Her eyes bugged out. “With the De Lakeys? The mobster sex couple?”

“De Lucas,” Easton corrected, coming in the kitchen and opening the lid to the box. “Thanks for the donuts.”

“You’re welcome,” she said pointedly, looking at me as if needing a second pat on the back for eleven dollars’ worth of sugar.

“I’m keto,” I reminded her. “No carbs.” Or sugar.

She took the other stool and opened the lid, peering in. “I can’t believe you went to their house alone. E, you can’t let her do these things. Did she tell you about them? Did she tell you that they are SWINGERS?”

“Yes, she mentioned that.” E avoided my gaze as he lifted a chocolate glazed out of the box and bit into it.

“I’m telling you, Elle. You’re lucky they didn’t rape you.” She dangled one foot from the stool and I watch as her flip-flop fell off. “E, back me up.”

He lifted the mug and poured himself a cup. “I made my feelings clear on the De Lucas last night. Elle’s a big girl. She knows what she is getting into.”

I glared at him and Chelsea suddenly stiffened. “Are you two fighting?”

I ignored the question and unlocked my phone, swiping away the long list of Chelsea notifications and opening my inbox.

“Well, this is awkward,” she remarked tartly, as if our fight was inconvenient to her pop-in schedule. “Easton, how was your trip?”

“Fine. It was worth the trip. I told Nicole she should invest in the game.”

“You did?” I looked up from my phone, my email forgotten. “When?”

“On the flight home. We reviewed the contract and the timetable and the numbers and I told her she should do it.” He swung his foot toward Wayland, who had started to scratch at the baseboard. “Wayland, stop.”

“Do you think she’s going to?” I stared at him, doing the math. Ten million, at his one percent fee—a hundred thousand dollar commission. My heart soared at the possibility.

“She agreed last night and wired the money this morning into the account. It’s done.” He stood and carried his cup to the sink, turning his back to me.

“What? And you didn’t tell me?” All last night, he had known. He could have whispered it in my ear as we ate dinner, side by side at the table at Brad and Julia’s. Could have shared it when we kissed as I passed him on the way to the bathroom. Could certainly have brought it up during the long ride home. He’d known that our money problems were over and he hadn’t said a thing about this payday. “Why not?”

“You didn’t ask.” He rinsed his cup out and picked up the sponge, suddenly progressive enough to wash his own dishes.

“Okay dokey, I’m going to take my carb- and sugar-loaded donuts and skedaddle before it starts to rain.” Chelsea scooped the box up against her chest and edged toward the door. “Great chatting with you both. Once you exit the war zone, call me and we can grab lunch.”

I stared at E’s back, noting the rigid line of his shoulders as he scrubbed the coffee mug hard enough to remove the paint. “Congratulations,” I managed. “That’s huge. Does Don know?”

“Yeah. I forwarded the deal memo to him last night.”

“And she already wired the money?”

He paused. “I said she did.”

“Okay.” I tapped my fingers slowly along the counter and waited for him to turn. This was stupid. We shouldn’t be fighting. We should be celebrating. Fucking. Flipping open the Frontgate catalog stuffed in my office trash and ordering a new patio set.

I set my mug down and stood, moving to stand behind him. Leaning my chest against his back, I wrapped my arms around him. “I’m proud of you,” I whispered.

“I’m not getting paid on it.” He set the coffee cup down on the counter and I watched as water drops splattered onto the granite. “I referred her to Don. She’ll be working with him now, unless she decides to return to Morgan Stanley.”

“What?” My relief evaporated and I stepped back, stunned. “Why?”

He turned to face me. “On the flight back, she hit on me. I took a Xanax and fell asleep. I woke up with a blanket across my lap, my pants unzipped and her hand on me. I was hard and she was jacking me off. I pushed her away and she said…” He shrugged, pulling the dishtowel off the counter and wiping his hands dry. “A lot of things. Things she wanted to do to me. To us.”

“But—but she’s gay.”

“Apparently, she’s bisexual. I told her I couldn’t continue advising her, that it would be inappropriate. She got pissed. But the investment is still a good one for her. I told her to take it, and I waived the commission so she’d understand that I wasn’t motivated by that. It is a good opportunity for her. She should take it.”

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