"Oh-oh," Isabella said, and then sent her mother a sympathetic look. "He's Manda's Mogul."
"I don't understand."
"You know that actress from Kelly's Landing? She's on-again, off-again with Brad Smitt. But she says she wants Noah back."
Paula's head was spinning. She couldn't compete with an actress. Wouldn't even want to if Noah had been seeing them both at the same time. Never in a million years would she have pictured him as that type. But then, she had just been pretending at being sophisticated. This was probably normal in his world. Pursuing fleeting fancies, quickly bored.
Isabella passed her the tablet. "Manda says this is the photo that split them up."
Paula read every word of the article in the British tabloid. She swiped to the next one. Manda, tearful, saying it was all a misunderstanding. That she was just friends with Brad Smitt, whoever that was, but that Noah was her soul mate and they would get it all sorted out soon.
In his defense, Noah had told Paula the photographer was there. He had told her they were just pretending. She had been part of some horrible little cat and mouse game of the rich and famous?
This is what you got for hoping: for believing some silly old woman who told you nothing was impossible. For believing in fairy tales and magic. For hoping good things could happen, even when you knew better.
To her horror, Paula burst into tears. She ran into her room and slammed the door.
Noah waited outside his hotel as long as he could. He had started the morning feeling elated, ready for this exciting new chapter. Now, he felt despondent. He knew he was going to miss his plane if he waited one more second.
Paula wasn't coming. He felt sick. Had something happened to her on the way home? He knew what he had tasted in her lips when they had kissed yesterday. He knew she had shared his feelings that entire day. Something must have happened.
It occurred to him that he didn't even know her last name.
He didn't have one single bit of contact information for her. The population of Copenhagen was such that he knew it was improbable he could find her.
Paris was a disaster. It wasn't that the meetings didn't go well. In fact, they went superbly. But success—that thing that he could always count on to fill him—left him feeling empty.
As did Paris. His favorite city now tainted by—
How could Paula break his heart, Noah asked himself savagely, when they hardly knew each other?
But then he remembered something. Paula had used his phone, briefly, in the park. There was going to be a record of the number she had called. He could find her.
Or at least unravel the mystery around her. He hit the number and listened, his heart in his throat, as it redialed.
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