewed by your lifestyle.” She sounded just a tad desperate, though he couldn’t begin to understand why. “You’ve got to be able to see that.”

“I prefer not to waste time in useless argument.”

“Good.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”

She was still spluttering when he disconnected the line.

Cass glared at the phone, and then picked it up and dialed the number that showed up on her caller ID.

He picked up on the first ring. “Further argument will only serve to annoy me.”

“How interesting.” Neo really must get an unhealthy dose of arrogance with his morning coffee. “It is customary to say goodbye when hanging up. Please remember that in future.”

“Duly noted. Goodbye.”

“Goodbye.”

She distinctly heard a chuckle as he once again ended the call.

Smiling for no reason she could fathom, especially considering what she had just agreed to, Cass went back to practicing her piece. When a certain set of green eyes kept interrupting her flow of thoughts and she found her fingers moving in a Vivaldi concerto segment she found particularly passionate, Cass knew she was in trouble.

True to his word, Neo arrived at exactly 10:00 a.m. the following morning. Her hair in a smooth French twist and wearing a bright pink Jackie-O style dress with matching jacket for courage, Cass was waiting for him in the music room, but she heard the low purr of his Mercedes as he pulled into her driveway.

She couldn’t even pretend to play to settle her nerves. Neo was bringing a stranger who was going to make changes to her home. Changes that she would still be getting used to when his year’s worth of lessons were over.

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