Chapter Twenty-nine

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"I have an idea for how to win her back," Luca declared, smacking the bar with his hand.

Nick lifted his pint to take a sip.

His manager, Jon, nudged him. "Listen to Fiorelli. Italians know women."

"Yes, but I will only tell him if he agrees to race in Monte Carlo."

"Fair enough." Jon nudged him again. "Say you're going to race, Nick."

"I'm giving up racing."

"If this crazy way is how you've been speaking to her, no wonder she left you." Luca pointed a finger at him. "Women want a real man who drives fast and hard, not one who sits in an empty house."

"My house is empty because I've been too busy driving fast. Rosalind left me because I was dishonest."

"Forget women." Jon lifted a finger to Niamh, silently asking for another beer. "They take fifty percent. Not even my take is that big."

He faced his manager. "I want to talk to you about that."

"I knew you were going to go there." Jon winced, tossing another bill on the bar top as Niamh set a glass in front of him. "Fine, I'll cut my percentage. What do you want? Seven percent? Five percent? I'll throw my firstborn in, too. The kid's giving me ulcers."

"I want to go into business with you." Saying it made some of the weight that had been on his shoulders ease. "I'm going to manage endorsements."

"What? You're joking." Jon turned and studied him. "You aren't joking. That's your I'm-taking-no-prisoners look."

"I'm being very serious. You're an excellent manager, Jon, but we both know that I'm better negotiating the endorsements than you are."

"I need to think about this."

"Think about it this way"-Nick picked up his beer and drank some, trying to project the detachment he wasn't feeling-"I can go into business with you, or start a rival shop."

"After all these years? You wound me, Long." Jon put a hand over his heart. "You're leaving me no choice, you know. I wouldn't want you to be guilt-ridden over this."

Nick grinned wryly, clapping him on the back. "You're a true friend."

"Cheers to that." His new partner raised his glass in a toast.

Luca sighed dramatically. "I am in mourning. Now I'll never be able to say I beat you at Monte Carlo."

"I hope you'll be able to go on," Nick replied unsympathetically.

"But I will show you what a good friend I am and help you with your lady Rosalind," his friend announced.

It was a testament to his desperation that he was willing to listen to the womanizing Italian. "How are you going to do that?"

"We will kidnap her."

He stared at Luca for a full minute before he decided the man was being serious. "We aren't kidnapping her."

The Italian nodded determinedly. "It is the way. All women like to be swept away."

"He's right," Jon interjected.

"Rosalind wouldn't like that."

"Then what would she like, Nico?"

His balls, on a platter. But more than that, she'd want to know that their time together wasn't a lie. He had to show her that she knew him, the same way he knew her. "I think I know just the thing."

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