As the warmth of the water cascaded down my body, I could feel the sun’s heat begin to prickle at my skin. I wasn’t new to getting sunburned, and as I had a pretty good tan, the pink tint to my skin would soon convert to another hue of brown. The memory of what took place in the pool heated my body more than the sun. Making out in a pool was a first for me. At any moment, Mika could have walked out of the patio doors and seen us. It was risky, but the possibility of getting caught only added to the excitement.
Rinsing the remaining conditioner from my hair, I grabbed a towel and wrapped it around my head turban style. After drying off, I applied some tinted lotion to my skin. I wasn’t sure how Davian did it, but not only did he supply me with the most expensive cosmetics, he also took the time to provide me with my favorite shampoo and conditioner, and tinted lotion. It felt comforting knowing he cared enough to buy me my favorite products, but also scary because he knew more about me than I did about him.
After I dried my hair and applied a minimal amount of makeup, I stepped out of the bathroom feeling like a new woman. Pulling away my towel, I opened the drawer and pulled out a lacy pink bra along with a matching pair of panties. I wasn’t happy about the clothes he purchased for me, but I had no choice unless I wanted to remain in this room.
As I slipped on a gray sheath dress, I heard a knock at the door. It could only be Davian coming to get me for dinner. I grabbed a pair of matching pumps and headed to the door. It surprised me to see Mika standing on the other side instead of Davian. Her smile was brighter than the sun. “Excuse me, Miss Reyna, but Davi wanted me to tell you that dinner will be in fifteen minutes.”
“Thank you for letting me know. I am almost ready.” Before Mika walked away, there was something that I needed to know. “Why do you call Davian, Davi?”
Mika turned to face me with a smile. “I have known Davi ever since he was born. I’ve been working for the Cross family for many years. First as a housekeeper and then as Davi’s nanny. I guess you could say I am the only mother he has ever known. Davi and I are very close, so now I work for him. The nickname I gave him will never change.”
“Davian never told me that his mother passed. How did she die?” Any bit of information that Mika would willingly share would bring me that much closer to knowing more about him.
“No, Miss Reyna. Mrs. Cross isn’t dead. She is very sick and is being well taken care of.”
“I don’t understand, Mika.”
“I best be heading back down to check on dinner. Davi should probably be the one to tell you about his mother.”
I was so close to finding out where Davian’s mother was, but she was right. Davian would need to be the one to share what happened to his mom with me. The last thing I wanted was to get Mika into trouble. She had been nothing but kind to me since I arrived and I really liked her.
Stepping into my pumps, I walked over to the dresser and sprayed perfume on my neck and wrists. With one last look, I stepped out of my room. Hit with the smell of something delicious, I walked down the stairs. As I got closer to the dining room, the scent of rosemary and other divine spices I couldn’t put my finger on became stronger. As I turned the corner, Davian was already seated at the head of the table. There was no one else around him, but I noticed that there were two additional place settings.
Like a magnet, our eyes found each other’s. Davian’s magnificent smile spread across his already handsome face. I could have stared at him for hours. Just like me, the sun had left its mark by giving him an additional tint of brown to his already perfect tan. Instead of waiting for me to take a seat, he pushed from his chair and met me. Placing his hand on my cheek, I could feel the connection we had as it radiated through my body, resting at my core. When he leaned in and pressed his lips to mine, his woodsy scent did nothing to calm the surge of urgency in my stomach. If it weren’t for the beautifully set table and the fact that Mika was in the kitchen, I would have cleared the table and allowed him to take me just as he did in the pool.
When our kiss broke, he brushed his hand across my cheek. “You look beautiful.”
Blinking my eyes in a flirty manner, I tilted my head. “Why, thank you, Mr. Cross. You look very handsome as well.”
As he led me to the table, I looked over at the additional place setting. “Is there someone else coming to dinner?”
Before he could answer, I heard a voice coming from the living room. “Davian, you will have to forgive me for my tardiness. There was a delay at the airport which put me behind.”
As I turned to face Davian’s father, the sight reminded me how much they looked alike. Davian had the same color of hair as his father and the same blue eyes. I could only assume that he also got his need to be in control from his father.
Davian broke my focus when his voice chimed in. “Father, I believe you remember Reyna McCall from her father’s fundraiser.”
“Why, yes. I always remember a pretty face.”
I held out my hand. “It’s so nice to see you again, Mr. Cross.”
Instead of shaking it, he brought it to his lip and kissed the back of my hand just as he had at the fundraiser. “Please call me Lorenzo.”
As I nodded my head, he finally released my hand and walked to the other side of the table. Davian and Lorenzo waited for me to sit, like I was royalty, before they sat down.
Mika was soon in the dining room, placing different dishes onto the table. The first dish she presented was glazed chicken garnished with baked pineapple and mango. As we began dishing out the food to our plates, she came back with two more dishes, steamed asparagus layered in breadcrumbs and small red potatoes sautéed in what appeared to be tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Everything looked amazing. When she returned with three individual bowls of tossed salad, I wondered where I would put all this food. Just then, I knew what was meant by ‘A meal fit for a king’ but this case, it would be a queen.
By the time dinner ended, I couldn’t eat another bite. Mika suggested we relax in the living room while she cleared the table. I offered to help, but once again she shooed away. Taking my remaining wine with me, I followed Lorenzo and Davian into the living room. I took a seat on the couch and watched Lorenzo walked over to a sideboard against the wall separating the dining room and living room. Lifting a crystal decanter, he looked to Davian. “Cognac?”
Lorenzo directed the question toward Davian. Davian nodded his head before taking a seat next to me. After filling two tumblers about a quarter full, Lorenzo handed one to Davian before taking a seat on the couch opposite of where Davian and I sat.
I shouldn’t have felt uncomfortable with Davian at my side, but sitting across from Lorenzo made me very uncomfortable. Taking a sip of my wine, Lorenzo set his glass on the coffee table and looked directly at me. “So, Ms. McCall…”
“Reyna, please,” I interrupted nervously.
“Yes, of course, Reyna.” He corrected himself as he leaned back against the couch and crossed his leg at the ankle on the opposite leg. “As you know, we are concerned about your safety. Do you have any idea why your father would be so interested in you after twenty years?”
“If you are referring to my age, I will be twenty-one in less than two weeks, but answering your question… just like I told Davian, I never met my father. So no, I have no idea what he wants or why he is showing up now.”
I wasn’t sure how much I liked Davian’s father. He was more intimidating than his son. Taking another sip of wine, if only to calm my nerves, I corrected my posture by pulling my shoulders back. Neither one of these men would ever know just how uncomfortable they were making me feel.
There was one question that was looming in the back of my mind, and since Davian wouldn’t answer it, maybe Lorenzo would. “Tell me, Lorenzo, why do I need to be kept safe from my father? I can’t imagine that my mother would have fallen in love with a man she couldn’t trust.”
“What gave you the impression that your mother loved your father? From what I understand, Louise was terrified of him, and when she found out she was pregnant, she found a way to escape.”
What Davian’s father just confessed made little sense. Why would she leave? “That can’t be true. She loved my father. He was the one who left us.”
“Excuse my confusion, Reyna, but you were only four years old when your mother died, how could you possibly know that she loved your father?” Lorenzo’s expression became stone cold as he uncrossed his leg and leaned forward.
“From the letter they found in the safe deposit box my mother kept at the bank. Mrs. Brown read it to me when I was thirteen. It was the same day she gave me this locket.” I reached beneath the neckline of my dress and pulled the locket free. The anger that had built inside me presented the need to show Lorenzo that he was wrong.
“Do you still have the letter?” Davian questioned.
“Yes, but it is back at my apartment in a box I kept under my bed.” I twisted my head and looked at Davian.
Lorenzo stood, downing the rest of his drink. “Call Patton. We need to find that letter.”