* * *
“What if I told you that I had no idea who Anton Bertini is, and that I had nothing to do with...whatever you're involved in? What if I could prove it?”
Surprised, Kate frowned. He looked and sounded quite sincere. Could she have the wrong person? Had she been totally mistaken? Then why had he crept through the suite and how had he known just where to find her?
“How are you going to prove it?”
“Have you ever heard of Luxe Resorts?”
She scoffed and nearly announced she was a member. The exclusive Resorts, spanning the globe, were one of her favorite getaways. “Of course I've heard of them. Everyone on God's green earth has.”
His mouth tipped into a tight smile. “Who owns and operates them?”
“Are you ever going to get to the point?” she asked with no small amount of irritation.
“Just answer the question.”
“The Black family.”
“That's right. Will you hold still for a moment if I release you?”
“Yes.” Kate would do anything to put some space between them.
He hesitated, searching her eyes again. Then he released her hands but didn't move his body. Reaching into a back pocket, he withdrew a leather wallet and produced a Montana driver's license with his picture clearly on the front. Along with his name.
“You don't expect me to believe you're related to the Black family that owns the Luxe Resorts, do you?” Being a member, Kate thought she recalled literature somewhere that had Chayton's name on it. A niggling feeling remained, even after he slid the identification away and re-pocketed the wallet. Perhaps she'd heard it in the elite circles she frequented right up until her untimely disappearance from society.
“We can even look it up on the internet. Yes, I'm one of the heirs to the empire. Which means you should realize that I can't be whoever you think I am, and if I step away, you won't take a swing or stab me with your mascara wand.”
“That's brilliant. Provoke me while I'm angry, and there's no telling what I might do.” Bristling from the entire confrontation, Kate stared at Chayton, tempted to push against his chest with her hands. He stood somewhere just over six-feet, and though lean, seemed immovable unless he wanted to move.
“Like an annoyed little badger, hm? Are you going to grace me with your name in return, or are you going to force me to backtrack using Anton Bertini?” he asked.
“You wouldn't dare.” Kate didn't want him doing any such thing.
“Not only would I dare, I plan on it. Save us both the time and energy.”
“My name, obviously, is Penelope.” She flicked the name tag on the uniform.
Unprepared to come up with a last name, she floundered. Then said, “Penelope Smith.”
* * *
I'll announce a release date soon!