She had to pause to take a breath, her agitation evident as she pushed a shaky hand through her hair. Samuel’s gaze was as fixed as ever, as he took in her lack of composure.
He didn’t even let himself think it through first, before he suggested that if the agency gave her problems with the apartment, she could just move in with him. “I can easily let you have the spare wing to do whatever you want,” he offered casually.
Dina’s first instinct was to say no, she could find somewhere else herself. But on second thought, she replied that she’d think about it.
Not that she planned on taking him up on the offer. She was much too independent for that. So independent that she wasn’t ready to tell her family about the pregnancy just yet.
Her parents had been so awed and happy with her flyaway success in modeling. She couldn’t face their disappointment just yet, when they found out she got pregnant. She just might be able to get her career back on track after the baby, but there was a chance she might not. It could go either way really.
Instead of pressing her to change her mind, Samuel simply took her hand and smiled. “Come on, let me show you around upstairs.”
Dina went with him to look around some more and had to admit the property was fabulous. She’d expected such luxury from the billionaire heir to the Franklin auto fortune, but she still felt awed by it all. She especially loved the paintings, some of them rare originals of the best artists. Dina could picture herself living there all too well, and that was foolish. He showed her the beautiful suite of rooms that would be hers if she stayed, and she wished she didn’t feel so tempted.
“Here’s a room that could easily be renovated as a studio for you,” Samuel was saying. “It would be a great spot, because it lets in a lot of sun during the day, offering the perfect lighting.”
Ugh, she really didn’t need even more temptation. Hiding her inner confusion, she smiled and turned to face him. “Slow down. I haven’t even said I’ll stay yet. Let me at least decide before you build me my own studio.”
Samuel shrugged. “I’m definitely hoping you’ll choose to stay eventually. As for the studio, let’s just say I’m interested in nurturing your talent so you never give up on it.”
“There’s a thin line between nurturing and spoiling, Mr. Franklin,” she said, wagging her index finger up at him, her smile teasing. “And I’m quite sure you lean heavily on the spoiling side.”
To her surprise, he grasped hold of that waving finger gently in his fist and leaned in close.
Dina’s breath hitched, the air around her lightly hinting at the fresh, woodsy tang emanating from his skin. He leaned in even closer and the gorgeous scent grew stronger.
His hold around her finger was strangely intimate, just as much as the hooded look in his eyes and his thrilling nearness. Dina backed away instinctively, and he followed right until her back bumped against the door. She let out a breathy gasp, wondering why her heart was thumping so fast. She could hear it drumming in her ears.
“If you let me, I’d definitely relish spoiling you,” he said huskily, looking in her eyes…searching for something Dina had no clue of. What did he hope to find?
Then his gaze shifted to her soft and plump lips, lingering there with a look of almost feral desire. Dina actually felt her eyes begin to droop in expectation of his kiss, but again, he pulled back and broke the spell.
Releasing her finger, he instead held out his hand. “Your phone.”
“What?” Dina gave him a questioning look, but handed it to him anyway.
He tapped the screen for a few moments then handed the phone back. “My number is now saved on the first speed dial. If anything happens or you need my help, then I’m just a phone call away.”
Dina felt all teary again. Stop it, she warned herself. It was just, she didn’t expect him to be this nice, or caring. Don’t be too nice to me, she wanted to plead. Instead she nodded and agreed to do just that.
The thing about having a big change happen in life was how it reminded you how truly alone you are.
Dina could say she had friends, but they were really more like acquaintances. They could meet for outings, like dinner, parties and movies, but never shared any intense bonding moments.
Dina knew better than to expect a shoulder to cry on when real problems occurred. As such, she was aware that if she happened to fall off the modeling radar, none of those ‘friends’ would really be particularly upset or even notice.
At least she had Samuel. Wait, did she?
So, he offered to let her move in with him, and he seemed ready to face the responsibility of the baby, but could she really count on him? He had this whole wild lifestyle that she couldn’t see him giving up soon. So unless he planned to keep up with his partying ways while she had to handle the whole issue of a difficult pregnancy, just what was his deal?