Bought by Her Italian Boss(7)

By: Dani Collins


“And yet you won’t let me look at your phone,” he said pointedly.

Her jaw set and she turned the device over in her hands. With a shaky little sigh that smacked of defeat, she tapped in her access code, surprising him with her sudden willingness.

“Look at my emails,” she urged. “You’ll see I was counseling him that certain requests could be interpreted as shady.” She offered him the phone.

Gwyn didn’t know much about climbing out of a hole, but she knew you had to bounce off rock bottom, so she went there. At least this humiliation was her choice and only between the two of them, now that the room was empty. At least she was getting a chance to speak her side. Maybe he’d see that she didn’t have anything to hide except a stupid attraction. Hopefully he’d read between the lines and also see that she wasn’t the least bit interested in stupid Kevin Jensen.

Still, it was hard to sit here with the anticipation of further shame washing over her. He would see that her handful of texts and emails with friends back home were innocuous and seldom. She was friendly with many, but actual friends with very few. It was a symptom of moving so much through her childhood, as her mother had tried to find better positions for herself. Gwyn kept in touch with people she liked, mostly through social media, but she didn’t bond very often. She had learned early that it hurt too much when she had to move on. The person she was closest to, her stepfather, didn’t “do” computers. They talked the old-fashioned way, over the phone or face-to-face.

If Vittorio glanced through her social media accounts, he’d see she followed liberal pundits and quirky celebrities. If he looked at her apps, he’d discover she kept her checking account in the black, played Sudoku when she was bored, read mostly romance and had finished her period three days ago.

And if he looked at her photos, he’d see that she had been taking in the sights of Milan on lunches and weekends. Sights that included his extremely handsome head shot hanging in the main foyer of the Donatelli International building.

Her cheeks stung as she waited out his discovery of the incriminating photo. She’d taken it in a fit of infatuation the other day. After passing the fountain in the lobby a million times since her arrival, she’d noticed someone taking a selfie with the burbling water in the background. It had made her realize she could pretend to take a selfie and capture the image of her obsession on the wall.

Why? Why had she followed through on such a silly impulse? It had been as mature as pinning up a poster of a movie star in her bedroom and talking to it.

Especially when he’d been so dismissive the one time she’d smiled at him, like he couldn’t imagine why she, a lowly minion, would send such a dazzling welcome his direction. He worked at such a high level in the bank, he barely showed up to the offices at all. He didn’t consort with peasants like her.

How many times had she even seen him since arriving here? Four?

She mentally snorted at herself. Like she hadn’t counted each glimpse as if they were days until Christmas. She looked for him all the time. It was a bit of a sickness, really. Why? What on earth had convinced her that she had anything in common with a man like him?

Her heightened awareness of him picked up on the subtle stillness that overcame him.

She refused to look at him, certain he was staring at his own image. He must be thinking she was a weird, stalker type now. By any small miracle, was he also noticing that she didn’t have those stupid nudes on there?

“Today is full of surprises.” Vittorio clicked off her phone and tucked it into his shirt pocket, drawing her startled glance. His hammered-gold eyes held an extra glitter of male speculation, something dark and predatory, like he’d just noticed the plump bird that had landed nearby.

Her stomach swooped.

“Did you read the emails?” she asked shakily.

“I glanced over them.”

“And?”

“They appear to support your claim that you weren’t involved.”

“Appear to support,” she repeated. “Like I wrote those emails as some kind of premeditated attempt to cover my butt?” Her translucent skin was growing pink with temper. “Look, you have to know it’s tricky to tell a client an outright ‘no.’ I’ve been trying to do it nicely while Mr. Jensen and Signor Fabrizio—”

Her face blanked. She touched between her furrowed brow.

“They’ve been setting me up this whole time, haven’t they? That’s why I got this promotion. They thought I was too inexperienced to see what they were up to. As soon as I proved I wasn’t, they turned me into their fall guy. They just pushed me off the roof!”

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