Trashed / Page 51

Page 51


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So I cut her off with a kiss, my lips slanting across hers, my heart thumping in my chest. She’s frozen at first, shocked, and then she’s pressing up on her toes and her tongue finds mine, and I know whatever her reasoning was, it’s irrelevant now.

She wants this as much as I do.

She moans into the kiss, leans against me as if her legs won’t hold up her weight.

I break the kiss enough to whisper to her. “You’re coming with me.”

She just nods.

Chapter 12

Is this real? Is this happening? How did he find me?

His hand in mine is big and rough and familiar, and his presence beside me is huge and warm. His eyes on mine are the pale pastel green that has my heart flipping and my stomach knotting, because he sees me, sees into me.

He wants me.

I still don’t entirely know why.

The question is becoming: do I care why, or only that he does?

I’m walking beside him, and then a black Range Rover slides to a graceful stop beside us and Adam slides in, pulls me in after him. He reaches across me, pulls the seatbelt over my chest and clicks it into place. It’s a sweet but bizarre gesture, buckling me in. Is he that worried for my safety? Or is he worried I’ll bolt? I don’t know. But his fingers are twining in mine and the driver seems to know where we’re going without being told.

I open my mouth to speak, and Adam shakes his head. “Not yet.”

My lips tingle from the force and tenderness of his kiss, and my heart is palpitating furiously and my lungs are expanding and contracting deeply, as if his mere presence beside me requires more blood in my veins, more oxygen in my lungs. I want to crush myself to him, cling to him. I want to mash my lips against his and eat his breath, feel his muscles and tell him to take me, own me, claim me. I also want to run away; being with him will require truth. I’ll have to tell him how I grew up, about the foster homes and the things I endured.

The abuse.

NO. I can’t go there, not even in my mind. No.

I’ll have to tell him he took my virginity. That I gave it to him, and didn’t tell him.

I’ll have to tell him about New York, and Ludovic.

So much to tell him, so many things I’ve never told anyone.

I might even have to tell him my real name.

We’re pulling into an underground parking garage, sliding into a reserved spot near an elevator. The driver, a burly man in his mid- to late-thirties with a huge black beard and tattoos curling up his neck and peeking out from the cuffs of his suit coat, pulls open my door and extends his hand to me, helps me down from the SUV. He closes the door behind Adam, follows us to the elevator, and even presses the call button.

Standing in silence waiting for the elevator is excruciating and awkward. I extend my hand to the driver. “Hi, I’m Des.”

“Oliver.” His voice sounds like stone rasping across stone.

“Nice to meet you, Oliver.”

“Same.”

And the awkwardness is back. Adam has my hand again, as if he’s afraid to let me go, like I’ll disappear if he’s not physically touching me.

The elevator finally arrives, the doors sliding apart. Oliver extends an arm through the opening and waits for us to board, and then follows us on, reaching out to insert and twist a key, then pushes the top-most floor button.

I find it funny for some reason that a man as intelligent and dominant and powerful as Adam lets someone call elevators for him. “Must be nice,” I say, “having someone to push the button for you.”

Both Adam and Oliver stare at me as if I’ve grown a second head.

“My job,” Oliver says, one corner of his mouth curling up almost imperceptibly. “He wouldn’t let me do it for the first few months I worked for him. He’d get there first, push the button. Get on the elevator first, push the button. Stubborn fucker, makin’ me look bad. So I told him he had to let me do my job.”

Adam shakes his head and rolls his eyes. “It’s ridiculous. I’m a grown-ass man. I don’t need anyone to hold doors for me. He all but cuts my fucking meat for me. I swear to Christ, he’d peel the crusts off my sandwich if I asked him to.” He snorts. “You’re a bodyguard, Oliver, not a goddamned nanny.”

“Yeah, well, you need a nanny, you big pussy.” Oliver says this with a straight face, but his voice holds humor, and his narrow, deep-set dark eyes hold merriment.

“Twat,” Adam says.

I watch the exchange with bemusement. “What is it with men insulting each other? I don’t get it.”

Oliver and Adam glance at each other, and Adam laughs. “It’s just a guy thing.”

The elevator stops and the doors swish open. Oliver waits till we’re both off, and then somehow manages to move past us without seeming to hurry, leading us down a long, narrow hallway of slate-colored walls and dark hardwood floors. There’s a small table with fake flowers up against the wall every dozen feet or so, with either an abstract painting or a mirror above it. We reach a door at the end of the hallway. Oliver unlocks it, ushers us in, and then moves past us once again. He prowls through the kitchen, living room, and through another door, finally returning to where Adam and I wait by the entrance.

“All clear,” he rasps. “Need anything?”

“Privacy until further notice,” Adam says.

“Cool.” He pauses halfway out the door. “Need some carryout, just let me know. I’ll grab it.”

Finally, Adam and I are alone. “So, Oliver the bodyguard. What’s up with that?”

Adam shrugs. “My agent insisted. Said I’ve reached the level where fans are liable to do crazy shit, so best to be prepared.”

“You don’t seem like you’d need a bodyguard.”

Adam laughs. “Oliver is ex-special forces. Like, black ops. He’s trained in all sorts of hand-to-hand combat, defensive and offensive driving, threat assessment techniques, and all sorts of nifty and slightly scary shit. Plus, he’s just plain cool.” He tugs me by the hand out of the small foyer area and into the kitchen. It’s an open-plan apartment, the same dark hardwood floors as in the hallway, large windows facing the street, offering an amazing view of the river and the Ontario skyline. The kitchen is all dark speckled marble and stainless steel appliances, with a round table between the kitchen and living room. The living room itself has a huge brown leather couch and matching loveseat and chair, with an exposed brick wall and a mounted flat-screen TV.

“Nice place,” I say, feeling awkward again.


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