“Oh, God,” I say, and put my hands on my head as another singing telegram begins a song.

All day Friday, I have people singing to me, one even dressed as a gorilla doing Britney Spears. It’s insanity, and I’m mortified. But at the same time, I have to give it to him. The man knows what he’s doing.

A phone call isn’t going to cut it this time, and he knows it. I need to see him.

Chapter Twenty-Three


* * *

I take a deep breath and try to keep my knees from knocking together. Pressing my hand to my stomach, I try to keep the butterflies at bay.

Pressing the button for the top floor, I steel myself. This won’t be easy, but I’ve got to keep it together.

When the doors open to the executive floor, I step out and see a young woman sitting behind a large wooden desk polished to perfection.

As I step forward, I see her with her head down, writing furiously in a notebook, not even noticing that the elevator opened or that someone is now waiting in front of her. I clear my throat, and the young woman nearly jumps out of her seat, clutching her notebook to her chest, and then immediately hiding it away.

“Yes, sorry. Hi,” she says, clearly flustered as she pushes her glasses back on her nose. “Welcome. May I help you?” She finds her footing and sits up straighter.

“I’m here to see Miles,” I say, and find the situation has put me a little at ease. I don’t know what I was prepared for, but certainly not this. I think I expected an old rigid assistant or a young bimbo, but this woman seems kind of dorky in an adorable kind of way.

“Do you have an appointment?” she asks, turning to her computer and scanning the screen.

“No. Can you tell him it’s Mallory?” I try. Maybe if he knows I’m here, he can make time to see me.

“Ms. Mallory Sullivan?” the assistant asks.

When I nod, she stands up out of her chair, nearly knocking it over in the process. “Please. This way.” She sounds hurried as she leads me over to large double doors with ornate carvings. She knocks half a second before opening the door and announcing our entrance. “Mr. Osbourne, Ms. Sullivan is here.”

I take a step around his assistant and see Miles on the other side of the room. He stands slowly, almost in shock that I’m here.

“Thank you, Jay. Please see that I’m undisturbed,” he says, not taking his eyes off me.

“Yes, sir,” she says, closing the large door behind us.

I hear the locks engage, and I narrow my eyes at Oz. He holds up a remote in his hand and shrugs one shoulder. It’s as if he knows he’s crazy, but he either can’t help himself or can’t be bothered to care about his behavior. He takes a step toward me, but then seems to think better of it and stands still.

The silence hangs between us, heavy with unspoken words.

After what feels like an eternity, but is really only a heartbeat, I decide I have to be the one to speak.

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

“You don’t even know what I’m thanking you for,” I say, letting out a little laugh.

“If something I did made you happy, then I hope to do it again. Often.”

As if emboldened by my words, he comes out from behind his desk, coming to stand in front of me. He’s not within touching distance, but that has never mattered before. We could be on separate tectonic plates and I think I would still sense his presence.

“Singing telegrams are over-the-top,” I say, almost accusingly, but can’t help my smile as I think of all those people dressed up and singing to me today.

“Yes,” he agrees, not denying it was inappropriate. His eyes crinkle at the edges, and his smile shows the dimples I’ve been missing.

“I thought the man behind the curtain was supposed to be mysterious.”

I finally look away from his penetrating sapphires because I fear that if I look at him a second longer, I’ll end up in his arms. I have to stay strong. We have to talk about all of this.

“I think we’re past the mystery, Mallory. I think we’ve reached the point where there should be no secrets left between us.”

Looking around his office, I see that he has a beautiful view of the city behind him, but nothing much else in the room. There’s a bookshelf to my left, and a giant television to my right. The screen is split into sections, each scrolling stocks and investment channels.

“The garden was beautiful,” I whisper, looking anywhere but at him.

He steps forward, and his scent assaults me. The warm amber and honey surrounds me in a comforting embrace that I didn’t know I needed.

“I want to tell you about it. About everything. Let me explain, Mallory. Please.”

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