Christian’s eyes darkened. “I don’t respond well to ultimatums.”
“Hey, you can sleep with every woman in New York for all I care, but you’ll have to wait until we’re no longer together.”
He retraced his steps until he was uncomfortably close again. Was he trying to intimidate her with his physical presence?
“And if I choose to see other women before then? What will you do?”
Good question. She gave it some thought, going over her limited options. When it came to men like Christian, men with unlimited funds and a ridiculous amount of power, there wasn’t too much a girlcoulddo. Still, she knew a few things about him that he wouldn’t want to get out.
“I will tell the press you lied to them.”
He jabbed the air with his finger, pointing it in her direction. “I am warning you, Ms. Dawson, do not—”
“No,” she wagged her finger back at him. “I am warning you, Sabatino. You dragged me across the pond to help save your company. The least you can do is not make me look worse than I already do. First, they thought I was your mistress. Now they think I’m your dimwitted fiancé, anunsophisticated mouseyou can dump when you get bored.”
He sighed. “You weren’t supposed to hear that. Ignore Ava. She hates all women.”
“You didn’t exactly rush to my defense.”
He reached a hand out as if to smooth her hair back. Then he dropped it to his side. Shrugging, he said, “I promise not to date until I am no longer engaged to you... as long as you do the same.”
She offered her hand. “Deal.”
“Deal,” he said in a soft, husky tone.
His fingers moved over hers, caressing her skin in a sensual way that made her nerve endings tingle, and she realized they were both in serious trouble. Avoiding each other at breakfast and dinner might not be enough. She definitely needed to move into the flat below his as soon as possible.
“I didn’t expect you for dinner so early. Anya told me you never eat before nine.”
He sighed. “That’s what I came to tell you. I can’t make dinner tonight. There is still so much to be done, and every time I put out a fire, another ignites.”
That was when she noticed how tired he looked. Dark shadows underscored his eyes, and the lines around his mouth seemed deeper. Her heart went out to him. In an instant all of their disagreements ceased to matter. “You work too hard,” she said. “You need to sleep. Stay here with me for a while and rest.”
“I really do have a lot to get done.”
“Delegate. Don’t you have hundreds of employees?”
“Maybe I’ll do that.” He grinned, but even his smile didn’t seem to have much strength. “After I get things in shape…”
“I know you said no shop-talk tonight, but it’s important.”
His eyes narrowed. “Go on.”
She pulled on his arm. “Come over here and sit with me. Please. Just for a few minutes.”
Christian reluctantly sat next to her in the place Zach had vacated moments before, and he closed his eyes. His head went back on the cushion. He folded his arms. “Go ahead. Talk. You’ve got five minutes.” He yawned. “Then I’m returning to my office.”
She hated it that he was trying to work himself into an early grave. Her fingers itched to smooth the hair back from his forehead, and her lips ached to place a kiss on his mouth. Instead, she twisted her fingers in her lap. “A lot of strange mishaps have been occurring around our office. Someone has cancelled a few appointments, and things have gone missing. Sullivan thinks it’s just a prank, a bored employee having fun.”
“If Sully isn’t worried, you shouldn’t be either.”
“It just feels… malicious somehow. I don’t think they’re just pranks, and I don’t think they’re going to stop.” His breathing had changed. Was he asleep already? She tested that theory. “When the aliens came, they offered me a scholarship and taught me their language. As soon as I turn green I have to go to their planet and teach their children how to do the cha-cha.”
He didn’t move or make a sound. His chest rose and fell with perfect rhythm. He was definitely asleep. The poor guy needed as much as he could get. Even if he woke up mad at her tomorrow, she didn’t care. She wouldn’t wake him from his slumber for billions of dollars and a key to the city.
Bianca went to his bedroom and returned with a blanket. Carefully, she lifted his legs and put them on the couch while pushing his upper body the other direction until he went down. She removed his shoes, loosened his tie, and tucked the blanket around him. A soft snore rumbled up his throat. The sound made her smile.
She placed a soft kiss on his forehead. “Goodnight, Christian.”