“Umm…that might need to be put on the seller’s disclosure.” I tried to think through the legality of hiding part of the house and then springing it on a new buyer after the close. It sounded illegal, though it wasn’t exactly a negative to the property.

“I’ll add an amendment to the contract that allows for the home’s security features to be kept confidential until after all contingencies are removed.” He glanced at his wife. “That work for you?”


“Oh-kay.” I made an illegible scribble on the next line of the page, then looked up. “Anything else on this floor?” Torture chamber? Secret tunnel exit?

“I don’t think so.” Julia glanced at Brad. “Should we go ahead and do the paperwork?”

Paperwork? I perked up as his gaze moved to mine, our eye contact holding for a moment before he nodded. “Assuming that Elle is interested in the listing. There are a few other details we need to iron out, but we can cover that in the agreement review.”

“I’m interested. It’s a gorgeous home and I’ll make sure it is properly represented.” Properly represented? I pinned my lips shut before I said anything else.

“Then, let’s head to the office.” Brad turned and held open the door, gesturing for us to go ahead.

I followed Julia’s calm and unhurried steps, taking advantage of the journey and double-checking my folder to make sure that I had every piece of the listing agreement ready. It was a standard form, one I had filled out this morning with all their details. I’d held my breath as I’d typed in a six percent commission, hoping that they wouldn’t negotiate the amount. I’d left the listing price blank, and thumbed through the left folder pocket to make sure I had the recent comps to help them decide on a number. Four million was the recommendation I would make, though I believed we could ask more. I’d play the figure by ear, depending on their reaction to the recent sales figures I would review with them.

Opening the door to Brad’s office, Julia gestured to one of the chairs before his desk. “We prepared a listing agreement but have a few unique items on it to review with you.”

I sat down slowly, reminding myself that they were both attorneys. “Oh, okay. I brought a listing agreement, but I’m happy to use one you’ve prepared.”

Brad circled to the opposite end of the desk and tossed a stack of papers toward me. “We’ll give you time to review it but I’m afraid you can’t take it with you.”

Julia perched on the edge of the desk and gave me a reassuring smile. “We have to be careful.”

Careful of what? I slid the contract closer, reassured only slightly by the LISTING AGREEMENT title across its top.

“I’ve included all of your broker’s standard language and only added the non-legal details and instructions we need followed for our particular listing.”

“What kind of instructions?” I pulled the pages closer to me.

“We’ll have security present at all showings, both uniformed and plainclothes. In order to accomplish that, we need forty-eight hours advance notice.” Brad settled back in his chair and smoothed his blue tie down the front of his white dress shirt. “Ideally, we’d like you to coordinate all of the showings to be in one four-hour window. Like an open house, but where every visitor has been properly vetted and approved.”

“Approved by who?”

“Brad or myself.” Julia spoke up. “As I stated before, security is a concern.”

“And that’s all in here?” I scanned the first page, then the second. They already had an asking price decided upon—$4.25 million—and a listing term of three months. I frowned at the short window, though it was peanuts compared to the fact that they wanted security at any showings. I paused. “Am I in danger?”

Brad and Julia exchanged a glance, which was not reassuring in the least. Brad leaned forward, and it was incredible how he managed to instill reassurance with just eye contact. You didn’t just look into his eyes. You sank into them. I tried to pull my gaze away and failed. “Are you already aware of my family?”

My family. I tried to imagine being part of a family like that. The Miami Herald had run an exposé piece on the Magiano family last year and put their net worth at one point four billion and their annual estimated death count at twelve, though the Miami-Dade Police Department had never been able to get a Magiano conviction.

I nodded.

“And I’m assuming that the reason that Fred Mount referred us to you, instead of his boyfriend, is because of my family.” Brad didn’t wait for a response, which I was grateful for. “I am not responsible for my family, but I can control my environment and the things that do and don’t spur them into action. If I thought that selling this house would anger them, then I would sell it myself and not involve you. It’s a popular street, it should sell quickly. Our concern isn’t that you will be in danger, but that someone might pose as a buyer to try and gain access to the house. Plant a listening device, or leave something incriminating. Take something of value. That’s the reason for the security.”

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