Though taking chances was equivalent to taking risks. And risking the heart was always a little bit terrifying. But she would always be a romantic. It’s what had inspired her to write Passport to Love.
Her editor at Modern Coquette had been thrilled with the idea of an article that not only retold the story from the old diary-of the lovers who had met while backpacking Spain-but also followed Chloe’s personal accounts of being a young American woman living and working in a foreign country.
And now she’d found a man who made her heart race and her body buzz with excitement, and she’d fled from him like a terrified virgin. Though that wasn’t far off the mark, with her experience limited to a man she’d dated briefly back in college. But he’d certainly never made her feel like this. No man had made her feel the way Andrés had last night.
Slipping into the hotel, Chloe prayed no one would notice her tardiness when she clocked in. But luck was definitely not on her side. The hotel manager was passing through the employee hall and noticed Chloe’s rush.
Estella Martinez stepped in front of her path and swept her gaze over her. The woman’s expression clearly indicated she found Chloe’s appearance lacking.
“Did you have a late night, Señorita Wilkinson?” Her voice dripped ice.
“I’m sorry,” Chloe said with a nervous smile, and smoothed a hand over her white blouse. “There was an incident on the beach last night—”
“I don’t want, nor need your excuses, Señorita Wilkinson. Consider this a warning.” The older woman gave her another glance, and then continued down the hall.
Chloe closed her eyes and groaned. For some reason the woman had taken a dislike to her from the first day she’d started working at Diablo’s Paraíso. And now she’d received her first warning. Just great. True, she would only be here for a little while longer, but it rankled nonetheless. For the most part, she’d always been a rule-follower.
As she continued down the hall, her thoughts slipped back to Andrés. Since he seemed to be a guest at the hotel, would she see him today? The idea sent a rush of both apprehension and heat through her.
She paused to look in the mirror in the employee lounge and winced at her tired appearance. The first break she got on her shift, she’d have to work some magic with the makeup. Turning, she left the lounge to head to the restaurant.
After spending most of the day in meetings and on phone calls, Andrés looked forward to an evening of relaxation. He took the lift up to the penthouse and then moved outside, onto the balcony to look over the view. He breathed in the warm breeze rolling off the Mediterranean and let his gaze wander over the crowded resort below.
Spain was his home, but soon his business here would be concluded and he’d be on his private plane heading to Paris, for as long as business would keep him. Travel was a necessity he didn’t mind. There was no family that called his heart to return home. But then, he preferred his life this way. String-free, with no emotional attachments.
His mobile rang and Andrés plucked it from the inside pocket of his suit. Very few people had this number, and his suspicion that it was Pablo was confirmed when he glanced at the caller ID. “Have you found her?” he asked calmly.
“Sí, Señor. Just moments ago.”
He had expected nothing less, and yet Andrés straightened from the railing, his grip tightening around the phone.
His mind flickered over the image of Chloe last night. In his arms, her body trembling while he’d tasted her flesh and pleasured her. Desire slid through him, hot and potent. Quickening his blood.
“Her name is Chloe Wilkinson. She is a twenty-four-year-old from Seattle,” Pablo said and then hesitated. “She is in Spain on a visa and has spent the summer working as a waitress at your resort.”
Andrés closed his eyes and unleashed another swift curse beneath his breath. She was an employee of the resort. This was certainly unexpected. It complicated things, even. But Cristos, how he wanted her.
Did she know who he was? He thought back on her actions, her hesitancy to get involved. It was a possibility. Perhaps she feared getting involved with someone who was responsible for her paycheck. A wise woman.
“How would you like me to proceed, Señor?” Pablo asked.
After a moment he murmured, “I will have food sent up shortly.”
“¿Señor?” Confusion entered Pablo’s tone.
“If you could please see to it that Miss Wilkinson is the one to deliver it.”
“Ah, sí, of course. I will handle the details at once.”
“Wait,” Andrés’s voice sharpened. He stroked his thumb down his jaw, his mind whirling. “No contract this time.”
There was a moment’s silence. “But—”
“I said no contract. I will handle the details.”
“Sí. As you wish,” Pablo agreed, once again acquiescent. “I will ensure Miss Wilkinson delivers your order.”
“Gracias, Pablo.” Andrés disconnected the call and walked back inside the penthouse to locate the menu.
Though the food choice mattered little. It was simply the catalyst to bring Chloe to him. Just the thought of having her in his presence sent a rush of adrenaline through him.
He placed the order quickly and then went to shower.
Chloe glanced at the clock. Wonderful, only a half hour left. Could this have been a more awful day? Flirting with the guests had been even more difficult today after the awful assault last night, and she’d known bringing it up to Señora Martinez would get her nowhere.
Twice today she’d had to attempt to be flirtatious while pushing away a guest’s wandering hand. Some days she was tempted to tell the manager of the resort to shove it.
She thought about the relaxing night ahead and smiled. Maybe she could convince her roommate to go out for tapas.
After running payments for the last of her tables, Chloe left the restaurant and headed downstairs to clock out.
Chloe winced, her shoulders hunching at the sound of her boss’s voice. But she turned around with a bright smile pasted on her face. “Yes, Señora Martinez?”
“I need you to deliver an order to the penthouse at once,” the resort manager instructed in a clipped voice. Her arms were folded across her chest, her lips tight in a disapproving smile.
“All right.” Chloe hid a frown, because delivering orders to the penthouse was something she’d never done. But perhaps they were short staffed?
The penthouse was one of the places in the resort she hadn’t yet had the pleasure of viewing. And she had to admit the idea of sneaking a peek was intriguing.
“The order is in the kitchen. And please do remember just who Señor Montero is.” Irritation flickered in Señora Martinez’s eyes, but then she was turning away, striding down the hall once more.
Who Señor Montero was? As if she had any clue? Though anyone staying in the penthouse was obviously an important guest. Chloe scowled and went to the kitchen to pick up the order; a few minutes later she was in the lift, rising to the thirtieth floor of the resort.
Curiosity burned in her gut as she strode down the hall to the thick wooden door of the suite.
After a brisk knock, she heard a distant, “Entre.”
She used her pass card to open the door and then moved inside the room. There was nobody about and her breath locked; she looked around the interior.
“Oh, wow,” she whispered and set the tray of food on the dining table near the windows. “Talk about luxurious.”
The floors were hardwood, with plush couches sprawled throughout the room and a massive flat-screen television set up nearby. There was also an expensive-looking kitchen unit and a fully stocked wet bar.
Off to the east she spotted another set of heavy double doors that lay open, which likely led to one of the bedrooms. From there she could hear the water running in what must have been the bathroom.
Chloe turned away and glanced at the floor-to-ceiling windows on the far side of the room. The room was well-lit from the natural lighting, and beyond the glass she could see the blue sprawl of the Mediterranean Ocean. A door to the patio lay open, letting in a gentle breeze of warm coastal air.
She cast another glance at the bedroom and then again at the windows, dying to take in the view out on the balcony. The water was still running, and the guest didn’t seem to be in any hurry to come out.
Oh, she just had to sneak a peek. Chloe bit her lip and then tiptoed quickly across the floor and stepped out onto the balcony. She gasped at the sight below her, sucking in the warm Mediterranean air. Wow, what a view. Nothing but the endless blue sea and white sand. Absolutely gorgeous, it was a paradise not many could experience. Especially from the penthouse of a luxury hotel.