“What’s our next step?” Erin asked in a low voice.
Pausing in the ballroom doorway, Braden leaned in as if nuzzling her ear for a moment, camouflaging his mouth by her long, wavy hair. “I’ve just received a secure communication from my team who are standing by. We don’t have enough information to go on yet, but they have sanctioned the release of a million-dollar deposit to prove our interest in the art piece and give us a chance to look at it.”
“We need to win that bid. But we have to examine the Winter Egg up close. That’s the only way to tell if it’s a copy or the genuine thing. I think both our bosses will be incredibly angry if we give Donnelly a million bucks and it’s a forgery.”
“Hopefully Donnelly’s guard up there is telephoning him right now.”
“Is your boss going to release the money to Donnelly right away?”
Braden shook his head. “They’re under instructions as my ‘bankers’ to verify the money is there and the wire transfer is all set up the moment we get the bid. Meanwhile—” Braden broke off when Charlene burst upon them once more.
“I just adore young love,” she gushed. “And weddings! And . . . did you know that you’re standing under the mistletoe right this very minute? And you know what that means, you two lovers!” She clapped her hands in delight.
Erin gave a start. What! Mistletoe?
She tilted her head back and stared up at the door frame. Shock reverberated in her chest. Sure enough, there was an enormous bouquet of green mistletoe leaves and clusters of white berries hanging over their heads.