The Rebel Daughter(4)By: Lauri Robinson
If she was a compassionate woman—which she was not—she might feel a bit sorry for Forrest and his beliefs.
As she only came up to his shoulder, he leaned down slightly, and the warmth of his breath tickled her ear. She’d just pierced the lobes a little over a week ago and was thankful they were no longer sore and throbbing. She sincerely hoped Forrest noticed those were real diamonds dangling on the silver loops. He was not dealing with a poor little girl anymore. She was far from that. In fact, they were on even ground these days. Her family now had as much wealth as his—if not more—and she would gladly use that against him, along with everything else she could come up with.
“Don’t forget where I live, Twyla,” he said as softly as the wind blew.
Caught off guard between the scent of his cologne and the warmth of his whisper, she stuttered slightly. “Wh-what?”
“Where I live. The Plantation.”
She rolled her eyes. “Of course I know you live at your nightclub. Everyone does. So what?”
“It’s next to the amusement park.”
After greeting another guest, she said, “Everyone knows that, too.”
“Where you held your kissing booth.”
Her stomach dropped to the floor. There were a few things she wasn’t proud of, namely the childish things she’d allowed Mitsy Kemper to talk her into while rebelling against Norma Rose and her father, but she truly didn’t believe anyone would have the gall to bring them up, especially to her face. If her father ever heard about some of her antics, things could change. Swiftly.
“Aw, there’s your father,” Forrest said. “I think I’ll go say hello.”
Twyla grabbed his arm. Her father knew nothing about the kissing booth and several other things, and if he learned of them, whether she was twenty-three or eighty-three, she’d be back to watching life from the sidelines. “Don’t you dare,” she growled.
Forrest lifted a brow.
Damn. He knew he had her cornered, just like always. If they were anywhere but the front foyer of the resort, where people continued to file through the door, she’d tell him just what she thought of him. And of the way he always seemed to be one step ahead of her. She wasn’t prepared for this. She needed time to think.
That spider was now in her stomach, stinging the dickens out of her.
She bit down on her bottom lip, hard, forcing her mind to come up with something. Anything.
Hadn’t she heard something about keeping enemies close? Well, Forrest was enemy number one. Therefore, the closer she kept him, the better. Norma Rose would be furious, but it was the only option. Forcing her lips into a smile, Twyla added, “After all, you are my date.”
“Yes,” she said with more confidence than she felt. “My date.”
* * *
Forrest questioned his sanity. He’d spent years distancing himself from all of the Nightingales—out of necessity—yet here he was, back at square one. What had he been thinking?
That the past wasn’t over. That was what he’d been thinking. Requesting to be allowed to attend the parties Norma Rose had asked to hire Slim for had seemed logical at the time. It would give him the chance to talk to Roger Nightingale face-to-face, but now he wondered if he should have spent more time considering the consequences.
Maybe it was just Twyla’s obvious disdain toward him that caught him off guard. He hadn’t expected that from her, although he should have expected it from her and all the Nightingales, including the new lawyer it was rumored Norma Rose was glued to. He was prepared for the lawyer and Norma Rose, just not Twyla. A million years may not have prepared him for her.
It wasn’t her attitude that surprised him. She’d been the one to call him to ask about Slim Johnson filling in for Brock and had been more than a little put out when he wouldn’t talk to her. No, it was her that surprised him. The woman she’d become.
Forrest glanced down at the redheaded sister. Seeing her from afar hadn’t done her justice. If he’d known then—when he requested attendance—what he knew now, he might have approached this situation a bit differently.
The bottom line was, it had to be done.
Her hair was naturally blond, like all the Nightingale girls, but being the wild one, Twyla had dyed it cherry-red. It had faded since he’d last caught a glimpse of her at the amusement park. Her hair was now more auburn, and the color looked good on her. It brought out the blue of her eyes and made her stand out in a crowd in a best-looking-gal-in-the-room sort of way.
She definitely stood out in a shimmering silver dress that barely covered her knees and a tiny pill hat swathed with silver netting. Twyla had always been the most brazen of the sisters, and Forrest hoped Roger Nightingale knew what he was doing by turning her loose in his resort. Especially tonight. He recognized faces. Lots of them. There were more gangsters filing through the door than roamed the streets of Chicago. That also made him wonder if all the tales he’d heard about Roger Nightingale and his bootlegging business were true.