“Did she sign the confidentiality agreement?” Violet asks as she looks up at him.
Ryder nods. “We made sure she did that before the Zachary emails came up. Your father handled it all beautifully. Never even broke a sweat.”
I’m strangely proud to hear it. “What about you, Ryder? Did you break a sweat?”
“Nah, though I did want to wring her neck with my bare hands.” He smiles, then drops a kiss on Violet’s lips. “It’s over, baby. She’s out of our lives for good.”
“Hopefully,” Violet adds.
“No hopefully. What’s done is done. Her career in the cosmetics industry is most likely over, but I’m sure she’ll reinvent herself. Or somehow convince someone she’s worth the trouble,” Ryder says with a shake of his head. “She did a lot for me …” His voice drifts and he almost looks guilty.
My sister snaps him back to reality. “But she also held you back,” Violet points out as she slowly withdraws from his arms, turning to face me. “Maybe you should start working at Fleur, Lily. With Rose gone and now Pilar, too, we need someone. And I’d like to keep it in the family.”
I blink in surprise. I can’t believe my sister is suggesting I come to work at Fleur. “I appreciate your faith in me, but I have plans of my own.”
Violet frowns. “What are you talking about?”
“I think I’m going to work with Max. Put my hacking skills to good use,” I admit, feeling embarrassed. I hope she doesn’t think that’s a stupid idea. It’s been fun, discussing plans for the future with Max. Not just fun, but exciting. I’ve never been one to think far ahead but with Max, it’s all I want to do.
Violet’s frown turns into a small smile, her eyes lighting up. “That’s … amazing. I love the idea. Father will be so proud.”
“You think so?” I’m pleased at the idea that I could truly make my father proud. I don’t think he’s been proud of anything I’ve ever done.
“I know so. We’d love to have you at Fleur but completely understand that you’d rather work with Max. That sounds more like your calling, so I get it.” Violet smiles and steps closer to me, holding out her arms. I go to her and we embrace, clutching each other tight. “Go where it feels right, Lily,” she murmurs close to my ear.
That’s the best advice anyone’s ever given me.
Three months later
“YOU REALLY WANT me to move in with you?”
I nod, scooting across my giant bed so I can press my naked body against his. He still has on his boxer briefs but I can feel his erection. If I plan this right, that big cock of his will be inside me in minutes. “Please ease the suspense and just say yes. We’re together all the time anyway. If you’re not here, I’m at your apartment.” But he’s in Brooklyn, so we spend more time here. Plus, my apartment is bigger. It also has better security, thanks to Max and the new system he recently convinced them to put in. He’s still not sold that Pilar won’t pop up out of nowhere and come after me or Violet.
Max chuckles and slips his arms around my waist, his big hands moving down to cup my ass and haul me into him. “I should be like Caden and make you move into my place so we can all be neighbors,” he murmurs against my neck as he starts kissing me there. His lips are hot, his tongue wet, making me shiver.
“That would be kind of dumb considering we’re opening up our new office downtown next month,” I remind him. It’s only a few months after I started working with Max and Levi, and business is booming. Word got out that Max now has a team of tech experts working with him and we’re almost to the point where we have to turn business away.
Max is currently interviewing for more employees and we recently hired a full-time receptionist. We’ve kept it quiet that I work with him. I’ve become more of a silent partner because we don’t want to draw any unwanted media attention. Our business is discreet, and potential clients wouldn’t like it if they knew a former media darling—or media hot mess, take your pick—was working with them.
And I’ve had plenty of media attention lately, what with the recent launch of the namesake perfume. I did a ton of interviews along with Rose and Violet, and we did a huge launch at Bloomingdale’s. The media especially loves that Rose is hugely pregnant and ready to pop any day now. The Fowler Sisters’ perfumes have done amazingly well.
Not that I’m surprised.
In some ways, I’ve become a completely different person these last few months. I go into work every morning, Monday through Friday, and sometimes we even work on the weekends. Me, the party girl of Manhattan, the troublemaker, the terror, the girl nominated to crash and burn at a young age, has turned into a normal, eight-to-five—or more, to be truthful—working woman.
And I love it. I love waking up with Max, sharing a shower with him before we eat breakfast, gulp down coffee, and head to the office. I love working with Levi, who’s intense and smart and enjoys figuring out tricky code as much as I do—maybe even more.
The thing I love the most? Spending every day with Max. I thought we would get sick of each other and he admitted he had that fear, too. Yet I’m not sick of him at all. If anything, I appreciate and love him more and more each day. He’s amazing. So smart, so diligent, always wanting to do the right thing no matter what.
All that integrity I thought he didn’t have? He possesses it in spades. And it’s sexy, too. Everything about him is sexy.