Bad for Business
Bad for Business
How could there be more?
I shook my head. Fate was cruel and, more so than I originally thought. I'd gone and fallen in love only to have my business attacked, be personally ambushed, and-in the greatest tragedy of my life-watch someone die for me. Needless to say, I'd dealt with my fair share of shit over the past few months, and the idea of more made a massive lump form in my throat.
But here we were dealing with it anyway. Me, cowering mid-meltdown in my expansive closet, and Nicholas Bryant, sitting wordlessly with his arm around me. In moments like this he was just my boyfriend. He wasn't an unbelievably rich and incredibly powerful businessman. Or part of the New York social elite.
He was just Nick. Tall and handsome with broad shoulders and a perfectly sculpted torso. His perfect pout sat above a cut jaw and below dark chocolate styled hair. Both framed the most expressive eyes on the planet. And I loved him. Admitting it was one of the hardest things I'd ever done. My usual emotional walls defended my heart from things like love, but he'd broken them down without even trying.
Bryant could be controlling, temperamental even, but also tender and caring. And sometimes devilishly kinky. We were cut from the same cloth in business, in bed, and worse, in relationships. For me, running a billion dollar sportswear company was child's play in comparison to having a functional relationship. I knew he felt the same way.
"Nicholas Bryant, what do you mean more? " I lifted my head to look him straight in the face. His eyes were the flat steel gray I hated. That color told me how angry he was, even if he was being uncharacteristically gentle with me.
"I'll take care of it. I'll protect you." Nick's voice was a combination of his deep, rumbling purr and sharp growl; every bit the mixed message he himself could be.
After watching Trevor's life fade from his eyes in Central Park, I had accepted that I needed protection, but it couldn't be solely on Nick's terms. His archaic notion of shielding me was annoying, even now.
"No," I mustered all the force I could. It wasn't much. "I will not be kept in the dark. You may be able to pacify your mother or your sister or your employees or whoever, but not me. Not after what happened."
I swallowed. Every time I closed my eyes, I pictured blood covering my hands and forearms. The terror in Trevor's eyes as he exhaled his last breath overwhelmed me. Nick's touch was the only thing keeping the nightmares at bay. As it was, I felt like I' d live forever with a gnawing hole of guilt in my chest.
Nick shifted closer. He stared at the wall in front of him, his eyes fixed on my shoe collection, but he wasn't focusing on the red bottoms. I hoped he was recalling similar discussions we'd had in the past.
Well, similar shouting matches.
Nick ran his free hand through his slightly wavy hair. A small piece fell down into his stormy eyes. I longed for the time when those piercing eyes haunted my dreams instead of Trevor's. He sighed deeply, drawing attention to his slightly parted lips. I tried to imagine that mouth on me.
Usually I could recall each of his thousand kisses since we'd met. I'd had to fight to remember the world outside Nicholas Bryant. The feel of his lips, his tongue tracing mine, and his hands tightly gripping my hips would always pop unbidden into my mind. Whether in person or fantasy he was all consuming.
"Please." I tried to keep strength in my words.
His dark eyes met mine. I shuddered at the look that made other people's blood run cold. He mistook my shiver and his fingers dug into my skin, possessive and strong. Hi