Page 18 of Marked With Love

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“She’ll be excited.” Ramona finally gives me a full smile that meets her eyes.

“And she cooks well?”

“Yeah, I think Louis stifled some of her potential.”

“Then I think Ramona and Layla are going to kill it here at…” I glance around, having forgotten the name of the restaurant.

“Catch 37.” Ramona fights a laugh.

“Right. Catch 37.” I smile. “So, you got this? Do what you need to. Hire more people, or I can try to call in some favors if you need them. My grams knows everyone.”

“Violette Hoffman, right?” She perks up at the mention of my grandmother. People think of her as royalty. It’s kinda cool and kinda ridiculous.

“The one and only.”

“I’ve heard stories of her, but she’s never come in.” I get the silent question she is putting out there.

“All true. Good or bad.” Ramona laughs again. Okay, I like her. “I’ll drag her in one night.”

“Oh gosh, would you warn us, please? We’d want to make sure everything was prepared and perfect.”

“Forget Grams. If she brings Alfred, he’s the one that will be the pain in the ass.”

“Alfred? Is he her companion?”

“Now wouldn’t that be interesting.” I stand from my chair. “Here is my number if you need anything.” I scribble it down for her. “I’ve gotta go gloat and pick up my painting. And maybe I’ll sneak in a few pets of Gremlin while I’m at it.”

“I don’t understand half the things you say, but I think this will work well.”

“It will work better the longer my parents don’t know about any of this.”

“I’ll try my best.”

“Thanks,” I tell her before I head out. It’s only a matter of time before my father is blowing up my phone. The second I slip into my car, it’s already going off. The hell. Louis. That snitch! But when I glance at the screen, I don’t recognize the number. It’s not my father, but I answer it anyway.

“Morgan.” Eros’ voice fills the inside of my car. I know I didn’t give him my number. That means he tracked it down. Normally, I would find it creepy, but with him I’m impressed and flattered.

“I’m not looking to update my car’s warranty.”

“I’d hope not. How many miles could it possibly have on it?”

I glance at the screen. “Two thousand.”

“Forget a warranty. I think you need a trade-in.”

“But that looney tunes, Musk, hasn’t released anything newer than what I drive unless he’s done with that spaceship and wants to give it to me. But that would kind of defeat the point of me getting this Tesla since I got it to help the planet. Not leave it.”

Eros's deep, sexy chuckle makes my body warm in places it never has before. What is it about this man that makes me feel this way?

“I don’t want you leaving the planet either. I want to see you.”

“What a coincidence. I want to see the Gremlin. Plus, I need my painting. I know we teased about tying one of your arms behind your back, but cuffs are two,” I tease. “I’ll be there in ten.”

I end the call without waiting for a response. It’s rude, but I’m trying to be mysterious. Wait, or am I supposed to be flirty? I try to think what Blake would do. She could seduce any man she wants. I glance at myself in the rearview mirror. Shit, maybe I should have said later and gone home to put myself together better.

Fuck it. This is me most of the time. He’s either into it or not. I pull up to his place at the same time he does. He beats me by opening my own door.

“I don’t think the painting will fit. Guess you’ll have to make a second trip another day.” He snags my hand, leading me up to his place. It’s hard not to smile like a goon. What is this man doing to me?