Page 49 of The Shy Bride

“He has to.”

Cass felt an internal shudder at that reminder. “Sometimes, I forget he’s such a successful tycoon.”


Cole looked at her like she’d lost her mind, but Dora’s smile was clearly approving.

Once they’d finished the tour of the new security measures and programmed her palm print into the biometric locks, Cass offered the other two coffee. Cole declined due to another appointment. Dora accepted, offering to make the coffee while Cass changed into fresh clothes for the day.

As Cass was dressing for the second time that morning, it occurred to her she may well have made a second friend.

The phone rang that night just as Cass was getting ready for bed. It was Neo.

“Dora said Cole walked you through the changes.”

“Yes. They’re better than I expected. They even painted all my window trims the same color they were. You can barely tell the difference.”

“I told you.”

“It’s not nice to rub it in when you are right, Neo.”

“You did not mind me being right about how good intimacy between us would be.”

She choked out a laugh. “Jerk.”

“Seriously? You just called the great Neo Stamos a jerk?”

“I was teasing, oh, Mr. Greatness.”

His laughter was rich and warm.

“Were you late for your meeting this morning?”

“Naturally not.” He paused. “But I did not have time to do my usual preparations.”

“I’m sorry.”

“You do not sound so.”

“What do you expect? I impacted the great Neo Stamos’s schedule. That’s pretty impressive.”

“Proud of yourself, are you?”

“Absolutely.”

“I feel the same.”

“You do?”

“You can ask that after the honor you did me last night?”

“Was it such an honor?”

“Very much so.”

“So, um…you haven’t had a lot of experience, with virgins I mean.”

“No, but more importantly, I have never made love to a woman who touched me like you do.”

“I don’t know how to touch you,” she wailed, admitting one of her fears. She’d spent the day reliving the night before and one thing had become glaringly obvious; she had been the recipient, not the giver. She was going to have to do some research.

“I was not talking about the physical, but trust me when I tell you there is nothing to fear there.”

“I do trust you.”

“I know. You are flying to Napa Valley with me.”

“You sound like I’m doing you a favor and we both know the opposite is true.” For the first time in years, Cass felt like she was truly living, not just existing through her music.

“Every time you give me your time it is something to appreciate.”

“Your brain doesn’t work like other men.”

“You are just now realizing this?”

She laughed. “Don’t be annoying.”

“But I am good at it. Ask anyone.”

“I don’t believe it. Demanding. Commanding. Brilliant even. But not regularly annoying.”

“Perhaps it is a talent that only comes out with you.”

“It does that. I still can’t believe you kidnapped me from my house yesterday.”

“Do you regret it?”

“Not even a little.”

“Good.”

“Will you still be here for your piano lesson next week?” she asked. “Yes.”

“I promise not to waste time on pleasantries,” she teased.

“I do not.”

“No?”

“No. I find it very pleasant to kiss you.”

“If you expect kisses and…other stuff…you had better schedule extra time because I expect you to learn more chords.”

“You are a slave driver.”

“I’ve heard that one before and I’ll tell you what I’ve told my other students.”

“That is?”

“You bought lessons to learn to play the piano, not sit and stare at it.”

“Technically, I did not buy the lessons at all.”

He had a point, but she wasn’t foolish enough to acknowledge it. “Zephyr would not be happy to hear his lessons were being wasted.”

Neo said something in Greek and she laughed.

“I get the feeling I don’t want to know what you just said.”

“Certainly I do not want to tell you.”

“Embarrassing much?”

“Perhaps a bit. You can take the boy out of the streets, but not the streets out of the boy.”

“I don’t believe that. You’ve come too far from your origins to see yourself as a homeless urchin in any way.”

“I do not forget my beginning. It drives me to achieve more in the present.”

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