Page 3 of Lavish Loving

“So, London, who’d you see earlier that had you falling on the stairs?”

“Hopefully not another stalker,” Quinn offered.

“No stalker, thank God.”

And never again, she hoped. London still got chills when she thought of the man who’d followed her from Paris to Milan, all the way to a hotel room in New York. He’d been arrested, deported and jailed, so it couldn’t be him. And again, London thought, thank God.

Burying the thought, she turned to her cousin. “And I didn’t fall, Katrina, not even close. Not even when I climbed the tourist-unfriendly mountain to Papa Dee’s final resting place in my five-inch Choos.”

“Which is why I strongly suggested you choose a different, more appropriate shoe.” The mere implication of a resort imperfection caused marketing and PR director Diamond Drake Wright to bristle, though the discomfort of being eight months pregnant might have contributed, too. “And while only you could have turned that earlier stumble into a graceful, even sexy, curtsy type of thing, you’re avoiding Katrina’s question. So spill the tea. Who was it, and don’t say just some guy, because we’re not buying that at all.”

London shrugged. “Wish I had something juicy to bring to this obviously bored table, but whoever the person was reminded me of a casual friend who lived in Europe. No one you guys would know.”

“Oh, good,” Diamond said, looking around to ensure her next words would be as discreet as she intended. “Because Ace Montgomery is here but wants his stay to remain private.”

“Ace Mon—” Katrina began to exclaim.

“Shh!” Diamond interrupted.

“The model?” Diamond’s sister-in-law Marissa was the quiet one in this group, but even her whisper held excitement.

“The one in the sexy underwear ads!” Katrina whispered. “Oh, my goodness, what’s his room number? It’s about to go down!”

Katrina began to rise.

“No, you’re about to sit down.” Diamond caught Katrina’s arm and gave her the don’t-mess-with-the-pregnant-lady eye. Katrina dutifully sat down. “That’s confidential information only shared with family.” She looked at Katrina. “Something that on second thought may not have been the best idea. This baby obviously has my brain as cramped as my organs feel right now.”

She leaned back to relieve the pressure from her expanded girth. Finding none, she stood.

So did London. “Are you okay?”

“Just too uncomfortable to keep sitting.” She rubbed her stomach. “I think little Jackson is ready for bed.”

London reached for Diamond’s purse. “I’ll walk you to your car.”

“That’s okay, cousin. Stay here and enjoy yourself.”

“I was headed to the bathroom anyway.”

“There’s one right behind you.”

“I’d rather use the one in the lobby.” Diamond grunted. “Stop being so independent. I’m going to walk you down.”

Two steps out of Wine and the conversation continued. “No.”

“What?” London asked Diamond, her face a study in innocence.

“What?” Diamond parroted. “I’m not stupid. Earlier, it was Ace you saw, and by your reaction whatever happened in Europe with this friend—” she made air quotes with her fingers “—wasn’t as casual as you claimed. Now try and deny it.”

“Dang, was I that transparent?”

“No, I’m that good at reading people. Especially those on the prowl in hotels.”

“I am hardly on the prowl.”

“Oh, really?”

“Yes, really. I don’t look for men. They look for me.”

“Then you wouldn’t be interested in any information I’d have about him. His room number, for instance? Or that he checked in alone?”

They reached the hotel entrance and stepped outside.

“Okay, what is it?”

“No, you’re probably right. No need to share information you won’t even use.”

“I might use it. Make a phone call. Have a chat.”

“Just a phone call, huh? You can do that through the front desk. Just dial zero and ask for him.”