Authors: Ciar Cullen
Tags: #Will Never Be Enough
The knock on the door kicked her in the gut. He
. Her note had been explicit. “
Do not contact me for any reason. I don’t want your money
Layla looked through the peephole and saw no one. Another knock and she looked out again. Still no one. Layla pulled her pistol from a nearby bookshelf and slowly opened the door. Nothing.
Until she looked down.
A little girl. A trick?
“Hello sweetie, what can I do for you?”
“Are you Miss Swann? My name is Molly Colin. I have a present for you.”
Layla ran to the window and looked onto the street to see Kevin leaning against his Porsche, arms across his chest, kicking at the sidewalk. The very sight of him made her cry.
I’m so in love with you, you son of bitch. How could you send your daughter to do your dirty work
Well, it wasn’t the girl’s fault.
Molly smiled shyly and held out a box. “Hi.”
“Hi yourself. You look an awful lot like your dad.”
“Do I? He thinks so, too!” Her dimples sprung to life and Layla’s heart lurched. Molly grabbed her hand. “Why are you crying? Daddy told me not to say anything, just to give you this. But he didn’t say you were a crybaby. He’s a crybaby, too.”
“Your dad is a crybaby?”
“Since he came back from his trip. He cried one night. I heard him. And then he got really, really mad and punched the wall. It scared me. Nanna said he was mad at a girl. That’s you, isn’t it?”
“I don’t think so. Your dad has another girl.”
She looked at Layla in an odd way. Then she shook her head. “I don’t think so. Daddy says I’m his only girl. He still calls me ‘baby.’ I’m not a baby anymore! But he never calls me Molly.”
“No, you’re very grown up—”
“Molly, did your daddy call you from Greece?” “Uh huh, every day.”
“Do you remember the last time he called you? What day was that?”
“Um. I don’t know what day it was. But he had to talk really, really soft, because he was in the hospital with his girlfriend, he said. Oh, that’s right, he said he’d be ‘home tomorrow,’ so I guess it was…”
Layla stopped hearing her lovely babble. “Honey, who is your daddy’s girlfriend?”
She shrugged. “I guess maybe you are, aren’t you? You’re the one he keeps talking about to Nanna.” Molly looked frustrated as Layla began crying again. “You both
crybabies. Wait till I tell Daddy.” She pushed the package into Layla’s hand and rushed out the door.
Layla sat and nervously opened the gift-wrapped box. A note, and the emerald and gold necklace from Nafplion. She ran the strands through her fingers in awe, then unfolded the note and put her hand over her mouth.
I don’t know what’s going on, but I couldn’t give up without one last try. I’m relieved you’re all right. I checked—the men who took you in Qatar have been dead a good three months, so hopefully you’ll stop looking over your shoulder. I’m so damned sorry I lied about Ardros. You wouldn’t have been shot if we’d come home when we could. But I needed another chance with you. That sounds so stupid now, but at the time, it was all I could think about. But I lied, and there’s no good excuse. I don’t blame you for hating me.
But let’s get something straight. There isn’t anyone else; hasn’t been for a long, long time. I didn’t lie about that. Anyway, here’s a gift. I saw you look at it in Nafplion. Layla, all I can say is, I would have given you the world. But then, my world comes with strings attached, and you just met the biggest one. Maybe that wouldn’t work for you. My Baby is the biggest part of my world, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’ll leave you alone. I’m sorry you resigned, and if you need help finding work, please call Sarah. We’ll do anything for you. And please change your mind about the check.
I guess that’s it. You know where I work—ha ha. If you ever want a friend, well, maybe I could try. But I’m in love with you, and I probably wouldn’t make a very good pal right now.
“Hi, Miss Swann. How are you feeling?” Spencer was as chipper as the first day Layla had met him, tapping his pencil against his desk, looking at her with a welcoming grin.
“I’m fine, Spence.” She nodded toward Kevin’s office door. “In?” He nodded. “I’ll announce you.”
“No, don’t. It’s a surprise visit.”
you, then? Sarah hinted you were the one who put him in this funk.”
“I’m going to try to lift the funk, so cut me a break.” Spence nodded and whispered, “Good luck.”
Layla struggled with two cups of coffee and the door handle.
Spence started to get up, but she motioned him away. “I told you not to disturb me.”
Kevin’s uncharacteristic snarl made Layla stop cold.
“Spence?” He swung around in his chair and gasped, then got up and took one of the cups from her hand.
“Hope it’s how you like it, Irish.”
He nodded uncertainly and took a sip.
Layla sat in the chair across from his. “I have a proposal, boss. Please don’t speak until I’m finished.”
“Okay, shoot.” He winced. “No pun intended. How is the shoulder, by the way?”
“It’s nothing. I’ve had worse self-inflicted wounds.” She smiled.
“All right, now you’re changing the subject. Let me finish.” Her smile faded and she looked into her lap.
“You’re wearing the necklace.”
“Yes, it’s an exquisite gesture. I love it. Now shut up.” She breathed deeply and the words spilled out in a rush. “I made a horrible mistake and thought you were talking to your girlfriend instead of Molly. I’m so sorry, I guess I wasn’t thinking clearly…haven’t been in a long time. I fell for you and after the shooting…”
He rushed around the desk, pulling her to her feet. Layla thought he’d squeeze the breath out of her.
“Again…say it again.”
Kevin pushed her away and looked into her eyes. He gently brought down his mouth onto hers, whispering her name. “You fell in love with me? Don’t pull my leg, Layla, because I’ve been dying a slow death these last days without you.”
She smiled and brushed his cheek. “I want my job back, Irish.”
“And I’d like to get to know you better.”
“And I’d like to get to know Molly.”
Sighing, he closed his eyes, and when he opened them, they twinkled. “I think that can be arranged. She hasn’t stopped talking about you. But you understand—she comes before anything…before work, before…”
“Before me. If you said anything else, I wouldn’t like you nearly as much. Someday, I’d like to go back to Greece. Maybe the three of us.”
“On one condition.”
Layla lifted a brow in question.
“We go back on our honeymoon.” He briefly looked away, waiting for her answer.
“How about we give it a year or two?”
“Put it in my next contract.”
Don’t miss [b]
Out of My League
[b], by Ciar Cullen, Available now at all fine online retailers
Out of My League
A Fallen Angel Recommended Read
Out of My League
puts forth an interesting, often times hilarious concept, and Ciar Cullen packs this tale with rapier wit, poignant vulnerability, and the overcoming of insecurities. Jack is dumbfounded and intrigued at Lucetta’s offer, but when the actuality of their bargain hits him, his personal honor shines through. Lucetta is perfectly crafted; she's funny, sweet, and untouched by the dog-eat-dog mentality of Hollywood. I was entertained and enchanted by this story, and the scenes with Patsy, Lucetta’s bodyguard/friend/supporting character, were just side-splitting at times. Snappy dialogue, an exotic locale, and steamy intimacy make
Out of My League
my choice for Recommended Read and a perfect 5 Angel rating!”