“Did you say Wright? As in the famous Wrights from White Rose Manor?”
Nadia's heart skipped a beat at his question, and she froze.
Oh no, out of all the people in the room, the one man who knew her family had to single her out for a conversation! There was no way he could be oblivious to what had happened to the rest of her family…and to her. Would her past come crashing back to ruin everything?
It took all her self-control to keep a straight face. Making her tone as cold as possible without sounding hostile, she answered his question with one of her own.
“Why would you think so?”
Something shifty appeared and disappeared in the man’s eyes, like a malicious gleam. It made her palms sweat, and she was sure she’d remember him forever despite his nondescript features.
“You are the spitting image of Stephen Wright, if I may say so.”
This was getting worse by the second. He knew her brother, which could mean only two things: Either he had been in cohorts with him and was himself a bad character, or he was one of the many people who had fallen out with her brother when he had skipped merrily from scandal to scandal or after he had left them without their money due to sudden death. And he was right, of course. If you disregarded that they were of different gender, they had always looked like twins, which had made it all the more difficult for her.
Groping for anything that would keep her afloat in the rough waters, Nadia said, “Ah, you knew my brother.”
The sleazy grin waddled across his face again.
“My dear, I…”
She never got the chance to rebuke him for speaking to her like that. One minute, the man was practically in her face. The next minute, she was standing a few feet away, half shielded behind the tall, fit frame of her boss.
Lucas was giving off waves of the hostility she had struggled not to show. His voice was icy and his pose threatening when he faced Hartington or whatever the man’s name was.
“Sir.” His voice made it sound like an insult rather than the proper way of addressing somebody. “I beg your pardon, but I don’t think this event is meant for making personal acquaintances. In case you are interested in an advertising campaign, I am at your service. If not, I’d like you to excuse us for now, because there is much important networking ahead of us.”
She watched the man’s face change to an ugly shade of crimson at being told off. He muttered something, executed a stiff, awkward sort of half-bow in her direction, and sauntered off, leaving behind a hideous whiff of cologne and a stale taste in her mouth.
Lucas turned around to her, and the dark emotion boiling in his eyes made her recoil instinctively, before his face settled into his normal expression, and the ice thawed.
“Are you all right? You look awfully pale.”
There was concern in his tone. It made her want to crumble, throw herself into his arms and shut the world—especially her past—out. However, she pulled herself together, more grateful for his interruption than words could tell.
“I’m all right, but thanks for coming to my rescue.”
His stared at her longer than she would have liked it, as if he was searching for something specific. Wordlessly, he touched her elbow and guided her to the dining area.
You can find more excerpts here and buy the book here.