Queen’s Knight (Invitation to Eden)
to New York with me.”
    Dani’s hand stilled, pain squeezing around her heart.
    Evan continued, not sensing her inner turmoil. “You can stay until you’re ready to leave, or I can help pay for the rest of the funding. It’s down to just a couple thousand, right?”
    Annoyance bubbled up at his words. “I can take care of myself, thank you,” she said coldly, rolling out of bed and reaching for a robe.
    “I didn’t mean it like that,” Evan called after her, but she kept walking, sitting down at the table next to the window. The serenity this view usually gave eluded her, especially when Evan followed and sat next to her. “It would only be temporary...”
    “No,” she said, shaking her head. The idea of being with this man, of staying with him...god, how could she explain to him how tempting that was? To give the traveling up and be with him, even if only for a while. When she looked at his beautiful face, she could see a future there, one that might make her happy for a while but would change all her plans.
    But Dani couldn’t tell him that; it would give him hope for something she just couldn’t allow. She wasn’t ready to stop, not yet, no matter how much she might be in... Oh, no.
    God, was she really going to even consider the L-word?
    “I don’t understand what the difference is between what I’m offering and what you have here,” he continued, frustration breaking through in his voice too. He reached for her hand and Dani snatched it away, too confused suddenly by her own emotions. Immediately she regretted her reaction when she saw the dismay and hurt warring on his face.
    “This isn’t going to work,” she whispered, then jumped as his hand smacked down on the table in front of her.
    “Like hell it won’t!”
    Dani stared miserably at Evan’s angry face. She saw the same desperation in his eyes that she felt, but how could she tell him the truth? That she desperately wanted to go with him, to see his city, to spend every morning waking up beside him. They’d been with each other for less than a week, and already she was dreaming of giving up her life for him.
    How could she tell him how much that temptation scared her?
    *
    “W ell then,” she muttered, “why don’t you quit, give it all up, and come riding with me.”
    Evan stopped and gave her a frustrated look, which she returned. See how it feels, she thought silently as they stared down one another. Not so nice when the shoe’s on the other foot, is it?
    Raking a hand through his hair, Evan tried again. “Look, I’m not asking you to stay with me, I just...”
    I’m not asking you to stay. That phrase hurt more than she thought, and when she stepped away from him she knew Evan realized his mistake. “You don’t even know what you want,” she said dully. “All you’ve mentioned is what your father wants, what your family had you working towards. What do you want to do with your life?”
    It was his turn to flinch away, and Dani’s heart sank as she saw anger rise up on his face. God, she wanted to apologize, make him happy again, but what she’d said was the truth. He was leaving the island in the morning, going back to his life, and she... Dani wasn’t sure what she was going to do, but she had a plan and would stick with it.
    That realization hurt.
    “Fine,” he muttered, looking like he wanted to say more. Dani stiffened, readying herself for the angry onslaught of words, but Evan’s jaw clenched as if he was keeping them inside. “Fine,” he spat again, and without another word finished dressing and left the bedroom.
    Dani fell back on the bed, covering her eyes as if that would keep the tears inside, as she heard him rustling in the small living room. When the front door slammed, however, her breath hitched, and wetness pricked the edges of her eyes.
    I’m not going to cry, I’m not.
    He’d looked so hurt at her comments, she wanted to run after him and apologize, ask him to spend his last few hours with her.

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