Your Inescapable Love (The Bennett Family Book 4)(8)

By: Layla Hagen

“I don’t. The price you asked for would be fair if we were standing in a decent building. This is a barn.”

“Max,” Alice admonishes in a gentle voice, which is very unlike her but plays well for the good cop method. Turning to Sleazeball, she adds, “I’m afraid my brother does have a point. Revamping this place up would take a considerable investment. I’d say that investment makes up that forty percent you’re overcharging.”

“It’s the only deal you’ll get,” I say calmly. “Take it or leave it.”

The man wipes his forehead, clearly taken aback by our stance. “I need to think about this.”

“Perfect,” Alice says. “Let us know your decision within three days max.”

“We’re looking at two other options,” I add, which makes him snap his head in my direction. “We’re making our decision this week.”

That’s a blatant lie, but I know these people. If you don’t give them a deadline and put pressure on them, it doesn’t work. Alice walks to the window at the far end of the barn/dump and looks out the window at the scenery with hopeful eyes, which means she really wants this place. I have to admit, the location is perfect. Turning on my heels, I catch Sleazeball looking at my sister as if he wants to eat her up. My blood boils instantly. If Alice ends up buying this place, she’ll meet with him again, and I might not be with her. Sure, my sister knows how to kick ass, but she’s vulnerable and a little oblivious to what’s happening around her when she’s passionate about something. Like now.

“If you ever look at my sister like that again, I will shove your balls so far up your ass, you’ll spit them out,” I tell him in a low voice so my sister can’t overhear us.

Sleazeball flinches, because he didn’t see me approach. Then he takes a step back as if wanting to put as much distance between us as possible.

My sister turns around, gesturing at me to head out. “It was nice meeting you, Mr. Emmerson. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.”

“I’ll e-mail,” Sleazeball says, his eyes darting between my sister and me.

“We were badass,” Alice says once we’re in the car.

“Very,” I agree. “I bet he’ll write by tonight.”

“Mmm, why did he look as if he was about to shit his pants when we left?”

“No idea.” I suddenly become very interested in a dirty spot on my windshield. As I drive into town, we talk about everything and nothing, and then the conversation veers to Emilia again.

“How long will your therapy last?” Alice asks.

“Four weeks.”

“Wow, that sucks.”

“Tell me about it.”

“At least you get to spend time with Jonesie.”

“Yeah,” I say dryly. Just thinking about her sends my mind into a tailspin. Damn it. Being friends with Jonesie was one of the best parts of my childhood, but being friends with a grown-up Emilia might just be my most trying challenge yet.

Chapter Five


My head is pounding as I arrive home after a long day. Ms. Adams tells me that Grams is already asleep, so I take a sweater and a book and hang out in the backyard for the rest of the evening. I settle on the outdoor couch, shoving my favorite pillow—dark blue with silver stars—under my head. Perfect reading position. But as I crank my book open, my mind flies to my encounter with Max yesterday. Now that twenty-four hours have passed, I can view the event critically.

Of course my hormones went haywire when I saw him. He’s a drop-your-panties gorgeous guy. Not that I plan to drop my panties, or anything else. But I’m a woman after all, so seeing him in all of his gorgeousness confused me. This is all that it was though. Confusion. As I attempt to dive into my book again, my phone beeps with an incoming call. A fleeting look at the screen tells me I don’t know the number, but I answer anyway.


“Sword, or bow and arrow?” Max asks.

I grin, sitting up straight so abruptly that my book tumbles on the floor. “Bow and arrow. Always.”

Playing pirates was one of our favorite games as kids. The first time we played it, he shoved a makeshift sword in my hand. I dropped it as if it were a snake, proudly claiming that the bow and arrow was my weapon of choice. We launched into a long debate about the benefits of each weapon before finally agreeing to disagree. In ten-year-old behavior, that meant a mud fight.

“Still making the wrong choices,” Max says. “Swords will always win the fight.”

“Suit yourself.” I grin like an idiot. “How did you get my number?”