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The One For Me (Danver #8)(9)

By:Sydney Landon

The only thing he couldn’t figure out was why he wasn’t running the other way. He’d been so damn restless and edgy lately. Nothing seemed to excite or appeal to him anymore. He blamed it on stress, but his reaction to Crystal had him wondering if maybe it wasn’t more. Spending time with someone who appeared so different from most of the women he met had been surprisingly appealing.

Always in the past if he was in bed with a woman, then there was sex involved. But now, he found himself content to hold the beauty who had literally fallen into his arms—just like an angel.

Chapter Three

The next morning, Crystal settled in the backseat of the car next to Mark. She vaguely remembered him getting in bed with her the night before, but he’d been gone when she woke at seven. She’d stumbled into the bathroom for a quick shower. When she’d walked back into the bedroom, she had been surprised to find a new dress with tags and matching shoes lying on the bed. A quick check showed both items were the correct size. The dress was a pale lilac color in a soft, whispery material. Crystal gasped in shock when she turned the tag over and saw that it was almost fifteen hundred dollars and the strappy sandals were well over a thousand. There was no way she could afford to pay Mark back all at once. She finally decided to leave the tags on the dress and tuck them out of sight. Hopefully, he’d be able to return it if she was careful with it today. The store would never take the shoes back, though, and God, she loved them. Surely, he’d be okay with her paying him in a couple of installments.

“You look beautiful.” His words jarred her back to the present. His eyes were intense as he stared at her appreciatively.

“I—thank you,” she stumbled over her words, sounding like an inexperienced teenager. “You didn’t have to buy me clothes. You could have dropped me at home to change. I’ll pay you back. I mean—not right away, but I left the tag on the dress so you can return it. And I’ll reimburse you for the shoes as soon as I can.”

“Angel, stop,” Mark said quietly, placing a hand on her leg where the dress had ridden up. “Seeing you looking so exquisite this morning is more payback than I need. The outfit is yours. I don’t want to be reimbursed.”

“Bu-but Mark, do you know how much this whole thing cost you?” Crystal protested.

“Don’t worry, honey. He can afford it,” called a voice from the front of the car. “He wanted you in something that would bring out the color of your eyes and shoes that would accentuate your long legs. I think I followed directions pretty good, right, boss?”

Crystal gasped while Mark chuckled. “I couldn’t have done better myself.” The hand on her leg stroked her tender skin reassuringly as he added, “Angel, you probably don’t remember him, but Denny is my assistant, my driver, and now your personal shopper. He’s also my cousin.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Angel—er, I mean Crystal.” The man in the front seat shot her a sideways grin before returning his full attention to the road. “Thanks to you, I got a new suit, so I’m grateful. It was definitely an upgrade.”

“Oh no,” she groaned. “I didn’t throw up on you too, did I?”

“Nah.” Denny waved one hand. “But I had to hold you while Mark got in the car—which was kinda messy, and then you puked all in the back floorboard. Don’t feel too bad about that one, because I had someone else clean it. I have a weak stomach.”

Crystal dropped her head forward in embarrassment. “I’m really sorry I put you both through so much. You should have ignored my protests and dropped me at the nearest hospital. Thank you so much for taking care of me.”

Mark raised his hand from her leg and pulled her into his arms. Somehow, it felt as if he’d done that a hundred times before with her. He was still basically a stranger, but she’d never been so comfortable with anyone so fast, even her ex-husband. “You were no problem, Angel. Hell, you were pretty funny a few times—between the whole projectile-vomiting thing you had going on.”

Crystal heard Denny snicker from the front, causing her to smile ruefully. She leaned her head against his chest and enjoyed the feeling of a man holding her. No one would ever believe that she was in Mark DeSanto’s arms while being driven to work. Stuff like this just didn’t happen to her. The embarrassing-herself part wasn’t that big of a surprise—even though she’d never tossed her cookies on a man before. She was certainly socially awkward enough to make a fool of herself on a regular basis—and she did. “Well, you’re both my heroes,” she told them—and she meant every word of it. “I bet you do this sort of thing all the time.”