Worth Everything

Worth Everything by Karen Erickson Read Free Book Online

Book: Worth Everything by Karen Erickson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Karen Erickson
Tags: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
windows rolled down, her long dark brown hair blowing everywhere, probably obscuring her view, not that she seemed to care. She looked carefree and beautiful with it. The complete opposite of the woman he’d been working with the last few days.
    “You need to relax. You’re too stuffy in your business attire. We’re at one of the most gorgeous vacation spots in the world, no? Enjoy it.” She waved a hand at him, nearly giving him a seizure since she was now clearly driving one-handed.
    “I’m dressed like this because we’re here on business,” he reminded her, sounding like a stuffy old man, just as she’d accused.
    “I know, but you’ll worry my mother, looking like you do.” She met his gaze, her smile growing, most likely because she saw the panic flare in his eyes. She needed to pay attention to the road, not him.
    “And how do I look?” He glanced down. At least he’d shed the jacket and tie, wearing a white dress shirt and charcoal gray trousers. He’d been going for business casual.
    “Like an intimidating lawyer out for blood.” She shook her head, downshifting so the car’s engine whined as she came around a particularly tight corner. “You do realize I haven’t spoken to her since the night my father died. She might not approve of me showing up with someone like you.”
    His jaw dropped open in shock. “No, I hadn’t realized.”
    “It’s true. She was with him when he took his final breath. She emerged from their room, pale and shaking, and announced that he’d died. Not one tear, nor did she offer any explanation, though we knew he was terribly sick. The cancer diagnosis had been such a shock. But still.” Stasia shook her head. “She isolated herself in her room and refused to come to his funeral, which surprised us all, but we assumed she was taking it particularly hard. She talked to my oldest brother once, when he requested she come for the reading of the will. She left for Italy that very same day. No one has spoken to her since.”
    Claudia Renaldi was clearly a selfish woman who ran away from her problems. “Ignoring everything and everyone isn’t the solution.”
    “I know.” She sighed. “What I’m trying to say is, she might not know we’re coming.”
    “I figured.”
    “I spoke with Renzo. He’s managed the villa for years. I let him know when we were flying in, and the house is prepared for our arrival. I would assume he’s informed her we’ll be there.”
    “Did you explain who I was?” Hmm, if she did, there was the possibility that Claudia had lawyered up in preparation.
    “No. I told Renzo you were a friend.” She shot him a skeptical look. “A stretch, I know, but I didn’t want my mother aware of anything. She might flee, or worse, find her own attorney.”
    “That’s what I was thinking. Smart move on your part.” He had to give it to her. Stasia wasn’t a complete idiot. Nor was she leading solely with her emotions, which would be so easy to do considering her circumstance.
    “We’re almost there.” She made a sharp left and started up a steep hill. “Wait until you see the view. It’s spectacular.”
    His view at this very moment was pretty damn spectacular. The oversized black top Stasia wore sloped off to the side, revealing one smooth shoulder, the bright pink strap of her bra. Cropped jeans and casual black woven sandals completed her look, accentuated with a delicate gold chain hanging from her neck, a matching chain around her right wrist.
    So effortlessly put together, she was beautiful. Women were most likely jealous of her and men without a doubt lusted after her.
    Much like he did.
    He was grateful for the wave of lust. It momentarily distracted him from her grinding the gears as they headed up the hill toward the Renaldi Villa. Kept him from thinking too hard as to how high they were climbing, or how close to the edge of the cliff she was driving. One wrong move and they’d be pitched into the Mediterranean. Not the way he’d

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