To her right, she spotted a few employees from Oldbank—the PR company Brock and Smith had chosen over Silverholt—and embarrassment washed through her. She experienced the weight of all their judgmental stares on her as if they could read into her soul and knew she’d joined the Castle Dolce Vita.
/> She looked at the marble floor, sensing every pair of eyes on her. When she arrived at the bar, she caught sight of men and women all watching her, but she quickly put up mental blinders and stared at the bartender. “Chardonnay, please.” She didn’t look away from the young barkeep as he fetched her drink. Yet, a warm arm brushed against hers, and after another obvious nudge, Kyra begrudgingly glanced sideways.
A woman—in her early seventies, Kyra thought—dressed in a peacock-blue dress scanned Kyra from head-to-toe. “My dear, you have every set of eyes on you. Tell me, I must know, which one are you dating?”
Kyra bristled at the question. “Dating?”
The woman smiled, her pale blue eyes twinkling. “Which one of the MDR men are you dating? I saw you talking to them and was curious who has captured the heart of such a beautiful young lady.”
Kyra’s mind stuttered under the direct assault of such a blatant question. In all her preparations for tonight, she hadn’t considered having to answer that question. Perhaps she’d been in a whirlwind with Brock and Smith, which seemed like one big fantasy where people wouldn’t be asking about their affiliation.
A fantasy where a ménage relationship was perfectly normal and accepted. Where no one would judge what they were doing. Kyra realized she had no idea how to answer. Besides, she wasn’t dating them. She was having the best sex of her life with them.
After a quick second, she said the only thing she thought appropriate. “I’m actually not dating either of them. We’re close friends.”
The woman laughed. In a much quieter voice, she said, “I might be old, but I’m not blind. Those two men are in love with you.”
No, the woman had it wrong. In fact, they weren’t sharing an emotional relationship. Kyra hadn’t even invited them out with her best friends. Of course, she did have dinner dates with Brock and Smith and had seen a couple of movies with them. Her mind raced, making her realize that for the past two weekends she’d never left their sides. Sure, they’d had to work during that time. Other than that, they’d been inseparable.
Her heart hammered, but she ignored the swell of discomfort. “Like I said, we’re close, just not in the way you’re thinking.”
The woman snorted. “I’ve been married five times. I know what love looks like, m’dear. Both of those men are lovesick.” The woman winked, nudging Kyra’s arm. “And I saw it in your eyes too.”
Another bartender brought the woman her wine, and she tipped her glass at Kyra. “Best you choose quickly, dear. They have a business to run, and if you leave it much longer, you’ll have them sparring over you.”
Without another word or piece of unwanted advice, the woman strode off. Kyra scanned the room, and her throat tightened. If people knew she wasn’t only dating one of them, but she’d been sharing a bed with both of them, and at the same time, they’d be horrified.
Though what made the room spin around Kyra was the realization the woman hadn’t been wrong. Kyra couldn’t deny she cared about Brock and Smith, and she could only blame herself for that. She knew getting involved with them was dangerous for her after she’d talked to Kole and Bella, and she’d known she could become attached.
She’d allowed it to happen anyway.
The bartender returned with her wine, and Kyra didn’t even look at him. She downed the drink in a few big gulps. When she lowered the wineglass to the bar and had the strength to glance up, the barkeep gave her a quizzical look.
Did he know what she’d been doing?
Sweat coated her skin, and the air in the room seemed thick. The event no longer mattered. She had to get out of there…and fast.
Leaving everyone behind and hearing nothing but her racing heartbeat, she rushed to leave the ballroom. She hurried down the hallway and headed out to the foyer. When she reached the doorway, she heard someone call her name, but she didn’t stop.
Kyra passed the greeter at the door, and he wished her a good night. Again, she heard someone yell her name behind her. That’s when she realized both Smith and Brock called out to her. She couldn’t stop. She needed air. She needed to breathe. Had she fallen for two men at the same time? And if so, could they somehow make this work between them?
She’d been so wrapped up in the fantasy she had longed to live and had been living for the past month, but how could this relationship work? She had allowed her emotions to entwine with what was meant to be casual sex.
What did that make her look like?
A tease, leading two men on, she thought.