Fighting For You:A Danvers Novel(9)

By: Sydney Landon

The old Ella would never have had the nerve to go after a man like Declan. Sure, like most women, she would have looked twice at him, but that would have been it. Now, she not only wanted him, she was determined to make him accept that he wanted her too. And if this was what it took, she would go on boring date after boring date until she had the experience that she needed to seduce a man like him.

Chapter Four

Declan barged into Nick’s office the next morning without bothering to knock. Nick raised a questioning brow in his direction and motioned for him to take a seat while he finished the call he was on. Rather than sit, he continued to prowl around the office until Nick was free. “Hey, Dec. What can I do for you?”

Never one for small talk, Declan got right to the point. “Have your girlfriend drop Ella from the dating service that she signed her up for.”

Hearing Nick’s groan, Declan turned back to face him. “Shit, has every woman in this building joined at one time or another? Beth used them too. I even crashed one of her dates. I’m not saying I agree with it, but I don’t know what I can do about it. Ella is a grown woman and I don’t think she’s interested in my opinion on her dating life.”

“She may not be interested in it, but I’m sure she would listen to Beth.”

Nick leaned back in his chair and studied him. “You know, Dec, this is probably the longest conversation we have ever had about anything that didn’t pertain to business. I thought we would eventually ease into a friendship. Maybe enjoy a few drinks while we watch a game. I never imagined we would be discussing your woman problems this soon in our relationship.”

Declan allowed a smirk to curve his lips as he acknowledged the truth of Nick’s statement. He didn’t hang out with much of anyone and that included Nick Merimon. This was certainly the most personal conversation he had had with anyone in the office, besides Ella, since coming to Danvers. “I don’t have woman troubles. I’m just trying to protect a friend.”

“So Ella is just a friend to you? If that’s true, why do you care who she dates?”

Declan raked an impatient hand through his hair. “Because she could get hurt. She knows nothing about men and is far too trusting. I don’t want her to end up in a situation that she has no idea how to handle.”

“Look, I don’t think Beth would put her in a position to get hurt. I’m sure they have all of that covered. If you’re worried about her, maybe you should talk to Ella. Hell, give her some self-defense classes. You would be a pro at that. I’ll mention your concerns to Beth, but don’t expect it to help. One thing you should know about that group of women is that once they have made up their minds, you just have to step out of the way and hope for the best.”

“Damn, Nick, that’s not good enough! She could be in danger. I know firsthand what can happen to someone like her when they trust the wrong person!”

“What are you talking about, Dec?”

Turning away from Nick’s direct gaze, Declan reluctantly answered, “My sister, Ava, was once an Ella until someone took her trust and innocence and ripped them away. I won’t let the same thing happen to Ella.”

Nick answered with a soft, “Wow, I had no idea, man. She’s so quiet; I really haven’t spoken with her much since she came on board here with your brother.”

“Yeah, well, Ava changed after all of that happened to her. She isn’t really comfortable around new people anymore, especially men. I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t mention it around her. She wouldn’t want anyone’s pity.”

“No problem. I’ll do what I can with Beth. But, like I said, honestly, I wouldn’t expect anything to change. Maybe you should look to a plan B and watch over Ella yourself. I wasn’t kidding about the self-defense; it might be a great idea.”

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