Christian couldn’t believe he’d slept twelve hours straight and no one had bothered to wake him. For the first timeeverhe was late for work, and he didn’t like it. How could he expect his employees to show up on time if he didn’t? The kicker was he’d slept in the main room just off the elevator. That meant both Bianca and Anya had passed by him at least once and hadn’t given him a good shake. Since Bianca had wanted him to rest, he wasn’t surprised by her indifference, but Anya knew how important it was for him to be in the office early each morning.
He needed to shower and change. Unfortunately, he couldn’t afford to lose another minute. He couldn’t take a second to grab breakfast either. A piece of loose information teased the corner of his mind. Had he dreamed the part about Bianca saying someone was sabotaging her magazine? “Bianca!” he shouted as he fixed his tie.
Anya rushed into the room with a dish towel in her hands. “She isn’t here, Mr. Sabatino. She went for a walk a couple hours ago.”
A bad feeling came over him, and business dropped on his list of priorities. “What do you mean she went for a walk? I hope you mean she’s walking around the building, exploring the various floors.”
“No, sir. She wanted to explore the city.”
“And you let her?”
“I walk all the time, and she’s younger than me. What’s the problem?”
His eyes grew wide, frantic, as he thought of all the terrible things that could happen to Bianca out there. “She’s fromLondon! She doesn’t know how to cope with New Yorkers. She’s so sweet and trusting. If some nut stops her in the street, she’ll talk to him. She’ll go into a dark alley with him. Hell, she’ll jump into the van if he offers her candy!”
Anya shook her head, amusement dancing in her eyes.
Before she could tell him again how Bianca was fine on her own, he called down to the lobby’s main desk. “Did you see Bianca Dawson leave the building?”
There was a slightly bewildered pause. “Yes, sir.”
“Did you see which way she went?”
He took a deep breath and tried hard to rein in his temper. “I want you to send out the entire security team. I want her found. Now! Do you understand me?”
“You tell them if they don’t find her in the next twenty minutes, I will fire the whole lot of them!” He turned to Anya again. “Do you have any idea where she went? What exactly did she say before she left?”
Anya looked off to the side and tapped a finger against her pursed mouth as she gave his question some thought. “Let me see. She complained that she’s been too busy to stick her nose out the door and what a shame it was to be in an exciting city like New York and not see it. Then she said something about taking a walk and just seeing where her feet took her.”
Stunned, he couldn’t close his jaw for a moment. Bianca could be anywhere. She could be lost or kidnapped or… he didn’t even want to think about it.
Anya returned to the kitchen, and he paced the floor like an agitated tiger at the zoo. If something happened to Bianca, he’d never forgive himself. He should have warned her about leaving the building without an escort. It just hadn’t occurred to him that she’d be so reckless.
He raked a hand through his hair before rubbing his stubble-covered jaw. He needed a shave as well as a shower, but he wasn’t going to do either. Bianca could be in trouble. He headed for the elevator, intent on searching for her himself. Standing around doing nothing was not his style.
The elevator dinged, and Bianca stepped out as soon as the door slid open. Carrying coffee and a donut she’d obviously purchased from the place around the corner, she looked cheerful. The happy expression on her face flipped his world upside-down. He’d been climbing-the-walls worried about her, and she’d been having a good time.
He wanted to drag her into a tight embrace, but his anger prevented it. Instead, he shouted. “Where the hell have you been?”
Bianca’s smile faltered. “I went for a walk to enjoy the morning air and pick up an unhealthy American breakfast.” She lifted her cup and donut to show off her finds. “I wasn’t gone that long. Why are you mad?”
He tried hard to rein in his temper. “You can’t stroll around New York City. This isn’t London. If you want to go somewhere, let me know. I’ll send someone with you.”
Her facial muscles tightened. “I wasn’t aware I was under house arrest or that I needed your permission to—”
“That isn’t what I was saying.” He dragged a hand through his hair before checking his watch. “I need to get to work.”
“Of course you do.”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
Bianca scowled at him. “You don’t make time for anything other than work. Not sleep. Not food. Certainly, not fun.” She folded her arms. “Maybe I don’t want to wind up like you and work so much that I miss life.”