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I square my shoulders, thrusting my nose into the air. “Of course, I can. I’ll just keep admiring this painting.” I jab a thumb over my shoulder at the painting behind me.

He leans in. “Thank you.” And then he kisses my lips, taking my breath away.

I turn back around to face the painting, staring at the softer pink strokes of paint on the canvas. I wonder why the artist even included them? The reds, blues, and greens are the true stars of this painting, but the pink strokes call to me. Like the supporting characters in a grander love story. It makes me sad for them. It makes me mourn the fact they can’t have their own story. That they can’t be in the spotlight.

I sip my champagne, and then my phone jingles in my purse. I pull it out and glance down at a text message from Ronin.

My eyes swiftly scan the party, making sure Gabriel is still across the room with the man he said he needed to talk to.

I swipe my phone on, and open up the text message.

Just three little words are written there, “You’re in danger.”


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