i want them all as brass doorknobs

To the person who requested this, @agentpiku, I’m sorry it took so long to get this out. I wasn’t quite sure how to get through this request. I’m awful with these mundane, domestic things. XD Hopefully, this is alright. Enjoy, my darlings!

Prompt:  Hey there!! I saw that last request was kinda dark.. So I was wondering if you could do a fluffy story where the reader is showing Wanda some video games and Wanda gets jealous that reader is doing well so she tries and uses her powers to trick her 😂 with some added fluff too pls

“How Could You?”

You could hear the beating of a fist against a door. Or was it your heart? Beating against your ribcage. You pulled the blanket further over your head and pressed your palms against your ears.

How could she?

How could she?

Despite your best efforts, the sound of whoever was outside your door broke through. You tossed and turned but didn’t want to hear.

After a while, Wanda left you alone.

Keep reading

Deliciously Determined - Chapter 14

Recap of the last chapter

“Call 911,” he yelled in return. Scrambling for money, Shannon threw some bills at the cab driver—he didn’t even know how many—and stumbled from the car, up the driveway. Please be gone, be shopping, be at a movie, be anywhere else. Justyna’s beat-up blue Honda sat in the open garage.

@i-am-the-sage @jaseminedenise  @s-u-p-e-r-n-a-t-u-r-a-l-123 @anxiouslyyoursdidi @meghan12151977

Let me know if you want to be added or taken off the tag list.

Shannon charged to the faded yellow door. Smoke furled from the cracks all around. His heart pounded like a kettle drum. Fear thrummed in his veins. Justyna! He grabbed the doorknob and tried to turn it. The intense heat inside the house had sizzled the brass into nothing cooler than a fry grill. Fingers singed, he yanked them back with a curse. Damn, he had to save her. He had to get in the front door! God, what if it was locked? Break it down, kick it in, he told himself. Whatever it takes. Pulling his shirttails from his slacks, he doubled the fabric up and tried the doorknob again. Hot, but he’d manage. Wincing, Shannon gritted his teeth as heat from the brass stung his fingers. Everything inside him urged him to remove his hand before it held a permanent imprint of the knob. He refused. Roaring, he wrenched the door open. It had been unlocked. Shannon rushed into the living room. Smoke oozed everywhere, burning his eyes. They teared, and he  swiped the moisture away with a vicious palm. He still couldn’t see a damn thing. A drag of air proved to be a mistake when his lungs seized up and he coughed worse than a patient in a tuberculosis ward. He covered his mouth with his shirt, trying to catch a decent breath, and narrowed his eyes to slits. “Justyna!” he shouted. Nothing. No sign of movement. He repeated the call, hoping, praying she answered. Still nothing. Dropping to his knees to avoid smoke as thick as cream soup, he crawled across the floor, looking for any sign of Justyna, of life. Again, he shouted for her as he crept farther into the house. Again, no response. Forcing himself forward, he edged his way through the living room, down a hallway to a comfortable den. The TV was still on. Shannon ignored the cable talk show and searched the cozy, worn couches and the carpeted floor through the haze of the smoke. He coughed. His skin sizzled in the heat. No sign of Justyna. Anxiety rose. Was she trapped or hurt? Passed out… or worse? How had this fire started? From the den, Shannon crawled into the adjoining room to the right. The door was closed. Covering the knob with his shirt, he gritted his teeth and pushed until the door opened. The fire wasn’t coming from this part of the house. The much cleaner air and absence of smoke offered a moment’s relief. Quickly, he entered the room, clearly her bedroom, and kicked the door closed behind him. “Justyna!” he shouted past the simple white lace comforter, to the soft peachy-colored walls. Still, no answer. He darted around a corner, into the adjoining bathroom. The air still hung humid and fragrant with soap. Water droplets clung to the side of the shower stall. Her personal articles—perfume, lipstick, her conglomeration of a keychain—dotted the counter. But no Justyna. Panic tore into Shannon’s gut. She was here. Or she’d been here. Had she escaped on foot? Had she set the fire accidentally and run out of the house? Or had someone committed a crime and used the fire to cover their tracks? Perhaps even the thief? Dark fear stabbed at Shannon as he wrenched open the bedroom door, emerged into the blazing part of the little house again and dropped to his knees. The ceiling was ablaze now. Instinct told him to get out. He shoved it aside, refusing to leave. Just another minute or two…He began searching the rest of the place, retracing his steps through the den and crawling toward the other adjoining room.

Once he scrambled through a doorway, he’d entered the kitchen. Flames shot upward from the old stove, gas burners flaming high, catching on bits of paper and old cabinets all around the room. On a peeling vinyl floor that was curling and bubbling in the blaze around her, Justyna sat, holding her head in her hands. His heart squeezed him by the throat. Shannon scrambled across the room. “Justyna!” Dazed, she stared at him. “Shannon?” Her voice sounded like a croak. She inhaled, then began coughing furiously. “We have to get out of here,” he shouted. Finally, Justyna became alert. Her eyes focused on him. She nodded, then winced. Putting an arm around her shoulder, Shannon dragged her to her hands and knees and began crawling. It felt damn good to hold her, to know she was alive. Her vitality seeped under his skin. But he still had to get her out in one piece. Nothing else mattered. Sirens roared in the distance as they crept out of the kitchen. They reached the doorway and eased into the living room as an explosion rocked the room behind them. Something burst. Shards of glass hit the wall, the floor. Suddenly, pain seared his calf. “Argh!” “What?” Justyna choked into the smoke. Worry furrowed her pale brows. He gritted his teeth against the pain. “Just keep going.” Ten feet ahead lay the door and safety. The fire had other ideas. The opening between the kitchen and the living room they had occupied only moments ago now flared. Inches from their heels, the fire twisted with deadly hunger, catching quickly on the old wood. As if someone had doused them with gasoline, flames spread to the walls of the living room. “Oh, God. We’re going to die,” she cried. “No, damn it. We’re not!” Shannon swore he’d told her the truth, that they would make it. But in Vegas, he wouldn’t have taken these odds. He prayed they would make it to the door before the ceiling collapsed or the walls of fire around them closed in. “Go!” Shannon shouted, shoving Justyna to the door. “Faster!” As if spurred on by the danger, she picked up speed, edging on hands and knees. Justyna crossed the threshold, Shannon just behind her. Sunlight blinded them momentarily as they dragged themselves outside. Justyna lurched to her feet and stood in the driveway, drawing in huge draughts of blessedly fresh air. Panting, Shannon stumbled down to the sidewalk and inhaled his first clean breath in what felt like an eternity. Still, relief and something else that sat heavy in his chest closed his throat. What if he hadn’t found her? What if she hadn’t come to in time? When he looked at Justyna, she ran toward him. Swallowing a lump of tangled emotions, Shannon closed his arms around her and hugged her. Hugged her as if she were a life preserver in an endless sea. Hugged her as if she held his happiness in her hands. He pushed the thought away and focused on her. “Thank God you’re safe,” he whispered, squeezing her tight as if that alone would fuse them together and always keep her safe. “You saved me,” she murmured into his ear. “I heard you shouting my name and… and I—” She shuddered. A sob rose from her chest. Shannon felt something suspicious sting his eyes, too, as his terrible imagination pictured her trapped, gasping for air, flames circling her… What would have happened if he hadn’t come to her house on the flimsy excuse that she hadn’t answered her phone?

What if he hadn’t listened to that something inside him that ached beyond all reason to see her again? “You’re fine. You’re safe now. Babe, don’t cry. It’s going to be all right.” Sniffling, she nodded. “I was so scared.” “I know. Me, too.” The sirens were drawing closer now. The crisis was over. Relief slid through his blood, slowly replacing the adrenaline that had sent him charging through the burning house. “What happened?” He held her shoulders, looked into her eyes. “How did the fire start?” Easing out of his embrace, she frowned. “I don’t know. The last thing I remember is deciding to make a cup of tea. Then… I thought I heard something behind me. But before I could turn… well, I must have passed out.” Suddenly, she winced and raised her hand to the back of her head. “Ouch.” “Justyna?” She brought her hand back in front of her. It was wet with fresh blood. Alarmed, she jerked her gaze to him. “What the… ?” “Did something hit you? Someone?” “I don’t know.” She stared into the distance, frowning. “I remember… well, the pantry door was open. I didn’t remember leaving it open, but often the latch doesn’t stay.” “Is it big enough for someone to hide in?” She nodded. “My stackable washer and dryer are in the back, along with a few shelves against one wall.” “Anyone angry with you this morning?” Her face fell. “Bud came to visit,” Shannon swore as the fire trucks pulled up to the curb, followed by an ambulance. Firefighters in full gear jumped out and rushed to the house. “Anyone else inside?” one asked, hose in hand. Shannon looked at her in question. “No. No people, no pets,” she assured them. The fireman nodded and went on, blasting the place with a loud torrent of water. Several others joined the cause, battling the blaze, now spreading through the entire house. Emergency medical techs leaped out of the ambulance and raced toward them, then assisted them inside the ambulance. “Are you hurt?” a sturdy woman approaching forty asked, her starched white shirt covering her ample shoulders. “I just have a bump on the back of my head,” Justyna said as she sat inside the vehicle. “Do you know what day it is?” She frowned. “Tuesday, May ninth.” The female tech nodded to indicate Justyna hadn’t totally lost her marbles, then listened to her lungs with a stethoscope. “You don’t sound as if you inhaled too much smoke, but just in case…” She set Justyna under an oxygen mask and examined her wound, cleaning away the blood and treating it with an ice pack. “This isn’t too bad. A bit of a nasty bump that will heal soon. Are you allergic to anything?” Justyna shook her head. “Take these and keep the ice on that wound.” She handed two brownish tablets to Justyna, following it with a plastic cup of water. The other tech, a reedy, sandy-haired guy, looked at the gash on Shannon’s calf while pushing an oxygen mask on him as well, cutting off any conversation.

“Might need stitches. Would you like us to take you to the hospital?” Shannon hesitated, his gray eyes sliding over Justyna. He shook his head. “You sure?” the tall tech asked. “Just give me a bandage or something. I’ll be fine.” The bleeding stopped. An antibiotic ointment and some butterfly bandages later, Shannon lowered his pant leg down again and the EMTs gave them both clean bills of health. “Follow up with your doctor in the next few days.” The female tech looked at Shannon. “If she has any nausea or vomiting later, or doesn’t seem to know when or where she is, anything that would signal a change in mental status, get her to a hospital right away.” Shannon agreed. The ambulance pulled away. They looked around to see that the firemen had the blaze all but extinguished, but it was obvious that Justyna couldn’t stay there. “Can you tell how the fire started?” she asked one of the firefighters just emerging from the charred house. “Looks like you might have left a towel or something on the stove when you lit it.” What? She didn’t remember doing that. “You may not recall it. It’s not uncommon for something to fall during a fire, and I see you have a head wound.” He pointed to the ice pack she held up to her head. But she remembered everything clearly. “I… I—this happened before the fire.” The fireman patted her shoulder gently. “People are often confused after a major trauma like this, especially when they’ve had a head injury.” “But—” “You need to rest,” Shannon intervened, steering her away. “Come back to my hotel with me. We’ll talk about this.” Justyna agreed. After leaving a number where she could be reached, a fireman retrieved her car keys. She and Shannon piled into her beat-up blue Honda, Shannon driving this time. Justyna was too tired, too perturbed. All she smelled was smoke. It lay acrid on her tongue. She wanted a shower and a nap, and to curl up with Shannon. He always made her feel safe in a crazy world. On that thought, she grabbed his hand as he sped through the streets of LA. He stared at their joined hands for a hard moment, then drove on. That gave her pause. Did he want her with him, really? Seemed like a silly question when he’d just saved her life and offered her a place to crash. But she’d heard stories of people running into burning buildings to save complete strangers. That didn’t equal love, just bravery. And he could pity the fact she had no home now, without really wanting her around. Justyna withdrew her hand. Shannon didn’t reach for her again as she continued giving quiet directions. Oh, she hadn’t thought about the fact that her little rental house was gone. It had never felt like home. Most of her mementos were still at Bryden and Gloria’s place. What few valuables she had, like her mom’s wedding ring, were in a safe-deposit box. But she lamented the loss of a picture of her parents and a few treasured articles of clothing. The truth was, she had more immediately pressing questions. What had the heck happened this morning? And where would she go now? To Bryden’s house, she supposed. But if the fire department ruled that the fire had been her fault, she could kiss her thousand-dollar deposit goodbye—an enormous fortune to her. And what if her landlord sued for loss of property?

Justyna clutched her aching head. She couldn’t think about it now. When they reached the hotel, Shannon valeted the car. Justyna walked beside him as they entered the cool lobby of the hotel. Once inside, he grabbed her hand again as if he wasn’t about to let go. She knew it was dangerous, that she was reading too much into a simple gesture after something so harrowing. But he’d come after her, run into a burning building to find her, offered his hotel room. She still hoped he cared, at least a little. The elevator ride up was silent, and Shannon guided her to his door, palm at her back. Quietly, he closed the door behind them. Out the window, Justyna saw the Causeway and the Gulf waters beyond, a sludgy blue close to the hotel, then wending out to a sparkling turquoise highlighted by the noontime sun. “Justyna? Babe, sit down. You look exhausted.” He drew her onto a smallish sofa against one wall, then sat beside her. “Tell me exactly what happened after you left here this morning.” She sighed, trying to get it all straight in her mind. “I went home. I hadn’t been there long when Bud arrived. We fought.” Regret cramped her belly into a thick knot. “He… came on to me, said he never intended to marry Mara. Said he thought about me”—she winced—“about having sex with me all the time. I had no idea.”
Shannon looked every bit as furious as he would if someone outlawed computers. “What else did the son of a bitch say?” Justyna hesitated. “That he wanted to take care of me. When I refused him, he cornered me in the kitchen. He pinned me against the cabinets and… he kissed me.” Another bout of anger spread over Shannon’s face, tightening his mouth. “I’m going to break his fucking face if I see him again, I swear. Forcing you to kiss him—” “I broke it off, told him I wasn’t interested in him as more than a friend. I think that surprised him for some reason. He cursed at me, then slammed out of the door. I was upset and tense, so I took a hot shower.” “Did you lock the door first?” Frowning, Justyna sorted through the morning’s events in her head. As vividly as an NFL replay, she realized that she hadn’t. “I—I usually do. But I was so distraught…” Losing the man she loved and a trusted friend all within a few hours apparently wreaked havoc on a girl’s common sense. What an idiotic mistake! “Justyna…” he growled. “I know, I know,” she huffed. “Anyway, when I came out, I decided to make a cup of tea. That’s when something hit me on the head. That’s how I remember it, anyway.” Shannon scowled. “That doesn’t fit with what the fireman told us.” “True, but I didn’t have the stove on yet when I was hit. I didn’t have a towel on the stove, either. I just know it. I was still sorting through tea bags when I heard something behind me, from the direction of the pantry. I tried to turn… but something—someone?—hit me.” “Bud, I’ll bet.” “Maybe.” She looked unconvinced. “I just never considered him dangerous. You have to admit, he’s not exactly menacing. I can’t imagine that he’d actually try to kill me.” “Someone tried to kill you. Smithkins and Gloria hadn’t just been to your house, hadn’t just been rebuffed by you. If your little friend took the money, as I suspected all along, he was probably foaming at the mouth by the time he left your place this morning.”

“He wasn’t happy,” she conceded. “Hell, I knew he couldn’t be trusted,” Shannon muttered. “He hadn’t locked your door on his way out and probably suspected that you hadn’t locked it, either. He could easily have come back in while you took a shower and hidden in your pantry, waited for you. Face it, babe, he had opportunity and motive.” “I… I guess. He was angry but angry enough over my refusal to try to kill me?” “Maybe not just that. Someone went looking for the money this morning. Someone got on the ‘retired’ terminal there at the office and started beating around the accounts for that money.” Justyna shook her head. “He hadn’t been to the office yet that morning. How could he have known it was missing?” Shannon scoffed. “He told you he hadn’t been to the office yet. Who knows if that’s the truth? Maybe he’d been there and realized the money was missing. He knew from the beginning that I was helping you find out how Bryden was framed. It’s possible this morning when he saw the money gone and found it shuffled into an account in my name, that he came to you and he was angry.” “Then why come on to me?” “My guess? He wants you and the money both.” “He never asked me about the money.” Shrugging, Shannon leaned closer. “Why not get close, gain your trust, get a little—or a lot—of ass before you start talking about stolen money? Maybe he wanted you happy and sated before he raised the subject. Besides, would he really tell you if he framed your brother?” Mentally, Justyna chewed on Shannon’s theory. “I don’t know. I just don’t see him going to the office and leaving, or angry enough after being turned down to try to kill me.” “You didn’t see that he was trying to get into your panties, either.” Justyna covered her face with her hands, head reeling. Maybe Shannon was right. Maybe Bud had wanted to get close to her so he could find out what had happened to the money. She sighed, beyond confused. “It’s just… I thought I knew him so well. But this morning, I wondered if I knew him at all.” “I know, babe.” He squeezed her hand. Squeezing back, Justyna continued to turn the possibility over in her mind. But something still didn’t ring true. “Wouldn’t Bud have brought up the money before just leaving? Why try to kill me before finding out what happened to the money? Any information I had would die with me.” “He’s not a stupid guy, but neither is he subtle. He knows where the money is, most likely. But he didn’t know where I was. Cindy made my hotel arrangements.” Shannon grabbed her shoulders, fingers gripping with urgency. “He asked you where I was, didn’t he?” Justyna thought back through the hours that seemed like a whole month ago. “He did, several times. Why does that matter?”

“He can’t get to that money without me. I put it in a bank that’s nearly as tight as Fort Knox. Working at a bank, he’d know that. So he devised a very smooth plan. Get close to you, find out how to get the money back and who’s watching it. That would have been Plan A. When you refused him, he had no choice but to leave and try to hunt me down himself so he could get the money back. Which he did. He asked Cindy where I was staying.” “But why try to kill me? That wouldn’t gain him anything. It’s just risky.” Shannon swiped a hand across his face. “If he can’t have you, he doesn’t want anyone else to.” She sent him a dubious frown. “That’s twisted.” “The guy framed his best friend for embezzlement so he could sleep with said friend’s sister. That doesn’t make him sound like the most stable of characters.” “Ohmigod!” Justyna gasped as pieces of a puzzle came flying together. “The reason Bryden never wanted him to date me… When Bryden first brought Bud around the house, Bryden had been doing some charity work, something to do with a drug treatment center. Bud had just come through rehab. Bryden befriended him so that he wouldn’t fall back in with old friends and old patterns. Bryden helped Bud get the job at the bank. But Bryden confided in me once that Bud, when he’d been an addict, had robbed a liquor store with a gun.” Sighing, Shannon grabbed her hand. “Justyna, I know you don’t want to see it, but I think you need to reconsider—” “That Bud might be guilty. I’m thinking about it as we speak.”

POV Change

She’d wanted a shower, and Shannon didn’t blame her. He reeked of smoke himself, hair, clothes, skin. It wasn’t that he didn’t understand her desire. It was that he didn’t understand his own. Pacing, he stared at the bathroom door, waiting, watching. He gritted his teeth as residual fear pumped through him. What if he’d lost her today? It was one thing to jet home and know she was safe and sound—and eventually with someone who could give her everything her heart desired—here in LA. In that scenario, he’d never see her again, but she was happy, healthy, loved by some unknown guy Shannon didn’t have to picture. The thought of her dead… He swallowed, unable to form thoughts out of the jumble of emotions. It was like a loud buzzing in his head. The mass of feeling was almost too big for his body. Even now, knowing logically that she was all right—that wasn’t the same as holding her, looking into those wide blue eyes, seeing her smile that could melt metal. Knowing intellectually that she was safe lacked the impact of sliding deep in her heat and feeling her so very alive in his arms. He was insane. Had to be. Why else did the need to connect with her, feel her in the most elemental way possible, beat at him worse than a group of back-alley thugs? Raking a grungy hand through his shoulder length hair, Shannon looked around the room. He needed something to do, something to keep him busy, or he’d yank off all his clothes, jump in the shower with Justyna, and claim her in every way possible. But he’d given her up, for her own good. For his sanity. He couldn’t go back on that now. Prowling over to his phone, he flipped it open and called Cindy “Mr. Leto?” “I need two things as soon as possible.” “Name it,” came her confident reply. “My flight changed. I don’t think I can get out of here before tomorrow, maybe early afternoon. I’ll call Jared about the upcoming work.” “Something wrong with the Bank?” He heard the frown in her voice. “No, it’s not the job. Something… personal.” “Ah, I see.” She hesitated. When he didn’t offer anything more, she said, “I’ll let you know when I’ve revised your reservation.” “Thanks. I also need the name of the best criminal attorney in LA.” If Bryden’s case made it to trial, the man deserved more than an overworked public defender. Justyna deserved more. After all, what good was five million dollars if he didn’t use it to help someone he lov— Whoa! Where did that thought come from? He didn’t love Justyna. No. He cared. Yeah, he could do that. Loving her… it was too soon. And too difficult. Everything he knew about love, he’d learned from watching his parents, who, with a little more trailer in their blood, could have appeared on Jerry Springer. If he tried to love Justyna, she’d be doomed. “Criminal attorney? Are you in trouble, boss?” “No.” A smile twisted his mouth when he imagined how the request must have sounded. “Not for me. For a… friend.” Cindy hesitated. “Miss Anderson?” “Not exactly. Long story. Can you let me know when you get that info, too? I want to call the attorney and get it set up before I go.” “Sure thing.” The shower stopped running. Water sloshed. The whoosh of the shower curtain against the metal rod told him Justyna was getting out. “Gotta go. Thanks.” He put his phone down and turned to find Justyna emerging from the little bathroom, her lush body barely wrapped in a skimpy white towel. Wet strands of her dark gold curls clung to her shoulders, rivulets of water running under the terry cloth, between her breasts. “Justyna?” At the sound of his voice, she whirled, wide-eyed, to face him. The shock of the day’s events bleached her skin white. Scratches marred one of her cheeks. A bruise was forming above her left eye. Some asshole had done this, nearly ended her life. The need to protect roared with all the subtlety of a tornado inside him. He swallowed, fisted his hands. Damn, he was going to explode if he didn’t hold her soon, feel that she was all right. While part of him ached to have her naked, underneath him, assuring him with every cry and moan that she was real and in one piece, he needed to wrap his arms around her and listen to her heartbeat. Okay, hold her, yes, he told himself. Sex—no dice. Blood churning through his body, he exhaled. He couldn’t make love to her. Their seventy-two hours was up. She owed him nothing. If she had feelings for him, better to end it now before he really fucked up. “Shower sounds like a good idea. I’ll—um—be back in a few minutes.” The shower, even set to mimic the Arctic, didn’t help. He went through the motions quickly.

His illogical need to assure himself that she lived and breathed, heaped on top of his insane desire… he felt like a rocket ready to explode. Like the adrenaline had never left him. Sure, he could take matters into his own hands, but he’d rather be with Justyna, next to her, even if she just talked and smiled, than self-pleasuring. Being near her was as necessary as air or water right now. Damn it, what the hell was the matter with him? Next thing he knew, he’d be writing poetry, decorating his own apartment, and trading in his Porsche for a minivan. With a vicious curse, Shannon yanked on the faucet, cutting off the spray of water. Grabbing a towel, he wrapped it around his waist. He ought to get decent, dry his hair—hell, at least put on underwear—before he stepped out and faced Justyna. Impatience won. Ignoring the boxer-briefs he’d laid out on the toilet, he turned the knob and emerged into the rest of the room.
Justyna stared out the big bay window, wearing nothing but one of his button-down dress shirts with the streaming sun making the thin cotton transparent… and talking on his cell phone.

POV Change

“Hello?” Justyna whispered, wondering at the wisdom of answering Shannon’s phone. But it had rung three times. The caller ID said Office. How personal could it be? After a brief pause, a woman said, “Sorry, must have reached the wrong number.” “Wait! If you’re looking for Shannon Leto, he’s in the next room.” Another pause. “Miss Anderson?” “Justyna, yes. You’re Cindy, right?” “I am.” Frowning into the phone, Justyna asked, “You know who I am?” “Not exactly, but your name has come up several times lately.” The ironic tone of his assistant’s voice made Justyna wince. “I guess Shannon told you I kidnapped him. I swear I didn’t hurt him—” “Kidnapped?” Shock sharpened her voice. “No, he failed to mention that. Why did you kidnap him?” Then how the heck did she hear my name? It was Justyna’s turn to pause. “Do you remember a woman calling you a few weeks ago to talk to Shannon about her brother in jail?” “That was you?” “It was. And Shannon helped, more than I believed possible. Your boss is free now and coming home this afternoon.” “Actually, he’s leaving tomorrow. He called fifteen minutes ago and asked me to change his flight. If you wouldn’t mind, tell him it’s done and I’ll e-mail the particulars.” “O—okay.” “In the four years I’ve worked for Mr. Leto, I’ve never changed a flight for him for any reason other than weather or shuffling of jobs. He keeps an impeccable schedule.” Justyna had no idea why Cindy would say such a thing or how to answer. “Well, he’s been wonderful about helping me with my brother ’s case. You work for a great guy.” “Indeed. Would you also tell Mr. Leto that Eric Cumia will contact him within a few hours?” Her jaw dropped and her pulse began to stutter. “The Eric Cumia? The very famous attorney Eric Cumia?” “Yes.” “Why would Shannon need a high-priced lawyer?” she asked herself as much as Cindy. “Hang up the phone,” Shannon demanded from the doorway to the bathroom. She whirled to face him. “I—I’m sorry. I just… It rang and I—” “I don’t care.” He grabbed the phone. “Goodbye, Cindy.” Flipping the phone shut, he switched the ringer to silent mode, then tossed the little device on the nearest chair. Then she realized. “You don’t need Eric Cumia. You hired him to help Bryden?” “It’s no big deal.” Justyna paled even as she exploded with tenderness. “Oh, Shannon.” She lifted a trembling hand to her mouth. “It’s a huge deal. Thousands of dollars’ worth of huge. I—I can’t accept. He’s so expensive, he makes Versace dresses seem like bargains.” “I have the money.” And he wanted to use it to help her like he’d used his expertise and his brawn. Justyna didn’t think she could love the man more, but her heart was swelling faster than a hot air balloon. “But—I…That’s—” “For once, don’t argue, okay?” Afraid she’d simply blurt out the fact she loved him, Justyna merely nodded. “Are you all right?” he asked, swallowing. Her face softened. “Thanks to you, yes.” “Seriously, you’re sure?” Doing her best to smile bright, to hide the love she felt and the fact that her heart was breaking, Justyna whispered, “Seriously, yeah.” “Thank God.” Shannon grabbed her, pulled her against him. “I don’t think I can wait for another second to hold you.”

What will happen next? Find out in next chapter!