Sweet possession, p.12
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       Sweet Possession, p.12
 

         Part #5 of Sweet series by Maya Banks
Page 12

 

  She pulled away and then took his hands and guided them down to mold to her belly. “We’re your family, Micah. She and I. She’ll love you as much as I love you. ”

  His smile made her heart ache. There was such joy in his eyes. It wasn’t until now that she noticed the shadows he’d worn for the past months. But now they lifted away and there was such relief in his face.

  He lowered his head and pressed his lips to the hard bump of her belly. She threaded her fingers through his long hair and held him lovingly against the gentle patter of their daughter.

  She closed her eyes and let the sweetness of the moment envelope her. They’d been through so much in such a short amount of time. But it was all worth it because here and now, she held everything she’d ever wanted in her arms and cradled in her womb.

  Micah and their daughter. Her family.

  She couldn’t help but think her brother, David, and Hannah were smiling down on them from heaven.

  Micah lifted his head, then curled his hand around her nape and pulled her until their foreheads rested against each other. Their noses brushed and she felt his erratic breaths puff out as if he was valiantly trying to maintain control of his emotions.

  “Tell me again,” he whispered. “Tell me you’ll marry me. ”

  She smiled. “I’ll marry you, Micah. ”

  “When?”

  “Whenever you say when. ”

  “Tomorrow,” he breathed.

  She laughed. “I think we’ll need a little longer than that. While I don’t want a huge wedding, I do want our closest friends—our family,” she amended, “to be there. ”

  “Yeah, I do too. ”

  “Are you sure this is what you want, Micah? You’ll be happy?”

  He pulled away and cupped her face as she’d cupped his a moment earlier. “I’ve never been happier in my life than I am right at this very moment. But as overjoyed as I am right now, nothing will match the day you become officially mine in the eyes of the law. ”

  “I’ve always been yours, Micah. But now you’re mine. And I’m never going to let you go. ”

  He smiled then and the last remaining shadows faded away, leaving only hope and joy. “I see I’m not the only possessive one in this relationship. I like it. ”

  CHAPTER 11

  Connor pulled under the hotel awning and stopped behind two other cars waiting to valet park. He cut the engine and sat there for a long moment while they watched the valet tend to the first car in line.

  She could sense his irritation, which was fine, because it wasn’t like she didn’t have plenty of her own.

  Finally he looked over at her. “What the hell was all that about tonight?”

  Her eyelids narrowed to slits as she glared over at him. “You don’t think you did anything wrong in this scenario?”

  “So I piss you off and you find that sufficient reason to hot-wire a car, get arrested and be hauled off to jail?”

  She crossed her arms and huffed. “I was not arrested. I was specifically looking for a cop. It’s not my fault he overreacted and thought I was some lunatic off her meds. ”

  “I can’t imagine why he’d think something like that. ”

  “Cut the sarcasm. It makes you sound like an even bigger asshole,” she muttered.

  He sighed. “Do you always react this strongly about everything? I mean, most people would have just called me a dickhead and been done with it. Not many people would hot-wire a car, then flag down a cop and try to convince them you’re off your fucking rocker. ”

  She glared at him again. “I was being smart. I didn’t want to be driving around alone and I damn sure didn’t want to come back to the hotel by myself. I mean, what if the demented dude was waiting for me in my room?”

  He looked like he wanted to beat his head against the steering wheel. Luckily the valet walked up and Connor opened his door to collect the ticket. Lyric got out and forced herself to wait for Connor. Whatever he might think, she really didn’t want to go back up to her room alone. She didn’t want to stay alone, for that matter, but neither did she want him in such close proximity for the entire night. She was fucked either way and she was resigned to spending another sleepless night. She would be a freaking zombie by tomorrow.

  Connor put his hand to her back and herded her toward the door. All the way to her room, he was silent. His glower spoke volumes, and to be honest, she was happy he wasn’t talking. He’d just gripe at her some more.

  That deference thing she was used to would certainly come in handy right now. Unfortunately she imagined he’d cut his own nuts off before ever deferring to her.

  He made her remain to the side in the hallway while he opened the door and took a look inside. Satisfied that no one was going to jump out of the closet at them, he motioned her in and then shut and bolted the door behind them.

  She made her way to the bed and flopped indelicately onto the mattress. The message light was blinking on her phone and she frowned, wondering who even knew she was here. Phillip did. But she didn’t think she’d even let her band or crew know where she was staying yet.

  She leaned over, picked up the receiver and punched the button marked messages. Exhausted from the day’s events and no sleep in longer than she could remember, she flopped back onto a pillow and closed her eyes as she waited for the recording to start.

  “You can’t hide from me, Lyric. Your pathetic little bodyguard can’t protect you. ”

  She bolted straight up, not believing what she’d heard. Her hands shaking, she punched at a series of buttons to replay the message but was so upset she botched it.

  “What the hell is wrong?” Connor demanded. He snatched the phone from her hands and put it to his ear. “There’s nothing here. What upset you?”

  “The message,” she stammered out. “Replay the message. I didn’t erase it. It should still be there. ”

  He frowned and depressed the button to cut the connection and then he punched the message button again. After a moment, his expression grew stormy and his eyes went so cold she shivered.

  He replayed the message several times before finally replacing the receiver. He put his hand down to gently push her leg over so he could sit on the edge of the bed.

  “Are you all right?”

  She nodded but she wasn’t really. She knew she had some creep sending her weird notes, but her record label had kept her in the dark and she had only Connor’s word to go on. Not that she doubted him—she had no problem believing him at all. It was why she had been so determined not to go anywhere alone. But now that she’d heard the threat, it was much more real. It shocked her to her core.

  “Lyric, look at me. ”

  The command snapped her gaze to him.

  “This is why I’m so pissed that you took off without me,” he said, a distinct edge to his voice. “Now will you take this seriously?”

  She frowned, upset and shaken by the threat but just as upset over his assumption that she didn’t take this very seriously.

  But she was too tired to defend herself. Too tired to argue with his ironclad opinion of her. It wasn’t as if she’d change it.

  She nodded wearily, too tired to say the words. There was no way she’d keep the bitterness out of her voice anyway. It was better to just shut up and take the path of least resistance. For once.

  “It’s been a long day. It’ll be another long day tomorrow. You should get some sleep,” he said. “I need to check with the hotel to see if we can get a trace. ”

  As if that was going to happen. Still, she wouldn’t mind getting comfortable and laying her head on her pillow. Without a word, she got up, rummaged around in a still-packed suitcase until she found a pair of cotton pajamas and then headed for the bathroom.

  Her pajamas were her comfort item. Much like a security blanket or a special stuffed animal. They were old and probably had holes, but they were soft and comfortable and they made her feel safe.

  Conno
r would probably laugh, and she’d be lucky if he didn’t sneak photos to send to the tabloids. What a blow to her image if she were photographed in pajamas with faded smiley faces on them.

  When she came out of the bathroom, she blinked in surprise to see Connor shirtless on one side of the bed. He wore a pair of sweat pants—thank goodness—because she couldn’t handle seeing him in nothing but his underwear, although it did bring up the tantalizing question of whether he wore briefs or boxers.

  Or . . . boxer briefs. She’d bet money he was a boxer brief kind of guy. Or maybe she just really liked the image of him in tight cotton, butt-molding briefs that hugged those muscular upper legs.

  Mmmmm.

  Okay, she had to stop because this was just ridiculous.

  She trudged to her side of the bed, pleased to see that he’d already erected a barrier between them using cushions from the sofa. She wouldn’t have to forfeit any of her pillows to the cause.

  He watched her as she pulled back the covers. She could feel his gaze resting on her, but she refused to look up. She crawled onto the mattress and turned her back to him as she pulled the comforter up over her shoulders.

  There was a pregnant silence and then, “Good night, Lyric,” he murmured. She heard the click of the lamp and the room was plunged into darkness. Only a thin beam of light from the street squeezed through a tiny gap in the room darkening curtains.

  Her heart thumped in her throat and she lay there so wound up and tense that her muscles ached. She hated this. Hated that being so close to Connor—in the same bed—made her so nervous she wanted to puke.

  She forced her breathing to even out because even she could hear it stuttering past her lips. She gripped the covers protectively around her and huddled there, staring at the opposite wall.

  She was never going to sleep.

  “Connor?”

  There was a brief pause. “Yeah?”

  She gripped the covers a little tighter until her fingers went numb. “Why do you hate me so much?”

  There was an uncomfortable pause. Then she felt him turn toward her on his side. She lay still, her fingers wrapped tightly around the sheet she held to her chin.

  “I don’t hate you, Lyric. ”

  “You decided before you ever met me that you despised me. Nothing I do or say is going to change that. ”

  He sighed. “You didn’t exactly help your case when we met. ”

  “You looked at me like I was scum. No one is going to react well to that kind of judgment. ”

  “I don’t hate you,” he said again.

  “You don’t like me either,” she said softly.

  “I was a jerk tonight. I’ll be honest. I didn’t want this job. And you’re right. I had my mind made up about you before we ever met. That wasn’t . . . fair. ”

  “You’re wrong, you know. ”

  “About what?”

  “I do take this seriously. ”

  Connor shifted again, and the next thing she knew, light flooded the room as he switched the lamp back on. She glanced over her shoulder to see him sit up in bed.

  “Turn over so we can talk,” he said quietly.

  She rolled and clutched one of the cushions between them to her chest.

  “You need to consider the possibility that someone close to you is involved in this. ”

  She frowned. “But no one knows I’m here. I gave my band and my crew two weeks off. I was careful, Connor. I know you don’t think I was. ”

  “What about Paul? And your two . . . bodyguards?”

  At least he hadn’t called them her fuck-buddies again. She sighed. Her head hurt. She wasn’t sure she’d ever gotten rid of the headache she’d had earlier.

  “Lyric?”

  “I think Paul knew too,” she said wearily. “And Trent and R. J. too. Don’t say it. I already feel like an idiot. But no one else knows. Or rather I didn’t tell anyone. ”

  “And you think the cops you introduced yourself to will keep your cover?”

  She flushed and hugged the pillow a little tighter. “I was angry. You humiliated me. ”

  “Do you always react so outrageously when someone pisses you off?”

  “Do you always allow people to get under your skin so badly?”

  “Touché. So we’ve both reacted badly. I’m more at fault than you. This is a job. I’m supposed to be a professional. No matter how much you irritate me, it’s my job to keep cool and protect you. ”

  She glanced up, watching the soft glow of the lamp slide over his muscled shoulders. He had a great chest. He was a tall man. Lean but tightly muscled. Not in a bulging Neanderthal way, nor did he look like he worked out a bazillion times a week. But his body was tight and there wasn’t a spare ounce of flesh anywhere on his waist.

  He had a great jaw. Firm and determined. Already he had a shadow of a beard that only made him look sexy in a scruffy, totally male way. He wasn’t pretty and polished.

  He had a quiet arrogance that suggested he was comfortable in his skin and didn’t much give a damn what others thought. He wasn’t impressed by celebrity. He thought she was a spoiled jerk. He was right, but it still bothered her.

 
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