Home > The Sapphire Heist (Jewel #2)(9)

The Sapphire Heist (Jewel #2)(9)
Author: Lauren Blakely

Because Mr. Smith was as phony a name as there ever was.

Who the hell was Mr. Smith?

She shut the door and turned to Jake, her world spinning like a mad teacup ride in an amusement park.

She swayed, and the floor felt wobbly. “I think someone pretended he had a meeting with me, followed the clerk as he delivered the paperwork for the fake meeting, then broke into my room later in the night,” she said in a tiny whisper.

His jaw dropped, and his eyes widened. “Why? When?” He pointed in the direction of the hotel manager. “Because of what the manager just said?”

“Yes,” she said, and her voice croaked.

He tilted his head, looked at her like he was studying her. “So this ‘Mr. Smith’ claimed a meeting as a ruse to get in your room?” he asked, sketching air quotes around the name.

Her stomach plummeted with nerves. “Look around. There are no papers in here, and I have no clue what’s going on. But someone must have broken in—”

“Wait. Is that why you were patting me down earlier?” He crossed his arms. “You dragged me from the gallery, and you treated me like you didn’t trust me. Did you think I took something from your room?”

“I was worried it was you,” she spat out, the words tumbling free before she could even think twice about what she was saying. Before she could even analyze the risk in admitting that she didn’t trust a damn soul right now. She squeezed her eyes shut. When she opened them, a tear slipped down her face. She wiped her hand across her cheek. “I freaked out, because I trusted you. I let you into my room and my body, and this morning after I showered, the diamond was gone. Completely gone.”

He stumbled backward, his arm shot out, and he grabbed the wall. “Are you serious?” he whispered. “From your safe?”

She nodded. “I thought it was you. Because I found it missing right after you left. Jake, what else would I think?”

He shot her a look like she was crazy. “Anything. Anything but that.”

“But you know how to break into safes. You broke into mine before.”

He held out his hands wide and shook his head. Anger seemed to roll off him like smoke. “I would never steal from you.”

“But you figured out the combo before. In seconds.”

“And you changed it, right?”

She nodded. “Yes, but I thought maybe you figured it out again.”

He huffed and inhaled deeply, then dragged a hand roughly through his hair. He paced to the window, then back again. “Please tell me you didn’t change it back to A-R-I-E-L.”

“No, it was—”

He cut her off. “I don’t want to know what it is.” He sighed in frustration, then fixed her with a stare. “Why are you telling me this now if you thought I stole the diamond?”

Time to ’fess up. To tell all. “Because Isla told me this afternoon that the diamond in her necklace was stolen last night, too. And with this Mr. Smith dropping off fake papers and with you not having any diamonds in your wallet—”

He blinked. “Diamonds in my wallet?”

“I blindfolded you,” she said, lowering her eyes, guilt stitched into her voice. As she breathed the words aloud, she realized how silly they sounded. She’d tricked the man she slept with to learn if he’d tricked her. “To see if you hid diamonds from Isla’s gallery in your wallet,” she admitted, letting her confession free in one quick breath.

His eyes widened. He shook his head several times, as if he could barely conceive of her deception. “You went through my wallet? While I was blindfolded and waiting for you to get undressed? Even though I told you there were no diamonds in her gallery?”

“Well, you did give me your wallet a few days ago to hold on to as collateral,” she said, pointing out that little detail. As if that were her free pass to riffle through it.

“I know. But Steph.” His voice rose. “What the hell? I trusted you.”

Trust. It was practically a four-letter word. It was what she longed for. It was what she’d tried to believe in. But if she didn’t entirely trust her own stepfather, how could she trust anyone else, especially a man gunning for him?

“And I trusted you,” she said, placing her palms together, imploring him. “I did. I swear I did. I woke up this morning having had the most amazing time with you last night and feeling like we were on the same page. Then my diamond went missing. All I could think was you took it. What else was I supposed to think?”

“You weren’t supposed to think. You were supposed to talk. To me. About it. Because I didn’t do it,” he said softly, his green eyes locking onto hers.

“I believe that now.”

“Then let’s figure out who might have done it. Tell me what happened.”

 

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

She took his hand and led him to the safe. She opened it and gestured inside, recounting every detail of her morning.

“. . . And then I noticed a sliver of light by the door. When I pulled on the door after the shower, the safe was completely empty and the diamond was gone. I don’t even care about the diamond for me. I wasn’t going to keep it. That diamond was my one small bit of insurance that I could still have something for my mom as a way to pay her back for how she helped me. But if it’s part of the stolen stash, I’d obviously return it to Andrew and the fund.”

Jake pointed to his chest, annoyance still thick in his veins. “But you thought I took it?”

She shrugged, a guilty look in her pretty blue eyes. “You already showed me you knew how to take it,” she said in a small but certain voice. “You were in my room all night. You were in my room alone when I talked to the room service guy.”

Her voice quivered, and he could tell she felt so damn guilty. Still, he was ticked that she’d made this assumption. “I’m not that guy,” he said firmly.

“I know that now,” she said, wringing her hands, a tear sliding down her cheek. “But I didn’t know what to think then.”

That errant tear did him in. It revealed her fears, and he longed to erase them. To carry them himself. He wrapped his arms around her and tugged her close. He was pissed that she thought he’d taken her diamond, but he also completely understood her reaction. To get out of the shower and find something precious stolen when you’d slept with a man who cracked safes was like opening the door and inviting in the perpetrator.

He knew the truth, though. He hadn’t taken the gem.

Someone else had, though, and that fact changed everything. Doubt or no doubt, trust or lack thereof, all that mattered to Jake was her safety.

“You can’t stay here any longer,” he said in a firm voice as they stood by the foot of the bed. “It’s not safe. Someone else is after the diamonds, too.”

She lowered her voice and whispered, “Do you think they sneaked in before we were here last night or while we were sleeping?”

“I think they were here when we were on the boat. Not while I was here. I would have heard it.”

“Oh really? Do you have supersonic hearing?” she asked, parking her hands on her hips. The air-conditioning whirred in the room as he shot her a stare.

“No, Miss Sarcastic. But I’m pretty sure I’d have noticed someone slipping into the room and opening a safe even if I was deep in the Land of Nod. Besides, if it were me taking something, I’d do it when no one was around.”

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