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“All weekend?” Sabrina dropped her feet from his lap and sat up straight, panic surging through her. “You mean we’re spending the entire weekend with your parents?”
“Yeah, of course. I usually do when I go to visit them. Otherwise it’s not really worth it to fight your way through traffic to get out of the city. What did you think?”
“I don’t know. I thought we’d have dinner, socialize, and then go back home. I didn’t realize we’d be spending the weekend at their house.”
Nervously, she rubbed her hand over her forearm. Daniel captured it and squeezed it in reassurance.
“Don’t worry, you’ll do just fine. My parents won’t bite.”
He winked at her mischievously. “No, they won’t, but I might.” He leaned closer. “And lick and suck, kiss and touch.” His hot breath ghosted over her neck, making her hot in all the right places.
“You’re incorrigible!” She laughed softly, her anxiety about meeting Daniel’s parents forgotten.
“Yes, but you wouldn’t have it any other way, would you?” He leaned in for a kiss, but the ring of his cell phone interrupted him.
With a frown, he pulled back and drew the phone from his pocket, glancing at the display. “It’s the office. I’m sorry, they wouldn’t call if it weren’t urgent. I gave strict instructions.” He looked at her apologetically. “I have to take this.”
His voice changed from soft to distant, when he answered, “Yes, Frances?”
Shortly after they’d met, Daniel had told her that his relationships never lasted because his former girlfriends had considered him a neglectful boyfriend since he worked so much. In fact, his last girlfriend had cheated on him with his lawyer, because Daniel hadn’t spent enough time with her. It was clear as day that Daniel was a workaholic, though Sabrina hoped that he would change his attitude toward work and the need to be there all the time, now that she’d moved to New York for him.
“They can’t be serious!” he now said into the phone, his jaw tight. “I thought I made it clear that this option was off the table.”
The easy playfulness Sabrina had seen in his face all morning had disappeared. He’d turned back into the unyielding businessman she’d seen glimpses of previously.
“Fine then!” He shoved a hand through his hair. “Set up the video conference and I’ll be there in forty-five minutes. And they’d better be playing ball this time.” He hung up the phone without saying goodbye to his secretary.
Sabrina sighed. It seemed that her relaxed outing with Daniel was over.
“I’m sorry. I have to go to the office. Something major has come up.”
“You have to do what you have to do.” She forced a smile onto her face, hiding her disappointment.
It appeared that he recognized it nevertheless. He gently stroked his knuckles over her cheek. “I’ll make it up to you tonight. I’ll be home early and we’ll go out to dinner. Just the two of us. I promise.”
Sabrina nodded, her forced smile widening into a real one. “That would be wonderful.”
Daniel stood and took his wallet out of his pocket. He pulled out a stack of bills and handed them to Sabrina. “Spend the rest of the day shopping if you’d like. And please take a cab back to the apartment. Your feet will thank you for it.” Then he kissed her and walked away.
Dumbfounded, she stared at the money in her hand. Her breath caught in her chest. Had he just paid her off so she wouldn’t complain about him going back to work?
When they’d first met, and she was pretending to be an escort, she’d never accepted his money. What made him think that she would take it now?
She wasn’t like his previous girlfriends. Sabrina wasn’t the type of woman to be pacified by a man handing her money and telling her to go shopping. Maybe this had worked with Audrey, his last girlfriend, but she wasn’t going to behave like any of his ex-girlfriends. She didn’t want his money. She wanted his love, his respect, and his time.
She had no intention of keeping the money. She put it on the table, took the little vase that stood in its middle, and set it on top of the bills. The young woman who’d waited on them appeared, balancing two drinks on her serving tray and set them down in front of her, curiously looking around.
“Your friend left?” she asked.