“No, we can’t.” I laugh, knowing he’s right. “Also, some of Will’s teammates weigh a good three hundred pounds. Each.”
“I’m gonna add more support,” he says as his face pales, making me laugh again.
“It’ll be great. Thanks, Scott. I’ll see you in the morning.”
Scott waves and moves over to speak with his crew, and I turn toward the house, smiling when I see Dominic.
“How was the first day?” he asks as he approaches, coming from the way I’m headed.
“Busy, but productive.” I pinch my neck in my palm and stretch my head from side to side. I’m exhausted, and I’m secretly relieved that he talked me into staying here. Driving all the way home this tired probably isn’t the safest thing to do.
“Are you finished?”
“Yes.” I grin and take a deep breath. I love the way it smells here. “How was your day?”
“Busy as well.” He reaches over and brushes his finger down my neck, making me shiver.
Jesus, all he has to do is touch me with one finger and I want to jump him.
“What did you do?” I ask, trying to keep my voice steady.
“Do you ever wear your hair down?” he asks, rather than answering my question.
“Not on work days,” I reply with a frown.
“Because it’s more professional and easier to wear it up.”
He offers me a mischievous half smile and leans in like he’s going to tell me a secret. “I can’t wait to mess it up.”
My jaw drops, and before I can respond, he smirks and takes my hand in his, gesturing for me to walk with him.
“I’d like for you to have dinner with me on the patio tonight.”
“I don’t expect you to eat with me every night, Dom.”
“I think I just asked you to join me.”
No thanks, Dom. I’ll just head up to my room now. I glance up to find his jaw ticking and his lips pressed in a line, as if he’s bracing himself for another rejection. But if I’m being honest, I am dying to eat on that patio. The sun is going to set soon, and the view is going to be awesome.
I’m here for a whole week. I might as well take advantage of it.
“I’d like that.”
His jaw and lips loosen, and he glances down at me with a smile. “Excellent.”
“So, what did you do today?” I ask again, as he holds a chair out for me at the table on the patio.
“I arranged for Cuppa di Vita wines to be available in a new liquor store chain coming to Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, listened to my cousin, Gianna, complain for about an hour about her brother, Marco, about what, I’m not entirely sure, because I tuned her out. Then Jules called and wanted to know if I was being nice to you,” he cocks a brow at me as he sits across from me and begins to uncork a bottle of wine. His hands look amazing, and he works with a quick efficiency, having the bottle open in seconds.
“What did you tell her?” I ask with a laugh.
“That I’d hardly seen you since you arrived this morning.”
“I got the same phone call.” He passes me a glass of the wine, and I smell it with appreciation. “Mm, smells good.”
“From Jules or my cousin Gianna?” Dom winks at me as I chuckle.
“Jules. But she wanted to know if I was being nice to you.”
“What did you tell her?”
“That you’re a big boy and can take care of yourself.”
“I bet she didn’t like that answer.”
“I think she might have threatened to come out here tomorrow to check on us, but I pretended that I was being called by a crew member and hung up on her.” I wink at him and sip my wine.
“My family is…tenacious.” Dominic begins uncovering silver-domed plates, and my stomach growls loudly. “Hungry?”
“Oh, God, yes. I just realized I haven’t had anything since this morning.”
“Well, there’s plenty.” He scoops large helpings of pasta and red sauce onto plates and passes me one. “This is my mama’s recipe.”
“You cooked this?”
“It’s not hard.” He shrugs and offers me bread, watching me with humor-filled blue eyes. His hair is a bit messy today, as if he ran his fingers through it over and over again. I take a bite of the pasta and lean back in my chair, eyes closed, and savor the flavors and seasonings hitting my tongue.
“Damn, that’s good.”
I hear Dom inhale sharply and open my eyes to find him watching me with his heated gaze.
“I think I love watching you eat,” he murmurs.
“I am good at it,” I reply with a laugh, and sip my wine. “This wine is excellent with the sauce.”
“I know.” His smile is smug.
“So, your family was a pain in the ass today,” I say, encouraging him to keep talking. I love the sound of his voice.
He stops twirling pasta on his fork and stares at me with a frown. “No. My family is never a pain in the ass. They can be challenging, frustrating even, but never a pain in my ass.” He sets his fork down and takes a sip of his wine. “My family is the best part of my life.”
“Better than the vineyard?”
“Better than anything.”
“That must be nice,” I murmur, and take a bite of pasta to give my hands something to do. I suddenly feel self-conscious and jealous, and that’s just ridiculous. Not everyone has a tight family.
“Tell me about your family.”
“Oh, trust me, you don’t want that story.”
“I do trust you, and I do want that story.”
I take a deep breath and another sip of wine. This man is good with words.
“We’re not close.”
I shrug and keep my gaze on my dinner. “There wasn’t a specific reason, we just never were terribly close. I don’t speak to them now. Why did you wait so long to find Steven?” I ask, and immediately want to call the words back. “I’m sorry. You don’t have to answer that.”
“I don’t mind.” He uses his bread to soak up any remaining sauce on his plate, pops it in his mouth, and sits back in his chair. He pushes his fingers through his hair, while he gives my question some thought.
Steven Montgomery is the patriarch of the Montgomery family, and it came to light only about a year ago that Dominic was the son that Steven never knew about.
“When my mother was alive, it felt like a betrayal to her to want to find him,” he confesses, and swirls the wine in his glass absentmindedly. “She gave me a great life, Alecia. She was so young.”