“I’m plenty spoiled.” She smiled, wiping away her tears.

“Um … maybe, but I’ve got something pretty grand planned. We can save the contracts for when we return. Just tell me you trust me not to hurt you, and I’ll blow your mind. I hope …” I let go of her hand and drank in her gorgeous glossy eyes.

I was really winging it. I had absolutely no idea what I intended to do, but I owned a home in upstate New York on Ontario Lake; it was a twelve-bedroom mansion. While I wanted intimacy with Kylie, I think in her state of mind we needed space, not necessarily from each other, but from the world. I had a movie theater, a speedboat, an indoor pool, a bowling alley, horses, ducks, geese, hikes, waterfalls, and nature. Deer had lived on our property for several generations completely protected from local hunting laws. It was a wonderland. Mrs. Castle was due to come, so I wanted to shuffle Kylie out of there.

My caretaker at the Stoker Estate would only need a phone call to ready a room for us and get the house freshened up before we arrived. So, I kissed Kylie again and stepped away from her to make a call to Edwin.

“You put some warm clothes in a bag. If you don’t have stuff, don’t worry, we’ll pick it up on our way. I don’t want you going back to your roommates right now; I just want us to do this.” I really wasn’t much of an adventurer, but my adrenaline spiked.

Even though I was going to my own home, suddenly it seemed magical thinking of the ways it might delight Kylie.

Chapter 23


I wasn’t sure what Alec had up his sleeve, but his demeanor had changed so wonderfully, I decided to play along. I was stuck with him regardless, so I might as well agree to an adventure, it beat trying to find space around each other in a big open white room.

“Sure, I’ll grab a few things.” I got off the bed and went to my designated closet and took out some fleece and wooly things and dressed. I loved to wear layers, so I’d thrown a few warm outfits in my bag. June mornings were still pretty chilly. “All ready for adventure.” I flourished my arms wearing a Dante Richfield jacket and a pair of thigh-high boots.

“You look perfect.” He had a puffer jacket slung over his arm and carried a leather duffle. “Shall we?” He offered me his other arm.

“Oh, how cavalier,” I teased, and we were off.

Since he didn’t have a car in the city, a driver picked us up in the garage.

“I don’t want anyone knowing about this trip, so we’re flying under the radar.” He opened the door for me, and I slipped into the black SUV with dark tinted windows.

“Can I ask where we’re going?”

He closed the door after slipping in beside me.

“My house in upstate New York,” he told me before whipping out his phone. “Troy, I’m going to be unreachable for a couple of days. Email me my call log every hour during regular business and text me anything pressing. I’ll be calling in. Thanks.” He ended the call and turned to me and smiled. “I’ve had my business for ten years and have never just run away from work. If I take a vacation, it has always been fastidiously planned. I’m not sure you’re good for me. Here I am having a surprise baby and just throwing caution to the wind.” I don’t think he knew that some of the things he said weren’t really as funny as I think he’d intended them.

“And I have a gun to your head?” I raised my eyebrows.

“Sometimes it’s good to be a little reckless,” he backpedaled. “It’ll be good to get out of the city and just be the two of us without distractions. I realized this morning; I don’t even know you. Apart from what I’ve read of your made-up life. We don’t need to go over our histories or anything, but I would like to know more about you. The real Kylie.” His smile was warm and loving.

“I’m goofy,” I gave him. “I like to be playful. My childhood as you might guess was horrific, so whenever I can just be silly, I do. And what about you, Mr. Money Bags, what’s your deal?” I leaned back in the leather seat and genuinely enjoyed being in his company.

“I’m intense. I was that kid who never played. You and I are screwed.” I playfully grimaced.

“Oh no.” I slapped his leg. “Good thing you like to screw.” I wasn’t sure if I should have gone there or not …

“Good thing.” His smile warmed.

“So, you were an intense little fella like with slicked-back hair and glasses intense, or invest your tooth fairy money in stocks and bonds intense?”

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