We are working hard on Emerald Blaze and we are on a very pressing deadline. This is a bribe for the radio silence.
An outraged honk tore through the silence behind us. We both turned. A green Mini Cooper sped up the road and slid to a dramatic stop before the security booth. The driver’s window rolled down and Runa Etterson stuck her red-haired head out of it.
“Catalina! Step away from the dickhead!”
A strangled sound came from the booth’s speakers. It sounded suspiciously like laughter.
“I thought the Etterson matter was settled,” Alessandro murmured.
“Then what is she doing here?”
“She came for moral support. She’s my best friend.”
Runa passed the security test and was marching toward us, her car abandoned. Her face promised war. I had kept things from my family, because I didn’t want them to worry, but I told Runa everything.
“You should run,” I told Alessandro. “You’re vastly outnumbered. It’s not too late to give up and go home.”
“You! Don’t you walk away. I have things to say to you.” Runa caught up with us. “Catalina, have you lost your mind?”
Probably. “How did you even know he was here?” I asked.
“Intuition,” she said and turned bright red.
Bern. Had to be.
Runa stared at Alessandro. “You saved my brother. I owe you a debt. If you need a favor, I’ll take care of it.”
“Thank you,” he said.
“Catalina is my best friend. I don’t know what’s going on, but don’t get any ideas. She’s too good for you.”
“I’ll keep it in mind.”
“If you hurt her again, I’ll find you and then I’ll make you wish you were dead.”
“Okay.” I grabbed her by the shoulders and steered her toward the door. “Thank you for your input, Prime Etterson.”
“Dead!” Runa called out over her shoulder.
“I’m so glad for you,” Alessandro said behind me. “You’re loved by many people.”