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“Oh, no! No, I am not rewarding you for devious behavior.” Eve gathered up her shoes and started back toward the staircase, her calves screaming against the new terrain and her angry walk.

“Eve, you are being ridiculous. We are adults, for God’s sake, and if I want to bring you to my parents’ for the weekend, then damn it, we can share a bedroom!”

She stopped at the edge of the stairs and bent over to put on her shoes. “I’ll tell you one thing, Oliver Martinez. The next time you want to seduce me in Spanish, you better be prepared to follow through.”

OLIVER TOSSED AND turned in bed hours later, cursing his mother and her stupid rules. And Eve, too, for getting mad at him because he was concerned with her comfort. Here he was being a good guy, and he got punished for it.


“This is bullshit,” he growled aloud.

Climbing out of bed, he left the cabin and made his way up to the main house. He tried the knob and realized his parents had locked the door. “Shit.”

He was feeling around in the dark, trying to find the spare key when suddenly the porch light flipped on and his mother opened the door. “Mijo, what are you doing?”

“Uh . . . ” Damn it, how did she still manage to make him feel like a kid getting caught after curfew? “I’m hungry.”

His mother didn’t look like she believed him, but she waved him inside. “Come in.”

Oliver followed her inside and sat at the table.

“I know you didn’t come over here for a late-night snack, but I’ll overlook it because I wanted to talk to you, anyway.” She opened the fridge and pulled out sandwich fixings, making his sandwich while they talked.

“You know this whole separate-rooms thing is old school, right?” he said.

“I know that is your opinion. Do you think I want to listen to you have sex in my house?”

“We could have stayed in the cabin for Chr—” He stopped himself when his mother glowered at him, a sharp knife in her hand. “Goodness’ sake.”

“Maybe I wanted to get the measure of your young lady. By the way, I like her very much.”

“Me, too.”

“Which means I have to ask . . . Did she give you that black eye?”

“Of course not!”

“Then did you get it because of her?”

“Why would you even ask that?”

“Why don’t you answer me?”

Oliver took the sandwich and bottled water she handed him and sighed. “It wasn’t because of her. I’d been having a crappy day, and I bumped into a fellow MP who made some inappropriate comments about Eve and I snapped.”

“What kind of things? Have I not told you that you cannot fight every battle with your fists?”

“Believe me, Mom, you would have knocked his ass out, too.”

“Does Eve have a . . . reputation? Is that why he was talking about her?”

“No, are you kidding me?” Oliver said angrily. “He was trying to get a rise out of me, that’s all.”

“But why would he care?”

Leave it to his mother to keep digging at him until he revealed all. “Anyone ever tell you you’re like a dog with a bone?”

“Your father,” she said. “Now, tell me why he thought he could get to you through Eve?”

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