Bought by Her Italian Boss(6)

By: Dani Collins

Her breath hitched and no amount of pressure from her hands would push back the burn behind her eyes.

The door opened again, startling her heart into lurching and her head into jerking up.

He was back.


GWYN ELLIS LOOKED like hell had moved in where her soul used to be, eyes pits of despair, mouth soft and bracketed by lines of disillusion. Her brow was a crooked line of suffering, but she immediately sat taller, blinking and visibly fighting back her tears to face him without cowering.

“I want to leave,” she asserted.

The rasp in her voice scraped at his nerves while he studied her. Vixens knew how to use their sexuality on a man. If she was a victim, he would expect her to appeal to the protector in him. Either way, he wouldn’t expect her to be so confrontational.

Gwyn was a fighter. He didn’t want to find that dig-deep-and-stay-strong streak in her admirable. It softened him when he was in crisis control mode, trying to remember that she had, quite possibly, colluded to bilk the bank and a completely legitimate nonprofit organization of millions of euros in donations.

“We have more to talk about,” he told her. He had made the executive decision to question her himself, like this, privately. And he wasn’t prepared to ask himself why.

“An exit interview? I have two short words,” she said tightly.

That open hostility was noteworthy. Oscar Fabrizio had been full of placating statements until Paolo had been patched through on speakerphone. Then Oscar had seemed to realize he was under suspicion. He’d asked for a lawyer. Sweat had broken across his brow and upper lip when Vito had ordered his computer and phone to be analyzed. Both were company issued and it had been obvious Oscar was dying to contact someone—Kevin Jensen perhaps? A plainclothes investigator was on the way. A full criminal inquiry was being launched down the hall.

While here...Vito was sure she was an accomplice, except...

“You say you had no knowledge of those photos,” he challenged.

“No. I didn’t.” Her chin came up and her lashes screened her eyes, but there was no hiding the quiver of her mouth. She was deeply upset about their being made public. That was not up for dispute. “They were taken after a massage. I didn’t know there was a camera in the room.”

The images were imprinted on his brain. The photos would have made a splash without Jensen’s name attached, he thought distantly. She was built like Venus.

But he saw how they could have been taken during a private moment and manipulated to appear like shots between lovers. He had made certain presumptions on sight: that she was not only having an affair with a client, but was engaged in criminal activity with him. If Jensen was prepared to steal from charity donations, would it be such a stretch to photograph a banking underling in an attempt to cover it up?

Powerful men exploited young, vulnerable women. He knew that. It was quite literally in his DNA.

“Are you picturing me naked?” she challenged bitterly, but her chin crinkled and she fought for her composure a moment, then bravely firmed her mouth and controlled her expression, meeting his gaze with loathing shadowing the depths of her brown eyes.

Such a contrary woman with her wounded expression and quiet, forest-creature coloring of dark eyes and hair, then that devastatingly powerful figure of generous curves and lissome limbs.

“Wondering if you are having an affair with Jensen,” he replied.

“I’m not!” There was a catch in her voice before her tone strengthened. “And I wasn’t trying to start one, either. I barely know him.” She crossed her arms. “I actually think he’s been skimming funds from his foundation for himself.”

“He is.” He steadily returned the shocked brown stare she flashed at him. Her irises had a near-black rim around the dark chocolate brown, he noted, liking the directness it added to her subtly tough demeanor.

Her pupils expanded with surprise, further intriguing him.

“You know that for a fact?” Her brows were like distant bird wings against the sky, long and elegant with a perfect little crook above her eyes. She was truly beautiful.

He wanted her. Badly.

He ignored the need pulling at him, stating, “We also know someone in the bank is colluding with him. We’ve been conducting an extremely delicate investigation that blew up today, thanks to your photos.”

Vito was angry with himself. He was a numbers man, calculating all the odds, all the possible moves an opponent might try, but he hadn’t seen this one coming.

“I’m not colluding with anyone!” Her expression was earnest and very convincing. But he was a mistrustful man at heart, too aware of the secrets and lies he lived under himself to take for granted that other people weren’t self-protecting or withholding certain facts to better their own position.

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