Unbridled and Unclaimed [The Double Rider Men's Club 6](7)

By: Elle Saint James


“Why do you wish to know?” She smiled slyly and played with her silverware.

Dillon wondered if she was proficient with a blade the way she stroked the butter knife. He was being foolish.

“I want to get to know you.”

“Why?”

“You’re beautiful and I’m nosy.”

Wyatt laughed. “We’re just passing the time and avoiding the morbid subject we don’t wish to discuss.”

She turned to face Dillon. “May I ask questions?”

“Sure,” he said.

Wyatt also leaned forward in his chair as if readying to answer all her questions.

She cocked her head to one side. “Even morbid ones?”

Dillon nodded. “What do you want to know?”

“Did Henry die peacefully?”

The image of Henry in the morgue was the only one he’d seen after the accident.

Dillon pondered her question a long time. Finally, he said, “He didn’t suffer, if that’s what you mean.” The accident had been sudden, stupid, and most of all, senseless. The other driver was drunk on his ass and should never have been near the wheel of a car. “Henry died instantly of injuries sustained during a collision in his sports car.”

In fact, there had been little blood. But the internal injuries to his chest had been catastrophic, and thankfully quick to kill him, so he truly didn’t suffer.

“Thank you for telling me.”

“May I ask what your arrangements were going to be with Henry?”

“Arrangements?” Even her puzzled expression was beautiful.

“Were you going to marry him to stay in this country?” Dillon asked. He wanted a clear picture of her previous plan.

She sat a little straighter. “I am an American citizen. I was born here, just like you. My parents are Russian citizens. They moved back and I lived there until...” She trailed off when Wyatt reached out and put a hand on her forearm. Her fingers had fisted on the table as she spoke.

“We aren’t accusing you of anything, we just didn’t know if you and Henry were reconnecting in a romantic way. That’s all.” His tone was steady and calming. Wyatt was good at negotiations. Dillon could probably learn a thing or two. If only he hadn’t picked up the bullheaded gene from his father.

Her fierce expression cleared. She understood. “No. It was not like that between us. He was my friend back when we went to college together. He saved me from being a lonely outsider back then. And most recently, I owe him everything for getting me out of Russia, but we were never lovers. We were simply friends. I thought of him like a brother.”

Dillon tucked that information away. He knew for a fact that Henry had planned to lure Valentina into his bed at the first opportunity. Dillon didn’t approve of Henry’s intentions, but hadn’t thought he would hurt her.

Henry had been a rich, successful, albeit self-centered guy, and he still lived like he was in a college fraternity. If she had rebuffed him or indicated she wasn’t interested, Henry would have simply tried more persuasion tactics until he succeeded. He wondered if Henry would have taken no for an answer if she’d rebuffed him. Foolish. Of course he would. He wasn’t an animal. Probably. A part of Dillon was truly glad he never had to find out what would have happened if she’d ended up in Henry’s care.

Dillon certainly understood her appeal. He already wanted her. But if she wasn’t interested, he did know how to take no for an answer. And so did Wyatt.

But if she was interested, he certainly wanted to pursue her. The prickly nature she put out made him want her even more. He loved strong women. By the love-struck expression on Wyatt’s face, he knew he wasn’t alone.

Dillon quickly planned to push, explore, and discover if there was an inkling of unbridled passion behind her tough-girl façade. Meanwhile, Wyatt would do his best to charm her into submission. They each had strengths with regard to romantic entanglements.

“What are your plans now?” Dillon asked.

“Beyond how I will pay for my lunch, I do not have any.”

Wyatt said, “We’ll pay for lunch. We invited you.”

Well, Dillon had demanded she eat. “Yes. We will.” Dillon used his hard-ass tone.

Her intense, green-eyed gaze came up to duel with his. “Then I will repay you one day.”

“Fair enough.” Dillon nodded. Prideful. How could he broach the next subject? They had offered her a place to stay earlier. Dillon wasn’t sure she’d really accepted yet. Would she be willing to stay with them, or at least let them pay for a hotel room for her? A look at her stern, hungry face, and he decided not to broach the subject just yet.

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