The next morning, the knock on our hotel room door surprises us both. Becca and I exchange a look. She shrugs while I move across the room to answer it. At least we’re both dressed.
Once the door opens, I stumble back, looking up into dark, intense eyes framed in heavy lashes that I’d recognize anywhere.
"Colt…" I murmur, utterly shocked to see him here in Italy.
"Soph…" he returns, his voice gravelly.
"W-What are you doing here?" I’m breathless and I don’t know why.
"You," he says simply, his eyes burning on mine.
Everything I’ve tried to forget slams into me at once. His deep blue eyes that are hungry and seeking. His masculine jawline, his height, and even his scent evoke a sense of deja-vu. I remember everything in perfect detail, including the wicked pleasure he gave my body. I suppress a warm shiver.
"Hi cupcake," Pace says, grinning at me from behind Colton.
What in the world? Remembering my manners, I reluctantly let my gaze wander from Colton to greet Pace and I introduce him to Becca. Utterly at a loss for what they’re both doing here, I step aside to let them in.
Becca’s wide smile as she shakes Pace’s hand reminds me of the affect meeting him for the first time can have on a girl. Her cheeks are rosy and her eyes are alight with mischief. Oh, this isn’t good.
"And this must be the infamous Colton Drake," she says, locking eyes with Colton next.
Watching my sister as she appraises Colton's perfect form from head to toe, my chest gets tight and I feel tears sting my eyes. Then my anger starts to rise, remembering his betrayal. But I’m in such a state of shock, that it takes me a moment to get my mouth working. "Ignore him. He’s leaving," I say, remembering that he and I are through.
"Awe, don’t be like that," Pace says. "We just spent ten hours flying coach to come see you. The least you can do is invite us in, and let me flirt with your sister." His lopsided smile is back and I swear, I practically see Becca’s knees buckle.
"You flew coach for me?" I blurt without thinking.
"It was the only option. The jet wasn’t available. I wanted the next flight out and first class was full," Colton explains.
I try to imagine these two men – who are each well over six-feet tall folded into cramped airplane seats for hours on end.
"Now that’s love," Pace remarks under his breath.
"This is where you’re staying?" Colton peers around the tiny room, which takes all of three seconds.
Splurging was coming on this trip in the first place – I wouldn’t waste the precious money I had on first class airfare or a fancy hotel room. Even though Becca had responded well to the treatment so far, there was no guarantee that she’d stay healthy, or that she wouldn’t need another round in a pricey treatment facility.
"What’s wrong with the room? Not up to your high standards?" I remark, crossing my arms in front of my chest.
He frowns. "Let me upgrade you. Take you somewhere proper," Colton says, his dark eyes finding mine again.
How dare he? He can’t waltz in here, interrupt my vacation and then insult where I’m staying. He doesn’t control everything. The urge to push him from the room and slam the door in his face is nearly overwhelming. I pull a deep breath into my lungs, just as he reads my uneasy expression and takes a step back.
"Never mind. As long as you’re comfortable." He eyes the bed linens like he’s checking for bedbugs.
"I am." Or at least I was until he arrived out of the blue and completely threw my emotions into a tailspin.
Pace crosses the room, pulls out the small chair from the desk and plops down. His frame dwarfs everything in our tiny efficiency. He looks out of place, but in a good way. "I didn’t realize you had a sister. Sexy obviously runs in the family." He throws a wink toward Becca.
"We’re twins," Becca informs him.
We always looked a bit different, and now more than ever. With Becca’s hair growing back in, it just reaches the tops of her shoulders and she wears it wavy and messy. My hair falls like a thick curtain down my back and is as straight as an arrow. She’s also about fifteen pounds thinner than me. Chemo will do that to you.
"Mmm," Pace growls, his eyes wandering between us. "I’ve always had a secret twin fantasy." The hungry look in his eyes is enough to bring a woman to her knees. Becca stands zero chance against his charms.
Colton steps closer to my side, his fists tightening as he shoots an evil glare toward Pace. "Don’t make me kill you as soon as we’ve landed. It would really dampen the trip."
"Don’t make me confiscate your balls. Now go talk to your woman," Pace challenges.
I open my mouth to correct him. I am no one’s woman, but my brain flashes back to that fateful night when Colton purchased me from the auction. I accepted the money–and spent a good chunk of it. Does that mean I still belong to him despite finding out he’s married?
I cursed the stupid contract, I cursed the man himself for holding my heart captive. That was never part of the plan.
When I meet his eyes again, he looks lost, broken, and it tugs at something deep inside me. As much anger as I felt discovering that he’d lied to me the entire time we were together, I still have feelings for him. I can’t just turn them off. Despite his obvious shortcomings, he helped my sister, and he made me feel alive. He was everything I never knew I wanted.