Bitter Bite(Elemental Assassin #14)(40) by Jennifer Estep
“Okay,” she said. “That’s enough. Let’s take a break.”
“I think you’re right,” Deirdre said in a shaking voice.
She started to slide out of the booth but stopped when she realized that I was still sitting at the end of the table, blocking her escape.
“Gin,” Bria said, a sharp note in her voice.
I slowly scooted my chair back and stood up.
Deirdre got out of the booth, being sure to stay out of arm’s reach of me. Smart woman. She gestured at the photos still spread out on the tabletop. “Feel free to look at those as long as you like, Finnegan. I hope that you’ll give me a chance to get to know you. I’d like that more than anything. And I want to get to know your friends too.” She turned toward me. “Even you, Gin. Despite your feelings about me.”
I stared at Deirdre, but she kept giving me that same hurt, wounded look, as though I’d gravely offended her by not swallowing her lies.
Finn slid out of the booth and walked around me. He hesitated, then stepped forward and hugged Deirdre. She seemed startled by the motion, but her arms wrapped around his back, and she hugged him even tighter.
I glared at her all the while, but she didn’t look at me. Of course she didn’t. I wasn’t the one she was conning, so I wasn’t important.
They hugged for a few more seconds before finally breaking apart.
“I’ll call you later,” Finn said. “Maybe we can talk some more then?”
“I’d like that,” she whispered.
He nodded and started to step back, but Deirdre reached up and cupped his cheek with her hand. This time, he was the one who seemed startled, but he grasped her fingers and gently squeezed them. She smiled at him again, then grabbed her purse and walked out of the restaurant.
The bell over the front door chimed softly at her passing, but the sound seemed as loud as a gunshot in my mind.
Deirdre Shaw had definitely won this round. Now I just had to figure out how to keep her from winning any more.
Deirdre might have left, but the show wasn’t quite over yet.
Everyone in the restaurant turned to look at me, whispering and wondering about the drama they’d just witnessed. No doubt, somebody here had some underworld connections, which meant that news of the confrontation would spread like wildfire among the bosses. I ground my teeth. Terrific.
I ignored the curious stares and glanced over at Silvio, who slid off his stool, buttoned his suit jacket, and went outside. With his enhanced vampire senses, he’d heard every word of our heated conversation. Silvio had realized that I wanted all the information I could get on Deirdre, even if it was something as mundane as what kind of car she was driving.
Finn waited until Deirdre was out of sight of the storefront windows before he whipped around to me. “Are you happy now? You just chased away my mother. Just like Dad did.”
I opened my mouth, but he snapped his hand up.
“Forget it. I can’t even look at you right now,” he growled.
He stormed toward the front door, but Owen was already there, blocking his path. Finn glared at him, but Owen put his arm around Finn’s shoulders.
“Come on, man,” he said. “Let’s go out back and get some air.”
Owen looked at me, and I nodded my thanks. He nodded back, then half led, half strong-armed Finn across the storefront, through the double doors, and into the back of the restaurant.
Everyone swung around to stare at me again, wondering what I would do next. I glared back at the curious crowd, until they all decided it would be better to focus on their food and started shoving sandwiches and French fries into their mouths at warp speed.
“That went well,” Bria drawled, still sitting in the booth. “You know you played right into her hands.”
I huffed out an angry breath and ran my hands down my blue work apron, trying to rein in my emotions. “I know, I know. I should have been calm, cool, reasonable. Just like she was. But I just couldn’t sit there and listen to all those damn, dirty lies about Fletcher. I just couldn’t. And I don’t get Finn. He’s going to believe some strange woman who shows up out of the blue over his own father? The man who was here for him all these years?”
I shook my head. “Sometimes I don’t know what is going on in that boy’s mind.”
Bria picked up the photos. “Think about it from his point of view. He gets a second chance with the mother he never knew. That would be tempting for anyone.”
“Yeah, but this is Finn we’re talking about. He usually has women eating out of the palm of his hand. Not the other way around.”
She shrugged. “And growing up without a mother is probably one of the reasons he likes women so much and is such a terrible flirt. He’s trying to have that connection he never had with her.”
My eyes narrowed. “When did you go all Freudian on me?”
“You’re not the only one who takes classes, you know. I’ve been doing some psychology stuff online through the police department.” She grinned a moment before the smile slipped from her face. “You need to talk to Finn. Hash out this thing between the two of you before it gets any worse. If Deirdre really is a threat, then you need to stay close to him. Not alienate him even more.”
I sighed. “I know. But he’s not going to like what I have to say about Mama Dearest.”
Bria shrugged again. She didn’t know how to make Finn listen to reason any more than I did.
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online