“I need to use your phone. I’m ready to go.”

“You’ll have a ride home arranged. Just not by calling your parents.” He speaks as if it’s already decided, as if he’s handled the situation on his own.

“I’m not going anywhere with you . . .”

“Never said you were. You’ll have your ride—my driver will ensure you make it safe and sound to your doorstep. Your parents will never have to know you broke their rule,” he explains, moving from the wall. He edges closer to the banister, his gaze falling on the pool area below. “If you go find your friend, he can take the both of you.”

“Or we can walk. Ashley and I will walk.”

The thought of accepting yet another favor of his—a ride to my house, no less—leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I’ve already pushed my luck tonight coming out with Ashley in the first place. If I let Salvatore’s personal chauffeur drive me home, it makes things that much riskier. What if Mom and Dad figure out the truth?

Since he says nothing, I turn away to go. I’m done wasting time debating when it’s no one’s decision but my own.

Salvatore grabs my elbow and holds me back. A fluttery shiver surfs through me as his fingers grip my arm and he reels me in closer.

Way closer than I’m ready for.

Our bodies practically touch, a half-inch separating us. I’m spinning in a daze as I look up into his handsome and composed face and he studies mine.

“My driver will be meeting you and your friend downstairs in fifteen minutes,” he says coolly. His hold on my arm remains, tight but not painful. “I would appreciate it if you made things easy. Let him drive the two of you home. Then never come to one of these parties again. You don’t belong here.”

My mind swims in a blank void and my body stills in his grip. I hear his calm set of instructions, but they don’t fully register. Salvatore Mancino has successfully done the impossible—he’s frozen my brain. He’s left me speechless.

I don’t know what to make of what he says. His behavior tonight. The perplexing look in his blue-green eyes. Every moment’s been way too strange.

As if that’s not enough, he lets go of my arm and raises his hand. He barely touches me, his fingertips grazing the notch at the hollow of my neck.

“That necklace you were wearing . . . the one Gannon tore off. What was it?”

Confusion knits my brows. Why does he care about Nana’s rose necklace breaking?

“My grandma’s rose necklace. She wore it most of her life. Now I do.”

“She gift it to you before she passed away?”

I nod. “My grandpa bought it for her decades ago. They were married for forty-two years. She still wore it after he passed. Then she gave it to me. It’s a good luck charm.”

Oh god.

First, I rambled about movies. Now this.

Why am I telling him my family history? Salvatore Mancino doesn’t need to know about Nana Rose or Papa Huxley. He doesn’t need to have anything to do with anyone in my family.

Especially me.

I gently place a hand on his chest and press lightly, hoping he catches the hint and eases back. I can’t stand another second of him invading my space.

Humor twinkles in the mélange of blue and green that makes up his gaze. “Am I making you nervous?”

“Yes . . .” 


“Because . . . because you’re not supposed to be this close,” I whisper. My pulse races, obscenely loud as it echoes in my ears. I find myself unable to look away. I can’t even move except to sway on my feet, sway closer to him.

Almost like he’s metal and I’m a magnet, naturally drawn to him.

Holy crap. Is this what it’s like to feel boy crazy? No wonder girls like Ashley are a mess.

“I’m not?” he asks, drawing back. The grin that spreads across his mouth is dangerous. It’s as unpredictable as he is. “You’re breaking all kinds of rules tonight, Delphine.”