He looks over at me like I’ve lost my damn fool mind. “No,” he says, looking a little like he might laugh.

“Well, we have to go somewhere.”

“Not a bedroom. What kind of gobshite do you take me for? Mateo’ll have me arse.”

“I don’t want to have sex with him,” I say, flushing. “I just need to talk to him without an audience. This is a horrible intrusion. I didn’t want to bring a bodyguard at all, but I definitely can’t have this conversation in front of one.”

“I don’t get my orders from ye, lass.”

He pulls into the driveway, and now I can’t breathe. None of this is going the way I wanted it to. I mean, I would’ve liked to be a real coward and do this via text message. “It’s over, so sorry, bye!” That would’ve been heartless, but wonderful. This is the most stressful thing I can possibly imagine.

I don’t get out of the car. I can’t. This is all wrong.

“I want Adrian,” I tell him, changing my mind.

“Adrian’s busy tonight,” he tells me.

“Adrian knows Vince. This isn’t going to be okay if I take you. I should’ve never agreed to this, but Mateo threatened to come himself if I didn’t bring you.”

“He still might,” Colin tells me. “I call him right now and tell him ye’re not cooperatin’ and ye want to go off in the bedroom with this lad, he just might come over here himself, the way I see it.”

I glare at the unmovable Irishman. “You’re supposed to be here to protect me, not rat me out.”

“I’m here to protect Mateo’s interests,” he corrects me. “If he asked me to guard his house, I wouldn’t open the door to fecking looters, now would I?”

“I’m a person, not a house.”

Colin shrugs, like there’s little difference. “Ye’re Mateo’s property. His orders were clear.”

It’s sexy in the bedroom, but that is not sexy right now. I don’t appreciate that one bit.

“I can’t do this,” I state.

“Want me to do it for ye?” he offers. “We’ll be in and out quick that way. We can go grab a burger.”

“No,” I say, burying my face in my hands.

“She’s fecking Mateo now, lad. Time to find yourself a new bird.” He looks to me, as if for approval. “How’s that?”

I roll my eyes at him. “You’re such an ass, Colin.”

Actually I’m the ass, because that’s not an incorrect summation of this situation, but it’s also incredibly unhelpful.

“We can go in the spare room,” I finally say. “There’s no bed in the spare room. There’s no furniture at all. It’s just extra space for storage. This is my final offer. If you can’t even give me this much privacy to end my relationship with my first love, then I’m not doing this at all. You can take me back home and tell Mateo he has to pay you for nothing, because you were too big a pain in my ass and I couldn’t even dump my boyfriend. I don’t think he’d be very happy, but hey, it’s your call.”

Colin is not impressed by my blackmailing abilities. But he finally shrugs. “Fine. It’s yer arse. He pulls anything, I shoot him dead.”

My heart plummets, because Vince is very likely to pull something, and it’s too late to go back now. I’m trying so hard to hold onto it, but it feels like control is slipping out of my hands, and fast.

By the time we get to the front door, my hands are trembling so badly that I can’t get the key in the lock. Colin notices this and a look of trepidation crosses his face. “Has he hit ye before?”

I shake my head vehemently. “Never. He’s not abusive. I’m not going to need you, this is just… Mateo being overly cautious,” I assure him.

“Sounds like him,” he agrees, but I’m too nervous for him to put much behind this. I guess hardened murderers probably don’t think too much about breaking measly things like hearts.

I’ve never really dumped anyone before, certainly never anyone I’ve been intimate with. I suddenly feel so ill, I don’t think I’ll be able to go through with this. I desperately want Mateo, but I don’t want to hurt Vince. Maybe I should’ve let Mateo handle this. It would’ve been unconscionable, letting him break Vince’s heart in my stead, but I don’t have the stomach for what I’m about to do.

I don’t want to break Vince’s heart. I don’t want that at all.

This is so much worse than last time. I’d been a fool last time, but I hadn’t hurt Vince on purpose. This… this is taking it to a whole new level. This is fucking unforgivable. I’m not just leaving him, I’m leaving him for the person who did that. The person who fucked everything up to begin with. I’m leaving the guy who tried to save me for the man who sought to destroy me.

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