So I keep my mouth shut. I have my own plans. Now that I’m back, it’s time for me to set a few things in motion.

“There’s lots of talk about expansion in the works and no one is pleased, least of all me and Ryder.” Violet smiles every time she mentions her fiancé’s name. I wonder if she’s even aware of it. “She wants to grow too fast and that could harm the infrastructure of the company. Her grandiose plans were getting out of control and I couldn’t stand hearing about it another minute. Neither could Ryder. That’s the real reason we’re back, to put a stop to her before she ruins Fleur for good.”

I raise a brow. “So you’re back to undermine Pilar’s plans?” Pilar has to know this. And that’s why she’s being such a bitch, pulling out all her weapons and lining them up in a nice, neat row.

Violet smirks. “As best we can. We can’t have her ruining our legacy, can we?” She pauses, her eyes dancing with mischief. “I’ve heard, too, that there’s trouble in paradise.”

“Do tell.” I lean forward, eager for gossip about Daddy and Pilar. Any information I can glean I’ll store for later purposes. As in using said information against Pilar.

Violet glances at the closed door with a little nod of approval. Heaven forbid she get caught gossiping about the company, even if it is with just me. “She’s pushing for marriage soon and he’s not agreeable. Yes, he gave her an engagement ring, but it was more to shut her up than to do anything else. She’s getting restless,” she says, her voice low, as if there are microphones in the room catching our every word. “Grandma told me he came to her complaining. He’s not ready to get married.”

“Really?” I’m surprised he would confess something like that to his mother, our grandmother. Our father loves nothing more than putting on airs about how perfect everything in his life is. He gave Pilar that ring not only to please her, but because it looked good, the two of them working together, a beautiful, younger woman on his arm. A partner in crime who’s savvy and headstrong, and who’s more than ready to take Fleur to the next level. Forget his daughters who are willing to do the same thing.

Well, daughter. I have no interest in running Fleur and I’m starting to think Rose has lost interest as well.

Of course, heaven forbid we girls cause him any trouble—hello, I was born to give him trouble—or a scandal. Rose’s new husband with the slightly shady past and her out-of-the-blue pregnancy didn’t make him happy. Violet’s quick dumping of her ex Zachary and rushing into a relationship with Ryder McKay didn’t please him at first, either.

We won’t even get into how often I displease him. Almost on a daily basis.

“Yes. Really. I don’t know how much longer they’ll be together, but it’s not looking so good. And I think Pilar’s aware of it,” she admits. “I’m not protesting, though. You know how I feel about her.”

I put on an innocent look. “You think she’s awesome?”

“Ha.” Violet makes a face. “I hate her.” And Violet hates no one.

“I think we all do,” I say.

Violet waves a hand. “Enough about Pilar. Tell me about your vacation. How was Maui? Did you have a good time?”

Vacation. That’s what I finally told her when I texted her the morning I left Maui. What else could I say to Violet?

I’m on the run from Pilar because she’s about to get her revenge on you and possibly destroy our family legacy?

Yeah, that wouldn’t work. I keep my mouth shut because I don’t have 100 percent confirmation. It’s one thing to accuse Pilar of having relationships with other men besides my father—I have proof of that via emails. But my suspicions of her selling company secrets to one of Fleur’s competitors? That’s all I have.

Suspicions. No proof.

“It was nice. Relaxing.” Lies. I feel more stressed out than ever. And I definitely don’t want to divulge any information about my entanglement with Max. A man whose last name I don’t even know. I don’t really know what he does for a living beyond that it’s a secret and he’s ex-military, or whether he lied to me about being single—nothing. For all I know he’s married with kids and is living this crazy, double life.

What I do know is that he kissed like a dream, I fell apart every time he so much as looked at me and when he fucked me, he took complete command of my body.

And I liked it.

Memories of that last night with him assail me, one after the other. Letting him take such total control over me, I’d slipped over an edge I’d never experienced before. I felt lost, deliciously, wonderfully lost in the absolute best way. My mind had emptied completely when he touched me, shoved my skirt up to my waist, and then proceeded to give me not just one but two orgasms in a matter of minutes. All while we stood on the balcony of his hotel room where anyone could see us.

The hottest experience of my life, hands down.

All of it ruined by his leaving me. Stealing from me.

God, how could I be so gullible?

“Nice? That’s all you’re going to give me?” She props her elbow on the edge of her desk, resting her chin on her curled fist as she studies me. “I suggested we go to Hawaii for our honeymoon, but Ryder would rather go to the Caribbean. You’ll have to fill me in on the resort so I can report back to him and convince him to change his mind.”

“But the Caribbean is nice, too,” I tell her, grateful for the minor change of subject. And no way am I going to suggest she go to the resort I was at. That Vice club would shock the hell out of her.

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