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EPISODE TWENTY-TWO

PLEASE NOTE THESE EPISODES ARE UNEDITED.

 

I’m halfway back to my room at Mummo Koti when the reason for my midmorning sneak out returns to the forefront of my mind. It isn’t my intellect reminding me about Clara’s upcoming bid for the leadership of Attwood electric, it’s seeing her slip out of an office board members of Attwood Electric prefer to avoid than visit.

 

“Clara,” I shout, freezing both her feet and her heart.

 

Her hands shoot up to wipe at her face before she pivots to face me. “Isaac, hi. You’re just the man I was hoping to see.” She bands her arms around my neck and hugs me like the farewell I gave Harlow earlier is standard for me before drawing back an arm’s length. “I did it. I withdrew my bid.”

 

I slant my head and arch a brow, shocked. “You did?”

 

She nods. “Yes. Just like you asked.”

 

“I’m not the sole reason you rescinded your tender, is it?” I don’t want her believing I owe her something. Furthermore, she should have done it for her brother long before me.

 

“Of course not. Don’t be silly.” She playfully slaps my chest. “I considered long and hard about what you said, and suddenly, this morning, it made sense. If I want to make my mark on the world, I need to find something I’m passionate about.” She steps closer to me, her eyes twinkling. “Do you have any pointers on where I should start?”

 

I remove the hand she left lingering on my chest after slapping me, lower it, then reply, “I’ll call Catherine and organize a time for us to discuss it further.” Catherine isn’t solely in charge of kicking my bed companions out when they don’t get the hint to leave, along with Roger, she handles a majority of my personal life as well. 

 

Clara tries to butter me up with puppy dog eyes. “Why don’t we do it now?”

 

“I can’t,” I reply, halting her steps with a stern tone. “I have somewhere pressing I need to be.” I don’t need to tell her who’s taking up my time. The possessiveness in my voice when denying her offer exposes everything. “But I will see you at brunch,” I add when I smell the scrumptious food being served out of the industrial kitchen reserved solely for the west wing. Only family occupy the rooms in the west wing of Mummo Koti. It allows for privacy even with it being a playground for the rich and famous.

 

“Okay. I’ll see you then.” Clara squeezes my hand like I’m holding it for more than to assert that I don’t appreciate her lingering touch before she spins on her heels and saunters down the hallway. 

 

I wait for her to disappear down one of the many corridors that shoot off the main hallway before returning to my room. As suspected, Isabelle is awake, and her prolonged sleep has done wonders for her. The signs of tiredness her eyes are rarely without have vanished, and the shirt I dressed her in sits high on her thighs as she demands Harlow to submit by tickling her ribs.

 

Their playful behavior ends when Isabelle detects my presence. As her eyes glaze over like a tigress on the hunt, her eyes stray my way. She watches me cross the room with her mouth popped over and a vein in her neck working overtime. I’d give anything to respond to her needy watch if the remembrance of the circumstances she could have faced in her childhood weren’t plaguing my thoughts. Both Hunter and Hugo have assured me time and time again that Isabelle was adopted by a man with morals far superior to that of a cartel member, but I’m still hesitant. Rarely are her eyes without indecisiveness. I just have no clue if her uncertainty centers around me or fears from her childhood.

 

After tugging down her shirt, hiding her luscious thighs from my rapacious gaze, she scoots back to lean against the headboard of the bed. When Harlow reads the hungry in Isabelle’s hooded gaze as well as me, she excuses herself before she slips out the door, closing it behind her.  

 

A breathtaking smile stretches across Isabelle’s face when I ask, “How are you feeling?”

 

“I’m good,” she answers, her smile growing. 

 

“Did you take the tablets I left on the bedside table?” When she nods, I smirk before running a hand over my head. Although there are a trillion questions I’d like to ask her, I’m struggling with where I should start. This weekend was meant to be fortifying the connection Isabelle is doing her darndest to ignore, but with Callie’s situation rarely leaving my mind, my thoughts continually stray to Isabelle’s childhood.

 

A couple of minutes later, I realize our actions as adults are usually the result of things we’ve experienced in our childhood, so that gives me a lead into unearthing Isabelle’s past without interrogating her. “Do I need to be concerned that you have a problem with drinking?”

 

A drunk would be insulted by my question. Since Isabelle isn’t close to one of them, she smiles before shaking her head. “No, I don’t have a problem with drinking. That champagne was the first drink I’ve had since the last time you took me home.” With a shrug, she twists her lips. “I knew we were flying, and I accidentally mixed medication with alcohol. My thumping head alone will ensure it will never happen again.” The air shifts between us when she arches a brow before asking, “Do I need to be concerned that you have a problem with taking inebriated women into your room and undressing them?” 

 

There’s no chance of holding back my laughter, so instead, I set it free. I’m not solely laughing about her witty tone and the humor in her eyes, I’m chuckling about her assumption I’d be caught dead within one hundred feet of a drunk woman. What Cormack faced is enough to scare a man from being in the same room as an inebriated patron. The charges he faced are one of the reasons my clubs are fitted with the best surveillance money can buy. I want to protect both the female and male clientele drinking at my establishments. 

 

My mouth snaps shut when Isabelle murmurs under her breath, “At least this time you let me keep my panties.” 

 

After wetting my suddenly bone-dry mouth with spit, I say, “I didn’t take your panties last time, Isabelle.” I pause to drink in the delicious shiver rolling down her spine from the purring of her name before confessing, “You gave them to me.” 

 

Her brows furrow as confusion darkens her eyes. “No, I didn’t.”

 

“Yes, you did.” Although frustrated she is questioning, I also understand her confusion, so I keep my annoyance out of my tone while saying, “When you found my… trophies other women had left behind, you removed your panties before shoving them into the drawer with the explicit remark it would be the only way I’d add your panties to my collection.” 

 

The recollection of her feisty that night thickens my cock as much as Isabelle’s faint, “Oh.” Her brows join even closer together when she mumbles, “So, my panties were in that drawer all along… Yuck.”

 

Her breathing shallows when I reply to her babbled commentary. “No, Isabelle, your panties aren’t in that drawer.” 

 

Her amorous scent grows more pungent as she asks, “Where are they then?”

 

As shock hardens her gorgeous features, her eyes drop to the sheet she’s fisting like my head is between her legs. I like her scandalized face as much as I do the expression she wore after our kiss.

 

After scooting in close to ensure she can hear the honesty in my reply, I say, “They’re in my very exclusive private collection.” When her lips furl into a grin, I’d give anything to act ignorant to the rumblings of her stomach. Regretfully, ignorance is not a strong point of mine, especially when it comes to hunger. “And unless you want to add another set of your panties to my collection, I suggest you have a shower, get dressed, then join the rest of us for breakfast.” 

She stares at me for several long seconds, fighting her body’s natural response to its mate before she reluctantly clambers across the bed and heads for the bathroom. For the most part, my astuteness sees me retaining a rational head. I only lose all cognitive thoughts when the slightest curve of her scrumptious backside pops out the bottom of my shirt.

 

I am a smart and intelligent man… until Isabelle Brahn’s ass turns my brain to mash.

 

xx

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