Home > Stealing Rose (The Fowler Sisters #2)(10)

Stealing Rose (The Fowler Sisters #2)(10)
Author: Monica Murphy

And leave her behind. Never once looking back.

No matter how much it kills me.

Chapter Three

Rose

“And then he just … left me.” I throw my hands up into the air, my mind circling back to the craziness of last night yet again. How I got a little drunk and swam in a pool naked before my sexy stranger pulled me out of the water and kissed me. Groped my butt. Touched my nipple. And then sauntered away without a care in the world.

Never to return. Leaving me a shaky, aroused mess.

I threw my dress on over my wet body and made my way back to the hotel, alone. Stupid, but I was in this weird, mind-numbing daze. At one point I even wondered if it had really happened, my encounter with the man by the pool.

Violet squints at me, frowning. “Are you serious?”

I nod and don’t say anything else, just letting my story sink in for a while. We’re in London; I’m here for the next few days at Fleur’s UK headquarters before I head back home and face Daddy.

He’s so upset and I don’t want to deal with his anger. He’s already mad at me about the dress and that I ditched everyone at the after-party. Like they missed me. I tried to return the necklace to Grandma earlier this morning before we checked out of the hotel but she wouldn’t hear of it, demanding that I keep it, that I’m the rightful owner now. I didn’t want the responsibility of traveling with the necklace, especially after I heard about that one woman’s piece of jewelry being lost or stolen at the after-party.

So I wore the necklace on the plane, tucked under my sweater, feeling stupid but knowing it was the only way I could ensure the jewelry was safe. I’m wearing it now—still under the sweater because I just know Violet would give me grief if she knew I had it on.

“So he left you? After he kissed you? And you don’t know who he is.” Violet shakes her head. “That’s just odd.”

“I know. I never did catch his name.” I tap the edge of my pen against my pursed lips, hating that I know nothing about this man beyond what he tastes like … what it feels like to be touched by him. His hands, his finger seared my skin, he imprinted himself on me with the slightest touch, and just thinking about him and what he made me feel leaves me heady with desire.

So ridiculous.

“Hmm. Have you ever considered that maybe he’s the one who stole that bracelet from the woman at the party?” Violet asks, her expression one of genuine concern.

I adore my sister. I really do. She was more like a mother to me since I never knew ours, and Lily couldn’t be bothered with me. But too often, Violet is like an overprotective nanny who won’t let me play on the swing set at the playground. I can’t even appreciate it anymore. It feels too cloying.

I hate it.

“Why would he spend time with me like that if he’d just stolen a valuable piece of jewelry?” I roll my eyes and drop my pen on top of Violet’s desk so that it rolls back toward me. I snatch it up, tapping it against the edge of her desk so that she sends me an annoyed glare. “Come on, you’re reaching.”

“You never know. There were all sorts of unsavory people in Cannes.” Violet mock shudders. “One man tried to hit on me. I had to hold back Ryder for fear he would beat his face in if I let him go.”

I love it. Ryder is so possessive of Violet. Not in a creepy, controlling way but in a he-loves-her-so-much-he-can’t-live-without-her way. “Wish I could’ve seen that.”

“No. Really you don’t,” Violet says drolly, just as she reaches out and snatches the pen from my fingers. “You’re driving me crazy. Why don’t you go see what Ryder’s up to?” His office is only a few doors down from hers.

“Are you trying to get rid of me?” I’m slightly offended, not that I should blame Violet. I’m not in the mood to work. Knowing that I’m walking away from Fleur for a while—I hope temporarily, but maybe Daddy will be so furious he’ll make it permanent—isn’t helping my attitude.

“You don’t seem like you’re much in the mood to work.” Violet tilts her head toward me, reaching up to play with the diamond stud in her ear. A nervous little habit she has; I recognize it immediately. “What’s going on with you, Rose? You’ve been acting … odd ever since Cannes.”

Sighing, I lean back in my chair, wondering if I can confide in Violet and know that she won’t run off and tell our father. “I don’t know. It’s just … it’s been hard, not having you around at Fleur.”

Violet’s expression is one of immediate guilt and her hand drops from her ear, landing with a thud on top of her desk. “I probably should’ve never left.”

“No, no. I’m not saying that.” Reaching out, I set my hand over hers. “You definitely should’ve come here. Look at how great you and Ryder are doing. It’s amazing, our gains within the UK market. Daddy’s so proud of you.”

Violet grimaces. She hates when I call him Daddy. Their relationship is strained at best. Funny, considering how much praise he heaps on her. “So why is it so difficult without me there?”

“Pilar.” I practically spit her name out. The way Violet’s eyes darken, the sudden scowl on her face, I know I’ve touched a nerve. Doesn’t help that the love of her life used to sleep with Pilar. Ick. “Daddy’s going to promote her.”

“Promote her into what position?” Violet appears outraged, which I love. That’s exactly the reaction I’m looking for. I want a partner in my anger. I’ve felt too alone for far too long.

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