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

She nodded. “Thanks, Dylan. Are you new to the gym? I don’t remember seeing you around.”

“It’s my first day.”

Getting up, I went to the snack bar, filling the plate with fruits and nuts. After handing it to Melanie, I went to the reception desk, asking for a protein bar. I didn't tell the guy she'd fainted, but only because she'd asked me not to. She was an adult, so she knew what she was doing, but I kept an eye on her while I paid for the bar. Not that she could hurt herself sitting down, but I didn't want to let her out of my sight after she'd been so weak. I returned with the protein bar, noticing she'd already cleared the plate.

"Someone was hungry," I teased, unable to keep myself from checking her out. Her dark brown hair was up in a ponytail, revealing her neck. She was tall, with a lean figure—small shoulders and narrow waist. Her muscles were toned, just as you’d expect a personal trainer to be, but even though she was strong, everything about her made my protective instincts spring to life.

"Oh, you have no idea. I don't know who comes up with these juice diets. It's like they're made to torture you. They go on and on about how they have all the nutrients you need even though you feel hungry. Well, the truth of the matter is they don't, or I wouldn't have almost passed out. Lesson learned. May I please have my protein bar? I'm starting my next session in ten minutes, and I need to be in top shape by then."

I handed it to her, enjoying the way she inhaled sharply when our fingers touched.

“Let me get my purse so I can pay you for the bar.”

“That’s not necessary. Can you take some time off?"

"No, my client is already waiting. She’s used to seeing me by now, so she'll probably wonder what's up." She unwrapped the bar and devoured it. “Thank you for the bar.”

I leaned in closer. "You said you still have ten minutes. Spend them here with me. I'll keep your secret as long as you take a few more minutes to recover."

"Oh, so you're a secret keeper only under specific conditions?"

"Very specific." My protective instincts were on high alert.

"Okay, Mr. Savior, since I almost fainted on you, I guess I owe you peace of mind."

“Exactly.” She was a stubborn one.

“Thank you, by the way, for looking after me.”

“No problem.” I wanted to insist that she take time off, but I didn’t get the chance because my sister Isabelle entered the break room just then.

"Hey, Mel. Here you are. I see you've met my brother Dylan."

Mel got up very fast, and so did I, standing close, in case she felt woozy again. Damn, the woman was gorgeous. Her body was toned, but she also had curves, and they were insanely tempting.

“Hey, Isabelle. I didn’t know he was your brother.”

"Mel is my personal trainer," Isabelle said to me. "She's helping me get in shape for the wedding. What are you guys doing in here?"

Mel gave me a warning look. The corners of her mouth tilted up in a smile. I knew what she was thinking. I shouldn't spill her secret, even if the client was my sister.

"Mel was giving me some information about the gym."

My sister narrowed her eyes. Mel didn't catch it because she’d bent to throw away the protein bar wrapper in the trash can, but I didn’t miss it. I could practically read the warning in my sister's eyes: don’t you dare flirt with her.

Wordless communication was standard in our family. Growing up with two sisters and one brother had made that an essential skill. It made everything easier and faster.

I wiggled my eyebrows at my sister because I liked riling her up. Was I that obvious? I guess I was. I’d like to say I was only keeping an eye on Melanie because of her fainting spell, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The woman was smoking hot. However, my sister’s reaction was surprising.

Until recently, she kept bugging me to date seriously again, and now she was warning me off? That was an interesting change, and I was going to question her about it later. If I was honest, I preferred it this way. Ever since my breakup with Lina, my sister had been on a mission to convince me that I didn’t have to give up on relationships. Getting burned once was enough for me. I wasn’t walking down that path again.

Straightening up, Mel focused on Isabelle. “Okay, ready to go?”


Mel nodded, glancing at me. “Dylan, if you need anything, just ask at reception.”