Wade questioned her with his eyes.
“It’s our weekend to get together, and I was trying to avoid it. I love my friends, but I just needed some time alone. You know?”
He nodded as he chewed. “Do I ever.”
“I booked my flight to Miami hoping this tropical depression would ground flights.”
“Did it work?”
The bartender dropped off their round of drinks.
“I’m not sure. I planned on checking flights after I eat. Which I wanted to do hours ago, but the baby in the next room kept me up until I couldn’t keep my eyes open even if a bomb were going off.”
“That doesn’t sound good.”
“Yeah, I booked a quiet room on the top floor, but someone took the whole penthouse floor as their own.”
Wade stopped smiling.
“What?” she asked.
He looked away. “Nothing . . . So, what do you plan to do now?”
“Find a flight tomorrow . . . or maybe sleep in until it’s too late.”
“You really don’t want to see your friends.”
She thought about how their conversation would revolve around Fedor’s death the previous year, and how she should be seeking some testosterone in her life. Avery would remind her that she was too young to be alone, Lori would analyze her as if she were a psychologist instead of an attorney, and Shannon would passively agree to everything the others said until she found Trina alone. Then she’d talk sense and make Trina look a little too hard inside herself. Something she didn’t want to do. Not now, in any event.
She shook out of her thoughts to blue eyes peering close.
“Do you realize how much emotion you show on your face?” Wade asked, jaw slack.
Trina lifted her chin. “Guess I’ll have to work on that.”
They closed the bar and took their last round to the hotel lobby.
Wade had to admit he was a bit more than tipsy, and Trina wasn’t exactly sober. She’d tucked her feet under her on the lobby sofa as she described Venice in a way that made him want to visit.
“There isn’t one car?” he asked.
“No place for them. You only get around on foot or boat. Which is probably best to help counter the pasta you consume while you’re there.”
“So why did you pick Venice?”
Her eyes drifted away, something Wade had noticed happened a lot when she was lost in thought. A hint of sorrow quickly came and went, almost as if she caught herself. The smile she flashed felt forced. “I wanted isolation so I could study.”
She rattled off something that went completely over his head.
Her dark brown eyes glistened with her smile. “I’m learning Italian.”
Wade blew out a breath. “Oh, thank God. I thought maybe that last beer was one too many.”
“I like languages.”
“As in many?”
He was happy to speak English. “I’m impressed.”
“Don’t be. Most Europeans are fluent in a minimum of two languages.”
“Are you from Europe?”
“No. Born and raised in Southern California. My grandparents on my mother’s side are from Mexico. Spanish was always spoken in our home.”
“So you speak Spanish as well?” He squirmed in his chair.
“Now I’m feelin’ a bit inferior.”
“Language is my hidden talent,” she said.
“So how did you end up in Texas?”
Her gaze met his before she wrinkled her nose and gave a quick shake of her head. “It’s a long story.”
“Which is your way of saying Don’t pry.”
She stretched out her arms. “It’s my way of saying that we’ve had a pleasant conversation, and bringing up my recent move will change all that. I’d just as soon keep this light.”
Wade wasn’t expecting her reply. “Now you’ve piqued my interest.”
“Another time,” she said.
He offered a smile that usually had women crawling all over him. “Am I going to have that chance?”
“Chance for what?”
Her eyes bored into him as if he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. “I told you, I’m not interested.”
He lifted one eyebrow, flashed a dimple. “What if I told you I was rich?”
She burst out in laughter.
His smile fell.
“Sorry . . .” She appeared to pull in her mirth. “You’re gonna have to do better than money.”
“Good lord, woman.”
He scratched his head. “I’m famous.”
She bit her lip. “That explains the arrogance.”
Wade placed a hand on his wounded chest. “I am not.”
Trina tossed her head back, and her deep laugh filled the empty lobby. “My name is Wade Thomas, you don’t know who I am?” Her mimicry of him was off by several octaves.
Her laughter tickled his gut.
“I can teach you the two-step.”
She pinched her lips together, trying to contain herself.
His pride was starting to dim.
“I’m not bad looking.”
She looked him up and down . . . twice. “I’ll give you that.”
He lifted both hands in the air. “Finally.”
For the span of a full minute, she stared. Her smile slowly started to fall, and he knew she was talking herself out of dating him.
“Tell you what. I’m flying home tomorrow. Private charter, because I’m rich, famous, and arrogant.” He groaned on that last word.
Now they were getting somewhere.
“I can give you a lift home.”
Trina blew out a breath. “I’m avoiding going home,” she reminded him.
“I was thinking I needed a quick stop in Nassau . . . where the plane might not be able to leave right away. That tropical depressed storm and all.”
She pointed a finger in his direction. “I like the way you think.”
“You’re still in Florida,” Avery yelled into the phone.
The gray clouds hovering over the airport didn’t stop Trina from wearing large-framed sunglasses that hid the dark circles under her eyes. She and Wade had stayed up past four in the morning and were walking to his chartered jet at just after noon.
“I’m getting on a plane now,” Trina told her.
“Uh-huh . . .”
“You don’t believe me?”
Avery was in tune like that.
“There is a catch.”
“No catch.” Trina glanced up at Wade, who was walking beside her toward the twin-engine Gulfstream. “Here,” Trina said before lifting her cell phone in his direction. “Tell my friend I’m getting on a plane.”
Amused, Wade reached for the phone. Without waiting for Avery to speak he said, “Trina is indeed getting on a plane.” He paused. “I’ll let Trina tell you that. Rest assured, I’ll keep her safe and get her home just as soon as I possibly can.”
Wade handed her phone back. Before Trina could place it to her ear, she heard Avery’s voice.
“Who are you?”
“That was Wade.” They approached the steps of the jet. “Listen, I have to go. We have a tiny stop in Nassau, something about picking up a straggler. But I can’t be picky, it isn’t my charter.”
“I knew there was a catch.”
“Not a catch, just a quick stop. Only a few miles away from Miami. Didn’t want you to be shocked when you saw my radar headed east.”
“I swear, Trina . . . if you don’t get here, I’m going to track you down.”
“I’m on my way. Don’t worry.”
At the foot of the steps, a flight attendant greeted them. “Hello, Mr. Thomas.”
“Good afternoon . . .” Wade spoke with the attendant while Trina ended her call.
“I’ll be there, Avery. I admit I wasn’t in the mood to face the anniversary . . .” She glanced over her shoulder, saw Wade duck inside the plane. “But I’m better now.”
“I’m worried about you.” Avery put her anger aside for a minute.
“I know. I’m sorry for that. It’s been a strange week.”
“Trina?” Wade called her from the plane. “We need to get in the air before the storm hits.”
“Right . . .”
“Storm?” she heard Avery ask.
“Just a small one. But I gotta go. I’ll text when we leave Nassau.”
“Text on the plane, I wanna know who the we is.”
“My phone isn’t acting right since I dropped it.” Which wasn’t a lie.
“Gotta go. Wade is waving at me.”
“Thomas. Love you.” Trina hung up.
She climbed the few steps and grinned.
“Did she buy it?”
He moved aside so she could walk in. It wasn’t the largest private jet she’d been on, but it wasn’t the smallest either. The interior was made of white leather and sleek lines and would comfortably seat six people. It wasn’t large enough for a bedroom, but all the seats reclined enough for a person to sleep.