When You're Mine (The Gallaghers) by Layla Hagen

Chapter One


“I’ll see you later. I need to find my trainer,” my sister Isabelle said. We were in one of Manhattan’s most exclusive gyms. They offered their clientele complete privacy, not that I needed it. Although I was successful in software, no one outside the industry knew me. But my sister’s fiancé, Brayden, did need the privacy. He was a famous rock star, and both wanted a place where they could train without the paps hounding them. I signed up today, mostly because it allowed me to hang out with my sister. Since Isabelle started dating Brayden, her life was turned upside down, and I knew she needed family time as often as possible. It was Isabelle’s way to cope, and honestly, it was also mine. Our family was very tight.

“Sure. I’ll grab something to drink before hopping on the treadmill,” I replied.

I headed toward the break room, glad the place wasn’t too crowded. It was three o’clock in the afternoon, and I made a mental note to train in the off-peak hours. The other reason why I’d signed up at this gym was that it was very close to my office and my apartment. Efficiency was essential for me.

In the break room, I made a beeline for the drinks table. As I poured myself a glass of lemonade, I noticed a bombshell brunette on the other side of the room. She was wearing tight workout pants and a cutoff top, and I could tell something was wrong, even though she had her back to me. She was swaying wildly on her feet as if she were about to lose her balance. She grabbed the back of an armchair, and I set my glass back down, quickly moving over to her.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“Yes.” Her voice was so weak that I barely heard it. She closed her eyes. I’d been right. She was about to faint.

I secured an arm around her waist, pulling her tight against my chest. She went all soft in my arms. I looked around, ready to call for help, when she blinked her eyes open, whispering, “Okay. I'm a bit better now." She blinked a few more times, clearing her vision, I assumed, as she looked up at me. She was fucking gorgeous, with full pink lips and deep green eyes.

“You should sit down,” I said.

She nodded slightly, and I was happy she could support her own weight. Even though I still had a firm grip on her waist, I didn't want to risk her getting limp again. I lowered her on a comfortable armchair, sitting in the one right next to her.

“Do you need water, sugar? Should I call someone?”

“No, thanks. I'll be okay in a minute.” Her voice was shaky. Although she smiled, it wasn't reassuring at all.

“I could still call someone.”

She waved her hand, shaking her head and sinking a bit lower into the leather chair. Sweat dotted her forehead. Her hair was damp at the temples. "It's all my fault. I tried a juice diet. I wanted to see if it was something I could recommend to my clients. Clearly it's not."

“What’s your name?”

“Melanie Dawson.”

“You work here, Melanie?” I asked.

“Yeah. Yes, I do. I’m a personal trainer and a very good one. Especially when I don’t feel faint.” She sat up straighter, looking at me intently. A small smile played on her lips. “Can you keep my secret? I'll feel much better once I eat something, and it won't do my reputation any good if word gets around that I’m a fainter.”

“Your secret is safe with me,” I assured her. “I'll bring you some snacks from the table. What do you want? I think I saw some fruit and nuts and something that resembled bread.”

She adorably scrunched her nose. “No, it’s gluten-free bread. I tried it once accidentally and threw up in my mouth a little. I mean, it’s a great option for those who can’t eat gluten, but I avoid it at all costs. It doesn’t even taste like bread to me.”

I chuckled. “Never tried it, and now I never will. So, what would you like?”

“I'll have some nuts and fruits, then, and I’ll also eat one of those protein bars from the reception desk.”

She began to rise from the armchair, but I shook my head. “Sit down. I’ll get everything for you.”

“There’s no need. I can get it.”

"You nearly fainted. You need to sit down.”

Her smile widened, and I couldn’t look away from her lips. They were driving me crazy.

“Okay, then. I’ll wait here for you.” She looked at me questioningly.