The Boss Vol. 6By: Cari Quinn & Taryn Elliott
“You’re not in danger.”
“How can you say that with such steel in your voice? How can you fucking know?” She started to whirl away, but I grabbed her arm, curling my fingers into her pale skin. Sometimes a little precisely applied force was necessary to make a point.
Like right now.
“No one is getting near you. No one. Do you understand me? Not while there’s breath in my body.” I dragged her against me, using my height advantage to remind her that I was a worthy foe. Not toward her. Never toward her.
But anyone else—I’d like to see them fucking try.
“You’re mine.” She tried to shove me back, but I didn’t move. “I protect what’s mine.” I bent to press my mouth to her ear, well aware of her quickened breaths pushing her chest against mine. Those full breasts straining, trying to pull my focus from where it needed to be. “Anyone who comes near you is taking a very large risk.”
“Oh yeah? Gonna chain me up somewhere?”
“I just might. But I guarantee you’d enjoy it.” Slowly, I let my gaze roam her face as I trailed my fingertip along her cheek. “It’s late,” I said again. “It’ll still be here tomorrow.”
“So what, we’ll just fuck it out and make it all better?” But she was already breathless, her lips already parted and wet. She wanted to do exactly that.
We might be reckless and insane, but it was a mutual affliction.
“You tell me.”
“No, dammit, it won’t be better. I want to know why you took my class for three years. Why you knew my grandmother—why she was your benefactor—” She said the word as if it were poison, “yet I never once met you. You never even said hello to me.”
“That’s not true. I asked you about a particular technique with copper and glass, and you explained it to me in detail.”
She brushed it off, shaking her head. “Three years, Blake. A man like you wouldn’t have bothered with a class like mine, even back then.”
“I learned from you. You were the one who introduced me to glass, who made me see it was so much more than a pretty object.”
She reeled back as if I’d slapped her. “Stop it. Was it just a lark for you? Just a free class you took because my grandmother footed the bill?”
“I told you.” I gripped her shoulders and shook her lightly until she finally met my gaze. “You’re the one who taught me how to fall in love. With glass,” I said as she went still, hating that I had to divert to safe territory once again.
Even in the truth, only lies could protect me. And protect Grace, because I’d be damned if anyone harmed her—or the memories she held dear of the grandmother she loved so much.
I kissed her.
It wasn’t fair to deflect her questions or worse, to distract her from them. I’d done that far too often. But I hadn’t been lying about keeping her safe, and the idea that someone could be invading our privacy, watching too closely, when I’d finally made her mine…
Fuck, I had to have her. I needed to feel her pulse around me while she shattered in orgasm. My name on her lips and our memories no more important than the sweat cooling between us.
Her lips opened and her tongue came out to battle with mine. Slick and hot, her mouth tempted me like no other. Just like the rest of her. Before I’d ever touched her, before I’d fully understood what true want was, I’d understood this woman would be my decimation.
She fisted a hand in my shirt, pulling until I was sure the buttons would pop. Then she shoved me back, her eyes wild. “You think my grandmother might’ve had an affair with your father and you’re just—just going to maul me?”
“Ms. Copeland, I’d maul you if your grandmother and my father were having an affair in this very room.” I took advantage of the smile that twitched on her face and stepped forward to slip a hand under her slouchy top. We’d changed after Jack left, and she’d picked something that doubled as pajamas and lounge wear. Soft, soft shirt, fuzzy pants with dancing sheep. About the most unsexy things known to man, and yet.
“I can’t compartmentalize you can, obviously.”
“I’d say this is a very large compartment, wouldn’t you?” Not caring if it was crude, I grabbed her hand and brought it to the steel pole tenting my pants. My idea of clothes to wear around the house and hers differed, but since we would soon be naked, I didn’t care.
Her fingers curled in and held even as she continued to try to get me to see reason. “We’re caught up in something so much bigger than us,” she said, and that hint of uncertainty swayed me more than any demands to be logical.