Idiot, he cursed himself. He stood up, dragging the sheet with him. He tugged it away and threw it back on the bed. A pair of pink panties fell to the floor.
He stared at them. His brain was about to explode with all the rampant thoughts running through it. Why had he drunk so much last night? A celebration, that’s why. After closing one of the biggest deals of his career, he’d let himself be talked into another round and then another and another until he was so far past his limit he’d had to take a cab home.
He’d come home alone, though. Of that he was fairly certain. He wasn’t in the habit of having one-night stands. Surely he’d remember that particular girl if he’d ever seen her before. Something vaguely familiar about her nagged at him. Who could forget that cloud of dark hair, those expressive brown eyes, that killer body?
“Pervert,” he muttered, disgusted with himself as he went into the bathroom. He braced himself above the sink, groaning at the reaction from his alcohol-laden brain. Pain exploded at his temples and behind his eyes. His mouth was like a ball of steel wool.
He splashed cold water on his face, making a mess around the sink and not caring. He was facing a potential disaster here. He estimated she weighed about a hundred and twenty pounds, and unless he missed his guess she was waiting downstairs for answers.
He ran damp hands through his hair, making it stand up in spikes. He checked himself in the mirror, not unhappy with what he saw. His eyes were a bit bleary and bloodshot, but other than that, he looked like he always did—just enough of a tan, in pretty good shape for a guy pushing twenty-nine. He wasn’t what you’d call dedicated, but he worked out a couple times a week, played tennis and sailed whenever he got the chance.
He dumped ibuprofen into his palm and took it without water. This was LA. No one drank water from the tap.
He yanked on a pair of beat-up jeans and a white T-shirt. Like a man sentenced to death but still not quite believing in his fate, he stuffed the panties in his pocket and started down the stairs.
He stared at the pot of coffee that was already brewed, its fragrance wafting beneath his nose even as he reached for a mug. The light on his answering machine was blinking double time. Usually he got messages on his cell phone or through his office. Nobody called him on his landline.
He listened to the playback as he dumped sugar and cream into his mug.
“Hey, man. I just put Quinn on a plane. I know it’s short notice, but things got out of hand here. Trust me, it’s important. She gets in at six o’clock on Delta. Flight 687. I’ll call your office, make sure you get the message. You take good care of my baby sister, now, you hear?”
“Oh, God.” Reif leaned his elbows on the counter and dropped his head in his hands as the machine bleeped and the next message played.
“Hey, Reif, it’s Marty. Some guy called, but wouldn’t leave his name. Said his sister is flying into LAX today. Delta flight number six eighty-seven. Gets in at six. He wanted to make sure you knew. I told him you were unreachable at the moment, but I’d pass on the message. He said he called your cell, so maybe you got it off your voice mail. Okay, that’s it. It was pretty quiet here this afternoon, nothing going on that can’t wait until Monday.”
His assistant’s cheery voice faded and Reif groaned again. He went to the table in the hallway where he’d dropped his keys, wallet and cell phone last night. He powered the phone on and listened to an almost verbatim repeat of Tony’s previous message.
Great. Now he knew who she was. Quinn, Tony’s younger sister. Five or six years younger to be exact. Which made her twenty-two or twenty-three. No wonder she’d only seemed vaguely familiar. She’d been in her teens the few times he’d met her before, which made her strictly off limits. She’d certainly grown up since then.
Wonderful. Tony Fontana, his best friend since school, had entrusted the care and security of his baby sister—his only sister—to Reif. And Reif had fucked up big time.