Devil in a Dark Blue Suit. Robyn Grady
too much information.
Reaffirming the goal in her mind—to save her sister suffering the same pain she’d endured at the hands of a Stone—Eden tried again. ‘I’m asking for your help.’
His pupils dilated until the deepest blue of his eyes became black. ‘They’re not kids, Eden. It’s none of our business. It’s nobody’s business but theirs.’
At the implacable set of his jaw, she held her breath but couldn’t stop the energy and hope seeping from her body.
So, that was that. She should’ve known this was useless. Worse than useless. Devlin Stone lived for two things: his next adventure and his next seduction, in that order, which didn’t leave room for the compassion she’d hoped to find.
He’d probably instructed little brother more than once on the moves required to lay off a girl without accepting any blame. How dense to believe she might be able to talk to him. Worse, she’d put herself in this vulnerable position. He’d sent out the vibes, baiting her, testing her.
Tears born of frustration prickled the backs of her eyes.
She’d sooner scale the Harbour Bridge in a hailstorm than succumb to Devlin Stone’s magnetism again.
‘I’m sorry for wasting your time.’ She pushed up on rubbery legs and calmly collected her purse. ‘But I’m sure I’ll feel sorrier for Sabrina.’
Devlin acknowledged and immediately dismissed the overwhelming urge to grab Eden’s arm and haul her right back. She’d wanted to meet. He was here to talk. Yet ten minutes into their reunion he was watching the most exquisitely infuriating woman he’d ever known walk out on him.
Eden wanted him to step into the middle of his brother’s affairs. Tell Nate who he should or should not see. She chose to ignore the fact that Nate and Sabrina were adults, old enough to make up their own minds, whether she approved or not. She might be slightly built, but Eden Foley entertained an Amazonian mentality.
She liked to be in control.
The waiter appeared and poured the champagne. Devlin sipped, barely tasting the fruity bubbles. His thoughts were stuck on the determined set of Eden’s shoulders, the defiant passion in her apple-green eyes…
His gut muscles clenched and his line of vision darted to the restaurant’s glass frontage at the same time Eden came into view. She looked edible in that cream-and-black dress, her chin and arm lifted high as she hailed a passing cab. That yellow didn’t stop, but another would roll by soon enough. In a few minutes she’d be out of his life.
He ran a finger around his inside collar then, growling, pushed aside the crystal flute and strode towards the exit, tossing enough cash on the desk as he passed.
Damnation, what was it about that woman? Her exceptional figure? Her sharp wit? That glossy honey-blonde hair?
Yes, yes and yes.
And something more. Something that gnawed at him whenever he woke and wondered in the still dead of night.
The remnants of a need to tame her?
He claimed his jacket from the brunette at the counter, threw it over a shoulder and headed out.
No, submission wasn’t the prize. He’d never had the desire to tame any woman—only enjoy them. Spoil them. In his younger day the world had seemed full of alluring possibilities. Then his offshore oil and gas support company had taken off and he’d met Eden—a woman who possessed the contradictory seeds of both natural innocence and darkest temptation…a curious and, as it’d turned out, addictive combination.
Yesterday, when his secretary had said Eden Foley was on the line, his palm was damp by the time he’d picked up. He’d accepted Eden’s invitation and had spent a restless night anticipating their coming encounter. When he’d jumped out of that cab earlier, God help him, he’d wanted to shirk civic duty and bypass that whacko hitting a home run on some poor bastard’s car. Her husband’s car, so that officer had said.
Stepping outside, Devlin sucked in a cleansing breath while thunder grumbled overhead.
Marriage. What a racket.
He spied Eden on the footpath, raised on the balls of her sexy black heels, flagging another cab. He scrubbed his jaw and scrubbed it again.
Time to face facts. The memory of that woman still had him by the horns and that was far from acceptable. But there was a remedy, one simple answer to one simple question. When he had that, he could put that nameless ghost to bed and Eden Foley out of his mind for good.
He stopped beside her and, hands in his pockets, perused the steady stream of traffic as a cooling breeze on a muggy day combed through his hair. ‘It’s busy for a Saturday.’
She stiffened at his voice but didn’t meet his eyes. ‘Less busy than earlier. I see they’ve towed your car away.’
He did a double take. ‘You mean the crippled BMW?’ He shook his head. ‘Nice automobile, but not mine.’
She slumped on a weary sigh. ‘Devlin, I saw the woman pummel the bonnet, saw you swing around the back and lift the bat right out of her hands. Of course it was your car.’
Guess it could’ve looked that way, but, ‘I happened to be in the right place at the wrong time. There were kids on the path. Someone had to stop her. I only wish I’d known a police car was cruising by. Would’ve saved me a pile of trouble.’
Her expression changed, from annoyed disinterest to stilted comprehension. ‘Y-you didn’t know her?’
‘You think I have some crazy cousin in the family?’
‘Not a cousin…’
The penny dropped along with his jaw. ‘Oh, Eden, no. You didn’t think that woman and I were an item?’
‘All the pieces seemed to fit.’ The confusion in her eyes cleared. ‘I should’ve guessed the other explanation.’
As her words trailed, a cold splash landed on his nose at the same time the earthy scent of rain hitting hot cement rose off the pavement. He shot a glance at the churning grey sky. A heartbeat later, the heavens opened up.
Eden yelped, hunching over as icy needles pelted down. Thinking for them both, he gathered her close, threw his jacket over their heads for protection and scooted towards a shallow alcove set in the building’s façade. Tight but room enough for two.
As he shook out his jacket she let go a sorrowful wail. ‘I’m soaked!’
‘It’s not fatal. You’ll dry.’
‘Not before this outfit is ready for the trash. It’s new-season fine wool blend. Strictly dry-clean only. It was going in my window Monday morning. Hundreds of dollars, and orders besides, down the drain.’
He’d known she owned a boutique in town. Given the snippets he’d gleaned from ladies at recent black-tie functions, Temptations had built a reputation for its classy inventory. And that dress was a knockout, soaked through or not. Tasteful yet sexy, a far cry from the hip-riding jeans she’d worn—and he’d loved—when they’d first met.
Beside him, she trembled, hugged herself, and his arm instinctively went out to warm her. ‘You’re cold.’
She shied away. ‘I shake when I’m mad.’
He relaxed and hid a grin. He remembered. She shook at other times too.
‘Things could be worse.’
Pressing herself to the wall, she recrossed her arms and thinned her lips.
He laughed. ‘Oh, come on. When did you become such a sourpuss?’
‘Since your brother began dating my sister. And before you start, you’ve made your stand on that subject