Page 19

Something inside my brain snaps. I'm close enough to do it, so I do. I shove both palms into Sean's chest and scream in his face before he can finish his sentence. "You think I haven't! You think this is a fucking game? Well, it's not! And yeah, I know what toxic people are, because I'm talking to one now!" I shove him again, but the bastard doesn't move. "I can't stand you."

"The feeling is mutual."

"Why? I mean, I have enough reasons to hate your guts, but you have nothing on me."

"You want more than Peter can give. You brought him here to ask me to—"

"Sean, stop talking!" Peter yells, so I can't hear his brother. "Stop! She didn't ask to come here. She didn't even know who the hell I was until the day we left. She doesn't want to be a Ferro. I'm lucky she didn't leave me when she found out, so cut the shit!"

At that moment, the elevator doors open down the hall and a security man is walking toward us swiftly. Sean's gaze cuts quickly to me. "You didn't know who he was?"

I glare at him and fold my arms over my chest. "Fuck you."

He smirks. "All in good time, dear."

"I swear to God, Sean—" Peter warns just as the guard is on us.

"Is there a problem here?" The man is older and looks really irritated. "Because I can make all sorts of problems if you guys don't have any, you get what I'm saying?" Peter and Sean just stand there. The guard looks at me. "You all right, miss?"

"No, this asshole is bothering us." I point at Sean. His eyes widen before they narrow like he hates me. I don't care. "Can you remove him?"

The guard says, "Come on," to Sean and tries to lead him away.

Sean glares at me, but there's a smirk on his lips, like he respects me for some twisted reason. "You mess with him and I'll break your goddamn neck."

"Mr. Ferro, please don't threaten the other guests—" the guard says, pulling Sean toward the door.

I talk over the guard and yell at Sean's back, "Go ahead and try!" By the time Sean is down the hall, I'm seething. My hands are clenched into fists at my sides and my jaw is locked. I slam the door and turn around. Peter is behind me, leaning against the wall with his arms folded across his chest. He watches me carefully.

"Are you trying to protect me from Sean?" Like I'd try to protect him from his own messed-up family? Peter is giving me a look that says he thinks so.

"Truth?" I ask, and he nods. "I don't know what the hell I'm doing. He makes me so angry and he doesn't listen to a damn thing I say. It's like he thinks he's so much better than me because he's a goddamn Ferro."

Peter gives me a crooked smile and pushes off the wall. "He thinks he's better than everyone because he's Sean. No one else in my family is like that, just him."

"No one else will be worried that I'm after your money?"

He shakes his head. "No, the gold diggers are after Jonathan now. Sean and I are seconds. Well, I am anyway. Sean made his own fortune doing God-knows-what. He's smart, ruthless, and ambitious, so of course he made his own fortune. I'm the middle brother—the guy with a broken heart who's all but broke."

"All but broke? I thought you had a trust fund?"

"I do. That's rich people speak for Pete Ferro is a moron and walked away from a multibillion-dollar empire. My trust fund is peanuts in comparison, but it's enough for me and you. I can't buy you a mansion—"

"I don't want a mansion. I just want you to be happy, Peter." My brains are starting to work again and I remember something Sean said. "Why did Sean think that I wanted something?"

"Sean always thinks everyone wants something. Just be glad he isn't riding with us. Come on. Let's get out of here. I'll grab you breakfast and we can head up to my mom's place and see what Jon did. It's not far from here. We can get to your parents' house by dinner." He pauses and shakes his head. "Maybe we should ditch Sean and head to your house now."

Peter is trying so hard to take care of me, and I adore him for it. For some reason the stuff with Sean feels like it's all or nothing. Peter wants his brother's help when I go home, and I want Dean to stay away from me. There has to be a reason why Sean is taking a detour to their mom's house, but I have no idea what it is. Either way, Peter needs Sean. "No, it's all right and we'd have to stop and grab lunch anyway. If you want to see Jon, we can go. Honestly, I'm not looking forward to what's waiting for me at home. Adding a few extra hours to the trip might help me deal with it a little bit better."

Peter presses his forehead to mine. "I'll help you through whatever lies ahead."


The estate is breathtaking with manicured grounds spreading in every direction. An old stone mansion sits in the center of the property and sprawls as long as a city block. The house is nestled between the trees, and we have to take a long winding driveway to reach the front doors. I suppose it's so the house can't be seen from the road. I would have driven past it if Peter didn't tell me where to turn. I'm familiar with this part of Long Island, but I had no idea there were houses like this out here. I thought that most of the mansions were modern and on the south shore. Apparently there are rich people who prefer the other side of the island with the rocks and hills. The turkey notices that we stopped and cranes his neck to look out the window.

"What are we going to do with him?" I jab my thumb at the vulture in the backseat as I cut the engine.

Peter seems nervous, but he covers his apprehension quickly and walks around to open my door. We're in a circle drive in front of enormous wooden doors that form an arch at the top. It looks like a castle.

Okay, I'm just going to admit it. I had no idea this was Peter's life. He seems normal, and the people who live here can't possibly be average. Everything about the exterior of this house is larger than life. It makes me think of the inhabitants as royalty, not savvy businesspeople.

I glance at Peter. I have no idea how his family made money or where it came from. There are some people who were born with generations of wealth beneath them. That must be Peter's situation because I don't recall hearing anything specific. He's old money and he's in my crappy little car with a bird of prey in the backseat.

Nerves course through my body so fast that I can barely hold myself still. It's the Chihuahua effect. Those high-strung little dogs are always quivering. Peter offers his hand and pulls me out of the car. He leaves the door open, and the turkey hops out of the backseat and wanders off.

Peter grins at the bird. "Enjoy yourself," he says to the animal. A man appears out of nowhere and slips into my car. Peter left the keys in the ignition.

"Hey! What are you—" My voice is too high and panicky. The guy slams the door shut and starts to drive away. I try to lunge away from Peter, but he holds me back.

"Sidney, he works here. He's taking your car to the garages. You're not in the 'hood. Calm down." Peter has that knowing smirk on his face, like he realizes that I had every intention of running after my car. I nod and rub my hands over my arms.

"Sorry, I had no idea. I had no idea about any of this. What is your mother going to say about you and me? Should we even be here?"

Peter leans in and kisses the tip of my nose. "She'll think you're amazing, because you are. It's what you think of them that worries me." Before Peter can elaborate, a male voice hollers at him.

"Peter! Is that you? Holy shit!" The man is moving toward us from the side lawn. His walk turns into a sprint and then a full run. As he gets closer, I do a double take. Dark hair, bright blue eyes, and that same build as Peter and Sean. Unlike Sean or Peter, this guy is all smiles—full wattage with nothing held back. This man looks like he could easily run down the beach and never break a sweat. Every bit of him is toned, and running like that doesn't faze him at all. I expect him to stop when he's within a foot of us, but he doesn't. Peter gets steam plowed and pulled into a man hug. There's a lot of back slapping and a slew of questions.

"Where have you been? Are you all right? What are you doing here?" The guy steps back and looks Peter over. Joy is painted across his face, and he can't stop beaming. Peter has that half smirk he wears when he's excited and nervous. "Damn, it's good to see you, again!"

"You, too, Jonathan. You've grown up. I mean, look at you."

Jonathan grins, revealing a dimple that matches Peter's perfectly. His silky chestnut hair is a bit longer than Peter's and curls the slightest amount at the ends, giving him that sexy bedhead supermodels would kill for. The thing that's the most striking about him isn't the awesome hair, the chiseled features, or his radiant blue gaze—it's that smile. It's almost mocking and makes me want to talk to him more to find out what's caused that sexy smirk to appear on his beautiful face.

After a moment, Jonathan looks over at me. He brushes his hair out of his eyes and really sees me for the first time. He glances between Peter and me, quickly putting things together. "Where are my manners? Jonathan Ferro. I'm this guy's younger brother." He extends his hand, so I do the same, anticipating a firm shake, but Jonathan takes my palm and lifts it to his lips, and kisses the back of my hand. As I suck in a breath, my body goes rigid.

As I stand there in shock, thinking that rich people are weird, Peter laughs and slaps his brother away. "Cut it out, Jon! You're going to freak her out."

Jon grins at me, looking up from under dark lashes, and blushes slightly. "I'm just messing with you. So, Pete, who is this beautiful woman?" He tucks his hands under his arms after folding them against his chest. I glance between the two. They look so much alike, but the eyes are different. Although they are the same color, Jon's don't have that haunted look that Peter and Sean carry around.